I’m in love…
I’ve always preferred winter to summer. Simply because, during winter, when it’s really cold you can always add another piece of clothing. Compared to summer, when it’s really hot, there comes a time when you can’t remove another piece of clothing. You have come to the end of what you can remove.
I loved to go out in winter, only dressed in a T-shirt when it’s cold outside; I mean very cold and feel the frosty air on my skin… When it’s so cold that you lose your breath when you step out of the house… When you walk outside and the snow crunches under your boots… But all that was before our trip to Costa Rica…
I had already traveled to warmer climates before, Florida, Mexico. I’ve also seen beaches and palm trees before. It was not my first time… But, in Costa Rica, I fell in love with the country, with the warm weather, with the simplicity, with the lovely people and their smiles, with the rhythm of life…. Mostly… the rhythm of life. The ‘Pura Vida’ , as they so aptly call it.
Most of the Costa Ricans that are living in small villages live a stress free life. The telephone doesn’t work – it doesn’t matter; maybe it will tomorrow, if not it will the day after. If he starts to work at 8 o’clock, then he will leave his house at 8. Why would he leave earlier if he’s starting at 8… If there is no client for the fishmonger, He will have a little nap outside his store… Pura Vida…
If you ever go to Costa Rica you will hear it quite often ‘Pura Vida’. It’s their motto. A direct translation would be ‘the pure life’ or ‘the simple life’. But for the Ticos (the inhabitants) it’s more than that, they will also use it to say; hi, goodbye, and to say that everything is going fine. For them, it’s not only words; it’s a way of living. It’s to say thanks for what they have and not to waste energy on the negative.
I do have to admit that it is a bit destabilizing for the first few days when you get there. When you come from a country like Canada (like many other countries, I imagine) where everything is always in a rush and that it has to work now, right away… Well the way that they see life, it forces us to acknowledge the way we are living, the stress and always being in a rush.
We went to Costa Rica on the advice of some of our friends, Isabelle and Martin. They were returning for the second time. Just like us they had fallen in love with it. So much so that they sold everything they had in Québec, and they moved to Costa Rica.
They opened, with other expats from around the globe, Remax Ocean Surf. You can read their blog, which talks about real estate and Costa Rica in general, on their web site: www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com/our-blogs. So if you go there be careful not to fall in love ; -) but if you do, and you decide to make the move and are looking to buy something , contact them. They will certainly be able to find you your little corner of paradise under the sun.
We went to Tamarindo. A nice quiet little town located on the pacific coast, North West of the country. Bordered by a magnificent beach, rated to be one of the most beautiful in all of Costa Rica. Due to where it is situated geographically there is no rainfall from December to February in this area. During the 10 days that we were there not even a drop of rain. Just a big blue sky!!!
It’s the dry season. The tree leaves have fallen due to lack of rain which permits us to see the wildlife clearly, especially the monkeys. The ground/roads become very dry and a lot of dust lifts when cars are passing on the roads. When we were there only a few roads were asphalted but since then they have added a few more. To limit the dust they spread molasses on the road. I find it a very original solution and its way more ecological than what we use in Québec. When the molasses is freshly spread it’s a bit sticky under the flip flops and has a smell, but nothing to strong…
Once again, due to where it is geographically situated, Costa Rica is not affected by hurricanes. Very reassuring when it is time to book your trip 🙂
Another good thing to know about Costa Rica, the hurricane doesn’t touch it. It’s reassuring when it comes the time to book our trip : -)
The Wild life
As far back as I can remember, I have always loved animals. So when I go somewhere new I always check out the wild life…
We saw some grasshoppers that were 6 inches tall (no B.S!)
It is very impressive when they start to fly or grip onto your T-shirt. They look like toys for children.
Of course, we saw some lizards… Tiny ones and huge ones! There was one in particular that sunbathed all day long on our condo wall.
On the beach, there were all kinds of shells, crabs and small fish. The squirrels are different, you would think they were body builders, they have muscles!! We also saw cows that were, too skinny, strolling down the roads and on the beach.
But honestly, what I wanted to see the most were the monkeys : -) Every single day I searched for them, but sadly, since they do wander about, they were gone two days before we arrived… However, the last day of our vacation, they came back to the trees beside the condo… I would sit there and watch them swing and jump from branch to branch, they are so skillful. It was beautiful to see.
The most beautiful beaches
Near Tamarindo there is one beach that is renowned for quality surfing, Playa Avellanas. There is only the beach and a restaurant… That’s it!! No stores, no big villas on the beach… And since it’s situated at the end of a gravel road it’s not crowded with tons of tourist… It feels just like paradise! If ever you get the chance to go there plan to eat at Lola’s. The pizza is delicious. It’s a small open air restaurant located on the beach. Who’s Lola? It’s a pig! Really!!
Lola spent all day on the beach sun bathing and walking freely with the tourists. But, since she was free to go were ever she wanted, we did not see her the day we were there. Sadly Lola passed away a few years ago, “Lolita” has now replaced her : -)
Just beside Tamarindo, you will find Playa Grande. A realy nice quiet beach. Since Playa Grande’s village is not on the beach, like Tamarindo , and that there is no road that goes directly to it, almost nobody goes there.
The two beaches are separated by a small river that empties into the sea. From morning to evening, there is a Tico (an inhabitant of Costa Rica) that offers a ride with his boat to cross the river and bring you safely to the other side. Although, some people told us that we could swim across since it’s not far, about 100’, and there are not a lot of currents.
When we got to the river, we did take the boat ride since we had our beach stuff with us. Once in the boat and about half way across, a large crocodile appeared in the water just beside the boat… We were so glad that we were in the boat and not in the water at that time… The few dollars he asked for the ride were well spent!! The owner was proud to tell us that it happens often and that the people who cross the river swimming take some big risk. Guess what?? We now believe him!! : -0
It was on the same river that we had a chance to visit the lagoons. The flora and wild life are really different, and so interesting. Liana (a woody climbing plant that hangs from trees), trees with huge roots, snakes, crocodiles, parrots, tiny crabs that climb on the trees, muscled squirrels ; -) and so on… and if you are luckier than we were, maybe some monkeys.
The spawn of the sea turtles
We went on a trip to see the sea turtle spawn… An experience that we didn’t enjoy and left us very disturbed.
First of all, it was at night and quite far from the condo. We had to take a shuttle bus to get there and it was an hour long ride.
Secondly, it is not impressive at all. The turtle dug a hole, laid her eggs that look like ping pong balls and buried them.
Thirdly, it was clear that we were disturbing the turtles. Some of them wanted to get out of the sea to go and lay their eggs, but when they saw or heard us (around 20 tourists on the beach utterly ignoring the guide`s request for silence), the poor turtles went back into the sea. Who could blame them!
This kind of activity should not be allowed, human beings should not interfere with the evolution of nature. At least we learnt from our error, we will never go back and we strongly suggest to everybody to not partake in this outing.
Zip line : -)
We participated in a Zip Line outing… I really enjoyed it. Being on top of the forest, that looks more like a jungle to us, was really nice. On our way to the Zip Line by bus we finally saw some more monkeys : -) If we compare security codes for Zip Lining, well let’s just say that the standards aren’t the same as in Québec. ; -)
As always everything has an end… Our vacation came to an end after 10 days of pure happiness…
On the other hand, coming back from Costa Rica was really, really hard. A lot more than any other trip we had taken before. I can still see myself after our return sitting at my desk trying to get back to work and our routine… dreaming of the beach, the warm weather and the Costa Rican rhythm… I was physically back, but my heart was still over there!!
Dane : -)