Well, I just finished up the master bedroom (if you missed the reveal you can see it here) and am about to dive back into the RV remodel, but in the meantime I thought I’d write a quick post about our recent trip to Costa Rica.
We went last month, and it was amazing. Adam and I would love to travel more, but at this stage in life it isn’t easy. Asking someone to watch four young boys for a week is a lot, and I’d rather not do that to someone. But when Adam’s mom asked us earlier this year if we would like a kid-free vacation while she watched the boys, we said heck-freaking-yes and started planning.
A few years ago (when I was pregnant with boy #3) we went to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, and this time we decided to try something even more exotic. We ended up getting a group of ten together (five couples, three of us family) and picked Costa Rica. Adam and I have no desire to vacation just the two of us…is that weird? I mean, he is the only other adult I talk to consistently, we know everything about each other, and, we’re just people people. The bigger the vacation group the better, I say.
Our group was so much fun too, literally the best. Adam and I were the only ones that have kids, which was a fun change of pace from our normal kid-infused life. I love my kids to pieces, but sometimes you just have to get away to be reminded that there is more to life than dirty diapers and dishes.
We chose a resort on the northern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, in the Guanacaste region. I had never seen the Pacific Ocean before, plus this side of the country is supposed to be the dry part, so there was a lesser chance it would rain the whole time. That being said, it pretty much rained the whole time. It is a rainforest, after all.
We stayed at the Riu Palace, a five star, family-friendly resort in a harbor surrounded by mountains. It was so dang pretty. I love the mountains, and I love the beach, and when the two collide….magic.
Adam and I tried to find a child-free resort to stay at before booking this one, but the options in Costa Rica are mostly family friendly or way out of our price range. It was a great resort, but when you ditch all your kids to go on vacation, you don’t really want to hang out with a bunch of kids. Also, everything closed really early….restaurants, bars, all the lights, etc. were shut down way before we were ready. I’m not sure if that is because of the family-friendly aspect, or because Costa Rica as a whole is very eco-conscious. In 2017 it went over 300 days only using renewable energy sources (mainly hydropower) to power the entire country. Isn’t that crazy?!
The beach was different from that gulf and Caribbean that I’m used to. It was beautiful…surrounded by mountains and covered in dark sand. The water was cold and no one really swam, but it was a great beach for lounging on a doing nothing.
Doing nothing is the best. I should really do nothing more often.
So here’s a funny story from the very first full day there. When we first started looking into Costa Rica people kept saying how there were monkeys everywhere. This sounded awesome to me, I definitely wanted to hang out with some wild monkeys. So the first night at the resort (on the day we arrived) Adam went to bed early, and I stayed up pretty late. The sun comes up really early and Costa Rica, so by about 5:30 AM it looked like midday, and Adam was rearing to go. So he woke me up and was like “Let’s go exploring….maybe we can find some monkeys”. I’m not really a morning person, but dang it, I wanted to see some monkeys. So I got dressed and we walked through the eerily silent resort and into the jungle.
And find monkeys we did. They were all in the trees, huge and black. None of them were active, but who in their right mind would be at 5:45 am? So Adam starts making monkey noises, trying to get them to move, but they were completely still. So we creep deeper into the jungle to get some monkey face time.
It took us way too long to figure this out, but they weren’t monkeys at all. Turns out they were huge insect nests built in the treetops. They looked so much like monkeys though, some even had tails. No kidding. Eventually, we found one close to the ground, so we took a picture of me “petting” it to text to the rest of the group, trying to fool them into thinking they missed the experience of a lifetime.
Pretty sure no one believed us though, and we didn’t find any actual monkeys. Fail.
We did two excursions during our trip, and they were so much fun. We found a local guy on the beach and negotiated with him, and he was basically our 11th person. If you plan on going to the same resort, find Luis on the beach (next to the Steelers flag), you won’t regret it.
The first excursion was a day at Buena Vista, which is a lodge and adventure park about two hours inland. We spent the entire day here and it was awesome, despite the fact that it POURED rain the entire time.
The first thing we did were the zip lines. I had never been ziplining before, and I loved it. There were 8 or 9 of them in total, between mountains and through the rainforest. They were fast and rain was pounding you in the face the entire time, and despite what our faces show in the photos below, it was really, really fun.
After ziplining we did a giant waterslide. This slide was no joke… it went down the side of the mountain and was a quarter-mile long and crazy fast. To start, you sat on the top with the helmet and a tube…not ON the tube like normal, but through the tube, to protect your hips. That how you know its serious. The water collected behind you, and hen the collection pool filled up they opened the guillotine style door, ice cold muddy water engulfed you, and you went flying down the slide.
At the end of it you were dunked into a giant pool of freezing brown water, only to climb out in the pouring rain. Good times. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
After that we did a rainforest hike to a waterfall, and I was sure we would find some monkeys on the way… but nope, not one. I’m was beginning to think and the TripAdvisor reviewers were liars.
After lunch (which was probably the best food we had on the entire trip) it was time for the sauna, mud bath, and hot springs.
I could’ve sat in the hot springs for the rest of the vacation in been totally happy, it was one of my favorite parts. It doesn’t look particularly amazing in the selfie photo Luis took, but the view from where we were sitting was amazing.
As we sat there in the rain and warm water, staring at the jungle and mountains, I told Adam “Baby, when we’re home and everything is crazy, the house is a mess, all four kids are asking for something, and I’m trying to figure out what to make for dinner and feeling totally overwhelmed…. this is where I’m coming in my mind. Right here, at this very moment. This is my new happy place.”
The other excursion was a catamaran tour on the day before we left.
This one was also great, we took a scenic catamaran ride to a remote island where we snorkeled, explored, paddleboarded, and fed coatis and …..monkeys (finally!). Also, it is worth noting that it didn’t rain that day. Woohoo!
Also, Luis liked to take group selfies for his facebook page. He even took selfies with the wildlife. Hilarious.
The ride back to the resort that evening was another one of my favorite parts, another happy place moment. So peaceful.
The rest of the vacation with just hanging around the resort, beach time, a lot of eating and drinking, and generally just doing whatever the heck we wanted. I stayed up way too late and napped in the middle of the day. I didn’t cook or clean anything. We got massages on the beach from a local lady who I swear had six hands. She also had no problem removing your swimsuit and bending you into crazy positions, which I decided to be okay with and went back multiple times.
So that’s the recap! It was such a great trip, the perfect combo of adventure and relaxation. The worst part was the return trip home, which ended up taking two days thanks to layovers, delays, and missed flights. The good news is that I read an entire novel during that time, which is something I haven’t gotten to do in forever (this one, which was very sad but I highly recommend). Also, the look on my almost two-year-olds face when we got back was the best…I wish I had a video. He was so sweet and excited. They all were, but his reaction definitely sticks out in my mind.
Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’ll be back next week with an RV update!