I hope you don’t mind me taking a small break from posting a healthy recipe or fitness tip (other than the reminder of this post on how to stay fit while on vacation), but I just got back from Costa Rica and I’m dying to tell you all about it! Beau and I decided that we needed a vacation and a break from life (who doesn’t every once in a while?). We had some good friends (practically family) who also wanted to vacation so we started scheming of a place we would all want to go together. Costa Rica ended up being the chosen destination! It was a beautiful place to visit, the people were incredibly friendly, and the weather was AWESOME! I’ll take you on a tour of what we did and saw. Ready?
First of all, you should know that my handsome husband speaks Spanish fluently. When he was in grade school he elected to go through the Spanish Immersion program and he’s been speaking the language ever since he was young. Thus, going to Spanish-speaking countries is often a desirable location for us. I tell you this because without this incredible skill, I probably wouldn’t agree to do some of the things we did. There’s a sense of safety in knowing that Beau can get us around town just by knowing the language. SO . . . That being said, we thought it would be cool to enjoy some local culture. There was a festival (somewhat similar to our town celebrations we have here) going on in Libera so we decided to attend. We went to the Rodeo first. They ride bulls bareback, but then the crazy part is that they allow the locals to hang out in the arena and be chased by the bulls once the rider is bucked off. We later found out that the more people who get injured by the bulls, the greater the festival is rated. Crazy!
Here we are at the Libera Rodeo with our great friends Carl & Kelli.
Here are the brave locals being chased by a bull. You can see there are A LOT of brave souls in there!
After the rodeo, the streets were blocked off and there was a horse parade. Being horse people, we were interested in seeing this. We ate dinner up on a balcony that overlooked the parade route and started to watch. It got dark, so it was hard to get good pictures, but there were a lot of horses and the parade lasted for over an hour.
The beginning of the horse parade. There were over 1,200 horses.
Being so close to Nicaragua, we thought it might be cool to see another country while we were there. So, we took an entire day to see some incredible sights in Nicaragua. We were VERY impressed with the beauty of this country and felt very safe there (considering it has a “scary” reputation).
We visited Granada. Founded in 1524 by the Spanish conquistadors, Granada represents an elegant and historical city in Nicaragua.
Granda had pristine architecture. This is an old church building.
We then transitioned to a boat ride in Lake Nicaragua where we discovered some of the 365 small islands created by an eruption of the nearby Mombacho volcano years ago. We also saw monkeys in the trees while we were out-and-about.
This is one of those small islands and you'll notice that people buy the real estate and actually build on the island. Some people use them for vacation homes and some people actually live there year-round.
Next we went and actually saw an active volcano! There was no lava to be seen, but it was hot and smoky.
This was taken at the top of a lookout & you can see the crater as well as the smoke coming up from behind us. It also had a STRONG sulpher smell.
We also visited the city of Masaya which we all really enjoyed. We ate lunch there, met a few locals (who were SO nice), and did a little shopping.
To wrap up our trip to Nicaragua, we stopped to see the Apoyo Lagoon. This is an old crater that is now filled with warm water. As you can see, it is beautiful!
Laguna de Apoyo
Now, let’s head back to Costa Rica! There’s fun stuff to see/do there.
We visited one of the largest, most famous waterfalls in Guanacaste. We were able to swim in the water, walk behind the falls, and I honestly felt like I was on a movie or something. We happened to see some spotted owls and Jesus Christ Lizards here (they got that name because they can walk/run across the water).
We traveled into more of the rainforest to experience a zip-line. We heard that it is practically unspeakable to think about going to Costa Rica without doing a zip-line. We understand why! We hiked through the rainforest for a while (seeing butterflies in colors I’ve never seen before, lizards, monkeys, birds, and agouti). We then jumped on a zip-line comprised of 11 cable-to-cable jumps. It was BEAUTIFUL and SO much fun!
Here I go! Check out all that greenery!
Yep! That's right! I went upside down! Whooohoooo!
They had one section where there were two cables side-by-side so Beau & I could go together. The picture is a little blurry, but it's still fun (at least I think so).
After we hiked and played at the zip-line we went to Volcan Miravalles, known for its sulfur springs, fumaroles and bubbling mud pots. It sits 6,653 feet high and is the highest peak of the Guanacaste Mountains. We took a mud bath, sat in some warm springs, and even when down a water slide that used the sulfer spring water. It was a GREAT way to end the day because it was so relaxing. Oh, and I must mention that we saw Toucan Sam while we were here. Maybe it wasn’t Sam, but it definitely was a Toucan bird!
Here I come down the water slide.
Here we sit and soak in the relaxation of the warm spring water.
We ended up staying about a half mile off of the beach (Playa Hermosa). We could walk there within 5-7 minutes. There were also several beaches that were within about 5-10 minutes (driving time). We visited Coco Beach in addition to the beach right off of our villa. We stopped at fruit stands to buy local fruit (melon and pineapple are in season right now). We also tried the local cuisine which consisted mostly of rice, beans, and plantains (pretty healthy, right?).
I’ll leave you with a few images that we were able to capture while there. You can’t leave Costa Rica without seeing the monkeys or without seeing a gorgeous sunset!
Beau tried to get as close as he could to this monkey. He kept inching closer and closer and finally the monkey looked at him with big eyes, and quickly turned around and ran back up the tree. It was so cute!
We found a family of monkeys in the trees down on Play Hermosa. We found them because they are Howler Monkeys and they were howling. We heard them, looked up, and there they were. There were even baby monkeys! This one cracked me up because he was dead asleep, all sprawled out on this branch. They were SUPER fun to watch!
Here is a Sunset on the beach. Not bad, eh?
I took this picture just a minute or so after the one above. The sky went completely orange. It was muy bonito!
I’m already missing the warm weather, but I’m happy I had the chance to explore a new place and to have had the opportunity to go!
Hasta Luego, Costa Rica!