There is nothing like a Sunday drive on a Thursday…(or whatever day it is). My husband Andy, our friend Jose, and I all hit the road in our trusty 1997 Toyota 4Runner, for a random Costa Rican road trip.
Exploring a rough mountain road across the valley from our house, we stop to photograph the distant, breath-taking, magnificent 300-foot waterfall in our village.
Zooming in with our zoom lens, we get a never-before-seen shot of our house, tucked into a rugged wall of jungle.
Continuing our drive we head into the town of Uvita and drive up some random side road, following signs to Catarata Carolina, a secret waterfall unknown to most. We pull into a flat spot at the top of the hill and admire the spectacular view of the ocean and valley below, blanketed by the velvety sun.
The famous whale's tail beach that Uvita is known for is a sand bar exposed at low tide that resembles a whale's tail when viewed from above.
Throwing our backpacks on, we follow some local Ticos as they guide us to the waterfall. The hike is slippery and steep but after 30 minutes we hear the roar of the falls. Catarata Carolina is pristine and glowing with pure, natural, untouched beauty.
The spot is deserted, no sign of life but us. Time ceases to exist, the jungle is vibrant in the afternoon sun and the soothing rush of the water drowns out all noise.
Untouched, the water is icy and fresh. This secluded piece of nature is something out of a movie, a dream, or maybe it just dropped straight down from heaven when heaven ran out of room to contain all the beauty.
The sky begins to darken and the afternoon storm rolls in. Suddenly we are engulfed in sideways jungle rain and we decide to begin our hike back up the mountainside. The downpour quickly passes, but by the time we reach the car we are soaked with sweat and thirsty for an ice cold beer.
Enjoying the sunset over the whale's tail we watch the storm roll out, and the tide roll in.
A rainbow of sunset colors sprinkle the sky as the sun dips down past the horizon. It is impossible to watch the sun sink into the ocean and not feel lucky to be alive.
Our perfect Costa Rican day ends as a noisy pandemonium of parrots circle above us, eventually flying off into the sunset, in search of their happily ever after…
"The redness had seeped from the day and night was arranging herself around us.
Cooling things down, staining and dyeing the evening purple and blue and black."
- Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
Gracias. Peace. One Love. Namaste. Pura Vida.
Playa Ventanas, also known as "Windows Beach", gets it's name from the rugged sea caves carved into the massive rock wall that lines the shore. Just off the Costanera Highway 34, this is an easy beach to access, and a safe and pristine spot to waste the day. The cost is 1500 colones/car (about $3), if you arrive before 2pm. After that the entrance fee is waived.
Coconut palms line the beach, creating many ideal hammock spots in the cool shade. My husband Andy and I spent our 7th anniversary enjoying breath-taking Playa Ventanas, as this has become one of our favorite beaches in the Southern zone of Costa Rica.
A quaint beach stand, that is run by a friendly, local Tico man, sells delicious and authentic Costa Rican beach snacks: pipas frias (cold, fresh coconuts), ceviche fresco (freshly made ceviche), and platanos (homemade plantain chips), so that you may never go thirsty or hungry. After a salty swim there is nothing better than ice cold coconut water, flavorful ceviche and crunchy plantain chips to munch on.
The caves this beach was named after extend out into the ocean, and are about 50 meters deep. At low tide you can walk through the caves, exploring the dark caverns, and admiring the strange sea creatures stuck to the wall. At high tide the ocean barrels through the caves, building pressure which erupts with a "blowhole effect", spraying a salty, ocean mist high into the atmosphere.
Standing on the shoreline and looking out at the Pacific Ocean, you can see the famous Las Tres Hermanas (The Three Sisters) rock formation. These are believed to have separated from the shore many years ago, creating the beach caves that Playa Ventanas is known for.
Playa Ventanas is also known for its vibrant sunsets over the water, which is why we chose to spend our anniversary evening at this special spot. "Windows Beach" always lives up to it's name. The sinking sun alights the ocean below with an orange fire, and we are looking through a window, straight into heaven.
Sunsets are one of my favorite things in life. Each one is unique, each one spectacular, each one free. Sunsets are Mother Nature's kiss good night, the opening music of the night, proof that no matter what each day can end beautifully.
It's impossible to watch a sunset and not dream...
"Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside
you should be sitting under." - C. JoyBell C.
Living in a foreign country and not speaking the native language is incredibly humbling. Especially for me, a Journalism major, someone who loves to communicate. Removing the security of communication from my life, becoming the minority, the foreigner, changes a person and the way you see the world.
The world is wide, and I know so little...
English is a difficult language to learn, and after living abroad I now understand why. English makes absolutely no sense. The language is nearly impossible to navigate for a beginner. It's a miracle anyone understands English at all.
We speak in a series of idioms, sayings, figures of speech that we hear repeated over and over...that literally make no sense. (And can we add literally to the list of overused English words and phrases I never want to hear again?)
Why do we have noses that run and feet that smell? And butterflies in our stomachs and frogs in our throats? Why do we tell people to break a leg? Why do we screw the pooch, or go on a wild goose chase, or cry wolf or pull a rabbit out of a hat?
IDIOM ~ a common word or phrase with a culturally understood meaning that differs from what its composite words' denotations would suggest.
An idiom is a form of expression, a peculiar arrangement of words in which they cannot be understood grammatically. The words used together have a meaning different from the dictionary definition of each individual word. You can see why idioms make it difficult for an English learner. The English language has thousands of idioms, so many in fact that most language students need an English idiom dictionary in addition to a regular dictionary.
When I hear someone using an idiom these days I stop and ask myself if I were learning to speak English, would I understand that saying and what the person means by using it?
Steal my thunder...
(I was unaware thunder belonged to you.)
Speak of the devil...
(actually I wasn't!)
Let the cat out of the bag...
(um, can we please talk about why the cat was in the bag?)
It's raining cats and dogs...
A literal shitstorm...
(from the raining pets?)
Cut the cheese...
(I love cheese!)
Hit the nail on the head...
(where else would you hit it?)
The ball is in your court...
(I'm sorry...why is there a ball? Are we playing a game?)
Don't have a cow...
(well I was thinking of ordering the burger...)
It costs an arm and a leg...
(that's obviously not worth it, unless it comes with complimentary prosthetics)
By the skin of your teeth...
(wait...my teeth have skin?)
You win some, you lose some...
(duh, stating the obvious.)
Don't spill the beans...
(I won't, I'm not eating beans.)
Cross that bridge when you come to it...
(pretty sure it's impossible to cross it before then...)
Let's call it a day...
(well that is it's name.)
To make a long story short...
(actually you're just making it longer.)
The next time you are out and about pay attention to what people are saying around you. Count the idioms, funny sayings, and figures of speech. They are everywhere. Everyone overuses these tired idioms. I certainly do…or did.
I am actively trying to remove these idioms from my daily language. Instead I'd like to think of something original to say, to only speak if it improves the silence. English is a tired language. Don't be lazy. Use your words, not mindless, outdated, cliche sayings you've heard repeated for generations.
Although idioms really push my buttons, I must admit that I am fond of a few...like take life by the balls, put your big girl panties on and deal with it, and when pigs fly.
What are your favorite idioms? Which ones bother you the most? Which ones make the least sense? And which, in your opinion, is the most overused idiom that should be permanently banned from the English language?
Hopefully you are chomping at the bit to share your idiom opinions with me. Why not make it a piece of cake, I'm all ears, although I can only lead a horse to water…anyway, to make a long story short, it takes two to tango and I'm feeling a bit under the weather, so I'm counting on all of you to step up to the plate, cover all your bases, and jump on the bandwagon.
Have a blast, and think outside the box, but don't jump ship, while I hit the hay and go count some sheep, since I'm running on fumes. Cat got your tongue? Head in the clouds? Penny for your thoughts? Come on, don't be shy, time flies, don't beat around the bush, the ball is in your court, so let the cat out of the bag!
Hold your horses, cool your jets, I'm only blowing smoke and barking up the wrong tree. I'm just pulling your leg, you're off the hook, class dismissed…now go have your cake…(but make sure you eat it too).
Discovering a new beach is something we look forward to, and we have been determined to find the closest beach to our house. That happens to be Playa Tortuga, "Turtle Beach".
Located along the Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, near the charming town of Ojochal, Playa Tortuga has a few different entrances. After turning down some random side road, we pull up to a deserted beach paradise.
Settling in, we claim a section of sand and set up shop. I could tie a hammock up in my sleep these days, a hammock is something we never leave home without. It is a portable nap spot, a bed strung between palm trees, therapy for the soul, and permission to do nothing.
The sun bounces off the water, reflecting the vibrant blue sky above. The sand sparkles, the ocean is blinding with beauty, and life once again looks like a painting.
Our miniature dachshund Sophie is excited to be frolicking on the beach. Sun's out, tongue's out.
Two local dogs approach us, sniffing Sophie, wondering if she is a cat, a dog or a chew toy.
She passes the test and they joyfully sprint up and down the beach as a threesome.
It's a dog's life around here...
'Living La Pura Vida', Sophie wears herself out as she runs tirelessly along the pristine shoreline.
Stopping only to ponder the meaning of life...
As I'm trying to keep up with Sophie, I discover a few gifts from the ocean. Being spoiled by deserted Costa Rican beaches, I now judge a beach on it's sand dollar supply and Playa Tortuga does not disappoint.
When you find so many whole sand dollars that you can't possibly take them all home with you...#costaricaproblems
Sand dollars are quite fascinating. I feel lucky to live in a place where they exist in such abundance. Ever heard The Legend of the Sand Dollar?
As much as we love living near the beach, we don't like the beach living with us. Sand happens...but we try not to bring too much of it home with us.
Sophie's ocean bath somehow becomes a dog-pile pool party, all black and tan dogs are invited.
Until next time...Peace Out Beaches.
Costa Rica will make a bird watcher out of anyone. Located in the neotropical region of Central America, over 900 bird species have been identified and recorded in this bird-rich country.
The part of Costa Rica we currently live in is known for it's extreme variety of colorful birds, and we spend most of our days on our balcony, birding out, with our camera, binoculars and bird book.
Here are some of our favorite bird photos we have taken from our yard:
Green Honeycreeper (male)
Green Honeycreeper (female)
A pair of Masked Tityras
A pandemonium of Mealy Parrots
A pair of Scarlet Macaws
A family of 16 Scarlet Macaws
Squirrel Cuckoo eating a Golden Orb spider
Every bird nerd should add Costa Rica to their lifetime bucket list. Particularly the Caribbean side of the country, and the Osa Peninsula, are both known as a birdwatcher's paradise. With toucans, parrots and vibrant, colorful tanagers surrounding you, I promise you will not be disappointed.
As my husband and I have been traveling around Costa Rica, like homeless gypsy wanderers, we have witnessed many things that will forever be seared into our memories. Monkeys and sloths crossing the road, 6-foot pit vipers trying to kill us, a pod of 300 dolphins surrounding our boat, tourists being robbed by a pack of rambunctious raccoons, 30 mammoth crocodiles piled up on the shore of a river, spiders the size of our heads…I could go on and on.
The animal encounters we get to witness are mind-blowing. The diversity of the wildlife in this country truly is remarkable and we rarely have to leave our house to meet a new animal. A few days ago I was once again reminded of the incredible animals that exist in this portion of the country, as I had three up-close, lifetime bucket list experiences, within a 24-hour-period.
My 24-hours of Costa Rican ecstasy began with a bumpy afternoon beach drive on our favorite beach: Playa Linda. The roads in Costa Rica are a special kind of horrible, but this is not always a bad thing. The potholes and multiple river crossings force you to slow down and enjoy the scenery. Creeping along at 5mph, as Andy dodges potholes with his expert driving skills, I happen to notice a large, furry blob clinging to a palm tree. We pull over and admire an adult sloth in the midst of an afternoon slumber.
Sloths are only found in Central and South America, so it is a treat to see one in the wild. Although there are many sloths in Costa Rica, they can be hard to spot as they rarely move and have impressive camouflage. We are lucky to spot one with our bare eyes, this has only happened to us a handful of times in our travels around this country. Seeing a sloth in an animal rescue center is one thing, but seeing one in the wild is a majestic and humbling reminder that Mother Nature is one spectacular broad.
Still riding my sloth high from the day before, I greet the next morning as the cloud forest rolls through our valley of jungle, with my steaming mug of potent Costa Rican coffee. Just as I take my first sip I hear a ferocious racket in the sky. 16 rare Scarlet Macaws, who mate for life, are doing a fly-by of their favorite tree. Like a gang, they shriek and holler at the family of green Mealy parrots inhabiting their perch, letting them know who is boss of this wall of jungle.
Scarlet Macaws only exist in a few small sections of this country, and we are lucky enough to live in one of these areas. We have witnessed a family of 9 flying by before, but seeing 16 at one time is truly a spectacular and unique event, even for this part of Costa Rica.
Just when I think it cannot get better, a troop of 50 rare squirrel monkeys invade our yard without warning. They trickle in, swarming the trees like an undercover squat team, and begin to fly through our treetops. Squirrel monkeys are the smallest monkeys in Costa Rica, they are about the size of a squirrel and typically weight only 1.5 pounds. Here is a video I caught of them crossing through our own personal monkey highway:
*(right click on below link and open in new tab)*
Squirrel monkeys in Costa Rica: MONKEY CROSSING!
The chirping squirrel monkeys swarm the foliage, jumping from branch to branch, squeaking back and forth to each other, as they forage the trees for birds nests to raid.
A family of Fiery-billed Aracari Toucans keeps a close watch on their competitors. This squirrel monkey family is their direct competition for food, as they both feed on eggs and nestlings of smaller birds.
Suddenly there is a dramatic commotion in the trees, and an aggressive squirrel monkey confronts a toucan. They are similar in size and have an intense standoff over a nest. The monkey is squeaking aggressively while the toucan tries to stand his ground…but the monkey wins and violently shoves the toucan out of the tree. Sadly I did not get the monkey/toucan fight on video, but was able to capture this video of the pair right before their confrontation:
*(right click on below link and open in new tab)*
Squirrel monkey and a Toucan sharing a tree in Costa Rica
These 24 hours of incredible animal encounters will always be a part of me, an event I can revisit time and time again in my mind. A napping beach sloth, 16 scarlet macaws soaring overhead, and a troop of 50 squirrel monkeys passing through the monkey highway in our yard, pausing only to shove a toucan out of a tree. I truly don't know of another place on the planet where these 3 phenomenal experiences can happen in the wild, within a 24-hour-period.
We are so blessed to live in such a place. Pura Vida. Peace. Gracias. OneLove. Namaste. And Audios Bitchachos.
Osa Mountain Village is a secluded jungle paradise, tucked into the mountains above the entrance to the rugged, unexplored Osa Peninsula. Half the species in the entire nation of Costa Rica can be found in this small section of the country, which is only 35 miles long and 20 miles wide.
The Osa Peninsula is one of the most thriving, diverse regions of Central America and has even been referred to as the most biologically intense place on Earth. After living here for five months, we have witnessed this first hand.
We may live up a pot-hole ridden mountain road that can swallow up a car...and yes, that may keep us from getting to the beach as often as we'd like...but luckily we don't have to leave our house to have incredible, up-close animal encounters. We truly are the minority and a Planet-of-the-Apes-situation is a real possibility around here.
Each time we open our door, we have no idea what animal awaits us on the other side. Some are cute, some are fancy, some are creepy, and some are deadly. It's like a game of 'What's behind door #1?' So let me take you on a photo tour of the interesting wildlife we have met and captured on film, right outside our front door.
This is a day in our life at Osa Mountain Village:
...some fancy-pants Costa Rican grasshoppers can make anyone's day brighter...
A cute, little guy eating a fresh, healthy salad for dinner. Farm-to-belly is the new farm-to-table.
Incase you missed the memo, neon is in this season.
A redneck lizard. He likes cheap beer, farmers tans and pick-up trucks.
A Black-mandibled Toucan playing hide and seek.
Is that a banana on your face, or are you just happy to see me?
A Fiery-billed Aracari, a member of the toucan family, perched on a tree in our yard.
A microscopic bright blue bird who occasionally visits us, called a Blue Dacnis.
Another occasional visitor: a Golden-hooded Tanager.
Two Scarlet Macaws, who mate for life, sharing a tree with two Black-mandibled Toucans.
This guy patrols our house at night, keeping us safe from rodent robbers.
It makes sense that Costa Rica, the land of butterflies, would also be the land of caterpillars.
This one will soon grow up to become the famous Blue Morpho butterfly.
Some of the caterpillars here are fuzzy, furry, and...poisonous. Despite how cuddly they look, keep your hands to yourself.
This bright, patriotic caterpillar fits in well in Costa Rica.
And of course, where there are beautiful caterpillars, there will be beautiful butterflies:
Even the moths in Costa Rica are vibrant and fancy, all dressed up in their Sunday best:
But of all the animals in Costa Rica, a monkey sighting is always at the top of my list of favorites.
A troop of 15 rare squirrel monkeys passing through our yard is a moment I will never forget.
And we always love our howler monkey visits, as their booming howls shake the walls of our house and make our dog bark each morning at 4am.
But...let's not forget that when you live in the jungle, it's not all monkeys, butterflies and fancy grasshoppers. There are also creepy, venomous creatures slithering around outside.
A bird-eating puffer snake on our deck.
A golden-orb spider.
The highly adorable, but highly toxic, green and black poison dart frog.
And to wind up our animal tour, a beautiful poisonous cane toad hiding outside our front door. Just don't tell our dog Sophie, as she has become addicted to their hallucinogenic secretions...
(Again...who, me?? You simply must be mistaken. Look at this cute face, I am an angel.)
I have learned many life lessons in the last year, as my husband Andy and I have traveled around Costa Rica, without a plan, chasing dreams that are hard to catch. Here is a collection of my favorites:
1) I've learned simplicity is freedom, and freedom is happiness. Not receiving junk mail, or mail at all, removes so much clutter from our lives. Going without things we used to take for granted makes us realize we need less than we thought. Less stuff, less stress. I don't need a dishwasher, or washer and dryer. Instead we do the dishes by hand, immediately after using them. It's just simpler, easier. We hang our clothes to dry outside. We don't have cable, we don't have flatscreen TV's, we don't have smart phones. I've learned that all you need is less.
2) I've learned that I was addicted to television. I always had it on at my house, ALWAYS. I liked the background noise. Even when nothing interesting was on, I would spend hours in front of the TV, like a brain-washed zombie. Removing the option of a TV has been the best medicine for a rich life.
3) I've learned it's better to count your blessings instead of your blemishes. I've learned it's pointless to complain about things you can't control. I've learned that people in the states seem to truly enjoy complaining about the weather. OMG, it's SOOO hot! (and this is after months of complaining about how cold it was) Give me a break, try being in a mosquito-infested, 99-degree, stuffy beach shack with no air flow, with 100% humidity, where you literally never stop sweating for one second, and then talk to me about hot. (Oops...did I just complain about the weather?)
4) I've learned that "fear of missing out" is a real thing, as our friends and families go on with their lives back home. We may be living it up in Costa Rica, having the time of our lives, but we're also haunted by missing important milestones and life events: weddings, funerals, babies, birthdays, business ventures...moments and opportunities we can never get back.
5) I've learned that wherever you go, there you are. When we sold our house and belongings, and moved to Costa Rica, we were each dropped in front of a full-length mirror, the universe demanding we stand there, naked and vulnerable, staring at ourselves until we could learn to unconditionally love the person staring back at us. And we're still learning. We get it wrong more days than we get it right. I've learned problems don't melt away, they don't stay only in one country, your problems are a part of you. They follow you like your shadow, you cannot run from them.
6) I've learned that under the stress of living in a foreign country you don't speak the native language of, every flaw is magnified. You see a person in their rawest, most real and ugly moments. I've learned that marriage means loving someone, even when they are being completely unlovable. I've learned that true love stands by each other on good days, and stands even closer on bad days.
7) I've learned how deeply I love my husband and that there is no one else in the world I would rather be on this crazy life adventure with. I've learned that we have each others backs, no matter what. I've learned what a good, strong person he is and I admire his courage on this journey as nothing seems to scare him and he always remains calm and level-headed…(while I freak out).
8) I've learned that your wealth or status doesn't make you who you are, but your kindness, character, and how you treat people does. I've learned that kindness begins with me, and kindness begins with you. I've learned that if you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another. I've learned that a smile can be understood in any language and that kindness goes a long way.
9) I've learned that money doesn't make people happy. Some of the richest souls I have met on this journey have next to nothing. I've learned that if you live your life like money is all that matters, you're doing it wrong. If you want to feel rich, then count everything in your life that money can't buy. I've learned there are people so poor the only thing they have is money.
10) I've learned that not every day is all beaches, sunsets and monkeys. Some days are hard, some days are harder, as moments of culture shock and feelings of being homesick still creep up on us at unexpected times. But every morning is a chance to start over and try again, and that truly is a gift. Every day is an adventure and I've learned that today is a good day to have a good day.
Costa Rica is like an onion…layer after layer is peeled away, revealing new depths you were unaware of, leaving your eyes stinging with tears due to the magnitude of the immense beauty that surrounds you.
Costa Rica is like a person…a long-lost lover. A mysterious, complex soul, brimming with life and constantly leaving you in awe and wonder. Reeling you in, you fall deeper and deeper into mindless, consuming love with this piece of Earth.
Costa Rica is many things to many people. This country truly is the most breathtaking sanctuary I have ever laid foot on. I know when we leave here we will long for this place in our cells, our bones. The soul of Costa Rica will be permanently intertwined with ours.
A week ago we discovered our new favorite Costa Rican beach. Playa Linda, which means lovely or pretty beach, more than lives up to it's name. It is a secret, hidden gem, with no signs and just a small dirt road entrance.
Driving down the quaint, bumpy beach road we remark over the manicured rows of palm trees upon palm trees, creating hundreds of perfect hammock spots and plenty of cool shade to lounge in.
Finding an ideal spot, we claim a section of palms and sand, and set up our beach camp for the day.
If anyone needs me, this is where I'll be…
The volcanic sand is packed and firm, the beach goes on for miles, without a single soul in sight. Perfect beach-walking conditions, our beach therapy awaits. Untouched and pristine, this piece of beach is majestic and breathtaking. It is easy to get lost, seconds slip into hours, and it becomes difficult to remember what year it is.
Time ceases to exist. No worries, no hurries, and no problems.
Shiny, white objects glow under the piercing sun, as they lay half buried in the sand. Little gifts from the ocean, deposited on shore for the first person who happens to come upon their brilliance. 10 whole sand dollars, my priceless beach loot for the day.
Shadows dance across the sand as I collect my last sand dollar, I turn toward the sky to admire a ribbon of pelicans strung above the palm trees, like Costa Rican Christmas lights.
After a soothing beach walk we lounge in our hammocks and admire a Tico man fishing for his dinner. If you want to fish in Costa Rica, all you need is a piece of fishing line and a spool. Fishing poles are overrated. Why complicate life?
(Fish for dinner, not compliments...)
Mesmerized by the vibrant blue sky and the whispy clouds, this is so much better than any movie on any flatscreen TV. Lounging on the deserted sand, under the shade of our sunbrella, the clouds dance across the sky and melt into the horizon.
We are full of gratitude for another unforgettable beach day of falling in love, happy coconuts, and only our footprints in the sand…
Waking up to bird songs and insect noises vibrating through the salty, humid air, we begin our day early with a strong pot of French-press coffee. My husband Andy and I sit on the porch of our rustic beach cabin in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, as the rich caffeine kicks in. With our bird book, binoculars and steaming mugs, we greet the glorious day.
The toucans in the trees above us are as bright as the rainbow, with giant beaks and old souls. They fly into the trees in follow-the-leader fashion, one always shadowing another. Just far enough behind to observe, but not close enough to have to make small talk.
They respect each other’s boundaries, as all souls should. Their movements are slow and deliberate, calculated and sloth-like. Their dry croaking call vibrates into the energy of the atmosphere, followed by an eerie silence. One takes off, making room for the next, now replaced by its shadow, and life goes on...
As our mugs run dry and the toucans move on, we get dressed and head to the Farmer’s Market. Numerous stands, overflowing with organic fresh fruits and vegetables, coconuts biscuits and plantain chips, local gourmet chocolate and freshly baked goods, colorfully line the walls. The exotic smells and blinding colors assault our senses with pure delight.
The happy Tico farmers pick the best morsels, handing them to us with an appreciative smile. I appreciate them in return, in a way only a farmer’s daughter can. They have planted these seedlings months ago, nurturing and raising them up to be strong and good beings, then carefully plucking them at their exact moment of perfection. Sending them off to what they hope is a good home, in exchange for a few cents, so they can nourish another as they were nourished. Paying it forward to the circle of life. Rinse, eat and repeat.
Heading home to unpack our overflowing shopping bags, we prepare for the afternoon and head to a surf competition taking place at the famous Salsa Brava wave break in downtown Puerto Viejo. Everyone in town, resident or visitor, lounges on the sand, waiting for the event to begin. We watch the surfers stretch along the beach, preparing their bodies for exertion, exchanging excited words of encouragement and fist bumps amongst each other.
A line of surfers begins to form, just beyond the break. They hurry up and wait, for the perfect delivery. Predicting the wave before it’s born, reading the ocean like a book one surfer paddles furiously to beat his co-workers. He drops into the sweet spot and sails toward shore, his hair trailing a moment behind him. The crowd cheers and laughs, cameras click, someone’s shrill whistle pierces the air. For him it’s just another day at the office, high on life.
After a long, magical day in the Caribbean sun, we have worked up an appetite, so we head over to a local gem called Stashu’s. A funky blend of Thai, Caribbean and Indian food, this infusion restaurant features a unique menu, bursting with flavor. The ambiance is eclectic, luxurious yet humble, and romantic.
The friendly owner, Stash, can be seen wandering among the tables, mingling with patrons and making friends. Every dish on the menu is beautiful, artistic and spectacular. We begin with a light, colorful salad served on a butterfly plate, with a homemade dressing. For appetizers we drool over the spicy red curry mussels as they melt in our mouths. Visions of the flavorful Tandoori coconut chicken that I enjoyed for my dinner will dance across my mind for eternity.
The food on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica truly is as colorful as the culture.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica is a laid-back surfing town. A town where no one is in a hurry, except to catch a wave. A town where your cool factor is determined by the size and curl of your hair and how many Hola’s you receive as you stroll the streets. It’s a town where everyone is all smiles and no worries. A town where Bob Marley rules and the only jerk is a chicken. A town where rasta colors dominate, reggae music fills the salty air, and lazy swirls of smoke line the beach.
When dreaming of an authentic Costa Rican beach vacation, Puerto Viejo is the picture your mind paints, and it is even better in person.
Pura Vida and Audios Bitchachos!
Kari Pinkerton Silcox
It would be a tragedy to die, having never really lived. Which is why my husband Andy and I quit our jobs, sold our house and decided to chase our dreams. We moved to Costa Rica without a plan, and this is the story of our adventure.