Monday, May 24, 2010

Costa Rica

We just got back yesterday from our 2 week trip to Costa Rica and it was AMAZING! We had the time of our lives traveling all over the country and doing and seeing so much. This trip was our graduation present to each other. We were deciding between this and a Caribbean cruise and I think we made the right choice (although Caribbean cruise is still on our must-do list).

While we were there we saw a lot of animals - three kinds of monkeys, hundreds of lizards, thousands of bugs, a freshwater crab, a snake, and an anteater . . . among other things

We stayed at a lot of really cool places

And everywhere we went we found a place to play either Settlers of Catan or Sequence

Day 1 - We took a red eye flight to Costa Rica which arrived at 5:30 AM. After taking a nap at our hotel, we checked out what San Jose had to offer. I found a fruit called "mamones" that i loved on my mission to Venezuela. It's tart and the consistency of an eyeball, which the girls thought was repulsive. We also ate at our first "soda"

Day 2 - We were picked up at our hotel and taken on an all day river rafting excursion on the Pacuare River. It is one of the best rivers in the world for white water rafting and we went through class 3 and 4 rapids. The whole thing was through the rainforest and it was beautiful.
Day 3 - We drove to Arenal, which is an active volcano. The drive there was amazing as we went up and through the clouds on a windy road. We went on a hike to a waterfall and then to the observatory to view the volcano. It was too cloudy to see red lava flowing, but we saw giant smoking boulders the size of cars being spit out and rolling down the sides of it. We also watched the sun set over Lake Arenal.
Day 4 - We spent the day relaxing at a resort called Baldi that has tons of pools and water slides heated thermally by the volcano. The water slides were CRAZY fast and dangerous and I just wanted to go on them again and again. The price included a buffet. As we were walking to it I said "wouldn't it be amazing if the buffet had a chocolate fountain." It totally did. We also randomly ran into a family from our ward lounging in one of the pools by us!

Day 5 - We took another pretty drive to Monteverde, a mountain town nicknamed "the rain forest in the clouds." We went horseback riding to see some spectacular views. I loved this because they let us run really fast with the horses (which you never get to do on trail rides).

Day 6 - We went zip lining in the cloud forest. It was one of the most spectacular things we've ever done (rivals skydiving in Hawaii). It was so green and lush and we went on 15 different zip lines and a Tarzan swing (see video at the end of this post for the Tarzan swing). The last zip line was a kilometer long and Tanya and I got to go together. I think this was my favorite part of the trip. That afternoon we hiked to another 3-tiered waterfall.

Day 7 - We drove to the beach! This is where we would stay for the next week. We were so excited to be in the ocean and our resort was pretty close to the beach with this amazing view from our condo. This day we saw some rays but didn't have the camera to snap a picture of them.

Day 8 - We spent the morning relaxing and then went to church about an hour away from our resort. The members were darls and it was a good experience. That night we went to a restaurant by the beach and ate Mahi Mahi which was very good. We found this gecko in our house too.

Day 9 - We went to a black sand beach where we relaxed and snorkeled. Tanya has always been kind of scared of snorkeling but we held hands and took it slow and now she's a fan, which makes me happy. The water was a lot clearer than I thought it would be in Costa Rica, although the underwater vegetation was nothing like Hawaii or the Caribbean.

Day 10 - We hiked to a secluded beach where we relaxed more, snorkeled more, and even saw some howler monkeys. We had this beach to ourselves for the most part.

Day 11 - We hiked to another secluded beach which we had completely to ourselves. It was beautiful and I think my favorite beach we went to (although the hike out about killed us).

Day 12 - We got lost while four-wheeling it on a dirt road but ended up at a cool beach that was completely made up of crushed seashells. We snorkeled some more.

Day 13 - We went to "Playa Tamarindo" which is a pretty famous surfing beach. The waves weren't huge but were good for us to practice and play around on. On the way out of town the sunset made not only the sky but the air everywhere purple. It was amazing.

Day 14 - The weather was kind of crappy, so we just lazed around the condo and pool. At night the resort threw a free dinner for RCI Timeshare guests. Tanya and I went on a date after to get ice cream. She claims this was the first time she had ever had a banana split. What the what? Either way, she loved it!

Day 15 - We spent one last morning at Playa Tamarindo surfing and soaking up the sun before driving about 6 hours to back to San Jose. On the drive back Curtis got pulled over for speeding and the cop threatened to give him a $500 ticket and have to go to court. The girls were crying so he said "I'll help you out . . . just pay me $100 cash and I'll let you go." What the corruption? We settled on $40 and gave in. What a load of crap. That night we just needed a cheap place to sleep for a few hours and ended up at this crappy hotel (below). It was slightly sketchy, in a crappy neighborhood, and the girls hated it. The power went out twice, the water was either burning hot or cold, the sheets were dirty and paper thin, and we didn't trust the front desk workers. We made it through the night and I'm sure we'll laugh about it in the future. Right Tanya?
We loved Costa Rica. We miss it already and coming home to snow on May 24th was just an extra punch in the face that we could have done without.

Here's a collection of some videos of our trip. If any of you made it this far I'm impressed and sorry this post was so long! I left so much out you wouldn't even believe.


Gentry said...

can i please be you when i grow up? or can we always be friends and travel together more? ok sounds good. so glad you had fun and you're back in one piece! lovesssss

l + j said...

i am sooo happy that you took some of my suggestions and went to arenal and monteverde and it looks like the secluded beaches you went to were in manuel antonio. am i right?

anyway, i''m glad you crazy kids had such a fabulous time. a caribbean cruise is great, too, but everyone needs to experience CR in their youth. it truly is magical!

Suzi Q said...

Seriously!? You guys are the most adventurous people I've ever known! It is so fun to hear all about your trips even if it makes me extremely jealous! :)

deanna said...

quick question:
that looks wonderful!

Grandma Cheryl said...

I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of a wonderful fun filled life of adventure. Wish I was there with you. I think you need to start a high adventure travel agency and be the awsome guides!

Erin said...

Now that's my kind of vacation! Thank you thank you for not spending the entire time on the same beach! THANK YOU for hiking, exploring, ziplining, river rafting...basically livin' it up! What a blast! I'm totally digging your camera too! I want one!

Looks like an amazing place...minus the snakes...ewe...gross & scary.

Lindsay Rasmussen said...

that sounds like a blast! i love the picture collages--so fun! :)

pennie said...

I love this!! It is so fun to hear about the fun you two have! The pics are great!