Costa Rica is famous for it's vibrant, rich sunsets. There is nothing like watching the sun sink into the ocean, the sky alight with rainbow fire, the salt water reflecting the blinding colors from above. The warmth, beauty and uniqueness of each sunset witnessed seeps inside you, weaving itself into your heart strings, forever becoming a part of your soul.
As my husband Andy and I have traveled across Costa Rica we have witnessed some spectacular sunsets. Pictures are worth a thousand words and I will let these breath-taking collection of our favorite sunset captures speak for themselves.
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
- Rabindranath Tagore
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, macaws. parrots and vibrant, colorful tanagers surrounding you, I promise you will not be disappointed.
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.