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