Day 1: 11/11/2019
Dylan and I had a flight this morning from Atlanta, Georgia to San Jose, Costa Rica. We woke up at 5:30 am and arrived at the airport a little after 8 am for our flight that was departing at 10:07 am. We were very nervous to be going out of the country together alone, but the whole process was surprisingly easy! We flew Delta and had everything on our phones that we needed besides our passport. Thank you TECHNOLOGY! Before taking off, I checked my Apple Watch and my heart rate was sky high. I was super nervous to leave the country with my newly husband. I didn’t think we could do it! LOL. The flight itself was very comfortable. We chose to fly Delta Comfort and loved it. We had a complimentary lunch on the plane with mimosas while I watched the new Lion King and Dylan watched ESPN. It was a 4 hour flight, so towards the end I kept tracking the flight to see how much longer. Before I knew it, the pilot came over the announcements and told us to put our seatbelts on. The landing was pretty scary. We kept flying through massive clouds and you could feel the plane dropping, but you couldn’t see a thing! There was also a good bit of turbulence. I definitely like taking off better than landing. Once we landed, we went through customs, got interrogated by the policia, and claimed our baggage. We came up on huge letters that read PURA VIDA in tropical patterns.
After going through the airport, we waited for the shuttle for our rental car and the chauffeur took us to get our car. We signed some paperwork and an hour later, we drove off ourselves into the city of San Jose! I was so excited to start this new travel with Dylan, but also nervous. The cars here operate with the speed limits of kph instead of mph, it isn’t confusing, but it’s just another thing to add to the list of unknown and unfamiliar! We drove straight to the Walmart in San Jose to get a few groceries for the week. This grocery store was very cool! They even have liquor. Of course we had to get champagne. Seeing everything in Spanish is very cool. I got to use my colones for the first time there at Walmart, and I thought it was going to be difficult, but it wasn’t! We left Walmart with a bunch of junk food and Costa Rica’s famous Imperial beer! After this, we went to McDonald’s in the heart of San Jose. Traffic was sooo bad, this being a Monday and around 3 pm. No one in this McDonald’s knew English, I tried my best! All that matters is that our order that the cashier punched in was correct, right? After we leave McDonald’s we’re stuck in more traffic. Costa Rican drivers are CRAZY!!! We have had to be super careful and really watch all of our surroundings. Our drive to the city we were staying in was 4 hours from the San Jose airport. We could have flown into Liberia which is an hour from the condo, but it’s much more expensive. We decided to take the scenic route. Before it got dark at 5:30 we were able to see beautiful landscapes. The mountains with assorted clouds… the greenery. Even the Pacific Ocean for our first time! We also saw a ton of poverty. This entirely broke my heart. We sure do take everything we have for granted. It was just amazing to see the culture of the people who have no worries. After all, their mantra is “Pura Vida”.
We arrived at the condo around 8:30 pm. The resort was super nice and the security guard who let us in the gate was very nice as well. We go through the gate, take our luggage out of the rental car and we walked to our condo. We scoped things out before we decided to call it a night. There was a pool right off the side of our deck and our condo was upstairs. Right off the balcony it looks like you’re in the jungle. You’re surrounded by huge trees and beautiful flowers. By the time we looked around the room and put up our luggage and groceries, we were exhausted, but super excited to explore tomorrow!
Day 2: 11/12/2019
I woke up super early today because of the howling monkeys and the loud birds. I got up at 5:30 am right as the sun had risen. I tried to go back to sleep, and did fall back asleep for a little bit. I woke back up at 7:30 and so did Dylan. We had a sunset catamaran tour today which picked us up at our condo at 1:20. We had some time to explore around the condo before our excursion. After we showered and got ready, we went down on the corner past the condo to a delicious cafe called Carpe Diem. I had the omelet and it was delicious. We both had iced coffee and we bought a bag of their authentic Costa Rican coffee as well to take home. Their coffee is soo good! After we ate breakfast we decided to walk to the beach. It was a 5 minute walk to the beach from our condo. No one was there, it was like our own private beach. It was so beautiful being surrounded by mountains and the ocean. It truly is a paradise. We walked around the beach with the sand on our feet and played in the water. I also starting filming our honeymoon today. I love making videos of our memories.
After exploring the beach, we decided to go for a walk around the town. Right down the road from our condo was a huge soccer field. Apparently these are common in every town here. They are basically in the center of every city so that the residents can meet up and play together. We kept walking and went down to a few restaurants we had read about and passed a little convenience store. Everything is so beautiful and simple here. It seemed like we had walked for a while when we decided to go back to the condo to nap and eat lunch before we were going to be picked up for the catamaran tour. We ate, snoozed and then got ready to go out on the ocean. I had gotten us matching blue PFG’s to wear, mine with my new monogram on the back. Go ahead and make fun if you will, we were cute!
We were picked up by a nice bus that had the other people that were going to be with us that evening as well. Once we had gotten to the sandbar where all of these beautiful sailboats were, we paid in cash, colones, and got on these tiny boats in groups to go out to the catamaran. I was soo excited for this excursion. The boat was super nice and huge. It had a fancy interior and I had never been on anything that nice. We were offered drinks as soon as we stepped on the boat. Now this is a vacation. Dylan and I went to the very front of the boat where the hammock was. It has been on my bucket list to be on one of these boats and so I finally checked that off as of today. We sailed off as soon as everyone climbed aboard. Not even ten minutes as we started off, dolphins came up to our boat and were playing with us. They were swimming along side and in front of us. It was such an amazing thing to witness and I did get some of it on camera.
Once we ported, we were at this shallow, but not too shallow part off a mountain where we were going to snorkel. Dylan and I had never snorkeled before but we were very excited. I forgot to charge my GoPro the night before so I only captured one shot of a pufferfish which was so cute. I loved seeing life underwater. All the schools of fish, coral and algae plants. It was all so beautiful. Dylan kept calling my name to show off his swimming skills and tried to race me back to the boat. I won. LOL. After we snorkeled, dinner was served. These tacos were amazing! It was so delicious and fresh. We ate for about an hour and talked with people on the boat. Once we were done eating, we headed off in the most beautiful sunset. I remember thinking I was so lucky to be doing what we were doing. Do you ever have those moments where you just want to pause life in the moment that you’re in because you don’t think it could get any better than this? Yeah, me too. When the sun went down, the workers aboard turned on party lights and turned the music up loud. We started a party on this boat! They kept passing drinks and shots and we were all dancing and singing. It was a great time!
I was in awe of the views we got to see today. It’s amazing what our God has created! I don’t see why anyone can not believe when you witness things like we did today. Unfortunately our day had come to an end, we boarded the small motorboats and headed back to shore. We were riding back to the condo on the bus and were sad that it was over, but we had another adventure to look forward to tomorrow. We got back to the condo and relaxed until we got tired enough to go to sleep. We had a big day coming up!
Day 3: 11/13/2019
We had to wake up at the crack of dawn today to be picked up for our next excursion. Today we hiked Rincon de la Vieja volcano. We were picked up at 7:00 am by the nicest guy named Dee. This was an expensive day, but so worth it. I packed PBJs for us to eat for breakfast. Sounds great, right? It took a while to get to the park, over an hour, and we even drove the car through a river. Apparently these are common roads here in Costa Rica. I thought we were going to drift away in the little Honda that we were in! We got to the park and got our passes, put on our heavy duty bug spray and asked Dee if he needed any. He said the bugs don’t like him too much, only the fresh white meat. LOL. His English was very well and he was born in Ecuador, but moved to Costa Rica when he was younger to go to school. He says the schools in Costa Rica have much better education than Ecuadorian schools.
Once we get to the park, there are glass terrariums with preserved deadly snakes and spiders. He was saying you will see all of these everywhere and need to be careful. I told him that I hadn’t seen any snakes yet and he laughed and said that’s because they saw you first. I didn’t think that was very funny lol. Dylan and Dee really got along and talked about sports, we asked him about his family and he has 3 children with one on the way. It was nice to spend the day with someone who was willing to talk to us and get to know us. He was asking us about America because he’s never been and we were telling him the places he needed to go. I was very sad when I found out that he wasn’t able to get a visa to come to America. He said it’s very hard for them to come. We, as Americans, have the privilege to go anywhere in the world with the exception of a few places that are misadvised. I don’t think it’s fair, and I truly hope that some day Dee will be able to travel to our country.
Once we started walking the trails, Dee started telling us about all kinds of plants, animals, insects that are native to Costa Rica. He was super knowledgeable of everything within this park. We got to see a huge butterfly, these vines that take over trees and are HUGE, which actually look like the tree itself, 2 different types of monkeys, steaming geysers, the whole park smelled like sulfur, and the best part is that this volcano was active and it had last erupted a month ago. I loved walking around these trails. This jungle was amazing! After we hiked the volcano trails, we walked this other trail to a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole. We walked across a rope bridge that swayed back and forth and was pretty scary, but awesome at the same time. We swam and the water was freezing cold. It was so hot before we got in but the water was so cold it could put you into shock. We swam and took pictures for about half an hour and then we went back across the bridge. We had one more destination before we went to eat lunch.
We went to a park where their are natural springs and you can bathe in Volcanic mud! These springs are naturally heated by the volcano! Isn’t that neat. We had a nice time here. Another thing to check off my bucket list! These springs had a rope bridge hanging about them and it did look like you were in the middle of a jungle because you are! This was so amazing. Once we got dried off from the springs, we headed out to go eat lunch. Dee took us to this beautiful open air restaurant that had a wonderful buffet with cultural dishes they eat here in Costa Rica. It was outstanding. We sat down here at this restaurant where it overlooked tree tops and the town and we had conversations about lots of things and life in general. Once we ate, we headed to the car to go back towards the condo. But wait! We saw Oxons and there was a man standing there wanting people to get on them to take pictures so he could earn tips. This man didn’t speak and English, but Dee translated. Of course, Dylan didn’t want to get on, but I made him and I think he was glad he did it. After this, we finally headed back to the condo. It took a while to get there, but we tipped Dee and told him how much we appreciate that he spent our day with us. We had such a great time and he was a big part of it. Being in an unfamiliar place, it’s very important to find the best local guides so they can show you places and give you neat information. We were exhausted when we got back to the condo. We rested and then hit the pool later. We were the only ones that were in the pool, so that was nice. Dylan and I raced from wall to wall in the pool. I’m not sure why everything turns into a competition with us lol but it’s what I’m used to from my own family. I loved getting to spend my honeymoon in Costa Rica with my best friend.
Day 4: 11/14/2019
Today we had no excursions planned, so we hit the beach and relaxed. We explored and walked around, had Carpe Diem for breakfast and lunch lol. That little cafe is so good. We had planned to go to a little restaurant down the road, you can get there by foot, so we did. We had the best seafood and watched the sunset. All of the restaurants in Costa Rica are open air, so there are always animals walking around and monkeys swinging in the trees. It has been the neatest experience so far. I drank a few margaritas tonight while Dylan had Costa Rica’s native beer, “Imperial”. He loves it. I love walking around and seeing all the greenery. We’re surrounded by a literal jungle and it is the coolest experience we have had to date. After dinner we went back to Casa del Sol and changed into our bathing suits to go to the beach. We got out to the beach and we were the only people. It was like our own private Island. I have been recording little moments of our honeymoon and tonight was when I recorded my favorite part. We just played in the ocean like little kids by letting the waves crash into us. When I think of the happiest moments in my life, this was one of them. You can watch the film I made of our honeymoon here.
Day 5: 11/15/2019
We got up super early this morning to go horseback riding in a small town outside of Tamarindo on the beach and a mountain. I love horses and was super excited about this excursion. Dylan, not so much. I was so happy riding my horse. He loved to go fast and so do I. It’s so freeing. I would even get ahead of our guide.. lol. I kept turning my head back to look at Dylan. He had the most irritable look on his face. He was not happy because I think he was scared. After riding for about an hour, I turn around again to see Dylan smiling. He had gotten the hang of it and wanted to keep riding. We saw a giant lizard on the trail we were riding on. It must have been 6 feet long. Seeing the mountains beside the ocean was surreal. It actually felt like heaven. After we left the excursion, we went back to the condo and took a nap. We got dressed and drove our rental car to a town called Tamirindo where we had lunch and shopped for souveniers. I bought a tee shirt and a magnet for our fridge. Dylan bought a few hats. I bought some cut handmade wooden decorative surfboards for my brothers, and of course we got more coffee beans. Dylan loved this town, but it was definitely a little more crowded for my liking. This was about 30 minutes from our condo, but it felt like we were much farther away being by how secluded and quaint the area around our condo is. We ate lunch at a place called “People” and of course it was delicious. This was an Italian restaurant. After eating, we headed back to the condo. We put our bathing suits on after we got back and went out to the pool at the condo. We were the only ones out there and Dylan kept telling me to count how long it took him to swim to either side of the pool. We are literal children who just flew alone together to another country we have never been. There are so many firsts on this trip and I’m so happy that I’m doing these “firsts” with my husband. Tonight is our last night here in Costa Rica. I have been reflecting on this entire trip thinking how fortunate we are to have experienced this place and only wondering where we will go next. What will be our next adventure?
Day 6: 11/16/2019
The last day. We leave for home this afternoon. We woke up super early this morning to drive across the country to the airport. I love the drive though because we could see a whole lot of the local side of the country and not just touristy areas. This time we’re driving across the country during the day and it’s beautiful. I wish my words could describe the beauty of this country but I can’t seem to type them out right. Our plan is to take the rental car back and take a bus that they have at the rental car store back to the airport. We will arrive just about an hour before, so we have time to relax before they open our gate. It’s easy to say goodbye to this country because I am homesick and ready to see my puppies again, but there’s a part of me that will stay here. It was the first country me and my husband had ever been to other than our home. The culture here is so beautiful. Pura Vida simply means pure life and that is what we experienced here. If we could all live the way Costa Rican’s do, the world would be a much better place. I can’t help but think of how entitled we are and what we have to have. I could definitely live a much simpler lifestyle, but I would have to be in a beautiful place near a beach with a ton of palm trees and exotic wildlife. I wonder how young women my age who are locals here live their lives. I think back to the children walking to school while Dylan and I were eating lunch one afternoon. I know the houses in the surrounding area and they were not much far from shacks, but the children seemed happy. Maybe we can all take a note from this.
We’ve landed home and I watched the new Lion King movie again, that was my entertainment other than watching the sunset above the clouds. Dylan was watching a Georgia Bulldawg football game. I mostly stared out my window looking at how beautiful the world was from aerial view. We landed after dark and met my mom and my aunt Taffy in the airport. We had to go through security and fill out a questionnaire because we had just flown back from a different country. When we came through the visitor area of the airport my mom was recording us and taking pictures of us waving like the corky person she is. I was so happy to be home. I had asked my mom to bring me a peach and a bag of Funyuns because I had been craving them. I have the weirdest cravings… Of course the peach was not ripe. We headed to the car and told mom and Taffy about our whole trip. Dylan and I were glad to be back in Georgia.
Linking our friend’s condo we stayed in here.