Costa Rica was and wasn’t what I was expecting.
Coasting into Costa Rica in my comfy coach seat and surveying the land, it was what I had envisioned. Mountainous, vibrant green, low hanging clouds and lot’s of orange roof’s. The land was beautiful and inviting. I never went on a journey where the scenery seemed inviting. Costa Rica had that aura that they are known for and they totally lived up to it.
We took a little adventure outside Jan Jose to La Fortuna, which is pretty popular and well known. It was a day thing that included lunch, stopping at the Arenal Volcano, then some amazing hot springs and an awesome dinner buffet. Arriving at the Arenal Volcano gave me goosebumps. There’s just something about seeing something of that magnitude that any day now is going to cause a lot of destruction. This is nature, real and unpredictable. After the volcano we made our way to the resort of Tabacon for a little Thermal Hot Spring action. This is where I lost myself. To wander off into the plush green of Costa Rica to sit in a hot spring is surreal. The moment your foot hits the warm water it’s like a zen shockulator to your system. We took a little break from the springs to go sit in the pool for a cocktail or three. If you go to Tabacon, chill in the pool and talk to the bartender Denis. Super cool and chill guy. The whole staff at Tabacon was great to us and won us as repeats, as we’re already planning trip number two.
The thing that stands out mostly to me about Costa Rica is the realness of the food. When you order a smoothie its whole real fruit. Nothing out of a carton, bag or tons of sugar poured in. This is how it should be. When we ordered our drinks at Tabacon everything was fresh fruit, no ice creams or simple syrup. When a friend asked Denis if a drink had ice cream he had a shocked almost baffled look on his face. The drinks are made with fruit, God’s sweetener. When you ate, nothing was ever heavy or greasy. The food was good, flavorful and simple. Their food was an extension of themselves and their lives.
Which brings me to what I wasn’t expecting, the people. One of my favorite things about traveling is meeting new and exciting people. The people of Costa Rica are simple, beautiful and just down right lovely. They were themsleves and nothing else. They didn’t try to be anything you wanted or needed and made no apologies. I love those kind of people. The one thing I am used to as a traveler is the fact that I always look like a tourist. I’m what the locals like to call “an easy target”. When I travel I get approached easily and asked for handouts or if I’m interested in checking out the local fare, like cocaine. Not in Costa Rica. The people of Costa Rica did their own thing and left people alone to meander and just enjoy life. They didn’t even care that I’m a big deal in America, no matter how much I let them know. We ran into an old man down by Mercado Central who told us the whole history of Costa Rica. You could tell he loved to share the story of his beautiful country and we were more than happy to listen. It’s people like him you want to sit and have a cup of coffee with and listen to his stories.
Costa Rica was and wasn’t what I was expecting and I like it like that. You made me love you without even trying, that’s the best love. I met real people and ate real food. Life doesn’t get any better than that. Thank you for the wonderful experience Costa Rica. I came home with wonderful memories, new friends, couple necklaces and a new getaway when I need to escape the world for a while. See you soon Costa Rica… Pura Vida.