Monday, June 18, 2012

Pura Vida: One Hell of a Honeymoon

Becky and I registered at Deposit a Gift.  We wanted to go to Italy for our Honeymoon, which not only sounded  romantic as hell, but would be a nice cushion for turning halfway to heaven (a phrase I only recently discovered and instantly hated; for all I know, I was halfway to heaven at twenty and I’ll die next year choking on an M&M).

Even with the generous gifts of friends and family, Italy turned out to be more than we could afford.  Becky looked closer to home and came up with Costa Rica.  Which is great, because Costa Rica looks like this:

She booked us a treehouse near the Arenal Volcano, in La Fortuna de San Carlos, the northwestern part of Costa Rica.  The topography is like nothing I’ve ever seen.  Growing up in Syracuse, in the middle of the Adirondacks, it’s a shock moving to the flatlands of Florida.  I’m sure the folks living in the mind-boggling peaks and valleys of Costa Rica would feel the same about Syracuse.  Every bus, taxi, and walk we took, it was impossible not to gawk at our surroundings.

Just your typical view at the lunch counter.

When I think of wildlife, I think of squirrels, chipmunks, birds, the occasional deer.  In Miami, I once  walked out of a McDonald’s and found a five-foot red crowned crane strutting nearby.

True story.
Driving back from Orlando yesterday, we saw a half a dozen feral pigs and a small deer.

In Costa Rica, wherever there’s dense foliage, you’ll find sloths, families of monkeys, and birds from vultures to hummingbirds.  If there’s water nearby, you’ll find turtles and lizards.  Their squirrels are ruddier and fluffier.  They also boast the most beautiful mosquitoes you’ve ever seen in your life.  No joke.  Our mosquitoes are gray-brown affairs, something like rancid meat.  Their mosquitoes are purplish blue with a metallic sheen.  They only found us the last two days of the week we spent in Costa Rica, and they were so gorgeous we didn’t even care.  The fact that they swarmed all over us but never bit might have something to do with it.

But don’t take our experience as gospel; this women visited Costa Rica in April, too.

I loved seeing signs for "typical food."  I don't know what quirk of translation makes roads signs and menu listings for "typical food" a thing, but it always made me smile.  It seems that typical food is beans, rice, plantains, and chicken, pork, or beef.

This platter of "typical food" included cheese-stuffed plantains and the most delicious pico de gallo I've ever had.

What can I say about the people of Costa Rica?  They navigate their narrow roads with aplomb.  They take hard work as a matter of course.  They will scam you for a ride if you're not careful.  They will charm you, they will nurture you, they will make sure you want to return.

There's more to this Luna de Miel than can fit in one post.  For now I'll just say that Disney has nothing on Costa Rica; according to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica is the happiest place on earth.

Pura Vida!


  1. We went last summer and it was amazing. We stayed at Hotel Los Lagos just outside La Fortuna, and also visited Monteverde and Manuel Antonio. It's impossible to pick a favorite area.

    Glad you got to enjoy a visit there!

  2. We promised Dylan we'd take him there in a decade or so. A visit to Monteverde is certainly something we want to do.