Wear green. Try not to get pinched today.
Wear green. Try not to get pinched today.
Our final day in paradise. This was our latest start day. We got ready, packed up our room and car and headed to breakfast.
See it was 8:40 and we were still at breakfast.
We wondered around our hotel one last time before it was time to head out;
and found a giant fish,
a cute pond by the pool,
beautiful flowers (how often we stop to enjoy this type of beauty in our day to day life?),
a volcano in the pool,
and us. Yes, it’s hard to take a good picture of yourselves without help.
Then we headed back to San Jose to catch our flight. And for the sadest part of our trip
goodbye little BeGo! You are missed…sort of.
This was a very busy day in La Fortunal. Really this was our one and only day there, so we had a lot to accomplish in a little time.
The beautiful view of Arenal Volcano from our hotel room, I believe, but this may have been from breakfast.
This morning we decided that it was time to zip-line! I was very excited/very nervous at the same time. I’ve very intrigued by heights yet very scared of them at the same time. Yes, yes I’m weird like that.
Here’s were we met up to start our zip-lining tour, pretty sweet, right?
We had this lovely, small group that we went with. It was great, because we were able to do things very quickly and we almost had a guide per person, which was pretty cool because people got to do this like…
As mentioned before I’m not that daring with heights, so I opted not to “superman,” but if I zip-lined again I may consider it. I’m not always very trusting of man made structures and heights (just think the W Hotel had windows falling out and that’s a fancy, expensive place, just saying).
And here’s me with a scared look on my face, HAHA! I “braked” more than I should usually. I just wanted a good arm workout, what can I say. 🙂
We did it! That was a successful adventure. It was pretty amazing to get to see the rainforest from above like that. Kind of a different perspective on God’s creation.
AHH! They let a gator into our hotel. This hotel was great for us, because we had such a short time there and EVERYTHING was at our hotel (the zip-lining, animals, butterfly gardens, gardens, hot springs, the Arenal Volcano). If we had more time we totally would have done it a little differently, but it worked out very well for us this time.
We hung out with the butterflies for a while. Yes, yes, I have no make-up on, don’t judge.
The butterflies look so plain, even moth like, until they open their wings. The inside is such a brillant blue.
“The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah”….When you left the butterfly gardens there was an ant farm. The ants would get around the building by walking across this giant stick; at one end was their food and a mote and the other was the ant farm.
After spending the morning around our hotel we headed out.
We hiked to La Fortuna Falls. It was very pretty, but not as spectacular as I had hoped for. I think I just psyched myself up from all of the hype. I should really only wait to make my own opinion and then be mesmerized.
I think I was more intrigued by the surrounding water than the falls themselves. What can I say I walk to the beat of my own drum (see I just used that cliche).
We had lunch in La Fortuna and walked around the town. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of La Fortuna itself. It was a very cute little town that revolved around a town square. It was kind of fun, because it rained a little during lunch and stopped about when we were ready to leave.
We went back to our hotel and drove up to the top of the volcano drive (as I said we only had a day, so we didn’t have time to hike up). And yes, that’s smoke at the top of it!!! Way cool!! I really wanted to hike up Arenal and get to lava, but we didn’t have time. Maybe next time.
Right between our viewing area and the volcano there was this beautiful lake. Look at the cool tiki hut down there.
There was this neat little “theater” seating that faced the volcano. I really wish it was erupting at the time so we could have hung out here some more. Then we were off to the Hanging Bridges.
Here’s me hanging out on the hanging bridges. This was not quite as impressive as I had hoped for. Once again I gotta work on my expectations. There just were not as many hanging bridges as I had thought. Most of them were like this, just bridges laid down 😦
There was a spiffy tunnel that we came to twice. The signs were not marked very well and there were two different paths, both lead back to the tunnel.
We did find this cute little waterfall while we went through the tunnel one of the times though.
Here’s my sweet honey walking across a hanging bridge. I kind of ran across them fairly quickly when they started to sway too much for me. As I said I don’t always trust man made structures.
The bridges did give you such a beautiful view of the land. I really do enjoy nature and just staring at it.
When we left here we drove around the area some more and found some pretty interesting places and an AMAZING zip-line place. Next time. We went to dinner in La Fortuna hoping for some better food than our hotel. It still wasn’t as tasty as Miguel’s cooking, but not bad. There was a FABULOUS chocolate place on the square though. We learned of this place thanks to Tom and Sarah. It was delicious! I would totally go back just for their chocolate!
Well…I thought this posted months ago and it didn’t…So here goes.
Once again we were up bright and early. There was a theme on this tip and even David went along with it (those of you who know him know this is impressive, especially on a vacation).
One last beautiful sunrise from our little piece of paradise.
Good-bye little bungalo!
Yes, yes, I am that crazy. I say goodbye to place and things and sometimes people :-O
Here’s us as we are about to pile into our “taxi” to head to the “dock” (which is really just the beach) to head back to the main lands. This is us with Tom and Sarah and our Netherlands friends.
Our beautiful bed and breakfast (yes we had to “hike” those paths to get in and out of the hotel.
The wonderful owner, Miguel, telling us all goodbye. He made the most amazing food! I wish I was as good of a cook as he is.
Here’s the view from the boat as we were heading back to Sierpe on our ocean-liner. They’re all about safety first in Costa Rica. When we got off of the boat in Sierpe an aligator turned over right next to the boat….Very reassuring. I guess that’s what you get when you live in nature. And with that we were headed off to San Jose.
In-between Sierpe and Manuel Antonio we were stopped by police. This was a little concerning to us, especially since we all have traveled between Texas and Mexico many times and are a little weary of being stopped by police in a foreign country, just a little scary. They were simply wanted to warn us of people breaking into cars. It was rather comforting that they would take the time to do this.
We stopped off in Manuel Antonio to see the beaches and have lunch. David was mesmerize.
I was thoroughly excited because we received a text message here from my brother that said “we’re pregnant!” This will forever be the place I learned I get to me an aunt!!! I think I’m more excited (at this stage in life) about getting to be an aunt than I would be if I was going to be a mom. I think being an aunt is one of the most wonderful things ever. I get to play and have virtually no real responsibility 🙂
We ate at this cool airplane restaurant. Yes, it had a real airplane in the middle of it.
At lunch there was also a sloth. Kinda cute ain’t he?
At lunch we found the source of the stench. Yes, there was this nasty stench that we kept smelling in the car and could not figure it out. Well…it was Sarah’s shoes. No, she does not have stinky feet. The water made her Chaco’s smell funky!
Then we were off on the road again. We made it into San Jose and dropped off Tom and Sarah (they were flying back home the following morning) and continued on our way to Arenal.
Our trip to Arenal was a little…scary. It was getting darker by the minute (at 5:00 at night, in the summer) and starting to rain. The roads in Costa Rica are not labeled near as well as in the United States, like if you miss a sign you miss the sign and have no idea where you are.
Here’s a lovely video (please don’t hate on it, I didn’t edit it, so I kind of repeat myself and say ummm…a lot).
Needless to say we made it safely to our hotel….
and our giant room. David booked us a room with a volcano room and a nice patio…
and a leaky airconditioner. Oh yes, an airconditioner!
Dinner at the hotel, it looked great, but did not compare to Miguel’s cooking AT ALL 😦
We walked around a little and tried to go into the hot springs, but alas our sunburns kept us from really enjoying them. We did enjoy the “cool” ones though.
On day four we went hiking out in trails. We ended up going with four other people from our hotel. They were from the Netherlands. That is something we loved about our hotel; there were so many people at our hotel from different countries. We got to hear so many different languages, which is so fun!
Here are some wonderful pictures of our hiking excursion. This is the one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the world. We hiked at Corcovado National Park. And the whole time I kept thinking about my father and his love of nature. I know he would have thoroughly enjoyed this part of our trip. I hope sometime soon he will get to go hiking in a rainforest like we did.
Here’s Tom, Sarah, me, and David. Don’t you LOVE the rubber boots?!?!
Shortly after we began our hike we came across an “air strip.” Isn’t it surreal? I love how there’s one tree all along by the water.
As we were walking up to the Ranger Station a plan flew in…
Unfortunately, a loud, out of control, American family stepped off of it…This is why Americans get a bad wrap….But I think the Netherlanders who were with us we okay with us most the time at least.
This is the most poisonous land snake in Costa Rica….Our guide decided to poke it with a stick. I was very thankful that I had tall rubber boots on at this time, because he said it can jump and rather far….
On our hike we go out of the rainforest and onto the beach.
It’s simply breathtaking. Being in Costa Rica made me just want to sit outside and read all day long. It’s just amazing!
To go along with the crazy reptile theme we also ran into an alligator sunning himself. He was across the stream, but it wasn’t a very wide stream. Especially considering the day before we had seen the most poisonous snake in Costa Rica (it was a water snake, that they don’t have an anti-venom for…).
We also saw some pigs. They came REALLY close. We had to stand completely still so we didn’t scare them. The pigs had a scout that would look out for danger and make this clicking noise for them to run away to safety.
Here’s another picture of the pigs. Aren’t they close? Our guide said he had never been this close to them before. So cool!
While we were looking at the piggies we saw some birds as well.
Monkey! We saw all four kinds of monkeys. YEA! Unfortunately I do not have clear pictures of most of them, because they were too high up in the trees… 😦 I wanted to bring one home, but again I think they frown on that.
At the end of our day our guide found a large…Tapir, I think…It’s been too long I can’t exactly remember, but it was HUGE.
As we were heading back to Drake Bay we came across another humpback whale.
We also came across a pirate ship….ARGH!
After the hike we took a picture with our guide. He was pretty awesome.
We were really good with taking group shots this day, which is unfortunate, because we were a little dirty. I think that just shows how much fun we had.
I was pretty good this day at taking some pictures of our motel.
We stayed at the cabin in the back (it was a two sided cabin, Tom and Sarah and the front and David and I had the back). We were back by the chicken coupes. Our view was FABULOUS!
Here’s part of the view of the lovely trees. The holler monkeys were right out there multiple times and woke us up 🙂
Here’s more of the view. Isn’t it amazing! It’s like Jurassic Park!! I guess that may have to do with the fact that Jurassic Park was suppose to be down there.
I really wish I would have written down our meals. Miguel made some of the best food I’ve ever had!! So tasty! At dinner we meet people from all over the world; Netherlands, France, Spain, and US. The last night we were there we met a couple that lived in Oklahoma, but were originally from Texas, small would. I loved getting to be around all kinds of different languages. I wish we had more of that in the US in public places.
Before dinner we played BS with some girls from France. It was really funny, because we were teaching them the game and they knew of it from “How to Loose a Guy in Ten Days.” Oh pop culture.
This morning we woke up around 6:00 am (yes, David got up before 8:00am on vacation). We had breakfast at the “bed and breakfast” which was FABULOUS! Miguel, the owner, made the most amazing food! He was originally from Madrid, Spain. He had the coolest motel due to the people that were there. I’ll get into that more later.
On to day three. This was our first day of true adventures. We went snorkeling!! I enjoy snorkeling, but I don’t think David had too much fun…I think it was too much work for him 🙂
We went to Cano Island to snorkel, so it was a forty-five minute boat ride out. Totally worth it.
The scenery in Costa Rica is absolutely beautiful! It’s calming to just walk outside, even to be inside. Everything there is open air with huge windows and there isn’t a bad view insight.
The water and sky are just as beautiful as the land and vegetable. They are so breathe taking they leave me awestruck.
And one of the most amazing things/once in a life time experiences we had was getting to see WHALES!!
We got to see the Humpback whales flip, flop, splash, and just chill. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had never seen a whale in real life until then.
They really do have humps and it’s so cool! That’s pretty much all we got to see of them and their tails of course as they went under.
After snapping tons of pictures of the whales (yes, there were more than ONE!!!) we jumped out to snorkel.
Here’s Tom and Sarah in the water enjoying the beauty. Don’t you just love the orange life vests??
David and I took an up-close and personal snorkeling picture. Very flattering, I must say. I love my smooshed mouth due to the mask and David’s squinty eyes.
After an hour or so of snorkeling we headed up to the beach to eat lunch and wander around.
During our break there was this wonderfully colorful canoe that I just had to take a picture of to remember.
While wandering around and signing in at the ranger station (top left in the background) we saw this rusted gas tank. I love the speedo men in the background, HAHA! So European.
There was a huge driftwood tree that I really wanted to take back with us, but I didn’t think I could fit it in my backpack…And you can’t take things off of the preserved areas like this…Oh well. Maybe I can make some driftwood at some point.
Along our treck we found some rocks jetting out…We wanted to go out to the end, but had to head back to eat lunch, YUM!
Oh, side note. The bathrooms there were sketchy!! It was a hole with a toilet seat on top of it and stalls of course. However, there was no light (just a little from the top) and you dump sawdust on top of the toilet paper into the hole instead of flushing. Seeing as you just dump sawdust on top there were MANY bugs crawling in there with you as well. Including a HUGE SPIDER!! Needless to say I was in and out of there as fast as I could be. **Shutter**
After we ate lunch we headed on another hike around the island and this time we went upward instead of down to the beach.
We followed the stairs up and found something interesting. We had originally started to follow the stairs in hunt of a waterfall, which we heard, but never saw. Instead we kept going and found a cell phone tower. Technology is even overtaking the remote islands….what kind of world are we in??? I guess there is no escaping it anywhere.
On the way up and down the stair trail I enjoyed taking some pictures of God’s gifts to us.
After our treck we headed back out for more snorkeling!
Check out how people get into the boats. Yes. That is how we got in and out of all of the boats in Drake Bay. Including arriving and leaving with our luggage…It was interesting.
As we headed out I felt that we needed a picture of the island.
Look at all those trees!! I miss them. I wish I could have taken them home with me, along with the rain.
Unfortunately, the camera died, because I forgot to charge it since we left Austin, oops…I missed getting to take pictures of the dolphins that our awesome boat driver got to follow us. It was an amazing experience! The dolphins were playing in the boat’s wake.
I was able to charge the camera when we made it back to our room and take a picture of the beautiful scape from our porch.
We were woken up to howler monkeys that were hangout in those trees this day. It was amazing! I would love a howler monkey alarm clock everyday. Being in nature is so awe inspiring. I read every afternoon on the hammock and in the rain….So peaceful. David napped instead of reading, but I think that’s what he needs when he gets up before 8:00am. 🙂
On first full day in Costa Rica we started bright and late (like 7:00 am). We ate tasty homemade bread and homemade jelly at our hotel and then set out for our adventure….Which came to a screeching halt when we had to get the car out of “jail.” Well, not really jail, but the parking lot. It was fenced in, with bared wire, and a parking attendant. Long story short, David lost the car ticket, and Sarah had to come and work her Spanish speaking magic to get the car out.
Onward. We left San Jose and headed south on the Pan-American Highway. Just outside of San Jose we stopped at an orphanage that friends had interned at in college. It was truly amazing. Being there made my heart jump for joy. Everyone there truly has a heart to serve the Lord and to help the helpless.
They take in all of the brothers and sisters instead of splitting them up, which is so wonderful. If I were to work for an orphanage it would be like this one. There are Christian families that live in the houses with the children.
There is a daycare, computer room (where they teach classes for the community), cafeteria/sanctuary, medical facilities (which are opening soon), and so much more! Truly inspiring. Now there was no airconditioning, which would not fly in Texas with our record breaking heat and drought…
Everything was built by volunteers. EVERYTHING! It’s beautiful. And such an amazing why to be able to minister to the community. I love children, which is why places like this have such a special place in my heart. God gave me a desire to work with children and I get so excited to see what amazing outpours of His love and mercy can do in places like this for children. Children are such a wonderful gift from God; innocent, curious, hopeful. The world through a child’s eye is always full of such magic. This is truly a magical place. I kind of didn’t want to leave…
Finally, a picture of our travel buddies and my awkward smile in this photo…After our hour plus excursion here we continued on our way to Sierpe.
Here’s a map that shows Sierpe to Drake (the big red dots). Despite the large dots they are very remote, small places….As in when we went to rent our car and told the people we were going to Drake they kind of stared at us for a few seconds until we explained further…
I napped in the car most of the time; I had a headache and was feeling kind of sick (possibly altitude sickness). After hours of driving, reading, and napping we finally made it to Sierpe (and the sketchy Restaurante Las Vegas).
This is where we parked the car while we were in Drake….David did not take a picture of it, but it was basically a fence with barbed wire around it….it seems to be a trend down here.
Here’s the dock that we caught the “ferry” at to head to Drake Bay. The ferry was pretty much like the boat pictured, except there were real walls and more seats….so….not like it at all, except in size and with a covering….You get the idea.
Here is Sarah and I on the boat on the way to Drake. See, covering and wall and seats facing forward…please ignore the spacey looks….David too the picture without our knowledge.
Here’s Tom showing off the scenery with his best Vana impression. This is pretty much what we saw the entire way to Drake.
Here’s a house on the side of the river, only accessible by boat.
While heading from Sierpe to Drake we went through this narrow pathway (which was cleared naturally, so cool). We did see some crocs in here….Don’t hang your arms over the side…you may turn into the one armed man.
As we were heading into the ocean and nearing Drake Bay we got to watch a storm roll in. It was pretty amazing! Storms are definitely one of my favorite things about this world. They are a true reminder to me of how wonderful and powerful God truly is.
Just as we got off the boat and into the taxi, rain, rain, RAIN! It was such sweet relief from the Texas heat and lack-o-rain we have been having and will continue to have for only God knows why.
Here’s a little picture of the rain from the taxi for those who have forgotten what rain looks like. Enjoy!
Our first day Ben came and picked us up at 5:00 am to head to the airport for our flight. We were both in a daze this morning (I couldn’t sleep and only slept for an hour and well, David needs his 9 hours of sleep). Pretty much as soon as we got through security and ate breakfast it was time to board our plane. Off to Houston. Were we had a very short lay over at gate E7.
Despite the shortness of our layover we we still fairly board/interested in learning things about our new camera.
This is what happens when David gets ahold of the camera….lots and lots of random people pictures. And generally I begin to just shake my head at him, like above as he continues to do it for what seems like hours.
And this is what I do. I try out all the camera settings on inanimate objects and see what cool effects I can get. Yes, this photo was not edited at all. It was done completely by the camera.
Off the San Jose we flew. As soon as we got into town we followed the sketchy directions to the hotel. Yes, sketchy. You’ll see the museum and keep going 300 meters, then you’ll see the compound looking building and take a left right after that, then take a left at the big red building Inataco, and then you’ll turn right at the Nicaraguan embassy and the Pizza Hut. The hotel is on the right; it’s the yellow building with a blue door.
That is exactly how you get around Costa Rica. They lack street signs compared to America. If you miss the sign on the highway that tells you what all the various intersections are you miss it and you have no idea if you took the correct high way. There are no signs on the highway that tell you you are on highway 2 headed west. It was an adventure, but we made it and had a blast.
Now back on topic here. We made it to our hotel. It was really quant.
This was our side of Casa 69. The main side was across the street. You had to exit out of the walls, cross the street, and re-enter walls on this side. It was a rather different hotel experience than we are use to and I thought it was great. Look at that amazing porch, which had chairs and benches.
I attempted to take a little nap while David explored our hotel and found Tom and Sarah. Then I woke up and David and I explored the near by areas.
The top of the main hotel sections had this great roof top patio along with the ridiculous amount of barbed wire. I guess no one will ever be able to leave…
Despite the commercial nature of San Jose, it is a big city after all, there were some very rustic aspects of it as well. I did find the color of the roofs to be very pretty. Along with the couple parks that we saw. Unfortunately we only have pictures from one of the parks.
We continued on our way down the street and found a little park with lots of art. There is art everywhere in Costa Rica. David loved this piece. It is old computer casings recycled into an archway sculpture. Yes that is a Dell mixed in there. Sorry David looks funny it was the setting on the camera. He was turned orangey-pink.
Personally I liked the beer crates turned into a stairway. As a kid I would of loved to climb across this thing. Yes, I know it’s blocked off, but I don’t think that would have stopped me in my monkey phase days.
As we continued to walk around we saw the Costa Rican round stones.
They were everywhere. Also, they are monolithic sculptures made by human hands. The stones were found in a river bed. Over 300 stones have been found, none incomplete. I was slightly fascinated by them, so I did a little research upon returning home.
We took our picture next to the round stone, but it’s beside us so you cannot see it. Unfortunately we were by ourselves and there was not anyone near us to take our photo. So photo shout out to the Nathan pose.
Shortly after our walk we met up with Tom and Sarah and headed out to dinner. We took a taxi across town and ended up at an Italian restaurant. They had fabulous gnocchi. I do wish I had chosen the pesto sauce, but it was still tasty.
My sweet husband tried to take a picture of the restaurant…That’s all I need to say.
The red taxis are the legitimate taxis. Make sure not to take the sketchy ones…One of our drives did take us through the “ghetto” of San Jose and pointed out the places where sketchiness takes place. How many times can I say sketch in this post??
The lovely blue door let us know that we were home for the evening. Along with the wall and the barbed wire to keep the sketchiness out. Sigh…That was one long day.
This past week my mom came in town to help me in my classroom, WOOHOO! She had to help me go through the millions of books she gave me from her lovely collection. Anyway, that’s a different post. After she helped me in my classroom we went to Dallas to visit my Granny (mother’s mom).
We arrived Thursday early afternoon and took Granny out to lunch, shopping, and to dinner. Oh the fun. That night we introduced her to Gilmore Girls; such a fabulous show. Granny was thoroughly enjoying the show; it was fun to listen to her laugh at it so much (I don’t think I’ve seen her laugh that much in a long time).
Anyway, on to the main event. Friday night Granny had her annual Mary Kay seminar she attends with her good friend Erma. They were too cute getting all gussied up and riding in a limo. We spend most of the day getting Granny ready (picking out clothing, trying on make-up, and fluffing hair). It was all kinds of fun. They had the same limo driver, Enrique, they had last year. Okay, I really don’t remember his name, but Enrique sounds like a fabulous limo driver, so I’ll go with it. Enrique could not have been happier to jump into the picture with those two.
While the “Cinderellas” were at the ball mi madre and I went to The Dump (it’s a furniture store) and it was way fun.
A few days filled of eating, shopping, Gilmore Girls, and balls what more could one want on a trip. Mini vacations are fun. I will miss being able to do this when school starts back, sadness.
of July! David and I hosted a wonderful party with about twenty people. Unfortunately, I failed at taking pictures of people, but I have a few pictures of items around the party. And I stole some from the lovely Kim C (yea for smart phones and picture people). I’m working on my photo taking skills. Hopefully I will get better very, very soon…
Before the party we installed an American flag.
Now, there were drinks.
Some tasty watermelon punch in a cute watermelon drink dispenser that I made (I saw this on many blogs and had to try it out. The spout did not work too well, but it was super cute!). We also had sweet tea, beer, water, and anything else people brought. In this photo you can also see the plate where the jalapeno poppers once were. Man those things are tasty and easy peasy (jalapeno halved and seeded, fill with cream cheese, wrap with bacon, throw on the grill for fast cooking or in the oven which takes a while).
Photo by Kim C.
Continuing on the same topic, food, we had burgers and sausages for the meats. This would be the center of attention at a backyard party, the grill. Surprisingly, it was pretty nice in the yard (our backyard is shaded most of the day), considering the 100+ degrees weather we’re having this summer. Now, if you were near this bad boy, it was pretty sweaty.
Photo by Kim C.
The more food the merrier, right?!? At least that’s what we believe here in Texas. You can never have too much food. Potato salad, baked beans, grilled corn, burgers, sausage, buns, lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc.
The mostly devoured food and now on to the
good sweet stuff…
Photo by Kim C.
YUMMY!! Just look at that beautiful icing job (thanks Kim!). I had a mild freakout when things started to go wrong and Kim finished the outside icing and sprinkles to help calm my nerves. Such a good friend. Drum roll please….
IT WORKED!! Without supportive friends things like this would never be possible, HAHA!! It’s my owed to our Independence, a cake. I found it on a blog, where I find most things these days. <insert David eye roll> Love ya honey!
Here’s our sweet little friend we had staying with us all weekend. She’s very adorable and tinsy (6 pounds). And just in case you were wondering, here’s what she’s looking at:
My baby girl, Addi. The not so tinsy pups.
That about sums up our 4th; food, friends, drinks and ladder ball (I don’t have a picture though). Unfortunately, we did not get to shoot off fireworks or have sparklers this year…we’re under a burn ban :-(. Plus, the fire chief’s assistant at the party, we probably shouldn’t be breaking rules around here 🙂 I hope everyone had an fabulous (fireworks filled, minus you Austin people…) Fourth in celebrate our wonderful, free country!