This holiday season was our 2nd tropical holiday season spent in pura vida paradise. A new tradition, where less is the new more. Hammocks replace gifts and our presence is the only present needed, tropical potlucks replace 12-course meals, and fresh ahi tuna and pulled pork and pineapple is the new turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes.
My husband Andy's family came to visit during the holidays and we all gathered at a lovely beach house in Ojochal for a week. Relaxing by the pool, with an icy maragrita in hand, is how we spent our first few days. The long, winding, bumpy mountain road made it easy for us to stay put and enjoy our own personal piece of paradise. But eventually we made our way up another awful mountain road to indulge in some delicious wings and burgers at Bar Jolly Roger's.
Andy's sister Stacey and her husband Matt showed up a few days later. The 6 of us spent a few days floating in the ocean at Playa Pinuelas, which has become our favorite beach for swimming in the area. A part of the Marina Ballena Natonal Park, it is tucked into small cove, making the south end of the shore calm and safe for swimming. (Be cautious of the riptide on the north end of the shore however.)
One of our favorite experiences as a family was our Sierpe river boat tour, full of sun, sand, friendly Tico captains, secluded beaches and more wildlife sightings than we could have asked for. We saw so many incredible animals that this experience deserves it's own blog, so stay tuned...
We wrapped up Steve & Wendy's Costa Rican Christmas vacation with a family dinner at Exotica, one of our favorite restaurants in the entire country. Tahitian fish carpaccio, chicken breast stuffed with cream cheese, plums and bacon, a filet that melts in your mouth, flavorful pork and pineapple, and a round of mind-blowing desserts. If you're ever lucky enough to eat at Exotica I recommend the Cool Passion dessert, which is vanilla ice cream topped with homemade passionfruit sorbet and drizzled with blackberry sauce. Holy YUM.
For our Christmas Eve dinner we stopped at the "fresh fish guy" in Ojochal and went home to sear some fresh ahi tuna steaks, and fry up some fresh mahi mahi, for the best Christmas Eve dinner in the history of the world.
Christmas Day was spent lounging at Playa Matapalo in our hammock circle, eating a delicious potluck meal and playing cornhole, with our friends and family from Osa Mountain Village, as well as a few others who joined us.
While some of us swam in the ocean, and while others watched from shore, we witnessed a Christmas miracle. A pod of dolphins jumped and splashed in the surf, just beyond the wave break, also enjoying their Christmas dinner of fresh fish. Smiles could be seen all around, as some people witnessed dolphins in the wild for the first time, and as we all were full of gratitude for our unforgettable Christmas gift from Mother Nature.
I will take a hammock and dolphin sighting over a pile of presents around a Christmas tree any day of the year. Ending our perfect holiday, we all gather together to take a few group selfies, so we can always remember our Miraculous Christmas full of hammocks, pulled pork and pineapple sandwiches, peanut butter pie, tamales, dolphins, happiness, simplicity and togetherness.
(Thanks Charles for taking and sharing these awesome Christmas photos we will always treasure.)
And it wouldn't be a perfect beach day without a perfect beach sunset over the ocean, to tie our holiday up into a perfect, sunset-colored Christmas package.
Happy Holidays to everyone from Costa Rica! Pura Vida to all and to all a good night....
My aunt Janet came to visit us a few weeks ago, and Costa Rica put on quite the show for her. Waking up at our beach house to toucans and pizotes munching on papayas, and capuchin monkeys in the trees, the wildlife did not disappoint despite the unforgiving jungle rain.
As usual, the realities of living in Central America quickly caught up with us. When we tried to return to our home in Osa Mountain Village we were detoured by a landslide blocking our road.
#costaricaproblems - when a landslide blocks your road home so you have to stay an extra night at your awesome beach house for half price…you know, because the homeowner totally understands our 'costa-rica-landslide-problems'.
Finally we make it up our mountain road the next day, after the landslide was cleared, in our 20-year-old car loaded down with 6 people, 1 dog, 2 guitars and a bunch of luggage. And for the next few weeks the rainforest defended it's namesake with a vengeance, as the weather was unforgiving and the rain never stopped.
But without the rain there would be no rainbow. Through the heavy fog and rain, we were gifted one phenomenal, mysterious sunset glittering through the storm clouds, lighting up where the ocean meets the jungle.
Costa Rica likes to keep people on their toes, and we suddenly find ourselves living through history as the first hurricane on record is scheduled to hit the country on Thanksgiving Day. My cousin Julia and her boyfriend Kent were in Nicaragua at this time, planning to meet up with us in Costa Rica a few days after Thanksgiving.
Hurricane Otto was also scheduled to touch down in Nicaragua as well, so we were all preparing for the weather when we got word that there was also an earthquake. Julia and Kent were evacuated from their beach condo due to an impending tsunami alert after the Nicaraguan earthquake. Luckily they were both okay and now have a cool story to tell.
Already a holiday for the records books before it's even began: landslides, hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis on Thanksgiving. Mother Nature may be stubborn, but so are we. We refuse to let the numerous natural disasters get in our way and end up having one of the best Thanksgiving celebrations of our lives.
At Osa Mountain Village we had a potluck/concert at the community bar, everyone brought a dish and a good vibe, underneath cover from the hurricane rain. The food was delicious and each item was a hit. I made two massive pans of my cheesy-scalloped potatoes, which were gone in a moment. Our 2nd contribution was my family's famous, but deadly, peanut butter pie, which had people swarming like a Black Friday special.
A special thanks to my mom for sending me the recipe last minute, and to my Aunt Linda for introducing me to the recipe that makes me a hit at every party. And of course thanks to my Aunt Janet for helping me make it, and for being creative with our substitutions. Who knew natilla (sour cream) could replace Cool Whip and taste even better?? And the homemade oreo crust, instead of the usual store-bought version, only added that much more love to the newly named "Pura Vida Pie".
We spent the evening stuffing ourselves, drinking, and singing along to the wonderfully unique music of Christopher Hawley and Jose Trevino. A truly eclectic blend of golden vocals, creative drumming, and witty lyrics you find yourself singing for days. Gracias for the epic show guys!
This Thanksgiving experience only magnified what Thanksgiving should be about. No one spent the entire day on their feet, in the kitchen slaving away. (Can you imagine, in this humidity? No, gracias.) Instead we all contributed equally, enjoying the day from start to finish, celebrating every moment, happy to be alive.
No hurricane, landslide, earthquake or tsunami can get in our way. This holiday season has reminded me that Mother Nature is invincible, and we are not. So hug your people, laugh like a crazy person, drive through landslides, write a song about a hurricane, make peanut butter pie and make sure to eat it too. We only get to live this life one time. So do it and do it good.
Claim your own piece of secluded paradise, with this lovely property for sale outside Dominical, Costa Rica.
Ever wanted to quit your life, sell it all and move to paradise? You only get to live this life one time, so what are you waiting for?
Listed for an incredible price, this lovely 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom block-constructed home is nestled into 1 hectare (approximately 2.5 acres) of secluded jungle. Located just 10 miles outside of Dominical, this property is a steal at $169,500.
There are two inviting entrances, one from Lagunas de Buru, and the other from Hatillo. With a garage/bodega area, plus 1,000 square feet of living space, all cabinets and doors are made of cedarwood, giving the interior a warm glow. The house itself is only 4 years old, stainless steel appliances are 3 years old, including a Maytag washer and dryer. All appliances stay.
Surrouned by clear rivers and pristine waterfalls, with the constant sound of running water soothing your soul, you will feel the peace of this land as soon as you step foot onto it. With tropical fruit trees in abundance, and extensive hiking in all directions, this lush piece of property oozes the pura vida vibe that we all chase.
Only 6 miles off the Costanera, you will be a short drive away from the quaint surfing village of Dominical, which is known for some of the most consistent surfing waves in the country. Many lazy afternoons can be spent sipping a flavorful passionfruit basil margarita, or a fresh, ice-cold coconut (pipa fria), at a nearby beach bar, while watching the talented surfers rip up the waves.
Some of Costa Rica's most beautiful beaches are nearly at your doorstep. The Costa Ballena, the surrounding stretch of rich coastline in this area, is a special part of Costa Rica. It is named after the hundreds of humpback whales that migrate here every year to breed in the region's warm waters. Playa Uvita, the famous Whale's Tail beach, is a breath-taking piece of sandbar that is exposed at low-tide, forming the shape of a whale's tail.
With numerous beaches only a short drive away, you can choose a different secluded piece of sand to spend each day soaking up the sun, floating in the cleansing salt water, or swinging your worries away in a hammock.
A large part of what makes this stretch of Costa Rica so unique is the extreme biological diversity. Truly living amongst Mother Nature, humans are the minority and the abundant, exotic wildlife, right outside your door, will leave you speechless.
A bridge between North and South America, with beaches along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, Costa Rica truly is a unique piece of Earth. An eco-paradise, overflowing with wildlife, beaches and happy people, it is no wonder this country is growing so quickly, as more and more people choose this as their forever home.
Buy now, while the prices are low, and this will be a life-changing investment into your future. Please share this with anyone who may be interested in owning a piece of pura vida paradise in Costa Rica.
If you have any questions about the property, or if you'd like to arrange a viewing, please email Cheryl at: firstname.lastname@example.org
As much as I love to blog about all the colorful birds, adorable animals and deserted beaches of Costa Rica, there is also a scary side to this country. Along with the cute animals come the creepy ones, the venomous ones, the deadly ones, the poisonous ones, the not-so-cute critters that make me scream like a mad woman when one surprises me.
One of our first encounters with a deadly animal upon arrival in Costa Rica was at the Tarcoles River, which is home to 40+ gigantic crocodiles. We have come across crocs many times since then, near beaches, in rivers, hidden in mangroves, lurking in the water or lounging on the shore.
For a girl terrified of spiders, Costa Rica may not have been the best choice as a place to live. But I am proud to say I am slowly getting over my arachnophobia. We have a tarantula that lives in a hole outside our front door, her name is Harriet and she is spectacular. I have no problem with her existence...as long as she stays out of my bedroom.
Harriet is not the only spider to try to claim our home as her own. You never know who may drop by around here...
Quite a few snakes have crossed our path during our explorations of Costa Rica, including an angry 6-foot pit viper who I am still trying to forget. Here are our best snake photos.
Scorpions are amongst the creepy critters we regularly encounter in Costa Rica. They are startling to come across, although our miniature dachshund Sophie ate one whole and didn't seem affected.
One of the most toxic animals in Costa Rica are the frogs and toads. The tiny, colorful poison dart frogs are one of my favorite things to come across on a jungle hike. When you come across one, do not touch them as they secrete an extremely toxic, poison. We see them daily around our house and yard. This is why our dog has to be on a leash when going outside now, she has been poisoned by the frogs and toads of Costa Rica too many times.
That wraps up our creepy critter tour....for now...until the next creeper makes its appearance. Stay tuned.
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.