Pura Vida

December 21st, 2006

Pura Vida (Poo-rrah Vee-dah) means “life is good”, used everywhere in Costa Rica. Why? Because life really is good in Costa Rica. I was there for about 3 weeks for my friends wedding, which occured on December 9. The first couple weeks i was on my own, backpacker style, hitting a few tourist spots like Montezuma and MonteVerde, but mostly chilling on the beach. The last week was big pimping in nice resorts like tulemar and tabacon with 30 friends. Unbelievably sweet.

It’s been a week since i got back, and i already made one costa rica entry, but i’m just going to start again from the top.

It started off with me flying into San Jose on a Tuesday. I had no plans, just coming off of my USA road trip, all i wanted to do is chill out. I spent tuesday night in San Jose at Hostel Pangea, leaving the next day at noon for Samara. That gave me a little time there to walk around the city, where half the population of costa rica lives. It’s a bit dirty, but still interesting – i saw cool architecture, homeless guys, graffit on abandoned buildings, and ate some tasty plantains.

The road to Samara was paved the whole way – a rarity in Costa Rica. I loved being at the beach – watching the sunsets, feeling the chill vibe from the Ticos as well as the expats. I especially loved Dos Aguas, the pool, the buildings, and the owners – an Italian women and german(?) guy. I spent 2 nights there before deciding i wanted some adventure, so i decided to goto Montezuma. Montezuma was one of my favorite spots, mostly because of the day spent at the waterfall. The beach by Hotel Lys, where i stayed for $10/day, was also nice, encouraged social interaction. But back to the waterfall – I went there sunday with about 10 others. We hiked the 20 mins from town to the main waterfall, had a nice swim in the pool there, then hiked up to the upper waterfall. We took the sketchy way there .. up a steep muddy slope, holding onto roots, thru some hills and vegetation, down a cliff. It was totally worth it. Half of us jumped off the 40 foot upper falls, we all swam in the pools, did the rope swing, and hung out. On the way back, we took an easier route, one with an amazing view of the ocean.

The next day i went with 3 others from Montezuma to Malpais, aka Santa Teresa. Technically we ended up in Playa Carmen, between the two, at the Tranquilo Backpackers. It kicked ass. I was there from monday till Saturday. I surfed, played ping pong, drank Imperials, laid in hammocks, met tons of people from Europe and Americas, walked along the beach, watched beautiful sunsets, and ate well both at local restaruants and in our kitchen. That could have been the most relaxing week ever. Sadly it had to end – i wanted to see a little more of costa rica in my last 5 days before the wedding.

On saturday i headed to MonteVerde, then a couple days later to Puerto Viejo on the Carribean coast. Monteverde is the home of cloud forests, canopy tours, and nature walks. I got to take the ferry there, which was sweet, despite the fact that i get sea sick and car sick easily. I stayed at this super cheap place in monteverde called ‘sleepers’ – $5 got me a tasty breakfast and my own dorm room.
I met an auzzie on the bus who also stayed there, Alex, who joined me for the zipline/canopy tour on sunday. We got a deal with this new company called Extremo, $27 for a 14-cable + rappel + tarzan swing. Super fun. The longest cable was a half mile long, took 55secs to cross, and was 450 feet above the valley below. Later in the day we did a twilight walk where say birds, snakes, and Tarantulas. Sweeeet. Then we had dinner without alcohol (except we had wine) since there is no alcohol sales for 3 days during elections (day before, during, and after, sat-mon). Monday i headed to Puerto Viejo, stayed at Rocking J’s. Very good vibe, nice beach, great surf, but only 3 hours of sun during my 2 days there. I did enjoy one night of live music, some good smoke, and drinks with the boys from the netherlands. I also had a meal with a local named captain zero, an expat from USA thats been there 14 years.

Wednesday i traversed across the country again back to pacific coast, arriving in Quepsos right after sunset. I was hoping to meet my friends down for the wedding, but did not end up doing that. I did end up staying at a really cool spot called Hostel Serena Vista. Conrad and his mom have been running it for years, and i got lucky enough to show up on firewworks night. Everybody pitched in and we got $200 worth of fireworks. Saweet.

Thursday the big pimping began. Wedding time. I checked into Tulemar, and wow. What a step up. I had an entire building (bugalow) to myself – well, at least the first night, till fritz and lori showed up. It could easily sleep 6. The resort was awesome – bungalows and houses spread out on the densely vegetated hillside overlooking the pacific ocean. We had our own private beach, with a bar and free kayaks, boogie boards, snorkeling, and more. Thursday and friday were just chillin, drinkin, swimmin, and hangin with friends as they showed up. Saturday five of us ventured out to Manuel Antonio park to surf and check out the wildlife before the actual wedding. Then the wedding – right on the beach, with rose petals to mark the aisles, everybody dressed up, right before sunset. It was sweeet. Then the dinner. And the late night celebrations. I could go on, but your really must view the wedding pictures.

Monday we headed for Tabacon, the hot springs in the mountains in the middle of the country. We spent 2 wonderfully relaxing days there, i highly recommend that to EVERYBODY. Four of us got our adventure fix on tuesday by doing the ATV tour for a couple hours. Crossing the river with 90% of the ATV underwater was pretty fun. Sadly, we all had to leave wednesday and head home. But doing this last week with friends in such a cool country was sooo nice that i would do it again and again.

Thats all for now, perhaps i’ll add some pics later.


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