North America · 19 Days · 57 Moments · January 2018

Ay, Bendito... Costa Rica!


25 January 2018

The day after a vacation is bittersweet. It’s nice to sleep in and wake up slowly with no reason to rush through a good cup of coffee. We know the real world and the old routine is coming. Chica watches Mia vacuum (and nearly kill her favorite rope toy) and we both have to get unpacked and do laundry. Side note: I’ve been eating rice and beans for every meal, but I still couldn’t wait to go to Chipotle. Also, can’t go without mentioning our new obsession for Latin music. (Rabiosa by Shakira... cant stop dancing!)

24 January 2018

A few hours at LAX After a few cocktails, all we have to do is make it past one more little “be-boop” machine and we’re on our last quick flight back to Phoenix. Looking forward to hugging Chica, a tall glass of ice water and sleeping in our own comfy beds! We definitely have mixed feelings about going home. It’s nice to have familiar surroundings and reliable WiFi again, but already miss the ocean and rainforest. We’ve been discussing our next trip and where it should be. India to study yoga or Cuba so we can practice our Spanish? Traveling makes us want to travel more. Traveling also gives you new perspective. Living in a new culture for a few weeks and meeting travelers from all over the world really makes you realize how confined most of your life is... we’ve talked to so many inspiring people with incredible stories and are grateful for a newfound spark to think bigger and limit ourselves less. Cheers to amazing memories and an ability to see the world with an open heart ❤️
JACO Another beach town! The beach is beautiful, restaurants are great, but not our favorite stop so far. There are some weird folks here, and the people don’t seem as nice.

22 January 2018

Don Juan Coffee and Chocolate Tour I mean... does it get any better?! We learned about the beans, how they are harvested, the process and the machines used. We tasted the fruit, both the coffee bean and the cacao fruit used to make chocolate. We learned a lot... did you know Green Coffee is a thing?! Lynn bought some at the gift shop afterwards so we could make at home. 😄
COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE TOUR Started this off with a ride in an ox cart. Sadly, they wouldn’t let us pet the oxen. I’m already obsessed with coffee, but learned a lot on the tour about how it’s grown and how it’s produced.

21 January 2018

Directional sign at an intersection on the way to our hotel. Who has time to read this?
What a wild ride! No fear - pure adrenaline running through my veins as a meandered down the waterfall rocks. These pics make us look like pros... haha, far from it! 🙈
Got the hang of this really quickly! By the time I made to the bottom, I was out of breath and my heart was pounding. I didn’t realize how tired I was since I was so busy trying not to get eaten by the waterfall.
The first waterfall was the smallest so we could learn the basics. The hardest part was finding a place to put your feet- the rocks were slippery and the water was very strong. This tiny waterfall looks innocent, but it was treacherous. ~LM
We look like we are ready for a roller derby. This forest is incredible! The water is really strong because they’ve had quite a bit of rain lately. We weren’t scared to jump, but it’s really hard to get your footing on the slippery rocks in the rushing current. I almost can’t believe they are letting us do this!
Trust the system! My last chance to decide wether or not I’m going to jump backwards off of this waterfall. I’m really hoping all of these knots are in the right place. #costarica
Killer Ficus This tree is over 200 years old. It is hollow because it grew around the outside of another tree and killed it. One pic from the outside and one from the inside.

20 January 2018

JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa Of course we found the nicest hotel in Costa Rica. Of course we knew friends that worked there that we met in Tamarindo. Of course we made ourselves right at home. 🥂 We originally were only stopping for the ATM to get cash, and we ended up spending the entire day! Our sunburn had finally subsided, so we were allowed back in the sun again. ☀️ Drinks were expensive, but we stole the cups so it was worth it.
15 minutes north, we find ourselves on another beautiful beach.
LANGOSTAS Giant grasshoppers. Bigger than my hand. They aren’t common in this area, but for some reason they are abundant this year. If you don’t scream or act scared, they will leave you alone. If you act scared, they keep flying at you. I tried not screaming and freaking out, but that was not possible. These things are huge and they have an advantage over me because they can fly.
The Grounds at Mauna Loa We woke up at 10am for breakfast (I know, tough life) and made our way to the outdoor seating area. The owner was at the reception area hand-drawing mándalas and his mother and the cook were busy in the kitchen. We had breakfast, a couple of coffees, and spent time in the hammock. The owner played Cypress Hill, Spanish edition. YOU GUYS, it was amazing!! It’s our new favorite música, we downloaded the album and have been listening as we drive. Our cabina was adorable, number 2, across from the tropical pool surrounded by foliage and greenery. I’m in love with Mauna Loa and I never want to leave.

19 January 2018

Dinner at Mauna Loa Hand-made pasta with fresh pesto from herbs in the garden. Homemade pizza dough with arugula, again from the garden. This was one of the most amazing dinners we’ve had. The quality and freshness of the ingredients was incredible! You can tell it was made with love. A friend made eyes at us while we ate. I mean... can you even with this one? 💕
We got checked in and the hostess offered us a beverage... Handmade ginger lemonade! It tasted amazing... and then a woman in the kitchen added vodka. Already in love with this place! I made a comment that the kitchen smelled like basil. The owner overheard, handed me a small stem of basil and said she was making fresh pesto for dinner. Then she took me behind the kitchen and showed me where they grow fresh basil, rosemary and arugula. Italians in Costa Rica growing their own ingredients and cooking in an open kitchen. This is real food! We ordered dinner, and while we waited, we shopped. Most things in this gift shop were handmade by the owner. (Who is also the chef, server and bartender) Jewelry, clothing, handbags, dream catchers, and wall hangings. We bought a few gifts and bracelets for ourselves to remind us of our experience here.
MAUNA LOA - PLAYA AVELLANAS A few people recommended this beach, so we drove here for the day. Everything here takes just a little longer than expected. No one is in a hurry, and the roads never lead directly where you expect. There was one road, unpaved and full of potholes, that lead us south from Tamarindo. It is much quieter and less touristy in this area. It seemed untouched for a beach town, yet the first few hotels we tried were fully booked. We asked a few men in a small store/shack on the side of the road to direct us to a hotel. They were drunk, and we weren’t communicating well, so they found a former American to help us- a curious character in tight shorts, full makeup, no bra, and hair bleached rusty blonde. She recommended a lovely property with little cabins on the beach. It was also full. We stopped at the next place we saw. It was very unassuming from the road, but for us, it was perfect. Trust the universe and you will end up exactly were you are supposed to be.
Driving from Tamarindo to Playa Avellanas. Maybe we could move here and buy a pot farm? Goat farm? Neither are bad options...
Exotic local vultures and chickens on the side of the road.
Cerveza para desayuno en la playa! If we look really happy, it’s bc we are. 😂

18 January 2018

A little crab joined us for dinner.
Playa Tamarindo at Sunset Every evening, the restaurants on the beach light up with live music and fire shows. But the real star of the show is the sun setting on the horizon behind the glowing clouds.
8 different lines through the jungle. The pictures don’t do this place justice. You can’t tell how high we were, or how fast we were going.
MONKEY JUNGLE CANOPY TOUR We’ve been dying to try ziplining. There are a lot of places to do this in Costa Rica, and since we were sunburnt, we figured a day in the forest would give our skin a rest. The tour included transportation from the hotel. We left Tamarindo around 2pm, and drive about 20 minutes into Santa Rosa. We were the only people there, besides the staff. They immediately got us into our harnesses and helmets.
My uncle sent me this today as he was watching our adventures unfold and said he thought of us. This could not be more true... you get us!! Love you always, Uncle Mark! 😘
El Be! We forgot to eat dinner last night, so we woke up hungry, sunburnt, covered in bug bites, and me with part of my finger missing. Couldn’t decide what to put on first- bug bite cream, Neosporin, aloe, or spf. Somehow we are still laughing and loving every moment. We found an adorable beachfront restaurant for lunch to make our plan for the day.

17 January 2018

Old Pipes Bc the plumbing is so fragile, can’t flush the toilet paper! It’s like this in most really old cities, but I wasn’t expecting it here. Also import to note - don’t flush photos of your ex. 😂
Suck My Cocktails Aside from the best fish tacos in town (no seriously, they were amazing), they made their drinks muy fuerte! A quick roadside spot to pop into without having to wait for service. Friendly staff and surrounded by a few dessert places for travelers with a sweet tooth.
We were on the little island for a few hours. When we were ready to leave, the tide was coming in and the wind had picked up. Our guide thought it was too windy to paddle back on the SUP’s, so he tied both paddle boards to the back of his kayak. Mia road in the kayak and I rode one of the boards back. As I was climbing onto the board, a huge wave crashed into us and the two paddle boards smashed into one another, with my little finger in between them. My manicure was ruined ☹️ The guides helped me clean it when we got back to shore. They said I was very brave 🤗
SUP in Playa Tamarindo We booked a stand up paddle board tour from Playa Tamarindo to a small island made of volcanic rock completely covered in white conch shells. 🐚🐚🐚 It was windy, but we told him we’d done this before and so he was confident we could hang. 30 minutes of paddling against the wind, our shoulders were EN FUEGO, but we made it! We built a cairn at the highest point to set our good intentions for the adventure. We picked shells as gifts for family and friends back home and swam in the little pools of water that formed from breaking waves on the rock. Afterwards, we tanned in the sun for a bit to relax before heading back to the beach. Also.... Lynn almost died on the way back. 🦑 Upcoming post to explain the juicy details soon!!

16 January 2018

After horseback riding, we showered and headed back down to the beach. We sat with a few of the locals and watched the sunset. These people constantly reminded us that “life is only once so live and laugh today, because tomorrow you don’t know.” (Broken English for you only live once and you are not guaranteed tomorrow) A mariachi band played my favorite Spanish song, “Los Pollitos.” It’s actually a children’s song I learned in Spanish class in high school, but the guys in the band knew it, so they played it for us. We ended the night with an amazing dinner at the resort, and finished it off with dessert and champagne. Mia only broke one glass. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to spend my birthday this way- surrounded by happy, kind people in a beautiful country.
Mia warned me about wearing shirts with English phrases. Today I wore my “Namaste All Day” tank. A local started laughing at me because my hair was covering a bit of the “N” and it looked like “Mamaste.” En español, this has a dirtier meaning... to suck. So apparently I walked around with a shirt saying “I suck all day.” Seems appropriate. Pura Vida! ~LM
La Playa Conchal This beach is made entirely of shells. It’s beautiful. Our guide stopped and bought us fresh coconut water- a guy on the side of the road took a knife and chopped the top off of a coconut, put a straw in it, and handed it to me. I don’t know what I’ve been drinking my whole life, but coconut water I buy in a carton does not taste like this.
Horseback to El Conchal Our guide’s father picked us up in town and took us to a farm. He didn’t speak much English, but he was sweet. He taught us “rio” as we crossed a small river. We learned later that during rainy season, this becomes a GIANT river and their house can only be accessed from the north. Here we met Ricardo, who would be our guide. Ricardo’s family owns a farm with 8 horses, goats, pigs, sheep, and a giant turkey... CHOMPIPE (our new fav word!) We hopped on the horses like a bunch of pros, except we wore yoga clothes and sandals (not sure what we were thinking....) We took the horses about 4 miles from the farm to Conchal Beach, a beach made entirely of white shells. It was a magical way to celebrate Lynn’s birthday - Happy Birthday my beautiful friend!! 🎁
Horseback riding through the countryside and on the beach was a dream.
Ricardo’s farm I don’t why I enjoyed this so much. The pigs loved us! We got to feed a goat and touch a live turkey. The two goats with horns fight each other, so they tied them together.

15 January 2018

SUNSET ON PLAYA TAMARINDO I don’t watch enough sunsets. A sunset over the ocean is never a disappointment. Tonight we learned what the locals mean by “Pura Vida.” Take it slow. Fluir. To flow. Cocktails, ocean waves, fire shows and live music until it was time to sleep. Despacito!
TAMARINDO BEACH La playa! We were so excited to arrive here. We get checked in and start walking!
Tamarindo Beach. This place is heaven on earth. Everyone is so friendly and kind. They all smile from their souls... they are truly happy. Must be the pura vida!! 🤙🏼 The beach is lined with shops, hotels and restaurants. We spent the day walking the length of it. We had lunch on the beach and watched the sunset. We didn’t leave the beach until after sundown. It was horrible. ☺️

14 January 2018

Kazaan- Tipical Food. We found a restaurant sign in La Fortuna that boasted “tipical food” and decided to give it a go. Easily one of our favorite meals of the trip (so far). Lynn had chicken kebabs and I had the mahi mahi... complete with cosmos! The service was great and the owner even helped us plot out the best trek as we made our way towards Tamarindo.
La Fortuna Waterfall. 500 steps down into the Costa Rican jungle and we landed at the base of this beauty. We lingered for a while and took in the scenery. The water was muy frió so we didn’t get in, but we did see a monkey! We also happened upon a cairn garden which warmed my soul. Pura vida. ✌🏼
These moos were very interested in us!
LA TIGRA RAINFOREST LODGE We missed all of this finding our room at night. The property is gorgeous!
TYPICAL FOOD Ricen beans. Just kidding. Rice and beans. Our host tells us they serve rice and beans with everything in Costa Rica, for every meal. It’s still raining in the morning when we walked to the breakfast area. It hasn’t stopped since we got to the hotel. Breakfast and coffee on the patio listening to the rain was perfect!
TREEHOUSE LIVING It’s been a long time since I’ve been anywhere so dark I couldn’t see my own hand in front of my face. There is no place in my apartment that ever gets that way, but in a treehouse in a rainforest on the top of a mountain, it does. In the complete absence of streetlights and nightlights or any light, there was only the sound of the pouring rain. There is no better way to fall asleep. (Aside from a bug in our room, it is was unbelievably relaxing) When we drove in last night, we couldn’t see a thing. When we turned out the light to sleep, we couldn’t see a thing. But when we woke up, the views were incredible. ~LM

13 January 2018

LA TIGRA RAINFOREST LODGE Driving to the hotel after being awake for two full days was a two man job. One road- dark, winding, full of stray dogs/men unafraid of a moving car. The gps got us close, but not all the the way. There was a small, dark sign with the name of our hotel leading off the “main” road pointing to an uphill dirt road. We weren’t sure if this was the right road, or if a jungle man would come out and get us. This road was rocky, uneven and close to a cliff in more than one place. 4km later, we found the hotel. If we hadn’t seen two people walking, we may have missed it in the darkness. We walked up to the open air reception area. Apparently we missed check in. It was 9pm, but there was a note, a key, and a flashlight. “Please find your room using the flashlight and map.” But there was no map. Mia knocked on a door behind the desk and a young man answered, half asleep. He escorted us through a trail in the woods to our tree-house. In the rainforest. ~LM
We arrived in La Fortuna and it was POURING! We found a local tour guide - Jimmy with Pura Vida - who set us up with a hot springs trip to Baldi. They built an entire resort around their hot springs... que lindo! We visited five of the pools and splurged on the buffet dinner. We exchanged info with Jimmy and discussed a future house-swap with him and his wife. Vamos!!
We began our trek north towards La Fortuna. The landscape was lush and the buildings were bright. We’d make pit stops at “sodas” - little roadside bodegas that are very popular in this country. Every bridge we crossed was a one way and we had to yield for oncoming traffic. It took us 4 hours to get from San José to La Fortuna and we made many stops along the way. The locals were always interested in our journey and what we were up to.
OUR FIRST COLONES I have no idea how much money this is, but it’s less than $1
Car rental? Check. Bailamos latino in preset radio stations 1-6? Check. Our first Costa Rican coffee... check and check!
INCOMING! The photo from the plane does not do this place justice. Initial thoughts: This country is beautiful! Weather is so comfortable- sunny, warm, breezy. The mountains and plant life are amazing! Everyone we’ve met has been happy and friendly and excited to show us their culture. Coffee is great and the men keep telling us we’re beautiful. My 4 years of Spanish are slowly coming back to me... I don’t know what all the words mean, but at least I recognize all the letters this time. We took the Toyota Rush from San Jose to La Fortuna. It’s only 118km, but gps doesn’t really work here and the roads are shaped like spaghetti, so it took nearly 4 hours. Thank goodness Jorge talked us into the SUV. ~LM

12 January 2018

My actual heart rate today My resting heart rate is 62 bpm... aside from a workout and walking Chica, this is mostly me jumping up and down all day. Travel is exciting because you never know what little misadventure will turn into a life-long inside joke, what song will forever remind you of the resort where you stayed, or when 2400 Baht will land you at the Thai police shack. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll remember about this adventure, but it’ll be a good story. -LM
It’s rare to find another soul that mirrors your own so perfectly. We are soul sisters. I love traveling this planet with you... so excited for the next 2 weeks - here we go! Xoxo MP

6 January 2018

Less than a week until we take off! This journey starts with Dutch Brother’s coffee in a borrowed car in a vacant parking lot in Scottsdale... learning to drive a stick shift car on the wrong side of the road. Can’t wait till we are driving to volcanoes and beaches and cloud forest waterfalls! ~LM