Thursday, September 5, 2019

September 2018- Costa Rica





Stacy and I have been friends since our high school days at good old Chamberlain Senior High, many moons ago. We have gone on many fantastic adventures through the years and I can count on always having a blast when we are together. So. Much. Laughter. 
To celebrate her 40th birthday, and more importantly, the successful annihilation of a benign brain tumor, Stacy and I took a girls' trip to Costa Rica. Having only a few days, we concentrated our time there in the area of Monteverde so we could experience the special environment of the cloud forest and be surrounded by beautiful, lush green mountains. The people were so friendly and patient with my high school/college basic Spanish skills, the food was delicious, and the scenery was gorgeous. The roads, however, were terrible, and I highly recommend renting the nicest car you can afford. Our little 4x4 was slow, uncomfortable, and not remotely fun to drive, but we survived and it got us where we needed to go, so I suppose that's something. If I were doing it over again, I would definitely splurge on the car. 
If I had to choose one favorite activity, it would probably be the night hike we did through the cloud forest. It was so neat to experience the jungle in that way-- different sounds, different wildlife, really very cool. The guide was great and we were the only ones on that particular tour so that was a bonus. Despite our best efforts while hiking, we did not see any sloths, but we did get to release butterflies at the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens and that was a first for me!
Costa Rica is a country with such amazing scenery, both mountains and beaches, and there is so much to do there. I can't wait to go back again with the hubby and kiddos this time and explore even more. As most of you have previously seen on this blog, Stacy is a phenomenal photographer (see StacyPaulPhotography.com) and I graciously allowed her to document this trip for posterity (HA!). Therefore, the following pictures are almost entirely hers. If they look like terrible iPhone pics and/or she is in them, then they are mine. I highly recommend traveling with a professional photographer if you can, definitely the way to go. If you're going someplace cool, reach out to Stacy. Maybe you'll get lucky and she will agree to tag along. 

Leaving the San Jose airport and muddling my way down Costa Rican roads. Off we go!
Quick stop at a roadside restaurant where I grabbed a beer and looked for the river I could hear nearby.
Our fantastic Airbnb house in the trees.
Hiking through the forest with gorgeous, tall trees. 
The rainy climate gives the area such vivid green vegetation.
Keeping my eyes upward, looking for the sloths.
Sturdier than it looks, we crossed this little hidden bridge.
This bird made quite a ruckus in the brush! 
A very interesting little creepy-crawly caterpillar. 
Jungle hiking selfie!
Rounding a corner on the trail and catching sight of this vista was glorious.
This fierce warrior woman survived brain surgery and hiking with me!
I LOVE trees and Costa Rica has some truly phenomenal ones.
Catching a glimpse of Lake Arenal. 
This butterfly had transparent wings! 
A butterfly is sitting on my finger! How cool is that?!
Stacy had one too. Hers liked her better. It didn't want to leave. 
What's a vacation without a little hammock time?
I think these giant wind turbines look like structural art pieces in the countryside. Beautiful and functional. 


That's me in our less-than-stellar rental car. Good times... 

The bathroom sign made me giggle. Pictures like that need no translation.
Catching sight of a toucan on the night hike.
The tour guide uses his finger to demonstrate the size of the stick bug!
Our guide was aware of this tarantula's nest and drew her out to say hello. It was really cool!
This super tall ficus tree looks like it's about to start walking away, LOTR style. 
You can actually walk inside the tree and some people have climbed it.
What the tree looks like from the inside. It was such a unique view!
An incredible sunset to end our time in such an incredible place.
This adorable little girl waved goodbye to us as we headed off on our way back home.
¡Pura vida, Costa Rica!

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