January 12, 2017

Costa Rica is NOT for the traveler of faint heart. That being said, there is something for everyone. Costa Rica is not Sandals Jamaica. It is NOT the place to kick back on the white sands with a drink in hand, looking out onto clear waters. If you're on the Pacific Ocean side, it is in fact a place to relax on the gray sand while looking out on the tumultuous gray waters. This rare beach day will be sandwiched between your adventurous days in the mountains doing adventurous activities. You also may have an Imperial (the official beer of Costa Rica).

Honestly, that sounds like a great day to me, and I know it is for a fact because I lived it for five days. I went on a waterfall tour during my time in Costa Rica with a lovely lady from New Orleans and she said that when she was researching vacation destinations, she saw that Costa Rica was the place to get down and dirty - and all out adventurous. She couldn't have been more right.

I was relieved to be out of the chill of the Northeast and to be wearing sporty tanks, shorts, and either trails shoes or Tevas every day. It really inspired me to kick start my health in the New Year, since our trip was from December 26 - 31. I got out of my rut. Their "Pura Vida" way of life is an invitation to explore the unknown and challenge yourself. No wonder everyone there is so happy, they dedicate their lives to breaking the ordinary.

The Food
Really, this is what you're all wondering about. If you like fresh food and basic ingredients - plantains, rice, beans, meat, eggs, and tortillas - then you're in luck. With the overcomplicated and contaminated food in the US and all the fake promises of "health" foods, it was relieving to eat this simple food. We also tried some of the more adventurous food - chicharron pork skin and meat and yucca fries with hot sauce. Paired with their local alcohol "Guara" and lime juice, this was honestly the best meal of the trip - and in a WHILE. This meal was made in a little restaurant surrounded by farms (the supply chain). It was made by an old Costa Rican woman out back - how more authentic can you get?

The Adventure
The defining thing about Costa Rica - and South America and Central America in general - are their huge mountain roads. The drives up and down the mountains to the zip lining and the waterfall tour were the scariest rides of my life. It was scary driving up to Monteverde - quite literally a city on a hill - because I was concerned about driving in the darkness on the way down. However that did not take away from the thrilling zip lining experience! There were about 20 different stops on the tour over the cloud forest. The last stop was "superman style", so I just flew face down, belly facing the abyss of trees.

I was so proud of my parents during the waterfall tour. We had to hike down a steep hill to the first waterfall, then walk through the river, on the side of rocks, avoid slippery slopes, and even hike to all ten waterfalls. At the last waterfall, my nearly 60-year-old father jumped ten feet off of a cliff into a pool. We ascended the final hike to the top of the mountain and my parents were beaming at the top with pride.

See my adventure on YouTube:

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