Pura Vida – Heading South

Meditations in Motion

I didn’t go to Body Pump last week. I also didn’t do yoga, swim laps, ride the bike, or run even one step, unless you count the 20 yards I ran to catch up to a tour group when they saw a baby sloth crossing a path in the rainforest nature preserve we were exploring. I did catch up in time to get a picture. Here it is:

Meditations in Motion

I would not have had to run. Sloths really do move as slowly as they are portrayed in the animated movie Zootopia. I did not actually take this photo, either. I handed the camera to my hubby and let him snap some pictures. As it turns out, Bill is the photographer in the family – not me.

We had plenty of opportunities to take amazing pictures on our trip to beautiful, lush Costa Rica. “Pura Vida“, from the title of this post, strictly translates to “pure life“. This catch-all phrase is used often in Costa Rica, sort of like “Aloha” in Hawaii. It can mean hello, good-bye, how are you, or everything’s cool. It symbolizes the laid back, relaxed way of life in this Central American country.

Meditations in Motion

We stayed in the town of Tamarindo, on the Pacific coast, in a fairly small but beautiful hotel. The picture above was our breakfast nook. We ate a delicious breakfast poolside most days, watching two dueling iguanas as we sipped our bold, rich Costa Rican coffee.

Tamarindo is in a region of the country called the dry forest. There are plenty of trees interspersed with fields of dry grass. The climate and landscape reminded me of the Napa Valley, but hotter. The temperature topped 90 degrees Fahrenheit each day we were there. Low humidity and constant breezes, however, made the high temperatures comfortable (at least to this summer-loving woman).

Our days were a mix of traveling about the West Virginia-sized country, learning about its people, flora, fauna, and geography, and relaxing on the beach or in town.

Meditations in Motion

One tour took us to Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park. Here, we hiked around the base of an active volcano. The volcano-related features such as fumaroles, hot springs, and bubbling mud pools were fascinating and the wildlife in the cloud forest setting was plentiful and amazing as well.

The grand finale of the hike was a soak in a natural hot spring, followed by painting each other with warm volcanic mud, guaranteed to exfoliate, soften the skin, improve circulation, and make us look at least 10 years younger.  Of course, we jumped at the chance.

Meditations in Motion

The next tour featured the opportunity to swim in a stream at the base of a waterfall. Bill and I took full advantage of the chance to paddle around in such a gorgeous setting, but if you think I am going to publish a picture of myself in a bathing suit, please think again. This is the pre-swim picture.

Meditations in Motion

We also visited a butterfly garden, ate a typical Costa Rican lunch at an open-air restaurant, and found monkeys, parrots, toucans, and sloths at a nature preserve in the rainforest on this tour.

Meditations in Motion

Our final tour was a boat ride in Palo Verde National Park. This expedition, which was all about wildlife, may have been my favorite. We saw lots of birds, including the exotic tiger heron pictured below.

Meditations in Motion

We watched a mother white-faced monkey teach her baby to dip his tail into the river, then suck the water from his fur, rather than putting his face into the muddy water to get a drink.

Meditations in Motion

This crocodile, sunning less than six feet away from the monkey family, would love to gobble up an unsuspecting monkey for lunch.

Meditations in Motion

The final day of our trip was spent on the beach in Tamarindo, sitting in the shade, sipping a tropical beverage, watching local vendors attempting to sell their wares to tourists, and gazing out over the beautiful Pacific.

Meditations in MotionWe ended the day at our favorite local restaurant, The Dragonfly, with a meal of mahi-mahi served over mixed vegetables and rice. A shared dessert of a cinnamon sugar-coated churro basket filled with caramel ice cream was the perfect way to end our trip.

I absolutely loved my first trip to Central America. This destination is perfect for anyone desiring an inexpensive tropical getaway. We always felt safe and welcome. The local people we met were invariably easy going and friendly.

While I hope to someday return to Costa Rica, I must admit I was anxious to get home and see how a run would feel after over a week of taking it easy. I am happy to report that upon my return to Pennsylvania, I did not forget how to run. My streak of pain-free runs continues. More on this in a later post.

 

I am linking up with Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well, Raisie Bay for Word of the Week, Fairytales and Fitness for Friday 5, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Crystal Twaddell for Fresh Market Friday, Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth, Counting My Blessings for Faith ‘n Friends, Morgan’s Milieu for Post, Comment, Love, and Lyli Dunbar for Faith on Fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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57 comments

    • Running really was not appealing in Costa Rica. Our choices were either the hot, sunny beach or the road with no shoulder and crazy drivers. It was easy to relax with a beverage rather than run for the week we were there! 🙂

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  1. That looks like such a fun trip! How neat to see a sloth in the wild. We saw one at a zoo once and honestly could not even tell at first that it was moving; they really are quite slow.

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  2. You’re giving me tropical wanderlust — and I live in the Napa Valley! Hoping to get to Cost Rica in the summer of 2020 (we plan travel with the speed of a sloth) . . . Thanks for sharing your adventure!

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    • Jan, I cannot recommend this destination more strongly. I loved every minute of our visit. The one thing you must keep in mind is that it IS a 3rd world country, even though tourism is a major industry. We learned a lot.

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  3. Laurie – this sounds like a fabulous trip! You didn’t forget a single detail and my compliments to Bill on the pictures. You had the perfect balance of sightseeing, sampling exotic food and drink and R&R as well. I think the volcanic mud bath and swimming at the base of the waterfall would be highlights, but, just like you, I’d enjoy the nature tours as well. The boat trip and butterfly gardens – wow! The white-faced monkeys and crocodile were great shots too. I pictured you and Bill running along the beach in this warm locale, but you got enough exercise on the tours. Thanks for sharing your experience with us and it’s nice to know you’d return there again – probably to beat the mid-Winter blues that we all endure in a four-season state.

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    • Linda, the running was really not appealing to me. Running on the beach would have been very sunny and hot. Running on the road would have meant dodging some very crazy drivers on a non-existent shoulder. It was better to just stroll and view the natural beauty! We did manage to miss the coldest temperatures of the winter while we were gone, so I am thankful for that. It seems like spring now that we are back.

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      • Oh I didn’t realize that – you did have some beautiful weather for sightseeing and viewing the beauty. It looked beautiful there. You did miss that horrible cold snap which was a blessing. I am hearing that Wisconsin is having a lot of flooding issues from their big snow melt and much warmer temps – Shelley may be in for a big surprise when she and her husband return from Jamaica.

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      • They kept getting 5 inches here, 6 inches there – it snowed almost every day while you were gone It amazed me – now there is flooding as that snow has nowhere to go. I had a wonderful walk today – very sunny, and got 6 miles done. Just putting the finishing touches on my post and have to proofread. I hope Winter will soon be in the rear-view mirror Laurie, but you and I both know, we can have snowstorms in April.

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      • Ugh! Don’t even talk about April snowstorms!!! 🙂 An April snow is extremely rare here. I am looking forward to warmer days and bright sunshine. Glad that you got a good walk in!

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  4. Costa Rica looks absolutely beautiful. What an amazing trip you had. I love the photo of the baby sloth and of you holding the butterfly. Glad to hear that running is still pain-free for you as well. #WotW

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  5. This was a wonderful, descriptive post and the balmy temperatures must have been such a welcome contrast to east coast winter.

    My son proposed to his fiancée in Costa Rica at some famous ocean refuge (name escapes me!) and I hope one day to pay a visit to that country because it offers so much that I like – beaches, forests, hiking, exotic birds, monkeys, etc. You’ve given me a whole host of reasons why to go! Thank you for sharing your vacation with us.

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    • Tracy, I did learn a little bit of Spanish using the app Duolingo, but everyone spoke English. You definitely do not need to speak Spanish to go there. I was self-conscious about my Spanish, but I tried it out anyway!

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