Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Rest of Costa Rica

After waffles, Sunday was a lazy day spent by the pool, enjoying the animals around the property and a massage at the on-site spa.
Our second meal at Ostra (I spared Brian one meal without picture taking) was just as delicious as I remembered from last year. The chef's signature tuna ceviche was impeccable, the cucumber/tofu gazpacho refreshing, the salmon delightful and the 60/80 chocolate dessert with orange sorbet amazing.
Of course, the highlight of Sunday was watching the Kansas City Royals clinch the World Series!! We did our best to celebrate from afar.
On Monday we rented a car and drove down to Tamarindo (which is where I first visited in Costa Rica for a surf camp with my friend Stef) for some shopping and beach-going (middle photos). It was as beautiful as I remembered but has developed a lot since I'd last visited. We also went to Playa Avellana (pictured top and bottom), which was an interesting dirt-road drive and great for surfer watching.
Tuesday was our last full day and we spent it by the pool - swimming, reading, beer drinking perfection. We had the adults-only pool to ourselves all day and then walked down to the beach for a little while. After showers, we went to our one scheduled activity for the day - an arepas cooking class. Just corn flour, water and salt, we made a bunch and the cook fried them up and served them with fresh guacamole and pico. The chef was impressed with Brian's perfectionist technique and asked if he cooked at home. They weren't too bad but we made enough for a small army.
It was a wonderful trip, full of lots of relaxing. Pura Vida! Thanks for stopping by and hope you find yourself relaxing somewhere soon.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Chilling in Costa Rica

If you know me, you'd know that I rarely visit the same place more than once, unless the place contains people I love. While Costa Rica lacks any people I know personally, it is full of wonderful people, food, scenery, and animals with an undercurrent of calm. Nothing is hurried, you just let go and see where each day takes you. My last trip a year ago was solo, but this time around Brian Beard came along, so we stayed at the same resort so he could see it too. Since I have been too busy relaxing, I bring you half the week in review today.

Sights from around the resort: a coati on our balcony (who we've also observed stealing sugar packets from the breakfast tables in the morning), Brian in the pool, Costa Rican sashimi - tuna and fresh mango, and a plumeria bush.
On Friday morning we waited a while for our ATV tour guide to pick us up at the hotel. Then they told us that the tour had been booked for a different day but that they were on their way and we'd still go, 90 minutes later than planned. As an apology, they offered to buy us lunch after our tour at a 'soda'.

Our tour was a lot of fun, we rode through villages, rivers and back alleys. While we didn't get as dirty as the brochure indicated, I still had a smudged face when we were done. We headed to lunch after two hours of riding, and had a delicious meal of local fare. It started pouring on the little tin shack when we were about halfway through our meal. During a small break in the rain, we made a mad dash to the car and were driven back to the hotel.
That evening, we took a mixology class. The bartender explained all elements of making drinks and each person presented a cocktail selection of their choice and he showed them how they could change some of the main ingredients to make something else they might like. Shockingly, I made my own suggestion to make a blackberry/basil/black pepper mojito and he went along with it. Brian made a variation of a Manhattan.
Saturday was wide open for fun and relaxation. We played in the pool and lounged on the beach, took pictures of hermit crabs, and ate yummy tomato/cucumber salads.

Saturday was also Halloween, which isn't really celebrated here but they make an effort for the tourists. I enjoyed the pine-o-lantern (one of many cute decorations at the bar) and the custom cocktail menu, featuring libations that had dry ice in the bottom. As we walked to dinner, we watched the monkeys swinging in the shadows overhead, which is what I am pointing to in the upper right-hand corner.
Watching the sun set over the cove - the colors are unreal.

Thanks for stopping by!