Sunday, March 29, 2015

"Wander Lust" Costa Rica

Ash and I got married in a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we served barbecue for dinner and drank craft beer with friends and family around a fire ring to celebrate our new life together. The majority of our adventures have followed a similarly rustic path with beach camping & back packing being our primary escapes. For us, renting a cabin was a luxury.  So the idea of a vacation in Costa Rica was far removed from our normal way of thinking. 

Costa Rica was in many ways the honeymoon we never took. So 7 years later we committed to make it happen. I want to avoid boring you with the endless details of planning  the trip, but I will say this.

If you talk too much about it, you will never do it.

The money will always work itself out in the end.

You can't cover every variable, so commit to it, and just go...

The ride into Tamarindo
Tamarindo is one of the more "tourist" oriented areas of Costa Rica but early on in the planning Ash found a "boutique" hotel that we became enamored with.  
Hotel Capit'an Suizo  is located toward the southern end of Tamarindo just outside the outskirts of the town. We flew into Liberia and took a short (50 minute) taxi into town from the airport.

Hotel Entrance

Standard room

The Pool (looking towards the ocean)
just outside the pool area (looking north towards town)
We went into this trip with the thought process of unplugging, with no itinerary, no trips planned, and no tours. When we were hungry we walked into town, when we were thirsty we strolled down the beach to the numerous watering holes between the hotel & village. 

The locals (most of which did not actually live in Tamarindo) were incredibly warm and accommodating. What struck me the most about the ones we had the pleasure to talk with was their intrinsic love for their environment. The hotel was centered around the environment and was set up to immerse the traveler in natural beauty.  As one of the staff put it, "The wind & waves are our music, you just have to listen"...

Howler monkey in the canopy on the hotel grounds

As far as food goes, Costa Rica is not known for it's "foodie culture", or craft beer scene. That being said, we had some fantastic fish tacos with Nogui's having the best offerings (and view) and we were able to find craft beer at the Volcano Brewing Company     

The view from Nogui's overlooking Tamarindo Bay
Encounters are a big part of the travel experience, and there were three in particular that struck me during the trip. Costa Rica has a robust surf culture and we happened to be in Tamarindo for the 50th anniversary of 'The Endless Summer" which is arguably the greatest surf film of all time. Bruce Brown even narrated an event at the Langosta Beach Club 
Endless Summer celebration at Langosta Beach Club

The World Cup was also going on during our stay and it was quite the experience watching the locals (who are ravenous soccer fans) celebrate the Cup. 

One night Ash and I struck up a conversation with a fit younger couple that were staying at the hotel. The guy, a robust soft spoken fella, talked about living in Coronado and "visiting" VA. Beach. It wasn't long thereafter that I was buying him rounds at the bar. Good luck in your endeavors Jake, you like you're brothers are an exceptional few and I was glad to have met you. 

While Costa Rica in itself would certainly be on the "bucket list" another life event became possible in almost an accidental way. As the summer progressed we committed to going back to our old haunt Portsmouth Island, and within two weeks time I had "surfed" both coasts. (but that's another post entirely). 

Surfing the Pacific Ocean

Ash relaxing
Sunset on the Pacific Coast
Obviously it is impossible to capture all of the moments in a blog post, and there were countless events that touched both of us during our visit. As a side note we left our son at home with the grandparents, (think honeymoon) but it would have been perfectly reasonable to bring him along as we saw numerous families with children during our stay. 

While life goes on, wanderlust doesn't go away, and adventure will most certainly continue if you cultivate it. One of the biggest decisions we made during our trip wasn't about traveling at all... 

In a few months our family will grow again with the addition of a baby girl, and the adventure will begin....again.

But that's another post entirely...