Hello, long-lost blog friends! I have finally returned! I didn’t mean to be away from you for so long, but I went to Costa Rica and then my summer classes began (I may or may not be going back to school in the near future…) and I found myself buried under a massive pile of work which I have only recently begun to reign in. I wanted to do a pre-trip post back in May about our upcoming travel to Costa Rica, but the hubs kindly asked me to refrain from announcing that we would be gone for an extended period of time, fearing that someone would show up at our house and rob us blind (he has apparently seen one too many Dateline specials). Thus, the excuse for my virtual disappearance from the face of the earth.
I’ve had many requests to see pictures from the trip, so I’m happy to finally be able to oblige. Brace yourselves: an exorbitant number of photos and narration lie ahead…
This was my first experience with group travel, which mainly consisted of my father-in-law’s friends, but also included Scott, Andy, and Rachel (my brothers and sister-in-law), as well as Susan and Art (hub’s co-workers). The trip got off to a rocky start for those unlucky souls who were flying American Airlines when their plane got a flat tire and (after sitting on the runway for over an hour) they were detoured to Houston for an unexpected 8 hour layover. (Who would’ve guessed that spare tires would be such a rare commodity at an airport?) The rest of us flew (on Delta) into Liberia, Costa Rica without any hitches and thus began our drive to the Tabacon hot springs.
En route to Tabacon, we spotted Howler monkeys in the trees along the road and we all piled out of the van and fully laid to rest any questions of whether or not we were a bunch of fresh gringos.
Do you think it was obvious that we were tourists?
Tabacon was my favorite, we had lovely views of the Arenal volcano and the resort had created a huge landscape of pools fed by the natural hot springs at the base of the volcano.
It rained the entire time we were there, but it really only added to the atmosphere. The pool bar will go down in history for creating the freshest and most delicious pina colada I have ever tasted.
I would have been content to stay here for the entire trip.
From there, we took a bus, and a ferry, then another bus through the mountains to get to the cloud forest in Monteverde.
It's hard to believe that these three are brothers!
While we were getting to know our tour guide, Dino, on the first day, he mentioned that his favorite thing from the United States was Jack Daniel’s Whiskey. We all laughed and told him we were from Tennessee and that some of the group lived literally miles from the distillery. He couldn’t believe it and was thoroughly impressed. My father-in-law called the group that was stuck in Houston and asked them to pick up a bottle of Jack Daniel’s for Dino, so we surprised him on the ferry…
He was very happy and promised to be salsa dancing later that night after a few shots... (and yes, he is wearing a Jack Daniel's hat!)
Monteverde was beautiful. We hiked in the Reserva Biologica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde and spent some time in the small town square.
We stayed at the Hotel Fonda Vela, the views were lovely and the fog rolled in to create an unearthly and unique experience.
Hotel Fonda Vela
I found some time here to read on the porch, surrounded by the rain and fog - optimal reading environment!
In the town square, this drunken gentlemen with the machete strapped to his chest attempted to give me a fist-bump, which resulted in him losing his balance and nearly falling over. Later that evening on the way home, we saw him passed out in a clump of grass on the side of the road.
We also visited a butterfly garden where we were introduced to some of the insects of the area. I love insects and this was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I especially love large beetles (well, when they aren’t landing on me…) like this elephant beetle munching on a piece of sugar cane!
How adorable is that face?!
I fell in love with the leaf-cutter ants as well…
We walked out of our hotel one day to find the landscaping crew hard at work…
The last leg of our trip was spent at the Flamingo Resort in Guanacaste, on the west coast of Costa Rica. The beach was gorgeous and I ate my weight in fresh tomatoes and local cheese. There was a lot of lounging in the pool, lounging on the beach, and for Susan, lounging in the secret hammock that she discovered.
We bought a huge bottle of Cacique (the national drink of Costa Rica, made from sugar cane) at the market in Monteverde, and it was carried to the pool and beach multiple times, but no one had the guts to drink it! Well, except for Art, who braved it alone one evening and then the following morning vowed to never touch it again.
Hubs found a decorator crab, which made him very happy, and then I found hermit crabs, which made me ridiculously happy. One evening while we were eating by the beach, an anteater walked by! There were also thousands of large and scary birds that had lost all fear of humans. The scariest ones were the White-throated Magpie-Jays…
And there were lots of lizards running around, including Black Iguanas, which I adored…
Oh, and we also ran into Jeff Gordon!
Just kidding, that’s only Andy. Anyhoo, there were some cringe-worthy moments induced by long hours in a bus with 20-some people, but there were some great memories as well. It was good to see Kevin and Kathy…
And fun to spend some time with Scott, Andy and Rachel. I still miss my breakfast time with Susan and Art. Will I ever do a group trip again? Hmmm…probably only if it means I get to go to Scotland, but it was undoubtedly an experience to remember ;) Pura vida!