Thursday, July 7, 2011

Creature Comforts Part Two

If you are looking for adventure, road trips are the best way to see a country.  Normally when I take a tropical vacation I check into an all inclusive resort, go on a few tours to see the sights, and spend a great deal of my time relaxing on a lounge chair beside the ocean.  Although Costa Rica has many beautiful resorts, I was fortunate not to step foot in any of them. 

We rented a car and set out along the coast towards Quepos to meet up with an old friend of my aunt and uncles’. The country side was always changing.  Fields of tall sugar cane would become acres of tall macadamia nut trees waiting to be harvested.  Narrow dirt roads with large pot holes would become smooth winding highways the closer we got to tourist destinations.  The highways were patrolled with policemen that occasionally set up “toll” booths in the middle of the road and would not let you pass through them if you were not local.  However, the police officers could be persuaded to let you through for a twenty dollar fee.  We passed through many of those toll booths in our travels. 

Quepos is a town on the edge of the beautiful beaches of Manuel Antonio. Quepos is a hot spot for tourism as well as a seasonal home to many celebrities. The plan upon arriving was to find “Jeff”, the friend from the U.S. that visits his Costa Rica girlfriend for six months out of the year.  My aunt and uncle knew exactly where to find him, at a restaurant/pub near the area he lived.  It was there that I met many locals and was introduced to a Michilada.  A Michilada is a cool drink of beer on ice mixed with real lime juice, topped with a salted rim.  It is the best drink I have ever had.  They are not as good here in Canada because the limes in Costa Rica are much different.  They are much larger and the inside is orange not green.  They are very juicy and delicious in flavor.  Thanks to Jeff and his girlfriend, we were able to secure a small loft apartment with the biggest shower I have ever been in and a little balcony over looking the street.  Jeff and Emma were the funniest couple.  Jeff was very out going, loud, and fun.  Emma was very quiet, soft spoken, and shy.  She spoke barely any English, and he spoke very little Spanish but they seemed to get along fine!  Emma and I spent many hours exchanging Spanish and English words trying to get to know one another.  She is a wonderful person that I truly enjoyed spending time with.  That same night we were invited to a dinner by a friend of Jeff’s hosted a French gentleman from Canada.  He owned this incredible house over looking the city of Quepos.  The meal was cooked by a chef and we were catered to all evening.  Unfortunately during a game of Boccie ball the host had some unfriendly words for Jeff in French but after the host was able to entertain his group with some guitar playing and singing, he seemed to settle down. 

Manuel Antonio is 683 acres of paradise.  The beaches all white sand overlooking emerald green waters are breath taking.  When you enter the Natural Preserve and hike further into the park, you come across several small beaches in their own little coves hidden away.  Pebbles look like jewels laying on the surface of the white sand. The shallow emerald waters invite you in for a swim to the deep blue pools around large rocks protruding out of the water. The surrounding rain forest is home to iguanas, colorful birds, and monkeys that are thieves.  Many tourists have been robbed by these crafty little characters waiting in trees for the right moment to drop down slowly by their tails only to snatch a camera or a purse then run off. We were told to be on our guard at all times with our valuables since it was the monkeys not the people we had to worry about!  We spent many days lying on the beaches, shopping at local markets full of jewelry made of shells and coffee beans, shoes fashioned from hemp, and local artists painting on T-shirts for the tourists.   

What I liked the most about being on the outside of the resorts was the realism of being in a different country. I loved eating the authentic food, waiting at bus stations the locals traveled themselves, and seeing what day to day life was like for the people that lived in such a different country as my own.  I loved having to learn how to speak different words and phrases for survival at times outside of the tourist areas. The biggest impact I took away with me from Costa Rica was how the people drove the roads and I endured the most frightening experience I have ever been in while driving towards the interior of Costa Rica towards the coffee hills.

That, however, will have to wait until next post and last Costa Rica post.  Thank you for reading along while I revisit this place in my life. 

See you next week along with some mosquito secrets that have been passed on to me!!

Here is a reminder how to make homemade iced tea courtesy of my friend Buffy.

Add 4 litres of water in a clear glass bowl with five decafinated Orange Pecoe tea bags.  Cover the bowl with Saran Wrap  and put in the sun for 6-8 hours.  Then add one can of frozen lemonade (whatever flavour you like) and a 1/2 a cup of sugar to the mixture and stir.  Chill and add lemon wedges for garnish!


  1. I found your site recently as I thought the title of Groundblogday was a great title to call my new blog, after googling it though I found a likeminded soul had thought of it already! I've loved reading your blog and have had some laughs reading about your gardening as I'm also guilty of murdering plants!
    From your new aussie reader, Bela

  2. Thank you so much Bela! I hope you will continue reading and when you title your blog please post your address!