We took our first "real" vacation to Costa Rica this year. We had the most amazing time and experienced so many wonderful things! We chose to go in December so that we could escape the cold Minnesota winter for a while. Plus, we used this trip as an excuse to celebrate our 5th anniversary this year. Wow, how time flies! Our trip was 10 days long. In that time we traveled to several different areas in Costa Rica. We rented 2 houses to stay at. The first house was in a town called Atenas, and the second house was in a town called Dominical. Both areas were not very touristy, which made the experience that much more "authentic" and cultural. Luckily, Jacob speaks Spanish. Otherwise, we might have been in trouble.
After leaving San Jose, the first house we stayed at was in Atenas. It was located in the mountains and the views were gorgeous! The house was also equally amazing. It was a Bali-style house, made for outdoor living. Nearly every wall of the house was a sliding glass door that opened up to the outside. The living room/dining room/kitchen and master and guest bedrooms were all separate living quarters, each with their own doors and locks.
|Front of the house|
|Jacob at the front gate|
|Neighbor's banana tree|
|Main house (living room, dining room, kitchen, and half-bathroom)|
|Master bedroom with bathroom (left).|
It was convenient having the bathroom just behind the
stone wall of the bed,... but not very private
when nature called.
|We had a beautiful view of the mountains|
|Pool-side hammock (big enough for two)|
|The ceilings throughout the house were made of|
dried bamboo. Absolutely beautiful!
|Between the two bedrooms was an|
outdoor Jacuzzi made of stone.
We planned on using it, but when
we realized it would take hours to fill
(low water pressure) and that the water
was only luke-warm, we opted not to.
|Outdoor patio looking in on the main house.|
|The house also had an outdoor grill, which we used once.|
Lesson learned...beef in Costa Rica (unless imported)
is not worth eating, let alone firing up the grill for.
|It was so relaxing to be around so many plants and be in such|
a calm, serene environment. It was just what we needed!
|Outdoor shower next to the pool|
|Around each corner of the house were hammocks, rocking|
chairs, and swinging chairs to enjoy all the beautiful scenery
|My hubby soaking up the rays|
|The weather was pretty much perfect. It was warm|
(in the 80s) and not very humid. It rained a few times, but the
rain was warm and inviting. The kind you feel like dancing in.
|This table was one of my favorite parts of the house.|
|Main house looking out|
|This is the life!|
|One of the highlights of our trip was a rafting trip we took at Limon, |
which was about 3 hrs away from San Jose. This is the club house where the bus brought us and picked us up.
|Costa Rican houses on our way to our rafting trip|
|During out stay in Atenas, we also went on a |
canopy/zip-line tour through the forest.
We started at the Hotel Vista Golfo and rode horses
to the zip-lining site.
|Me and Bandito.|
|Jesus (our tour guide)|
|These horses were so smart! Once we reached our site (which|
was 20-30 minutes from where we began) the instructors simply
let go of the reigns and whistled, which signaled the horses to
turn around and head home on their own.
|The zip-line course consisted of 25 zip-lines and 13 waterfalls.|
This particular one was difficult as we had to repel
backwards instead of simply riding our way down.
|Waterfall where we went swimming|
|Jacob and I (on the right)|
with another couple on the tour
|Jacob crossing a bridge Indiana Jones-style|
|The first beach we visited on our trip was in the city of Jaco.|
We had to stop at this fish taco bar that is basically legendary
in Costa Rica. Signs to come here can be found hundreds
of miles away.
|The restaurant had a fun vibe and even swing chairs at the bar.|
As soon as the two girls left (above), Jacob insisted
we try them out.
|Jacob waiting for his fish tacos.|
|After eating, we stopped at the Playa de Jaco (Jaco beach)|
|After our stay in Atenas, we drove to Dominical.|
The drive was beautiful. It's so green and lush in Costa Rica.
It's no wonder Jurassic Park was filmed close by.
|Rows and rows of palm trees|
It was fun to see rode-side shops and stands
selling clothing, handmade items, and local fruit.
|This spiky tree had thousands of sharp needle-like quills|
on it. Monkeys have to use other nearby branches and trees
to get to the fruit on top.
|Bamboo growing sideways out of a hill.|
Our tour-guide told us that bamboo was originally brought
over from Asia and planted here, and because of the conducive
climate, it grows out-of-control.
|Mock "Bird of Paradise" flower.|
|Jacob and another couple on our tour through Manuel|
|If you look closely, you can see a small brown lizard|
on the leaf in the center of the picture.
Our tour guide said this lizard is named the
"Jesus Christ Lizard" as it can run on water.
|The beach in Manual Antonio park was absolutely stunning.|
It was probably the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.
The weather was gorgeous, the sand was white, the water was blue,
and I got to enjoy it with my best friend!
What a perfect day!
|My favorite beach|
|One of the funnest parts of the park was getting to see|
all the monkeys right along the beach. They were so
playful as they ran around and swung overhead.
|We were told to be careful, as the monkeys often steal|
tourists' purses, wallets, and cameras!
|Jacob and I with the another couple on our tour|
House in Dominical (a.k.a. my dream house)
This house was also in a gated community in a secluded part of
the Dominical. The houses in the neighborhood all sat on hills,
which gave us the most incredible views of the ocean from
the back patio.
|Flowers along the side of the house|
|Jacob in the kitchen|
|We even had a welcome package of fruit, wine, coffee, cereal,|
and milk when we arrived. Talk about great service.
|Infinity pool and patio|
|Patio table and grill|
|Patio lounging area|
The pool/patio area had speakers, which allowed you to
hook up your Ipod inside and play music outside.
|View from the back patio|
We loved seeing the trees and especially the ocean in the distance.
One night we got to watch the most amazing sunset just beyond the ocean.
|Downstairs bedroom that opened up to the back patio|
|We took our lesson from Bodhi Surf School. The word bodhi in sanskrit means|
"enlightened" or awakened.
|We first practiced standing up on surf boards drawn in the sand. Helpful....but not quite as easy on the water.|
|Surfing was one of my favorite activities of our trip |
(other thanwhite-water rafting). I can't wait to
|My instructor cheering me on!|
|I love this picture because it looks like Jacob is being chased|
by his board
|My husband....the romantic|
|After our surf lesson, Jacob wanted to take a walk down the|
beach to the "Whale's Tail", which I had never even heard of.
|So we headed down the shore to take a look.|
|On our walk we saw several McCaws in the trees. It was|
amazing to watch them flash their vibrant colors as they
flew from tree to tree. McCaws mate for life, so we
always saw them in pairs, often bickering, like true life-long
|We went on a deep-sea fishing trip near Dominical.|
I knew it was something Jacob was really
looking forward to, so I let him reel in the fish
anytime we had a bite. He caught several Mackerel,
a Needlefish (as seen above), and a Blackfin tuna.
|The fisherman that took us fishing spoke very little|
English. I got to practice my Spanish with him
and he practiced a little English with us.
|Another Mackerel. After our guide filleted the fish,|
we were able to take it to a local restaurant right off
of the beach and have them prepare it in a meal for us.
It was neat to eat what we caught and know that it was
|The smoothies were also to die for.|
Mine was blackberry banana and Jacob's was Pina Colada.
|On our way back to the airport to come home,|
we stopped at a local bridge that always seemed to
draw tourists. There, we saw several crocodiles along
the river bank.
|How many crocs can you spot?|
There are actually six pictured here!
|Jacob on the bridge|
|We were fortunate enough to drive by the San Jose |
temple a couple of times. Right before we arrived at the
airport to come home, we got to see it one last time.
All in all, our trip was absolutely amazing and so memorable! We had many wonderful experiences and are so grateful we got to experience to people, food, and culture of Costa Rica. Until we meet again....Adios Costa Rica!