Sunday, September 3
Jeff and I were in Quebec City for my Color Vibe event so we were up very early. The event went really well and then we cleaned up and headed to the airport. We dropped my coworkers off and then went to Taco Bell because our flight was a little later. After Taco Bell we went back to the airport and luckily we got there early because our bag drop and security took FOREVER. Eventually we got through and were able to chill for a bit before boarding. We had a layover in Montreal and we had to sprint to our next gate. We had to go through security again and customs but we made it to our gate before they had even started boarding. We had a long flight from Montreal to LA. Then we chilled in the Sky Club for about an hour. They had the greatest snacks! Little to-go things of grapes, yogurt, chips and salsa, veggies, salads. It was awesome! Our flight started boarding at 11:45pm so we headed over and I passed out almost immediately. I think I slept the entire flight. I was dead. Ha
Monday, September 4
We landed around 7am and customs was quick. We got our bags and went to National Car Rental and this guy gave us a sticker that said Emerald Club and then he took us to another guy and he drove us to the car rental facility. We used some of my free days and then we paid for full coverage protection since we weren't sure how the roads were. Once all of the paperwork was filled out, we headed out! Our first stop was Monteverde. We started the 4 hour drive but we were hungry and we needed a car charger so we stopped at a gas station and got the charger and then we found a McDonalds. We tried to order two sausage egg mcmuffins and we got ham egg mcmuffins but whatever, we were killing it. Once we officially got on the road, we hit our first toll. Once we got there we realized we had no cash at all. I found $2 in my bag but that was it. I didn't think we'd need cash that quickly so we hadn't gotten any yet so fun tip for Costa Rica, get money out or at least have USD on you. Our first toll was fine because we had a dollar but the next toll was $3 and we didn't have it. So they started having the traffic back up so we could get out of the line but the lovely truck driver behind us paid for us! It was awesome! After the second toll, we looked up the nearest bank so we could go get some money out but we tried 2 different banks and Jeff wasn't able to get money out so we went to a third and luckily I was able to get some out! THEN we were finally back on the road. The drive was gorgeous! Green EVERYWHERE. It was beautiful! The road into Monteverde was TERRIBLE. It was a good thing we had a 4x4 because there were potholes, giant rocks, straight up holes, etc. it was such a bumpy ride. We arrived in Monteverde around 12:30pm and we couldn't check in to our Airbnb yet so we parked there and then chilled on the balcony for a minute and bought some groceries at the mart next door. We got supplies for peanut butter and honey sandwiches and then this SUPER good fruit drink called Nectar Mixto de Frutas. Then we made sandwiches and waited for our zipline tour to come pick us up. They came around 1:30pm and we headed to the ziplines! When we got there we got all of our gear on. There were two girls from Germany and a man from Spain in our group. They were super friendly. Our guides spoke very little English and didn't have much of a sense of humor so we talked mostly with the people in our group. The guides wouldn't let us record us ziplining which was super frustrating. They wanted us to buy their pictures which weren't good at all. They sent Jeff and I together on a really long zipline so we ended up filming that one ha totally worth it! It was beautiful! There were 14 ziplines, a rappel, a Tarzan swing, and some hikes in between. The Tarzan swing was a blast!! We saw these beautiful blue butterflies and monkeys! The last two ziplines were Superman style and the second to last one was way fun! The last one sucked. They said we could record ourselves on this one but come to find out it's only like 50 meters long and you go through a dark tunnel. So stupid. But other than that the tour was fun! After we went ziplining, we got to go the bungee jump! We had two guides with us and both of their names were Danny. One spoke very good English and the other not so much. The one that spoke English was hilarious. He made it way fun! We went out on this little metal cable cart to the middle of this valley. It was CRAZY. We were just suspended there by a few cables. Seemed so sketchy. And if that wasn't enough, mist came in everywhere as we were up there! Jeff jumped first because I won rock, paper, scissors and watching him jump was crazy! He was lost in the mist. Once they reeled him back up, it was my turn. Right as I got to the edge, the mist parted. I didn't know if I liked that it did that or not haha and then Danny counted me down and I jumped. You jump between two of the cables holding the cart up so I was nervous I'd hit one ha I didn't. The jump was a blast! The part I hated was hanging there afterwards. You're upside down and the blood is rushing to your head and it feels like your eyes are going to pop. But then they send the cable down and once you latch it to your harness, they pull you right side up ha but for those moments you're hanging upside down, it isn't fun. Haha as they were pulling me up, the mist returned ha it was overall super fun! They had strapped a GoPro to the helmet we were wearing so we watched those videos and it was seriously the most unflattering angle ever. But of course we bought them. We always do. Then we headed back to the Airbnb. Once we got back, we were able to check in and then we chilled in our room for a while and then we walked through the town to find a good restaurant. We stopped and bought some bracelets at a little shop and then we went to eat at Taco Taco. It was the cutest little place. We sat at the bar and I ordered a Mango Madness drink and a quesadilla. They deliver the food through a little crate that comes up from the floor. It was awesome ha while we were waiting for our food, Jeff leans over to me and says I think a moth just landed on me can you see it? And he turns around a A BEETLE is on him. Not just any normal beetle. It was easily the size of an egg. IT WAS HUGE. I made a scene. I shrieked and stood up and stepped back and Jeff kept saying get it off and I hit it with my phone but it was clenching on to Jeff's shirt so tightly! Oh my gosh I was dying. It was a beetle from nightmares. A guy ended up taking Jeff outside and getting the beetle off of him and then explaining the different things about the beetle ha I was dying. So after that fiasco the whole restaurant was staring at me. Then our food arrived :) haha my quesadilla was way good! It was refried beans in it and they gave me chipotle sour cream to dip it in. Super good! After we ate, we headed back to our Airbnb and then watched some weird Spanish channel and then went to bed.
Tuesday, September 5
We were planning on waking up at 7 but I couldn't haha I was dead. So we finally got up and ate breakfast at the place and we were on the road by 8:45am ha we had a 3 hour drive to Arenal Volcano. This drive was amazing. The road out of Monteverde was also terrible but not as long. We could see the Arenal Volcano from almost the minute we left! It was amazing! About 2 hours in we hit Arenal Lake (the largest lake in Costa Rica). But we had to drive around it which took a while ha we were supposed to rent kayaks from Arenal Kayaks but apparently that company doesn't exist so we kept driving and eventually we hit the dam and there was a man off to the side of the road manning a fruit stand and we rented kayaks from him! One hour for $20 a person. And we were right at the base of the Volcano (well as close as you can get). So we kayaked out onto the lake and we were headed for this island out in the lake but my vision was spotty. I could feel a migraine coming on so I just laid down in the kayak and we chilled and stared at the Volcano. It was super nice and relaxing! We were pretty far out so we had to row ourselves back and it was rough for me. My head felt like it was going to explode at any minute. But we made it back and gave the nice man his life jackets back and then I laid down in the car as Jeff drove us to our next Airbnb. We were supposed to go to the Tabacon Hot Springs (natural hot springs from the Volcano) but I was dying so we went straight to the Airbnb. I fell asleep on the drive and then when we got to the place, they were still cleaning it but they finished up real quick. Jeff walked me in there and I thought I was dying. He got me a cold rag and I put it over my eyes and I fell asleep for a good two hours. But when I woke up it was still there so we turned on Friends, ate some Ramen soup from the store that Jeff went to and I put the sheet over my head and just listened to Friends going in and out of sleep.
Wednesday, September 6
We woke up around 7:45 and I felt awful. There was still a remaining headache and it hurt if I coughed or laughed. We ate some cereal that Jeff had purchased from the store and then we went to La Fortuna waterfall. We were some of the first people there. It was $15 a person and we had to walk down 500 stairs to get to it. Once we got there, we walked around taking pictures and waded in a little bit but I got a whistle blown at me for going too far ha and then we started the trek back up the stairs. It was hard for me ha but we made it! And then we got in the car and drove 5 hours to Manuel Antonio National Park. I slept for a lot of the drive. Once we got there around 2:15pm, we paid $16 a person to get it and they told us they close at 4 so we didn't have much time. When you walk in, you walk along this road and then there's a waterfall trail to your left and if you walked a little further, you'll hit the sloth trail. We took the sloth trail and we saw a TON of monkeys! Unfortunately no sloths but tons of howler monkeys! They were making barking noises and they sounded like dogs. They were so cute! The trail leads to Playa Manuel Antonio. So after the trail, we went to the beach! It was BEAUTIFUL. We dropped our bags and got in! As we were swimming, I look over and there's an animal getting into our bags so we run out to see if it's a monkey (hoping it's a monkey) and it's a raccoon! It had unzipped all of the pockets on our bags and was rifling through everything! I had a scare it away with a giant palm tree leaf. So we hung our stuff up in a tree and went swimming for a little bit longer but then we packed up and headed back. On the trail back we saw bats, these weird giant rat looking things, more monkeys, and a bunch of lizards but still no sloths! So sad. The second we got in the car it started pouring! We had to drive about an hour and a half to our next Airbnb and it poured the entire drive there. It was a crazy storm! But our Airbnb lady wasn't there when we arrived so we went and found food at Pizza La Formuga and I got spaghetti. It was only okay. I should stick with food from here ha during dinner a lady played her guitar and sang to us in Spanish (we were the only ones there haha) and it was fun! After dinner, we headed back to the Airbnb and we got into our cabin. It was so cool! It was an A frame cabin right on the beach! It was a pretty little area! Except the road to it is full of potholes! We watched Friends on my phone for a bit but then I passed out hard. I've been so sleepy on this trip, it's ridiculous.
Thursday, September 7
We woke up around 7:15 and cleaned up our stuff and had some cereal and then we met at Bahia Adventures at 8am (right down the road from our Airbnb) for our whale watching tour! Once we got there we signed the paperwork and got our life vests and then we did this big caravan down to the beach with all of our cars. We parked right off the beach and then walked over as a giant tractor towed our boat into the water. On our walk over we saw a bunch of macaws! They are such beautiful birds. Once we were on the boat, we headed over to the "whale tail" peninsula to see if we could see anything. Right away we saw about six dolphins! They came right up by the boat! Ugh I LOVE dolphins. We watched them and followed them for a while and then we went to find whales. It didn't take long before we found a mom and her baby! They were so cute and man are whales cool!! They are so big, it's insane. We watched the mom and her baby arch their backs out of the water for a while but then we moved on. We drove pretty far away from shore and the ride was thrilling! The captain was catching air! We were flying. It was a blast! After we'd been driving for a while, a baby whale BREACHED right in front of us!! It jumped out of the water a good ten times! I'd never seen a whale breach before and it is an incredible experience. We waited for the mom to do it but she didn't. We headed out after the baby stopped jumping and we saw sea turtles and a couple more whales. Then we were able to swim for a minute so Jeff and I jumped in. The water is extremely warm! It's amazing. Then we went to a little cove where they had some caves. It was beautiful. We took pictures and then we made our way back. After getting off the boat, we walked through Uvita and we ate at this place called Las Esferas. I had THE BEST chicken nachos ever. They were incredible! We also got passion fruit mango smoothies. It was a fantastic meal. Then we tried to barter for a shirt with this lady but she wasn't budging so we left. The motion sickness pills we had taken made me super drowsy so as Jeff drove 2.5 hours to the Osa Peninsula, I slept. Ha I'm useless. Once we arrived, we checked in to our cabin on the beach. It was very quaint :) Waleska was an incredible host. She was super friendly! Her dog Luna kept biting us playfully but it definitely hurt ha When we got there it was just lightly raining so we walked down to the beach and walked in the water and collected seashells and then we went back to our cabin, showered and chilled for a minute and then we drove to a restaurant close by called Pearl of the Osa. It was pouring rain so nobody was out. I swear the whole country shuts down when it rains ha the restaurant was closing in an hour so they told us we could order if we ate quickly so we both got Gloria's Burrito and they brought it out fairly quickly and I paid right away and then we ate. It wasn't super great. It had a LOT of mole on it and I don't love mole. After we were done eating we headed back to the cabin and went to bed. Another thing about Costa Rica is it gets dark SUPER early. The sun goes down at like 5:30pm this time of year. It's crazy!
Friday, September 8
We tried sleeping in but the sun woke us up at 7am. We laid there for an hour and then Waleska made us breakfast. It was awesome. She had grown all of the fruit she cut up and she had fresh grapefruit juice that she had just gotten the grapefruit from her garden. We had the typical Costa Rican breakfast. Fruit, eggs, rice and beans. They have rice and beans with EVERYTHING. That and some fruit and some type of meat. We ate in Waleska's house and she had an amazing view of the ocean. After we ate we said our goodbyes and then packed the car. We went down to the beach again to get some more seashells because I decided I was going to attempt to make a wind chime when we got back because Waleska had one and it was so cute! Once we left, we drove 3 hours to Nauyaca Waterfalls entrance. Jeff ran inside and paid while I FaceTimed my mom and asked about Sophie. Once Jeff paid, we drove 2K down a winding gravel road and then we parked and started the hike. It was 4K in to the waterfall. It was super muddy and it rained the whole time but it was beautiful and so much fun! When we got to the waterfall we were soaked the second we stepped in sight of it because of the rain and mist. We went to the lower falls first and decided that swimming wasn't the greatest idea since the river current was so strong. So then we went to the upper falls and hung out and then headed back. We only saw one other couple for like two seconds the entire time. So we basically had it all to ourselves and it was awesome! Once we got back to the car we headed to San Jose which was about 3 hours away. It started POURING like the second we drove off and it got dark pretty quickly after we left as well. The traffic was AWFUL. I got accustomed to driving in Costa Rica so I was passing people constantly. When you pass, you put your blinker on and then your brights on. The lines honestly don't mean a thing. The drive was long and tiring but we finally got to San Jose and before heading to our hotel we stopped by Taco Bell and grabbed some food. Then we headed to the hotel and our GPS led us to this super sketchy spot in San Jose and it didn't make sense because we couldn't see our hotel so I kept on missing the turn and we'd have to circle around again. We did this three times. And each time we had to drive down this really sketchy road full of homeless people and drug dealers. Seriously. It was so scary. We turned down the road that Google maps was telling us to and it was a dead end and there were no ways to turn around except this tiny driveway so I had to maneuver into the driveway and turn around and all the while, these homeless people are standing right outside our doors watching. I was nervous but I was also pissed because we weren't finding the hotel. So I went to my email and clicked on the location in the email and it started directing us to another spot so we were hopeful. But then we got there and we were in the center of downtown and there was no hotel to be seen! They had stop signs at every intersection as well as lights so I had no idea which one I should follow and there were a bunch of one way roads. We were so lost. We called the hotel and the girl hardly spoke English so she was useless. Finally I just pulled over and zoomed out on maps and found the street that the hotel was supposed to be on according to the address and just drove to it and the hotel was there. I was pissed at maps. Why couldn't it find the hotel?!?! Ugh. But we made it and the parking was a gated lot with security so I immediately felt safer. Once we got checked in, we went to our room and I showered immediately. I instantly felt better. Then I heated my Taco Bell up in the microwave and ate while watching a soccer game. Then we went to bed.
Saturday, September 9
We had to meet down in the lobby at 5:50am for our river rafting tour so we packed up and headed down a little early to see if we could leave our car parked at the hotel while we were gone. The night before we asked but they said we had to ask the next morning and they said we would probably have to pay but the people the next morning were so nice and they let us do it for free. The people in Costa Rica don't have much of a sense of humor but they are definitely nice. Anyway, our tour guide came and picked us up and his name was Rey. He was awesome! We were in a bus with 13 other people and we had to drive an hour and 45 minutes to the tour company restaurant and they fed us breakfast (rice, beans, fruit, omelet, toast) and then we drove 20 minutes to the river. On the drive, Rey asked who had been rafting before and jeff and I were the only ones in our van. When we got to the river, Rey came up to us and said that we were going to be in his raft. He was very strategic about who he put in his raft. Apparently we looked like professional rafters because all of the other guides thought that we were guides as well haha they said it was because we looked the part. We had chacos, a dry bag, and I had my hiking shorts on ha that's it. We grabbed helmets, paddles, and life jackets and then put sunscreen on and Rey led us to his raft. He had chosen two couples from Costa Rica and a lesbian couple from Canada for his raft. Our raft was so great! Everyone was so friendly and fun. We got in and Rey put Jeff and I at the front as the leaders. We had to follow his orders on when to paddle and we had to be in sync so the rest of the raft could follow. Lots of pressure ha then we started down the river. It was so much fun!! Rey was hilarious and he was a very talented rafter so we were able to experience a lot in the rapids! We surfed the rapids multiple times, go under waterfalls, get out and swim, we hit class 1-4 rapids. It was so much fun. After the run, we got in the van and they took us back to the restaurant and fed us lunch. It was really good! Chicken, rice, beans, spaghetti, salad, fried plantains, and this little coconut ball for dessert. We went in with the rest of our raft to buy the pictures that the company took so they were really cheap! Then we tipped Rey 10,000 colones and we got confused about with conversion so we accidentally tipped him way too much ha but he deserved it. It's 570 colones = $1 :) after lunch they drove us back to our hotel and we walked to a nearby souvenir shop and got all of our souvenirs quickly before the sun went down because we hated San Jose at night ha right when we got in our car to head to the Airbnb, it started pouring ha great timing! The Airbnb was about 50 minutes out of San Jose in Alajuela. We got there and this little Costa Rican lady greeted us and apparently she was the neighbor of our host but he wasn't there at the moment. She didn't speak any English at all. She had her umbrella with her and she went to Jeff's door first and he had his rain jacket on so he kept trying to tell her to come shield me from the rain but she kept pulling him out of the car so I just told him to go and then I got out of the car (my rain jacket was packed away) and the lady came running to me and started pushing me up the stairs haha she was tiny so I had to weirdly bend backwards in order to fit hahaha it was hilarious. Once she got us inside she gave Jeff a towel to dry off and then we said gracias and she walked away saying con mucho gusto over and over again ha I loved her. She was so adorable. Our Airbnb was super nice! Except we could not figure out the shower! Jeff ran and got pizza and while he did that I tried to shower. I couldn't figure out how to turn the water on so I ended up taking a sink/cup shower. I washed my hair and shaved my legs in the sink and then I stood in the shower and poured cups of water from the sink on myself as I washed my body ha it was rough. Ha right when I finished Jeff was back with pizza! And we turned on the TV and Miss Congeniality was on! So we ate pizza and watched the movie :) and listened to the rain outside. It was lovely. Then we went to bed.
Sunday, September 10
We woke up at 6:30am and packed the car. Our host, William, lived below where we stayed and he was outside. We chatted for a bit and petted his adorable border collie and then we headed out. We filled up the car and then dropped it off and they shuttled us to the airport. We got through security super quickly and then jeff bought a shirt. We got to our gate right when they were boarding so it was perfect :) we were in Delta Comfort which was super nice. First on the upgrade list but no seats in first class available ha I've become such a travel snob because of Color Vibe. Ha on the flight, I watched Gifted. And a couple other movies. Jelly and Brian picked us up from the airport and took us to my moms house to get Sophie. It was such a fun trip!