I’ve been working on this Costa Rica post in bits and pieces all week. I've decided to post it in segments because it's getting way too long and overwhelming. I apologize already - I know reading about other people's vacations is not everyone's idea of fun. I was trying to tread that fine line between writing enough about our vacation so that I can look back in a few years and be reminded of the happy memories, but not enough to bore you silly. I have definitely erred on the boring side, so please feel free to skip any or all of it.There will probably not be a quiz but I’m not promising anything. I've written it like a school report with paragraph headings - for some reason, that helped corral my disorganized thoughts.
Since it’s our 25th anniversary this year (I know - we’re still so young! Don’t do the math.), we wanted to go somewhere a little out of the ordinary. We chose Costa Rica partly because I loved the pictures that Stephen and Sheri-Lee posted after their trip last year and partly because the price of the other place we were considering (St. Lucia) suddenly sky-rocketed. I knew very little about the area in Costa Rica where we were going; I meant to do more research before we left, but I ran out of time. Jim and Sabrina came with us (our efforts to shake them off were unsuccessful) and none of us knew exactly what to expect.
Getting there took a full day – we left Winnipeg at 7:45 a.m. and arrived at our resort around 10:00 p.m. We had to take three flights and I was worried that a delay on the first or second flight would mess things up, but it all went smoothly. After a half hour cab ride along dark narrow roads, swerving around oncoming traffic and hard-to-see cyclists, we were pretty happy to arrive at our little slice of paradise
The resort and beach
The resort was beautiful. The rooms were great - a nice size with high ceilings and a large balcony. The pool area was lush and tropical and amazing. The beach was just down the path from the pool area, but we spent most of the time at the pool. The sand on the beach was crazy hot and the ocean wasn’t crystal clear like the Caribbean. But it was gorgeous - a more rugged kind of beauty. I went for a run or walk on the beach almost every morning. We were always up early because after 7:30 a.m. or so, it was too hot to run. One day we made our way across the rocks at the far end of the beach to a little deserted white sand beach where the water was clearer. Dale and I went on a little snorkelling excursion one morning; the boat took us around into another cove where the water was super clear and we saw tons of fish, including a very cool spotted eagle ray (like a manta ray). It would have been nice to have an underwater camera but I doubt I’m skilled enough to manage a camera and a snorkel at the same time. Another day, we tried snorkelling by our resort, but we only saw one angel fish. Dale bumped into a dead bloated sea gull that was bobbing around, so it wasn’t a total waste.
The first day there were a few puffy clouds in the sky, but after that we didn’t see a cloud until we flew through them on the way home. And it was hot. So hot. Every single day. Fry-an-egg-on-the-cement hot. The pool deck got so hot that it was impossible to walk on without flip flops. The sand was even hotter. The beach volleyball court was half in the shade and half in the sun, and if you didn’t get the shade side, you had to wear shoes or the bottom of your feet would be scalded. Not sure if I said this already, but it was incredibly hot. Normally the only time I wear sunscreen is the first beach day of summer, but here we reapplied #30 SPF many times each day, stayed in the shade almost all the time and we still got dark. That sun is intense. I loved every second of it.
Costa Rica is a much more developed country than some other winter touristy destinations. It has its problems, but we always felt safe and the people were friendly. Spanish is the language; most people involved in the tourist industry spoke English reasonably well, however, there were many times we still couldn’t understand everything. Luckily Sabrina also knows Spanish which was a huge help, but there were still some language barriers. We would just nod and smile and say “si” and hope it wasn’t anything important like “EVACUATE THE BUILDING!” We used a signal amongst ourselves when we had no idea what someone was saying. It caused us all to start laughing each and every time, which surely tore down any confidence the ESL speaker may have built up. Next time we’ll think up a more discreet signal than a loud, sharp, tongue-rolling BRRRT-BRRRT.
The other resort guests were friendly too and there was always someone to start a conversation with if you wanted to (I usually didn’t). We met lots of people from all over the US and Canada (not one from Manitoba though) including a lady Sabrina pretty much saved from drowning, a couple Dale counselled on dietary issues, and a bunch of people Jim beat in ping pong.