Costa Rica – Paradise!
A few months ago, Michael and I realized that with this new little one on it’s (yes, we still don’t know boy or girl!) way, we should take some time and have a getaway while we still can! After a few weeks of research, we came across a Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica. A quiet series of beaches along the coast (Flamingo is just one!), that each offers their own ‘personality’, people, and adventure. Searching out and planning this trip was almost as fun as the trip itself! I love being a part of making plans, picking the perfect place to stay, etc. Armed with hiking shoes, plenty of sunscreen, bathing suits and a ton of excitement, we departed on Michael’s birthday for a week in paradise!
First views of Costa Rica!
We found Casa de Serendad on VRBBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) and it was ahhhhh-mazinggggg. Babe and Don, the owners of this gorgeous place were so eager to help us. From getting groceries, renting a car, scheduling our snorkeling trip, etc. they were there! A wonderful trip was made even more special because of these two!
The view from our balcony. Beyond fabulous, eh? The beach off to the (top) left of the image is Playa Flamingo.
Our balcony where we enjoyed breakfast together each morning. I may miss that time together the most! :)
These little crabs were EVERYWHERE!! So funny.
A view of our apartment and wading pool/hammock area on the left and the gorgeous stone steps leading down to the little private beach on the right.
The beach just below our balcony! I loved having some of the rainforest as well as the ocean right there.
These colorful guys (Michael started calling them Fred and George, therefore they became ‘guys’.) joined us a breakfast!
One of our nights, we experienced a little raccoon visitor!! I joked with our hostess, Babe, that if it had been a monkey or ginormous lizard I would have been MUCH more concerned. Ha! This little guy enjoyed one of our fresh avocados and left some footprints behind! :)
The wading pool and hammocks were one of our favorite places to lay around, enjoy the sun and sound of the ocean.
Casa de Serendad was gorgeous…every inch of it!
As the house we chose was located on a cliff and therefore large hill, we chose to rent a car to do some exploring. As a result, we made it into not only Playa Flamingo, but many other towns and beaches. This dirt road was pretty typical of the roads in Costa Rica! Plenty of potholes to keep you on your toes and make sure you remember that you’re off exploring! :)
Playa Flamingo! The closest to our apartment and most amazing for sunsets!
Coco Loco, a beachfront restaurant quickly became one of our favorite spots to eat. Here, we were celebrating Michael’s birthday and becoming a CPA (he got the news while we were away! woot woot!!!) with plenty of fruity drinks (virgin, of course, for me! :)), fresh whole Snapper and coconut shrimp! Mmmmm!
The new CPA! So proud of you! xo
The next day, we visited the town and beach of Tamarindo. It was certainly a bit different from Playa Flamingo…lots of shops, hotels and restaurants and generally a younger, more excited crowd. A fun change for the day!
Many of the beaches we visited had portions of rockiness like this. It was great for exploring and finding sea creatures.
In Tamarindo, we found a local fruit truck and stocked up on local goodies. I can taste that fresh mango now!!!!
We then made our way to a beach a bit farther down the coast, Playa Avellanas. On the beach, we found Lola’s, which not only had the most fabulous seating, but to-die-for fish (Mahi-Mahi) and chips. Imperial beer is considered “The Cerveza of Costa Rica”, and is everywhere! Michael said it was tasty and I took his word for it. ;) As dining experiences and atmospheres go, Lola’s was pretty fabulous.
We enjoyed lunch at a “soda” (a small restaurant) a few minutes from Playa Flamingo, one afternoon. I saw pasta with seafood on the menu and assumed that it would be so-so, as it is not a typical Costa Rican meal. HOWEVER, as you can see, it was brought out and I was blown away. For about $9 (USD), I received a plate full of creamy, cheesy pasta, tossed with whole baby squid, strips of Mahi-Mahi and shrimp. So fabulous and just the experience I had been hoping for! Before we were served, we were (hysterically!) surprised to see a small herd of cows make their way down the road, onto the beach in front of the restaurant and mosey on past us. The above picture pretty much sums up that afternoon for me….amazing seafood and cow prints in the sand.
I know, more food! But as you all know, I am such a fan of the culinary arts that it was a large and fun part of the trip for me! These two dishes were from Coco Loco, one of our fave spots to eat on the beach. We found (and loved!) that each time we ordered a meal out, it took a long time for it be brought out…much longer than we rushed Americans are used to at least! We quickly realized that this was not poor service, but that the food was prepared, from scratch, when we ordered it and not before. Even the tortilla chips that came with our guacamole were homemade! You can’t replicate that kind of flavor and quality!! I miss it! :)
With the help of our hosts, we scheduled a Catamaran snorkeling trip for a sunny afternoon! The Lazy Lizard and it’s crew members made for a wonderful time!
After an hour or so tour of the coast, we snorkeled, and our guide was able to find a puffer fish and octopus, among other creatures, that we were able to see and touch. On the way home, we were treated by a few dolphins swimming alongside the boat!! So beautiful!
A typical menu…this one we saw on our way to Playa Conchal…a beach only accessed by a small road along the beach and with the most quiet waves, blue water and white sand. As you have probably noticed, much of the sand we saw was more dark. We assumed that this was because much of the coast is made of dark rocks and the close proximity to volcanoes!
Michael discovered this little island and actually swam to it! He said that as he approached the shore he saw a sting ray as long as he was swimming a bit too close….he made it to the beach rather quickly after that. :)
Last night! A fun restaurant in Playa Flamingo…notice the Imperial sign! I told you, it is everywhere! :)
Michael was kind enough to take a picture of me at our beach the morning we left. I don’t often find myself in front of the camera!
I loved the new (to me!) and beautiful flora! Such natural, tropical beauty everywhere we looked.
How I looked almost all week!!! ;)
I am so glad that we took the time away to spend together, explore and learn about a new country and culture! I also hope that these images give you a bit of tropical delight in your busy work week! Costa Rica is home to friendly people, delicious food, not to mention the beautiful scenery! If you have the chance, GO!!! :)