I AM: Amanda, 23. HOME: Raised in Hobe Sound, FL
I'M CURRENTLY: Nearing completion of my bachelor's degree in Journalism with a minor in Philosophy
I DIG: Going to live shows, cooking, sailing, sharing a bottle of wine with friends
DESTINATION: Costa Rica (the Pacific side) Playa Hermosa, a rather Americanized area of the country. Many transplants live there and American surfers travel there to take advantage of the waves, so almost everywhere you go someone speaks English. The downside of that is the prices are almost equivalent to what you'd pay for things in America. Jaco, the neighboring town is a bit of a tourist trap, but it's where you'll end up if you're looking for any semblance of a nightlife (although it's not necessarily the safest place so don't venture there alone).
WHAT: adventure and relaxation
WHEN: July 2009
WEATHER: hot and humid
TRIP TUNES: Mostly relaxed reggae/island music
TRIP THREADS: SUNSCREEN. You're only 10 degrees from the equator, so even in the shade you're likely to fry. Actual clothes were basically obsolete. The majority of the time was spent in swimsuits; we threw on lightweight tanks and shorts or dresses when going into town.
CAN'T FORGET EVEN IF I TRIED: Taking a spill off my surfboard and thinking, I just may die in Costa Rica.
NEXT STOP: I'd like to make a trip from Kathmandu to the Taj Mahal.
RELAXATION SPOT: Underneath a canopy of palm fronds on the beach, with a mango smoothie in hand.
MEAL: Sushi Tsunami in Jaco has about the freshest sushi you will find, almost anywhere.
DRINK: Backyard, a restaurant and bar just a short walk along the beach from our hotel had a ladies night, and everyone in town was there.
ADVENTURE: A horseback riding tour through the mountains. Along the way you're likely to witness some breathtaking views and also see a lot of incredible wildlife, from macaws to monkeys. The tour concluded with a jaunt on the beach. If you like horses, it's an experience I fully recommend.
SLEEP/LACK OF SLEEP: For the first part of our trip we stayed in a hotel called Fuego del Sol, a comfortable and clean hotel with a pool. The room also included a delicious typical Costa Rican-style breakfast of eggs and beans with toast. The rest of our trip was spent nearby at Las Arenas. Rooms there included kitchens and televisions. Most visitors here were staying for extended periods of time.
First stop after landing, picking up local fruits from a roadside vendor
Double-overhead(+) waves that few souls dared to brave
A panga boat on shore
Imperial, the beer of Costa Rica and the beverage of choice for the duration of the trip. The beer bottles in Costa Rica are re-used, not recycled. I give kudos to Costa Rica for being so environmentally friendly, but stuck with cans after I discovered this.
We paid some locals a small fee for a horseback ride through the mountains onto the beach.
The view overlooking the coast once we reached the top of the mountain on our horseback ride.
An idyllic sunset spent watching surfers catch the last waves of the day, joined by friends we ran into from home.
Rocks along the shore
We hitch-hiked up a mountain, trekked through the jungle, climbed a waterfall barefoot and covered ourselves in clay from the stream then descended back down to wash ourselves clean.