Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Costa Rica 2016 - (Partial) Photo Dump

I finally did it.  I finally checked off an item from my bucket list.  7 glorious days spent in a remote area within Costa Rica.  For reference its in the Guanacaste region, on the Pacific side.  While there are portions of this area known to be more of the tourist-y parts, I researched to find a remote place to lay my head each night, and travel to the places I wanted to visit, but not be inundated with tourists.
One of my goals for this trip was to immerse myself in the culture as best I could with the time I had.  I managed that quite well, however I'll definitely be going back to explore a bit more of this region as it wasn't in my plans to be going, going, going the entire time.  Staying where I did I did have to spend some time traveling via bus/shuttle but its Costa Rica so the views were well worth the time spent on the roads.
Day 1 - Arrived mid-day and spent the afternoon settling in, unpacking, and finding the monkey trail to a local little place I had read about that was a must go to near where I was staying
Day 2 - Spent the day exploring close by, scheduling my day trips, laying by the pool, sunset and the beach massage
Day 3 - Long day.  Travel to Arenal where we stopped on the way in a couple of small towns for breaks, lunch, and views.  Hiking through the rainforest near MonteVerde Cloud/Rain Forest, spectacular views of Arenal, suspension bridges, and then a relaxing late afternoon at Arenal Springs Spa/Resort, before having a lovely dinner and then the long trip back on some VERY dark and VERY windy, steep roads...
Day 4 - Day trip to go to a not so far away organic farm run by a family.  Horseback ride up a side of a mountain then took 10 zip-lines down (platform to platform) high atop and sometimes THROUGH the trees (near another volcano: Rincon de la Vieja)...more hiking afterwards down to the volcano ash (which they mix with water) mud baths. Smelled HORRIBLE with the sulphur but oh so refreshing when rinsing off under a waterfall.  Then spent some time in natural hot springs followed by a great lunch all grown (and raised) there. 
Day 5 - Grabbed myself a driver and headed to a nearby small town.  Needed more sunscreen (I went through it FAST down there and it was EXPENSIVE on site where I was staying so I needed a local pharmacia), and wanted to explore another area, have some lunch and mix with the locals, night out with some friends made
Day 6 - Winded down with an easy day, spent mostly at the pool
Day 7 - My last day..womp womp.  got up and did my last run with the monkeys and wildlife (got up close and personal with a coatimundi!!)  I had a late flight out of Liberia so I got to enjoy my morning and not be rushing around.

Note: I ran every single morning I was there with the exception of Day 3.  I had to be up extra early that day to go to Arenal, and knew I would be doing a lot of hiking and climbing so I wanted to just be fresh for the days activities.

While where I stayed was remote (not in a town, but rather close to a nearby small town), I was still able to find lots of trail and got in a 40min to 1 hour long run each morning.  It obviously wasn't continuously running as I stopped along the way to check out things, mostly monkeys swinging from trees, or the locals bringing livestock in, etc. 

It was SO invigorating to explore via my feet and to have the physicality to be able to enjoy the views doing something I loved.  No watch, no nothing.  Just me, my feet and Costa Rica.  While it was beyond hot and humid (you think Houston is bad? Ha!), it was so wonderful!  I just love, love, loved my experience and know I need to go back because I need at least another week before I am done with Costa Rica!

OK, so the pictures below I just drag and dropped from my Dropbox, so they aren't in any order etc.  I will put captions on them.  I had SO many pictures and some videos (mostly again of monkeys and wildlife seen along my runs each day).  I did have the album marked as public on FB for a bit, but since then changed it back.  If you're a real life friend and on my FB, then you've seen allllllllllllllllllll the photos and videos.  :O)

View from my patio

The first place I wanted to find near my home base:  Monkey Bar and Restaurant
View walking west along the beach

Entrance in to what is known as the monkey trail.  At least one entrance that is; right across from the bar pictured above
Its most cow and horse manure packed I found out later...Lots of livestock apparently also are brought through here, or rather roam through here

Sunset view from my balcony

Full day 1 spent relaxing and getting to know my surroundings

I ran every day but one while I was there; so exhilarating!!

Had a lovely massage here as the sun was setting

Cloud/Rain Forest hiking near MonteVerde

Arenal in the background; Me I'm standing on a suspension bridge so high up I wanted to scream


These little guys were EVERYWHERE near where I ran.  If you ran at the right time morning or late afternoon you were just surrounded by them

This guy I ran into on another road.  No matter which side of the tree I went to he would turn the other way.  He just didn't want anything to do with me OR my phone camera :O)

Last morning run...the Pacific at the edge of that beach
Sunrise the last morning run; headed back to mi casa

Coatimundi!!!  And yes I was really that close!  He came out of nowhere scaring me at first! I was running LITERALLY through the jungle to get back on path after hanging out with the monkeys when he came scrambling down a tree straight for me

This was a common site most mornings on my run.  That and lots of cattle

Indeed.  Till we meet again Costa, until we meet again....
I couldn't get the photos to insert above in any order that I liked so I am adding them here...These are from my side day trip to Coco, and a few from Rincon de la Vieja.
This was SO COOL.  Old fashioned way of extracting cane juice from cane stalks.  Round and round he'd go and the juice would be squeezed out.  SO GOOD.  Especially as a sweetener in the magnificient coffee I had there too!
Headed down to the volcanic mud and natural springs and waterfall
Wash the mud off!
Bridge back to civilization and a fantastic lunch!!!
I have a whole other post to do about this trip; around being single and traveling alone. 
It doesn't have to be scary.  Or weird.
No matter WHAT people might think.

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