Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!
That is what the large mural on the other side of the customs and immigration office said in the airport last week. We were finally in Costa Rica. I've been waiting for this trip to occur for a long time, so finally being there was amazing. The night before I had been a little sad. Saying goodbye to Tim and knowing that I wouldn't get to see or talk to him on a daily basis for a week was a strange thing...at the same time, though, a wonderful adventure was awaiting me. So here we were--my mom, grandmother, stepdad, little brother and I--all waiting in line to get stamps in our passports and venture into a country we had read and heard a lot about, but still did not know a lot...
The first night we stayed at a bed and breakfast called the Posada Mimosa. It was right outside of San Jose and beautiful. The people that owned the B&B had moved there from Canada and were enjoying their retirement. There was a pool that overlooked the valley, cabins, flowers, dogs, a gated entry. it was great. We went to a little town called Grecia for dinner and ate arroz con pollo (chicken with rice) for dinner. It was very good. The way home, however, was a little tense. It's pretty easy to get lost on the roads in Costa Rica. They're not really labeled, there are no signs for towns, etc. We thought we were heading the right direction, but soon it became very apparent that we were lost. In the dark. On the side of a mountain. In Costa Rica. My mom finally made my uncle stop (he and my aunt had rented a 15 passenger diesel van for the trip) and she went into a little Soda (drink and snack shop) to ask directions. We saw the gestures the lady, who didn't speak any english was making. yeah, we were lost. :) When mom got back into the car and got us turned around, we finally found our way home...then we could laugh. Mom had asked the girl in the Soda where we were on the little hand-drawn map we had. Her response? No. Not on the map. :) But, we made it back. :)
Monday morning we got up and had breakfast...and then Cameron and I went swimming at 8 in the morning. The sun was already hot and the water felt great. Then it was back in the car to head to our final destination--Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica.
5 hours later, we were there. We found the house we had rented, Casa Rosa, and made ourselves comfortable. Out the back door was the beach--sun, sand, and ocean water. At night, the tide is almost in your backyard. During the a.m. hours, it's up to 200 yards farther out to sea...very cool. Cameron and I got up the next morning and went exploring on the exposed beach...we found a baby octupus, more crabs (big ones!) than you can imagine, and all sorts of sea life. this is where you go if you want to find whole, beautiful shells (instead of the broken 1/2 ones you find in places like Florida!). The best part, though, was that you would pick up the shells and there would still be a crab, snail, or something else living inside. It was REALLY neat. We spent the rest of the day walking to town (only 3/4 mile down the beach) and playing in the ocean. Cameron and I got out the boogie boards and had a great time. The sun would go down about 6:30 and we would be mostly in for the night. I was in bed a little after 8-830 every night. Howler monkeys lived in the trees outside of our house, so we got to see them, too!
The next day we took horses to the top of one of the mountains to look at Costa Rica. Yeah, let me tell you--I am not a big fan of horses...and because of that, they're not big fans of me. It is just the end of the rainy season in CR, which means the path we took to the top of the mountain was really wet and REALLY muddy in some spots. There was one spot that my horse simply didn't want to go through--so instead she tried to make her own path through the woods and ran me into a tree. i have bruises all up and down my left leg. Big ones. It hurt like crazy, but getting to the top and being able to see so much of the countryside was totally worth it! The way back down, my horse got spooked at the same exact place, but we survived and made it through :)
What else? Cameron and I learned to surf! I'll admit he's much better than I, but it was still a lot of fun!! The guy that taught us was the husband of the woman from who we were renting the house...very, very neat. Cameron had the surf board turning and all of that--I managed to not fall off. :) it's the little things, right?
It was a very relaxing trip. Lots of walks to town, playing in the ocean, and enjoying ourselves and family time.
Thanksgiving dinner, however, was another story. Now, you have to give the guy credit-Costa Rican people trying to make a traditional american dinner...but it was still questionable, at best....my favorite? The cranberry sauce was part of the gravy. And we can't forget the pumpkin Flan :) Bless their hearts, though...they tried :)
Friday was a day in the car, complete with a horrible headache (diesel fumes and having to drive a standard transmission up and down the mountains) and a car accident that had traffic backed up for quite awhile up the side of one of the many mountains. We made it to San Jose, stayed in the Courtyard Marriott and made it home on time on Saturday.
All in all it was an excellent trip. Good family time, relaxing. Unfortunately I had to come back to the cold indiana winter. YUCK:)