Life is funny sometimes, and I am constantly being reminded that I need to embrace the curve balls that are thrown my way. You never know when an opportunity will present itself and you have to be open minded when it comes to travel - and life in general.
Last week, a friend called me on a random Monday night to catch up, and told me about her spur of the moment trip to Costa Rica for the following week. Before I knew it, I was booking a flight and hotel to join her! Could I have put a week at home to good use? Could I have caught up on work, cleaned the house...and finally gotten around to redecorating my home office and bedroom, like I've planned to do all summer? Of course.
But those things aren't very fun!
I flew out to Costa Rica on Monday, and what a trip it turned out to be! Firstly, I always have a blast hanging out with my friend; ever since she moved away a few years ago, we try to get together at least once a year. This trip made three times I've seen her this year alone, so that in itself was awesome!
We hung out on the black sandy beach and enjoyed the gorgeous pool with a view of Snake Bay...
We went snorkeling, I got stung by a jellyfish, we ate great food and drank lots of Imperial beer (the official beer of Costa Rica)...
We went on a Riverboat Tour and saw all kinds of Costa Rican wildlife...
We did a Zipline Canopy Tour with the best tour guides you could ever ask for...
I came home completely relaxed, refreshed...and happy. Oh so happy!
I've never really thought about visiting Costa Rica before. I have heard so many wonderful things about the country from the travel blogging community, but nothing really stuck out to me in a way that made me want to see it for myself.
Now? I am in love with the country. In love with the lush green forests, the white faced Capuchin monkeys eating breakfast in the trees outside our hotel, the bats that fly overhead as you're walking to dinner...and the people?
The people of the Guanacaste area in Costa Rica are so different than Americans, it's almost impossible to explain. Imagine us, materialistic, driven, ambitious - and Costa Ricans are the exact opposite. It's a simple way of life over there, one spent preserving and enriching the landscape, a culture completely devoted to living life day by day, moment by moment, without the all-consuming materialism that we have here in the United States.
At one point, I asked our guides about taking me into town to see the city, to perhaps shop, eat in local eateries, see a museum...and they laughed. "Downtown" doesn't exist in the way I imagined. As we drove through the small city of Filadephia and Liberia, the two major cities (or what would pass as cities in the United States), I realized just how excessive we are in the states. Instead of our mega chain grocery stores and department stores, they grow most of their own food and their grocery stores sell the basics, and aren't much larger than our convenience stores. There wasn't a Walmart in sight.
Why can't we live like that? What makes Americans want more more more? What drives our Capitalistic desire to build, acquire, dominate - at any expense? In Guanacaste, the people are more concerned with preserving the forests and wildlife than they are building tourist traps. Life is simple in Costa Rica, and for the most part, people just live their lives day by day, spending time with family, eating good food, working their jobs and spending time outdoors. Everyone was so friendly, so kind, so genuine!
The tours we took were a complete change from the usual excursions I take on vacations in other countries. No one pushes to sell you things, no one reminds you a million times that you can tip them at the end - they are excited to show you a good time, show you how they live their lives and make you fall in love with their country...and we did!
When you visit Costa Rica, you take it as it is, and if that's not enough for you...well, it says more about you (and me) than it does about them.
It sounds like you had a great time and gained the much needed break that you deserve. I'm glad you were able to catch up with your friend, time with friends is very valuable.
Costa Rica sounds like my kind of town. Where I lived growing up, people were very friendly. I could ride my horse for 18 miles every Saturday and enjoy interacting with all of the surrounding neighbors, have long spurts of dirt roads with nothing but fields and woods around me, and no one was in a hurry. I LOVE that town and the people who live in it.
Where I live now in the same state less than an hour away, it's totally different. I couldn't tell you my next door neighbors name. I try to be friendly, but nine times out of ten when we ride our bikes around the block we don't see a single person outside. When we do wave we get looks like are you crazy?
It does make me wonder our world is coming to!
As you can tell your post spoke volumes to me as well.
Oh man that looks like such a great vacation! All those beautiful tree's I am sure that looked stunning while zip lining!!!
That sounds amazing. I often think we work to hard and push to much. Yet our society makes it hard not too. We almost always have to both bring in income to keep the family comfortable and for the kids to not be ostracized at school. I would LOVE to live a more relaxed life.
Sounds like the last minute decision was a good one. I would love to go ziplining again, so fun!
I would love to go on a last minute trip. I am so glad that you enjoyed the trip and decide to relax a little. Trips with friends are the best!
This is a great post and it's true. We all need to re-adjust our lives and really focus on the people instead of the things. Sometimes being taken out of our element puts that into perspective.
It really did change my perspective, that's for sure!
I totally agree. I don't understand why we have to have ten of the same store in a mile and why we have to constantly consume as Americans. I would love to visit Costa Rica.
TerriAnn @ Cookies & Clogs
Sorry about the jellyfish sting but it sounds like that didn't even phase you in this trip. What a wonderful experience and I'm so, so happy for you that you had such a fantastic vacation!
Yeah, I mean, it wasn't a regular jelly fish, it was one of those species that are very small. It hurt like hell at first, but after about 30 minutes, it was just irritated and sore. By the end of the day, it didn't bother me at all. I was really lucky!
Looks like you had a blast, I need to visit.
My husband has an uncle that lives in Costa Rica and we plan on visiting them someday... we love looking at their photos they post on FB, but want to see the real thing. 🙂
I'm so glad that you had a chance to get away and unwind. It sounds like it was an amazing adventure. I'm sure I would be loving Costa Rica also. Well, maybe not the bats.
Zip lining in Costa Rica is at the top of my bucket list. I can't wait til I actually get to go there.
I just adore this post and could not agree more. For me, part of a real vacation means unplugging and escaping the all too familiar American greed. My husband has always longed to visit Costa Rica and I can't wait to make that happen.