our house is a very, very, very fine house…
Our little beach cabin has been perfect for us. It can’t be more than 400 square feet in size, the roar of the waves is the constant background vocal of our daily lives. The cabin is surrounded by lush vegetation and foliage, including two low-hanging coconut trees. We used to drive over an hour to find low-hangers and now we have two in our yard, with a seeming endless amount of fresh coconuts, for our coconut drinking pleasure. We are loco for cocos.
Right outside our front door there is also a star fruit bush and a papaya tree, which we can and do help ourselves to. We love to sit on our quaint, wooden porch, especially first thing in the morning as the jungle is waking up, and watch the birds, butterflies and lizards. A steaming mug of french-pressed coffee cradled in my palms, our bird book open in my lap, crossing off new bird species…this has become my new favorite morning routine.
Our neighbors: Damion, Chris and Caitlin, live just next-door, through the foliage. Their cabin has an enormous wrap-around porch, on which we’ve spent many evenings chillin’, laughing, listening to old-school music and telling stories until midnight.
Friends. For. Life.
Banana Azul, the resort just down the street that we have access to, is a little piece of beach/jungle paradise. We walk in and admire the man-made pond and river system that flow throughout, filled with massive koi and a friendly family of turtles. A serene pond covered in lily pads and water plants hides frogs, lizards and more turtles. Each time we stop for a visit we meet a new animal friend. Animals are beautiful people.
Beyond Banana Azul there is a nice beach road, perfect for a beach walk. After almost 2 miles we notice a sleepy sloth posted up for a nap in a tree. This is the closest we’ve been to a sloth and they truly are majestic, peaceful, hakuna matata creatures.
cuckoo for cacao…
After meeting Christina, owner of Talamanca Organica Cacao & Fine Chocolate, at the farmer’s market we arranged to take a chocolate tour of their cacao farm, located just on the outskirts of Puerto Viejo. Christina came to Puerto Viejo, years ago, on vacation and never left. That is a familiar story around these parts: people seem to show up and never leave. Christina bought a piece of property here that she fell in love with, on which she built a house and a successful cacao farm. Her husband Dan toured us around their property, pointing out all kinds of trees, plants and birds.
We sampled a freshly picked cacao pod and munched on luxurious pieces of pure, dark chocolate. Having only two ingredients, 100% organic cacao grown on their farm and a small amount of organic sugar, the chocolate is simple, decadent and melts in your mouth. We end the tour with a chocolate body scrub, which we use to exfoliate our bodies and faces. Leaving reeking of fresh chocolate, with glowing skin, we make plans to buy chocolate body scrub from Christina at the next farmer’s market on Saturday.
Saturday rolled in, and luckily we remembered what day of the week it was. At the farmer’s market we stocked up on a few more of Christina’s chocolate bars and a package of the chocolate body scrub (of course along with an armload of fresh fruit, veggies and as many coconut biscuits as we could carry). The next day I was teaching Andy how to make soap, and as we were melting the soap base we had the genius idea of adding some of the chocolate body scrub into the melted soap. The resulting stack of peppermint chocolate soap filled our house with mouth-watering smells. This is officially my new favorite soap scent. (I may have to add a warning label to not shower while hungry.)
do mosquitoes have souls?
On the Caribbean side the animal species are abundant. Almost every day is peppered with an unforgettable animal experience. We’ve had so many up-close sloth encounters, unforgettable capucin monkey meetings/attacks (our neighbor Caitlin learned not to eat a granola bar in front of a white-faced monkey unless you want to be forced to share), and we have finally checked spider monkeys off our list (of the four species of monkeys in Costa Rica these were the only ones we hadn’t seen yet).
The only wildlife I don’t care for here are the bugs. Even the name, bug, gives you permission to dislike them. Bugs bug me. I’ve had a love affair with animals since the day I entered this world. I greet every dog, cat, monkey, bird, lizard that I see. I prefer animals to people. When I look in their eyes I see their souls. I never like to see anything killed, I feel the suffering of an animal inside my heart.
But the bugs…I have a hard time with the bugs. Mosquitoes are the only thing I kill. It is so satisfying watching them light up like a firework as I electrocute them with our bug zapping racquet. The smell of fried mosquitoes lingers in the air around our cabin like cigar smoke. The ravenous, disease-breeding little blood mongers. Mini vampires, sucking the life out of us, gorging themselves on our blood, our lifeline, never getting their fill. What is your purpose?
Osa Mountain Village…
We finally found a place for the month of March. The Osa Peninsula is a rugged, deserted part of Costa Rica with not many roads, or people. Andy’s been anxious to explore this section of the country for months and we lucked out by finding a 1 BR condo up in the hills, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, snuggled right above the entrance to the Osa Peninsula.
Osa Mountain Village is the name of the place we’ll be staying, a small organic farming community/resort. Fresh organic fruit and vegetables, as well as farm-fresh eggs, and roasting chickens will be available to us weekly.
The place is somewhat remote, located up a steep, winding, typical Costa Rican mountain road, 4-wheel-drive is recommended. The owner promised our deposit back if our car can’t make it up the road. Yikes. Andy is excited to try, and the owner said we should be okay, just do NOT slow down and make sure to gun it the whole way. Our forerunner has seen some gnarly roads in our time here, and with Andy’s talented and aggressive driving skills we’ve always managed to survive. But maybe I’ll wait safely at the bottom of the mountain on the first attempt…
The village is a short drive from Playa Uvita, located within the Marino Ballena National Park, and is famous for its “whale tail” of a beach. Playa Uvita is a 2-mile stretch of pure white sand, with crystal clear water and moderate waves. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve seen, and we’ve only been to it once. It is the home to our first experience drinking fresh coconut water out of a coconut. We will be wasting many future days at Playa Uvita.
This is an aerial view of the whale’s tail at Playa Uvita (I obviously did not take this photo):
Living a month in each place is bittersweet. Just as a place starts to feel like home we are bidding it farewell and moving onto the next. Rolling with the gypsy lifestyle, fulfilling our soul’s desire for wanderlust, chasing dreams that are hard to catch. Having no plans and seeing where each day takes us. Just riding the waves of life...
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.