Post card beaches, delicious wholesome food, picturesque country homes. These are some of the many treasures woven into the fabric of Costa Rica, my birth country.
In this post I will share some highlights from our recent trip. I had great fun with my Canon DSLR T6 and my iPhone attempting to capture some of the local essence.
I won’t bore you with tons of textbook data but I would be remiss to not mention some boast-worthy facts of this rainforested tropical paradise that is Costa Rica (translated as Rich Coast).
Often referred to as the Switzerland of Latin America, Costa Rica abolished its military in 1948 and has since pioneered a culture of peace.
Costa Rica has long carried more than its weight in protecting nature and the vitality of the future. More than 98% of its energy is renewable and a quarter of the country’s land has been converted into protected parks and reserves. With a detailed decarbonization plan, this small country is setting a template for a cleaner, greener world.
Flora and Fauna
Our kids were in heaven with all the animals they had longed to see in “real” life and were now face to face with them. Our youngest, an iguana fanatic, was ecstatic when he saw his first iguana casually cross in front of him at the Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center we visited. This place is something to see if you ever get a chance to visit. They are doing great work to rehabilitate and reintroduce wildlife into their natural habitats.
Exotic wildlife is common throughout the landscape of Costa Rica. You can visit National Parks and Reserves where you’ll likely encounter sloths, monkeys, toucans, tapirs and more.
Even this little guy was a treat to watch eating his snack when we stopped for lunch one day at a mountain-side restaurant.
If you’re planning on heading to the Capital, San Jose, Chagos Restaurant, about a 40 minute drive from the city center, is one of our favorite spots for good Costa Rican fare in a serene, natural backdrop. The drive alone is wonderfully scenic and the restaurant is the ultimate destination.
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.”– Buddha
For anyone who loves nature and gardening, Costa Rica is a feast for the senses. Fertile soil, abundant rain, and God’s artistic hand all work together to create the most beautiful floral and nature scenes.
Hydrangeas, called Hortensias in Costa Rica, seem to grow like weeds. Imagine a winding drive through the mountains where the streets are lined with bushes of hydrangeas in hues of lavender, violet, pink and white and vibrantly colored bouganvillea spilling over fence lines.
From rainforests, to volcanos, to coastlines of beautiful beaches, Costa Rica has it all. I’m probably sounding like an infomercial here, but Costa Rica is truly a gem of natural resources and wonder. Surely it has its downsides too, but overall this country is quite unique in everything it has to offer.
Taking a day off from makeup and hair is soothing and freeing when your surrounded by the beauty of the forest.
Let's Talk Food!
I love food. I grew up in a culture where everything revolves around meals. What we’re eating. When we’re eating. Who is coming to eat. And luckily for the amount of eating that we do, there is a good balance between wholesomeness and how food is prepared.
Being an agricultural country, Costa Rica is rich in food sources. It is not uncommon to see mango, avocado, cacao and other fruit-bearing trees in neighborhoods and parks. There is affordable access to healthy, fresh produce. Grass-fed, free-ranging dairy and cattle farms are pervasive throughout the country.
When you go out to eat, ask for a list of available fruit juices. The server will name off a long list of all the delicious fruit of the day. Costa Ricans love fresh fruit in water or milk smoothies with their meals, yum!
Now that I’ve hopefully made your mouth water, it’s time to head to the beach for some well-deserved scenic pampering.
If there’s one thing that Costa Rica has an abundance of are beaches. From large wave surfing beaches on the Caribbean side, to dark sand, white sand, shells instead of sand, touristy and primitive, the choices for fun in the sun seem endless.
During our days at the beach I made it a point to challenge myself to daily walks up the mountain in the complex where we were staying. Exercise in general is a good thing. Having Lyme, exercise is vital in keeping your body functioning and pain-free.
The road up the villas complex was so steep that a few steps and I was already feeling short of breath. But each day I pushed myself to make it to the top. I knew the prize of this exquisite view would be waiting for me.
I do have to confess that I’m not a beach fanatic or at least compared to the rest of my family. My husband and kids could camp out all day in the heat and sun!
I personally love soaking in the views and the sounds from a comfortable, ideally non-sandy spot. I also enjoy the beach in just the right doses.
During our trip, early mornings walks were heavenly— the air was crisp, the sand was cool and I got to play with my camera well before the crowds set in. As the day awakens and all its creatures begin their bustle, it is a treat to capture life through the lens— washed up plants imprinted in the sand, a swimmer getting in some morning laps, or lounge chairs eagerly awaiting sunbathers.
Alas our stay at the beach must come to an end and we head back to San Jose before wrapping up our trip.
And so to finish this post I’ve left my favorite topic for last and that is the joy of observing the beauty in the design and aesthetic of the quaint, simple, old homes of this amazing country.
Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness. - Frank Gehry
I am fiercely drawn to the timeless details inherent in older homes. In Costa Rica, especially in rural homes and farmhouses, you will find color used boldly and beautifully.
Wood-paneled homes painted in pastels with vibrant-colored trim and ornate, hand-made tiles and doors are characteristic features that run through the architectural veins of classic homes that still stand strong today.
I hope that you have enjoyed touring Costa Rica with me. What do you think and do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below. And now I’ll leave you with a few more views from the trip. Be well my friends!