Living la Vida Pura in Costa Rica

April 12 – 30, 2014 (San Diego, CA; Playa Avellanas and Playa Malpais/Playa Santa Teresa, Costa Rica):

Slightly hungover (or possibly still a bit drunk) after a night out with Mark and Jules, we waited at the San Diego airport to board our 6 am flight to LAX and then onward to Liberia airport in Costa Rica.   Attempting to stay awake, I clicked on my iPad and scrolled through new emails.   Suddenly, my eyes widened and had to focus.   The hotel that I had booked for our first night in Costa Rica — which I vaguely recall reserving sometime after the fifth Guinness — had responded to my email inquiring about an airport shuttle.  They regretted to inform me that their hotel was located in the town of Belen near the San Jose airport, not the town of Belen near Liberia airport.  So, we had nowhere to stay our first night unless we wanted to drive 5 hours after arrival.   Sigh.

And, thus, I learned lesson #127 regarding drinking and the internet:  Do not drink and then book hotel rooms.

We arrived at Liberia without further ado and were astounded that all our bags (two inflatable paddleboards in duffles, as well as two surfboards) showed up.  Delta apparently was not out drinking the night before.

We spent our first week in a house about 1 km inland from Playa Avellana, which is south of Tamarindo.  It’s a quiet beach with great waves but few houses around, no shops, and one real restaurant — Lola’s, which is famous for its surfing pig and great fish & chips.   Yes, that’s right, a pig that likes to play in the surf.  Technically, I think she is a hog because she is HUGE but they called her a pig so I politely played along.


When not in the ocean, we spent most of our free time in the hammocks on the porch because it was incredibly hot.  Like 100 degrees hot.  And I melt when the mercury hits anything over 90.   Yes, yes, I’m from the Gulf Coast of Texas but living in California made me soft.

Hammock Time

From Playa Avellana, we headed south to the tip of the Pacific side of the Nicoya Peninsula. Google said the drive would take 4 hours, but Google clearly does not know everything. Part of the route is on crappy gravel roads with washboard and potholes.   It was like being back in Africa.

Costa Rica drive

After a six hour drive, we arrived in the Santa Teresa area and met the owner of the house we have rented for the next month.   The house is 50 feet from the ocean.  We couldn’t be happier.  (Okay, one of us could be just a touch happier with air conditioning but the ocean breezes and sounds are fantastic too.)    The house:  Mary’s Restaurant & Vacation Rental.


Within five minutes of walking into the house, there were horses in our front yard:


And white-faced capuchin monkeys in the back:

Peeping Tom Monkey

We were dusty and tired from the drive so jumped right into the ocean.  It was high tide and the break behind the house was surfable.  So David caught some small waves while I tried out one of our inflatable Uli paddleboards.



David riding a last wave in at sunset



We were awakened the next morning by the 6 am bird chorus and this view.



In the lizard department, we found this little guy living in our shower:

Those are six inch tiles. He’s tiny!

And this big guy in our front yard:


After a morning surf session in our little cove with the swell starting to come in, we headed to The Bakery at Playa Carmen (between Malpais and Santa Teresa) for breakfast.


The Bakery’s version of Eggs Benedict: poached eggs over hashbrowns, spinach, and mushrooms. Delish!

As I was cooking dinner the first night, this chihuahua wandered up from the beach.  She had a collar but no tags, so I nicknamed her Bella.  She has become a regular around here, stopping by on occasion every few days to say hello.  We believe she belongs to the only other house on our cove.

wpid-Photo-20140423141338.jpgThis area is a mecca for surfers but also has about a gazillion yoga studios.  I have now been to classes at six of them.  Fantastic to actually be in one spot for a while and get to explore.

Although we have never been bored since we set out on this adventure last March, we have found that we miss our friends a lot.  It is great to meet new people who are also traveling, but it gets tiring to have the same “getting to know you” conversation over and over again.   We are super excited that a few of our friends are going to visit us  over the next month.

But, before we get to a post about our first visitors, Costa Rica brings you this magical sunset. No filter.

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