Let me start by saying, that growing up I did not travel. When I was 18 and left for WWU, I hadn't even been to Eastern Washington. Not kidding 😊 And now, all these years later, traveling is literally my favorite thing in the world. And my favorite family tradition.
After we came back from Thailand, my family started dreaming about where to go next. I'm pretty sure my kids pulled out the globe and started spinning the day after we got back! So we went back to saving our dough and hoarding our vacation days!!!
Family vote - COSTA RICA!!!!!
So, let me give the quick lowdown on our trip details. We don't use any sort of travel agent for planning. You will find me sitting with my laptop doing loads of research online! I'm a HUGE lover of AirBnb and Booking.com. And Trip Advisor is my friend for great reviews. Read the reviews - but also take them with a grain of salt. And blogs.....read blogs!!! There are such good resources out there.
And always have faith. Have faith that people are good around the world. Have faith that people want you to have a wonderful time exploring their country and culture. The best cure for fear is to just go!!!! And then you are reminded - reminded that people are good!
Day 1: Fly to San Jose. Spend one night. Capital of Costa Rica. Bustling. People were so nice....so so nice!
Day 2-6: Catch teeny tiny airplane to Drake Bay - Osa Peninsula - southwest peninsula of Costa Rica. The rainforest here is the most biodiverse in the world. Was I slightly freaked of what I might come upon? Yes! Were we totally fine? YES!!!!!!! Was it amazing? ABSOLUTELY. Did I run into the Fer de Lance (a type of pit viper and most aggressive snake in Costa Rica?) NO! Thank goodness!!! (side note I did see one later in our trip - but we were fine because it was behind glass). I'm' pretty sure the Osa Peninsula was one of our favorite parts of the trip!
*The Night Tour - Tracy the Bug Lady (<--- go check her out). Basically, she blew Nate's mind and I'm convinced he will marry someone with her knowledge and love for nature :) Nate and Tracy became good friends on this night! She's a biologist and has lived in Costa Rica for 20+ years. Her night tour in the rainforest was the best birthday present I could have ever given him! Meet at the trail head, strap on your headlamp, and don't put your hand in the vegetation (insert wide eyed emoji guy). Trap door spiders, sloth, wandering spider, snakes, tailless whip scorpion, tarantulas, scorpion, sloth, red eye tree frog, leaf katydid, on and on. She taught Nate and Audrey how to truly hunt for creatures at night....it's all about the eye shines. And of course, their nightly hunts for the rest of our trip were hugely successful! And fun regardless what they found or didn't find! And can I just add that Nate's brain is full of more facts about creatures, hunting techniques, defense mechanisms, than I could have ever imagined. His answers to her questions were hysterical. Thank you to the 1000 National Geographic books you've read! Keep reading Nate - keep reading! There is so much to learn about the world!
*Corcovado National Park - on the boat ride there, I was sure a T-rex was going to come blasting out of the jungle. And those birds flying - despite our knowledge of dinosaurs being extinct - that bird Nate and I saw sure looked like a pterodactyl. And this tour and Jose (our guide) and the animals. THE BEST EVER! Spider monkeys, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchin monkeys, toucans, macaws, scorpion, crocodile, baird tapir, sloth, frogs, coate, army ants, leaf cutter ants, and more...all in the wild...all amazing. We hiked about 8-9 miles. And dolphins on the way home!!!
*Rio Drake Farm - Edu and Sabrina have four rooms they rent out. It's rustic and it's AWESOME. Drake Bay is little village after little village. They are all self sustaining and grow much of what they eat! Edu's family has owned this property for 50 years. And only in the last 10 years was their power and running water. Crazy, right?! Think hammocks overlooking the ocean, beach walks, just serious chilling out here. This part of Costa Rica is very remote and very simple and beautiful. They really have it going on! And we loved learning about their culture and LOVED their food. And the animals. I mean - Basilisk lizards, caiman, birds galore, monkeys galore, turtles, crocs, crazy spiders, frogs....awesome. And May Beetles. Let's just say that we almost peed our pants laughing at dinner. They don't hurt you but at dusk they cause a ruckus!
*The Drake Bay locals threw this amazing turtle festival - two days of BBQ, community and turtle release at dusk. These turtles were 1 day old. This country works so hard to protect their land and nature and their animals. It's such a peaceful country. No zoos, no hunting, strong family connections....just Pura Vida (<-- <-- click that link). We loved it.
*We loved walking the beach, bird watching (scarlet macaws, toucans, parrots, pteradactyl look-a-likes, king fishers, cranes, so many), Nate's nightly hunts, playing with Julia and Liana (Edu and Sabrina's girls).
*New Friends. Always a cool part of travel! Annette, John, Adam and Rachel....we loved hanging with you!!
*Crazy taxi rides....and river crossings. You guys....the river crossings!!!!!!!! More to come!
*Audrey's fire ant incident. Let's just say she handled herself like a TROOPER! And she survived! Phew!
Ok - let's check out some pics!!! The rest of our trip will come in a later post!
Pineapple and watermelon smoothies! Yum!
But first, let's watch the pineapples grow!
Drake Bay Airport
Howler monkey in the Corcovado!
Todd might like to tell you about the spider in the shower 😂 😂
Leaf Katydid - so rad!
Red eye tree frog
Need a taxi in Osa? Here you go!!!
Todd made me take a pic of this BBQ - old wheel well!
Yes, there are occasionally crocs down there. And MAJOR basilisk lizards!
Ok - that's it for today.
Clearly this trip is going to require a few posts!
More to come!
And go to Osa if you have the chance!!!!