Costa Rica

Our trip was wonderful. Our bed and breakfast was right on the beach. There were eight rooms arrayed around a courtyard, a covered but open dining area and kitchen next to the pool, a line of trees and plants that provided some very welcome shade, and then the ocean.

The rooms had screened windows and ceiling fans (which kept the temps exceptionally pleasant for the brief moments we spent there), but at sunset we’d close the shutters and turn on the AC to keep the mosquitoes at bay. The first morning I woke up early (7:00) to many bird calls and a horrible groaning sound above our heads – turns out that there’s a howler monkey that frequents that shoreline! I decided to get up – not my normal time of day but the morning was crisp and beautiful. The hot shower felt wonderful, since the air was still cold enough for goosebumps, then I went down to the beach with knitting and a book.

I was all excited to finally find a book on baby brain development before we left, and even happier that our delay meant that I could bring it with me on the trip. Unfortunately(?), the beach was too interesting and pretty for much reading. There were crabs everywhere (from half an inch in size all the way up to about 10″). The tide was going out and they dug holes in the wet sand, and then would venture out (to hunt? to sun?). I tried to get photos but couldn’t get close enough – they were way more scared of me than I was of them which seemed ideal since they were lightning fast. Out on the water, there were many pelicans fishing. They have the funniest technique of diving straight down into the ocean, and just when you’re convinced they must have broken their necks from the impact you realize the bird is now just sitting on the water looking blasé. There was also a steady stream of people and dogs walking by before it got too hot. Here’s the view looking north up the beach:

By 8:30 I was too hungry so I went back, woke up Kevin, and we went to breakfast. Each day there were two to three courses. Always a fruit course, sometimes a freshly baked fruit or spice bread, and then a main course. I had trouble finishing. We saw several great butterflies as we ate, birds, and enjoyed watching the hotel cat stalk leaves in the garden.

Each day after breakfast, we’d head back to the room, get all of our things for the day (sunscreen, books, water, towels or sarongs) and head out to meet up with the rest of the crowd.

(You can see the courtyard off to the right. I loved the flowers outside each of the doors. They changed daily.)

The wedding was 106 people, and a full quarter of the crowd was Kevin’s fraternity brothers and assorted wives and girlfriends. Most of them were staying in two huge, fancy houses about 30 yards down the beach from us. Marrakech had a particularly lovely infinity pool, so we’d head there to find people.

(You can see the tables being set up for the wedding reception in the background. The reception was held on the beach along the shoreline, with lanterns strung up everywhere and dramatic lighting on the trees once the sun set over the water. It was exquisitely beautiful.) The pool is uncharacteristically empty in this photo – generally there was a crowd enjoying the cool water (the days got hot – pushing 90), reading on the edges, racing the floats, and sunbathing.

We tended to have an afternoon or evening group activity – sailing along the coast on a catamaran, heading to a beach 25 minutes away to surf or body surf, manicures and pedicures, a welcome reception, the rehearsal dinner, or the wedding itself. The surfing beach we went to was impressive. Big waves (a little bit too big to bodysurf, in my opinion, though I got thoroughly tumbled by them a few times and had a good time floating out past the break point), a stretch of sand too long to walk in the heat, and a beach bar with lots of shady tables.

When we could, Kevin and I would go to the beach chairs out in front of our B&B to watch the sun set over the high tide surf.

We made the mistake of not putting on bug spray early enough the first night and learned quickly. We’d sprayed our clothes with DEET before we left and were pretty religious about getting the DEET lotion on by 5 PM or so. It was such a nice feeling to rinse it off before bed when we were finally home in the evening. Dinners were late (usually between 8 and 11 by the time we ate), and Kevin would walk pregnant me home after them before rejoining the gang for a bit more fun. I’d been worried before we left that the group vacation would be hard, but it was wonderful – great company and fun activities, but plenty of companionable relaxing/reading time and where everything was so close, I didn’t feel like I had to stay out once I got tired. Such a wonderful getaway.

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