After four years of working almost every single day (not counting a few days here and there for weddings, reunions and funerals), the two weeks we just spent hiking/ rappelling /zip-lining/ snorkeling/ reading/ swimming/ sunning/ napping/ laughing/ tropical-fruit-scarfing/ frosty-adult-beverage-guzzling in Central America were well-earned. I returned on Sunday from Costa Rica, more relaxed, more peaceful and happier than I have been in years.
In the Detroit airport on Saturday, February 27th:
We landed in San Jose (well, actually Alajuela) around 8 p.m., where we caught a private transfer to La Fortuna, a three and a half hour drive. If you know me and travel, well, let's just say we're not really on speaking terms at the moment. The roads in Costa Rica are terrible. Truly horrific. Narrow, pitted with potholes, you're essentially driving 45 mph on mountain switchbacks to get most anywhere you need to go. I thought I was prepared--doubling up on the recommended Dramamine dosage--but I was wrong. I had to ask our poor driver, Richard, to pull over four times on our way to La Fortuna so that I could be sick. Worse still, disoriented by the exchange rate (which is approximately 500 colones to one American dollar) and his totally incapacitated wife, Curt accidentally tipped Richard $140 USD.
We didn't get a picture of that one.
Our first stop was Hotel Manoa, at the base of the volcano Arenal:
(The view from our room, although this was on the last day. It was so foggy and wet while in La Fortuna, we couldn't see a thing until the morning we left. I know--boo hoo, right?)
While in La Fortuna, we took a guided volcano hike,
Next up was Monteverde:
We upgraded (at no extra cost! whee!) to a honeymoon suite at our hotel. This was the view from our private patio. Not too shabby.
While in Monteverde, we did the scariest, most exhilarating thing either of us had ever done: a zipline through the Cloud Forest. Holy crappers. It's hard to say whether there were monkeys, toucans or other wildlife bounding through the forest, because my main concern was focusing on staying alive
while traveling at 40 mph suspended by a flimsy waist harness 500 ft above the treeline. It was so fast that at one point, Igeniunely thought my left earring was going to rip out of my earlobe. I'm glad I did it--most definitely--but seriously, I don't know if I could muster the courage do it again. My legs are rubbery just from writing about it.
On the Friday of our first week, we packed up our damp clothing and took another half-day transfer, first by mountainous dirt roads (I managed to hold everything down, save a few tears),
and then an hour-long ferry,
to our final destination, just outside of Tambor in the Nicoya Peninsula:
When I walked in our room, I thought, Let the vacation begin. This place--Tango Mar Resort--is exactly what it looks in the pictures on their website, but better. The food, the people, the beach...
...and for eight nights and nine days, we did nothing more than chill.
My suggestion? You might just want to add Costa Rica to your bucket list. The people are so friendly, the food is so good (cilantro and coconut and lime--oh my!) and while the Costa Rican Road Commission could use a few helpful pointers, it was the place to be after a longish winter in Northern Michigan.
And now that I'm back, home feels pretty perfect, too.