Over the winter break, we traveled to Costa Rica. In addition to time at the beach, I got to meet my oldest uncle—who married a Costa Rican woman and moved to Central America in the late 50s—and many cousins and extended family for the first time.
What a beautiful country! Lush, fog-capped mountains, gorgeous beaches, and lots of jungle. Paradise.
San Jose had incredible temps in the mid-to-high 70s (Fahrenheit, obvs) during the day, with cool breezes and plenty of sunshine. On Christmas, I wore a light sweater to sit outside on the restaurant patio. The weather reminded me of the California coast. Surrounded by tall, green mountains, this centrally located city is breathtaking, but sits several hours from the ocean.
After a quick visit with my new-to-me family—including tour of their small coffee plantation—we spent almost a week on the Pacific coast in Playa Jacó. My weather app said it would be 85° F every day, but apparently that really means:
Jacó was a two-showers-a-day kind of place. The minute we left the condo, we were covered in beads of sweat from head to toe.
To cope, we usually spent the middle of the day inside—can you say siesta?—or in the water. The ocean temperature was probably in the low 80s. Absolutely perfect. We tried to either hike or run early in the morning, and catch the sunset every evening.
We didn't see quite as much wildlife as I had hoped, but still had several encounters with monkeys, saw a colorful parrot in flight, glimpsed a sloth hiding high in a tree, and watched crocodiles sunbathe beneath a bridge. The beach was chock full of tiny crabs, and we also saw cutter ants, a couple of iguanas, several green-and-black frogs, and lots of little lizards.
Here are a couple of super short monkey videos.
Some of the things I noticed:
- Stray dogs are everywhere, in the city and at the beach, but they pretty much leave everyone alone. However, the dogs force homes and businesses to keep their trash in containers several feet off the ground so the dogs don't get into it.
- Costa Rica is very environmentally conscious. I loved that they had both regular and composting trash bins, and recycling was common as well.
- Eggs aren't refrigerated in the grocery stores. I guess this is okay. It must be working for them. I don't eat eggs, so it didn't bother me. 😉
If you get a chance, definitely visit Costa Rica for a taste of La Pura Vida! (Translation: The Pure Life, but also a greeting, a general expression that life is good or life could be worse.)