As mom zips into her 60th year on Earth, we’ve been celebrating the BIG 6-0 for weeks now. We are continuing our holiday theme of no material gifts, replacing them instead with forever memories. Starting with a ziplining tour flying through the jungle like Tarzan, sprinkled with mucho pina coladas, fueled by homemade pancakes topped with fresh mango, banana, pineapple and real maple syrup, and wrapped up with a boat tour through alligator-infested waters, my mom’s 60th year is off to a pretty good start.
She has perfected the art of doing nothing while swinging in a hammock by the sea and drinking a coconut, which is the pura vida life lesson everyone comes here to learn (don’t forget to take it home with you too!). And with the horror stories of the below freezing temperatures back in Oregon, she says she’s never coming home.
On her actual birthday we woke up early and took a boat tour through the Palo Verde National Park. We finally got to see the famous “Jesus Christ” lizards, famous for running across water. Two of them were fornicating on the shore…hmmm, can’t help but wonder…What Would Jesus Do?
Looking behind our boat, we see a few sets of eyeballs sticking up out of the dirty river water, slowly creeping closer, and we realize our boat is surrounded by alligators. No worries, they are much smaller than the crocodiles we’ve seen at Playa Carrillo, in the same river the little Tico kids swim in...(rumor has it the crocs never eat Tico kids...just dogs.)
We spend the boat ride photographing alligators, many different birds, iguanas and lizards of all shapes and sizes, and we are lucky to see a couple of white-faced monkeys, one of the four monkey species that reside in Costa Rica. Two of them approached the tour boats and put on a little show for us in the trees. They must be working for bananas on the side.
After the boat trip we enjoyed a typical Costa Rican lunch of chicken, pork, rice, beans, pineapple salsa, salad, plantains and watermelon juice. Then we stopped at the quaint little village of Guaitil, famous for its abundance of pottery shops. Mono Congo Loco caught our attention and we were taken to the back of the shop and given a pottery demonstration by a family of four men. Traditionally the potters in this town are female, so we are lucky to stumble upon a group of males. They are incredibly kind, and creative, and show us how they make the clay, how they shape it and paint it, all with natural ingredients and recycled materials. Their pottery wheel is made of a motorcycle gear, a ceiling fan and a stove burner. We thank them profusely and purchase some souvenirs we will cherish for a lifetime.
Nicoya is our next stop, for a much needed $10 car wash. We head to what we call “Central Park” to kill an hour by drinking fresh coconut water, eating ice cream, playing on the teeter-totters, and photographing parakeets and grumpy policia.
We end mom’s birthday with a delicious dinner at El Colibri, the steak house in Carrillo. We order tuna steaks, rib-eye, fresh rolls with garlic dipping sauce, baked potatoes and salad. It was the best meal we’ve had yet. For dessert we stop by our ice cream stand that we frequent every other evening. They were out of coconut (Mom’s favorite) and bubblegum (Andy’s favorite, and the ice cream lady always makes sure to tell us that no one over the age of 5 orders this flavor…except Andy. Oh and Stacey, Andy’s sister. DNA is a funny thing... :) So instead we try chocolate, coffee and dragonfruit, which is bright purple and delicious.
A 60th birthday never to be forgotten!
We’ve taken some road trip adventures up and down the coast over the last week. On our first trip we headed south, first stopping at Playa Camaronal. The pure, black sand was so hot it burned our feet through our sandals, so we danced and hollered our way down to the water in our now very familiar “damn hot sand” beach dance routine. We took photos of the sea turtle hatcheries and the cute beach signs, and then headed onto our next beach.
Playa Corozalito was our next stop, which is where (on our previous trips here) our car was almost robbed and the Tico kid called Sophie a hot dog. A local couple came up to us, asking in Spanish if Sophie was a puppy? I was so proud of myself for understanding their question, and being able to reply in Spanish that she’s 9 years old. They tell me how cute she is and then we head off to our next beach.
We end our beach road trip at Playa San Miguel and Playa del Coyote. This area is usually where we stock up on coconuts from the low-hanging coconut trees, but the area is pretty picked over due to busy season. We do manage to come home with a few coconuts and we spend the afternoon walking the beach and collecting shells.
Our next beach road trip is to explore the Northern beaches. We drive through the adorable, artsy town of Islita and check out Playa Islita. Then we stop at Playa Garza, where we spend time collecting more shells, then onto Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada. We check out the town of Nosara, and we end at Playa Ostional. Playa Ostional is the famous sea turtle beach, although we don’t see any turtles but we do see a recently hatched turtle egg. We plan to possibly come back at night, when we hear the turtles are there, to check out the sight of a mama turtle laying her eggs in the sand.
In Playa Guiones we see a cute jungle restaurant, called Al Chile and decide to stop for lunch. We order a hibiscus ginger frozen drink, so refreshing and delicious. The food was unforgettable, mango smoked chicken burritos, and slow roasted pork tacos with pineapple salsa, with a side of fresh yucca chips and fresh salad. Another one of our favorite meals, the fresh and flavorful Costa Rican food continues to blow us away.
who steals flip flops??
Well, we’ve finally been robbed. I remember someone telling us once that flip flops are the most stolen item in this town…and I remember thinking who steals flip flops?? Apparently someone does because we had two pairs stolen from outside our house the other day. Maybe they need them more than we do. Maybe we were asking for it by leaving them outside (we were just trying to keep the sand out of our house). Maybe it was the howler monkeys that taunt Sophie day and night…or maybe my little sign will make the thief’s guilty conscience return them:
Deuces, Peace Out Beaches!
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.