I feel absolutely horrible being away from the blog for so long—especially because I just started blogging, and I really want to keep myself in the habit of doing so. But really the truth is I couldn’t post anything because I was in Costa Rica!
Costa Rica…so incredibly beautiful (“de lo más bonito” my mother kept saying to all our taxi drivers when they asked how we liked their country). Our week traveling there was like a breath of fresh air. It was an experience I will never forget.
We first flew in to San José and spent a night, then drove to Tortuguero and stayed a couple days, and then we flew/drove to Manuel Antonio for the rest of the week. And because of the weight limit on one of our flights (25 lbs. per person) I packed lighter than I had ever packed before. Basically my suitcase consisted of clothes (mostly weightless Nike shorts and tank tops), toiletries, and two books (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson and The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini).
I decided my only electronic device would be my camera. No cell phone, no iPod, no Twitter, no Facebook. Obviously as a teenager in this day and age, I knew this would be a challenge, but I think it went pretty well. Everything seemed much more relaxing and I found myself not really caring that I couldn’t access my email and Facebook. The one thing I did find myself missing was Twitter. I would have looooved live-tweeting everything, because one of my favorite things to do when I am absolutely bored is to look at all my past tweets. Tweets, I believe, capture the moment in such a unique way. It would have been cool to document the trip through Twitter…but what could I do? I could only imagine my phone bill if I had tried using it in Costa Rica!
We had to take a connecting flight to San José…so the first day was a long traveling day (I was happy, however, to catch a last-minute sushi lunch at Miami International Airport and even find Spanish Cosmo
). During the flights I had hoped to break through the first 50 or so pages of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
(though I ended up sleeping more than reading), and while I did make some headway, I was still not hooked by the time we reached Costa Rica. (See #4 of previous post to understand my obsession with getting through this book)
When we finally landed in San José it was raining and very very humid. Right now, Costa Rica is going through it’s rainy season—it’s winter there and the off-season for tourism, which worked out fine for us. There were still lots of tourists but we never had to wait for a restaurant and we got to see frogs (one of our guides said they’re only really out during rainy season).
Here are a few pictures from the first two days of the trip. I will be posting more pictures and entries about particular experiences later. God, Costa Rica was so beautiful!
We stayed one night at Grano de Oro, a city hotel with the most amazing. food. ever. From the cheeses to the meats to the dessert, it was all incredibly decadent. It was here that I tasted my first real tres leches cake (“a traditional Costa Rican dessert”). It was perfect in every way describable—right then and there I vowed I would sample tres leches cake everywhere I went on this trip…but it seemed I would never be able to top Grano de Oro.
Surprise Bucket List!
Bucket List #3:
Find the perfect recipe for tres leches cake (and then bake the cake, obviously) .
Our hotel room was really nice, too:
A view from outside our window…
Here is a little fountain right in front of the staircase to our hotel room. I loved Grano de Oro because it was so open. I was literally weaving in and out of doors, hallways and rooms which were all open to the outdoors. Even in the restaurant, the center of it had no cover, so it was like eating dinner on a patio.
Newspaper…grabbed a copy a few days later as a souvenir.
¡Turismo! Again, a wonderful tweet: #youknowyoureatourist in Costa Rica when you’ve ridden in one of these.
Early next morning, after our amazing dinner, we were picked up by Steven, one of our many amazing tour guides. We then embarked on a three hour-long bus ride (with about a dozen or so other tourists) to Tortuguero.
One of the first things I noticed was that there were so many stray dogs. All over there were packs of dogs…I think I have a few dog pictures later…
We were picked up at 6:30 am, but luckily in the middle we all stopped for breakfast…and this marks the first time I’ve ever had arroz con frijoles for breakfast.
I am also a major sucker for platanos.
Again, our breakfast place was very open and right in the middle of nature.
We were eating right next to this:
And then we got back onto the bus for another couple hours of driving. At one point we officially left the city…and the cement streets. We stopped briefly for a bathroom break at this woman’s bake shop. She makes amazing cakes.
Here was the view from outside my bus window. The sky, the horses, the dogs (though I don’t think you can see them here…) it was all so incredible to see. A local teenage boy put on a bit of a show for us: he started trimming the hedge with a machete. No. Big. Deal.
Finally we got to our destination! But then we had to get on a boat for another hour or so of traveling. The sites were beautiful, but I got quite wet! We were headed to Mawamba Lodge…
Again Mawamba Lodge was a very open space. It, and all the other lodges/resorts in the area, is situated right in the middle of the jungle. The cabins, the pool and bar, and the administrative offices were all connected by paths. Among the animals seen included lizards, iguanas, crabs, butterflies, frogs and a boa constrictor.
More about Mawamba Lodge later!