Costa Rica · 12 Days · 109 Moments · August 2014

Kickin' it in Costa Rica 2014

14 August 2014

Sent this final photo of us to Randy and Donna while picking up our bags at Ft Lauderdale Airport after skipping the long line at customs. We had a great trip and can't wait for the next one!

13 August 2014

Bye bye Hotel de Silencio de Campo!
Drinks at the Hot Springs.
Our final day and last look of our little cabin room and the path leading up to it.
Looking back at Ted gliding into the tree. It reminds me of The Tree of Life.
Ted on the last short and sweet line of the day.
Livy was the only one to look back so I could get a very cool shot.
Donna and the kids getting ready for one of our last zip lines.
These vistas were unbelievably scenic and oh so high up. Gorgeous!
Getting ready for the Tarzan scream, or yodel.
See how it looks going straight down. The ants below are waiting for their "Tarzans"!
Our first willing victim going on the Tarzan Swing was Addy!
Donna glides in.
Thanks for taking this after shot Donna.
Go Addy go!
Good one of Luc ready to go!
Let's go zipping!
Here we are getting ready to zipline at Ecoglide Arenal Park. It is our second time now so everyone is happy and confident about zipping through the canopy of Arenal.

12 August 2014

Our snack fest Happy Hour of local chips and rum and Cokes!
Pool time! Los gatos and Blondeau/Christies lounging and swimming.
More pics of the luxurious Springs.
Mushroom paradise!
My favorite couple :)
Donna at the hot springs pool.
Towel animals, Tux the cat, and the beautiful grounds at Hotel del Silencio de Campo.
Shopping and walking around La Fortuna.
Central Park in La Fortuna
Blue Jean frogs!
After we arrived at The Hotel Silencio del Campo, we took it easy and had a nice dinner before Donna and I headed to reception to plan the following day. We had a hard time deciding what to do and learned that we had waited too long to book ziplining the next day, so we decided to take it easy and book a morning tour of Ecocentro Deseo. This was an educational, rainforest, wildlife type tour. We started it by meeting our guide, Paz, who told us everything there is to know about both 2-toed and 3-toed sloths. How the live, look, eat, fight, and poop to be exact. (They poop once a week and swish their tails in a circle to cover it and the smell.) Next, we headed out to the path to see the butterflies and then learn about the flowers, lizards, and blue jean frogs. We also saw a Jesus Christ lizard and everyone else saw a baby caiman, however I missed it!

11 August 2014

Playing with my Snapseed app. I obviously doctored these to make it more dramatic. The clash between the agricultural emphasis of this region and modern automobile is apparent in the following photo.
Volcano sighting with sis.
Our first nice view of Arenal.
The next day, we left for La Fortuna & Arenal. Our driver stopped for several things, lunch, this vista over looking the lake, and Addy unfortunately getting sick out of the car window :( We played car games and had Addy go up front to ward off the feeling, but it didn't work long enough because if the long, windy drive up the mountain. So we stopped to see the cows and to get anti-nausea medication but it was a bit late for that.

10 August 2014

Finished rafting and we were all very satisfied with our long day. Our guide Jaime, with Rico Tours, was a good guy and told us anything we wanted to know about Costa Rica. We also stopped at a local coffee tour on the way back. We learned that the kids all likes coffee with lots of cream and sugar. Yikes!
The River views were gorgeous! We didn't expect it to have the rapids in some areas. They definitely moved rocks to narrow the River in some areas to make it more exciting. Merrick fell off of his raft right behind me. One of the Canadian guys we we had met was good enough to flip Merrick's tube back over and pull him back up on the tube. Merrick seemed non-plussed about the whole thing. Addy ended up way in front so I had to ask a couple of Ticos on the side of the River as we passed if they has seen her. They said yes they saw her go by a few minutes before much to my relief.
Tubing was relaxing but also a little crazy at some points.
Next we geared up for the River rafting portion of the day. Swimsuits, helmets, sunscreen and tubes were the uniform for the river. We hydrated and got our instructions before heading down the steep, rocky path to the River. Here we go!
After changing into pants and reapplying sunscreen, we walked over to the stables to get on a horse and ride for about 45 minutes. The girls were super excited to ride for their first time on a big horse. Addy learned right away that her horse was named Centario and called him that all along. We heard "whoa, Centario" quite a bit. We rode along with the same people we had driven in with and ziplined with. All of us were not great at riding the horses and it was a little bit of a comedy act listening to everyone trying to control their horse. The trail through the trees was very rocky and narrowed and widened at different points. Most of the time our horses vied for the lead throughout the entire trail. At the end, I learned my horse was called Dinamita, Donna's was Pashito, and Olivia's was Cabolina. The kids really seem to enjoy the ride!
We finished with a brief zipline and then we climbed up a few ladders and walked over a short hanging bridge to head back and change our gear for the next part of our adventure!
More climbing and platforms in the canyon.
The guide had a rubber spider on his helmet to lighten things up. Ted swooshes across the canyon.
The climbing section of the trek. The difficult part was racing to beat the guy who was pulling us up with the ropes if you weren't fast enough. It got my heart racing and my hands shaking by the end. The challenge of it was one of the best parts of the whole day in my mind.
Veering across the canyon after the rappelling. Merrick managed a couple of good high fives going across and Donna waves.
Terry upside down. Yeeeee hawwww!
Luc upside down on Line 7! All of us did the first line 3 upside-down lines except Donna and Luc who did Line 7. It was dizzying and a one of a kind experience!
Livy upside downin' it!
Randy ziplining!
Merrick too!
Donna goes!
Olivia's first zip!
First line, here goes Ted!
The family is ready to go!
A day of adventure at Volcàn Rincon de la Viejas Park. We got on the bus with our guide from Rico Tours, Jaime Garcia, and headed to the park. We were doing the zip line, horseback, and tubing tour. I was feeling a bit nervous, but the kids were very excited to do it all. I think I was more nervous for them, thinking especially that Addy and Merrick were going to have a tough time with the ziplining part. We arrived an hour and a half later and were immediately given instructions on what to wear and where to leave our gear so we could get ready for ziplining. Here we are getting ready and harnessed up for the zip line tour. Woo hoo!

9 August 2014

The nice thing about driving from region to region was that we were able to see many interesting things along the way. Here we saw a herd of goats, but we also saw a man with his oxen and cart, and many caballos riding along. Also, we bought some pottery from this artist and a few others as well.
Our tour on Saturday was fantastic. We met our guide, Jaime, and loaded up the van to go on a River boat tour to see Costa Rican animal life. On the way to the River we stopped first to see Howler monkeys. They were directly above us and we even saw a momma and her babies on her back. Jaime was very educated and told us about everything Costa Rican. Once we arrived at the boats we headed out a short distance and immediately were able to see the white faced capuchin monkeys climbing all over our boat to look for food. Again, we saw so much wildlife including green and blue heron, yellow bellied kisseme, and a Jesus Christ lizard. We were in heaven!

8 August 2014

Dinner at the Italian restaurant in the resort was delicious. We all had different types if pastas with a chosen sauce and small entree. Sea bass, salmon and steaks were all delicious. The ice cream and cannoli were our favorite desserts of the trip too.
The bike tour with Kevin, our tour guide, was a bit brief, but we still learned a little bit about the nearby beaches and hotels.
Next up, some snorkeling right off of the beach.
After lunch an hour of kayaking around the bay.
It's nice to finally have Ted with us!
The kids enjoy sandcastle building with the Kid's Club group.
Morning views of the beach near the spa.

7 August 2014

We went straight to dinner because it was too late to shower and change. I felt so grimy! Oh well, a nice dinner and then off to the room to go to bed. Too bad our toilet clogged up and we had to get that fixed before bed. Remember girls, don't use too much TP and flush in CR. The Hilton's pipes were pretty good but still can't handle too much TP. I wish I had a photo of the maintenance guys zipping around on their green mopeds with plungers tied to the back of them. The girls watched Disney Channel in Spanish while we waited for maintenance and house keeping. I hope they learned some español at least! Peace.
7:30am wake up call so we can have breakfast and make sure to book the bike tour for tomorrow before it fills up. Yummy papaya is my fav. Then we went to look for sea life in the tide pools but the tide was a bit high for it. That's okay, pool time instead!
The kids enjoying the tide pools before dinner.
Later sun set almost fully down.
Weird sea worms and barnacles in tonight's tide pools.
First round of the sun set tonight.
Julio, the shuttle driver, brings us fresh coconuts to drink the coco water.
Cards and dice in the room while we wait for Randy to come back with Ted from Liberia Airport. He arrives safe and sound and we go to see the tide pools and dinner together. It's nice to have him here finally!
Luc and Livy decide to take Imer's water aerobic class in the pool. They stuck it out to the end!
Sisters enjoying time together on the shore or in the pool.
Blue water.
High tide, but still climbing the rocky shore looking for anemones, crabs, sea cucumbers...
All wearing the necklaces we bought in Sàmara. Luc's sea turtle, Livy's toucan, Addy's butterfly, and Merrick's eye.

6 August 2014

We finished the day with a short game of Liar's Dice with the Blondeau's before heading to bed. Ted will be here tomorrow afternoon!
Costa Rican dinner music. The kids even got in on the action!
Beautiful view of the sunset right before dinner. Could there be any more orange in that sky?
There's nothing like the thrill of a towel animal on your bed. Later, I was in big trouble for accidentally mangling it when I tried to move it. Oh brother!
The girls had their filling and decoration down. I think they will be whipping up batches of empanadas for us in the kitchen in no time. Riiiight!
Various classes are offered at the Hilton. We all wanted to go to the cooking class to make empanadas and coffee. Here's Luc preparing his empanada, using "technology" to smash the masa down with a plate.
Next was a rousing game of Bocce ball. The victors were Luc and Livy. We met some very nice couples while playing.
The kids played "pool games" with the staff. They loved volleyball the best :)
Next stop of the day: the pool.
Our patio is a great place for a cuppa morning tea. If only they had tea here...oh well, at least it is nice and cool(ish). Good morning!
Dinner at the "Italian" buffet was interesting to say the least. We were all exhausted and hit the hay early. I promptly fell asleep, but am awake writing this journal at 3am. Jet lag?

5 August 2014

Having some quality R&R this afternoon. The beach is a nice expand consisting of fine, black sand. Having mojitos while the kids dig like little crabs or dig up little crabs, whichever way you think of it works.
Back to the beach.
Our bungalows adjacent to one another.
Scenic view from the trolley.
Riding over to our bungalow rooms.
Lobby view and sculpture.
Arrived at the Hilton Papagayo!
We spent the final morning at The Hideaway having breakfast, catching up on all things Internet via the hotel Wifi, swimming, and packing before our driver, Mino, picked us up for Papagayo.
Lunch at the Soda El Central. Pollo con arroz, carne con arroz y queso, agua, horchata. Yum! The cooking ladies erupted in to a whirlwind of activity once we arrived and then our first of the good Costa Rican food was devoured.
After a long wait for our dinners, with kids falling asleep at the table, Merrick declares the food "worth the wait". Cousins at the end of dinner at Casa Esmeralda. We loved giving big hugs to our Tucson, now Costa Rican cousin Bill.
Hasta luego Bill! Until the next time! ❤️

4 August 2014

More swimming pool games!
After lunch, we stopped in Sàmara to shop and ended up buying the kids each a Sàmara necklace. We took some great photos of the beach dogs, horses, and this boat during the 30 minute walk back to the hotel. The kids collected more shells and coral and examined sea snails, sea worms, and hermit crabs along the way.
Bill's friend Frank picked us up at our hotel after our boat tour and we had lunch at Hay Lo Que on the beach. We loved the nearby nautical themed sand sculptures and the ring game for kid entertainment, while we enjoyed our delicious tacos and cold beer.
Addy and all the kids found some really great shells on Sàmara Beach.
We saw lots and lots of dolphins! We all swam in the ocean and even felt a little sick from the swells. It was great to catch up on life with Bill who has been living Pura Vida for a year already and working at a language school nearby.
Cousin Bill met us for breakfast Típicos at the hotel and then the short walk to Sàmara beach to meet our dolphin watch tour. The boat pulled up and pick us and another family from Napa to go on the tour. The boat was small but we all fit, plus a German brother and sister as well.

3 August 2014

Arrived at The Hideaway Hotel and the first thing the kids wanted to do was swim in the quaint pool (of course.) we had dinner at the hotel. Fresh fish for the adults, steak for the girls, pasta for the boys, and homemade ice cream and brownies for everyone!
A quick stop on the side of the road to see howler monkeys.
Buffet style lunch at El Jardín Comídas Típicas. We laughed at the fact that what we thought were pancakes were actually a thicker corn tortilla that the kids didn't like. The beans and rice were great however, and Merrick kept saying they were "awesome"! He's quite the expert at beans and rice now.
Starting to write on my journal on day 3. On Sunday, August 3rd we left Fort Lauderdale Airport via Spirit Airlines to San Josè in Costa Rica. The driver from Anywhere Costa Rica picked us up from San Josè airport at 11:30am and took us to the nearby Marriott Cortyard where the Blondeaus had been since their flight had arrived at 6:30am. Then the driver Marco drove us to Sàmara with several stops for lunch, howler monkey sightings, and a small zoo with Macaws, deer and toucans. It started pouring down buckets as we were leaving Èl Jardín. Randy was hamming it up as we left the restaurant.