Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Video Taste of Costa Rica

The cold weather has been hitting here (below freezing at night), and my thoughts have been naturally drawn to the warmth of Costa Rica. I've been watching more videos and looking at more pictures on line and wishing so hard I was there! I picked out a couple of videos I took (wish I had taken more--next trip I will!) and thought I'd share them. Maybe they will help you to warm up, too!

First up are leaf cutter ants. They were so fun to watch because you could see their trails go on for quite a while marked by the vibrant green leaves they were carrying.


Now it's time for a beach at sunset. I believe this is Playa Pinuela, which is located between Uvita and Ojochal. Unlike the Central Coast of California, the surfers in Costa Rica don't need wetsuits. Can't wait to do some surfing on our upcoming trip in February!


Next is a 360 degree view of our property. It really doesn't do the view justice, but you'll get a good idea of the area. Sorry the sound isn't too good--the breeze was picked up by the microphone and it sounds louder than it should. Oh well! You can still hear the cicadas above the sound of the wind. The cicadas could get quite noisy.



And lastly, I taped some early morning sounds in Ojochal so that I would be able to listen anytime! The video is not meant to be watched as it's pretty dark--it was taken just as the sun was rising. Instead, turn up the volume, close your eyes, relax, and listen to the abundant wildlife! It's like a free trip to Costa Rica. :-)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Forbes Names Costa Rican Park One of World's Best

We're all familiar with Forbes' famous lists--they seem to have them for everything from "World's Wealthiest People" to "Most Unusual Places to Stay". This time they ranked the top 12 parks in the world, and one of our favorite parks made the list! It's Manuel Antonio Park, which is located on the Central Pacific side of Costa Rica, about an hour or so north of our property. (So when you come visit us, we'll have to take you there!)

Manuel Antonio Park. Picture from Forbes.com
Here's what Forbes had to say:
A century younger than Yosemite, the world’s first national park, Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s smallest national parks. Despite its size, it is also one of the country’s most popular national parks, thanks to its dazzling variety of sights: tropical rainforest, beaches and rocky headlands. Wildlife--including sloths, iguanas and squirrel monkeys--is abundant in the rainforest. Sports enthusiasts can indulge in everything from snorkeling and sea kayaking to horseback riding. (Quoted from Forbes.com)
Picture I took of an iguana on Manuel Antonio Beach
We visited Manuel Antonio park on our first trip to Costa Rica last December, and it was one of my favorite days. In fact, the background picture on this blog is from Manuel Antonio!  From the parking area, you walk through the rainforest to get to the beach, so we hired a guide to point out and explain the wildlife along the way.  We saw sloths (both 2 toed and 3 toed), monkeys, colorful caterpillars, many different bird varieties, iguanas, and amazing plant life as we made our way to the beach areas. The beaches (yes, there are more than one, each one better than the last one!) were pristine and some of the beaches had absolutely no one on them. 

One of the beaches at Manuel Antonio
It was a wonderfully relaxing way to spend a good part of the day. Below are some more pictures we took of the sights at Manuel Antonio--enjoy!  If you've been to Manuel Antonio, leave a comment about your favorite thing in the park.








Saturday, October 8, 2011

Win a Trip to Costa Rica!

Ready for a FREE vacation? You could win one of hundreds of trips being given away by the Costa Rica Tourist Board. AND you get to choose what type of vacation you'd like: Adventure, Romantic, Wildlife, Authentic, or Adrenaline. Here's a cute video from the promotion:



Here's the link to enter the contest: http://www.facebook.com/visitcostarica
Once there, click on the GIFT OF HAPPINESS link on the left side of the screen.

Good luck, but remember if you win, you just might have to take me with you!  :-)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

You Mean it's NOT an Island?

Too much Jurassic Park--that's my best guess as to why so many people think Costa Rica is an island. Personally, I haven't seen the movie (I know, how un-American!), but I've heard the story takes place on a fictional island off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. And I'm guessing somehow an island near Costa Rica became Costa Rica in everyone's mind. OR, it could be because everyone slept during their geography classes in school.

Either way, I feel very proud to have always known Costa Rica was not an island and was located somewhere in Central America. (Again, it could be because I haven't yet seen Jurassic Park and had my brain influenced.) I'm not saying I think any less of you if you thought until now that CR was an island. I'm sure there's a country or two out there that I have NO idea where they are or if they are islands or not.

Anyway, I thought I'd bring everyone up-to-date on the exact location of Costa Rica (Costa Rica is green):
And to make things a little easier relationally, here's a map that also includes the US. I've even got an arrow pointing towards CR so you can find it easily.
For those of you interested in a "geography lesson freebie", just to the south-east of the tail of the black arrow above are the Galapagos Islands (those little yellow blobs on the map). I really didn't have much of a clue where those were until my interest in Costa Rica picked up.

Ok, one last map. This is a close-up of Costa Rica, and I've put an arrow pointing to the approximate place where we will be living so you'll know where to go when you want to come visit us.  :-)


So I'm interested to find out if YOU thought CR was an island. I promise no one will laugh at you if you did (at least not very loudly). Please take the poll below--Thanks!

Did you think Costa Rica was an island?
Yes
No


  
pollcode.com free polls 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why Costa Rica?

Here is my non-exhaustive, no particular order, top 20 list of why Costa Rica has stolen our hearts:
Awww, how CUTE!
  1. The wildlife and discovering new animals, bugs, birds every day. You never know what you will see!
  2. The weather. I love that where we bought land, the average day-time temperature is in the 70s-80s with a slight cooling at night for good sleeping.
  3. No air conditioning needed. 
  4. No heater needed.
  5. No screened-in porches needed. 
  6. Living is done outside so you can enjoy the fresh air and sounds of the wildlife.
  7. The people. Costa Ricans (or Ticos) are known for their friendliness and laid-back ways.
  8. Cost of living is better than where we are.
  9. The rain forest. We will be living in the rain forest!
  10. The coffee.
  11. You need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get to our land.
  12. About 20% of the country is set aside as national parks or reserves.
  13. The beaches. Costa Rica has beaches on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, and unless you go to the tourist areas, many times you are the only one on the beach!
  14. Gallo pinto. The yummy rice and beans dish they serve.
  15. Even though the town we will be living in has all dirt roads, there are several restaurants there that rival any 5-star restaurant here, but NO chains or fast food!
  16. If we want chain restaurants, it's only an hour's drive north.
  17. Volcanoes!
  18. Red-eyed tree frogs--quite possibly my favorite animal.
  19. The abundance of outdoor activities--too many to list!
  20. Pura Vida--the good life, or the pure life. Ticos use that phrase similar to how Hawaiians use "aloha". It's not just a saying, it's a way of life.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sometimes it's a No-Brainer

We are back to entertaining the idea of leaving for Costa Rica in 2013. That is when our youngest enters high school--a perfect time for transition! (Although she doesn't think so.) My husband has been back to working mandatory 6 day work weeks with hold-over overtime on some of those days as well. Sure the paycheck looks great when it arrives, but my husband is not looking so great. Throw in his weird hours (he's been up at 3:30 am for the last few days) and driving to work (which is an hour away) in ground zero fog and he's a wreck. It wasn't such a problem in his younger days, but it is now. Personally I don't know how he functions on his limited amount of sleep. I think if I were him I would have moved us already.

So what's holding us back from making the decision? I think it boils down to kids and money. We have three girls, but the older two are old enough to be on their own. In fact, the oldest is on her own. However, our youngest DOES NOT want to move. Don't get me wrong, she loves Costa Rica, just doesn't want to live there. It's a friend thing. Sure, we could uproot her right now (and we've thought about it), but she has a way of making life miserable if she's not happy. All you parents of junior high kids know what I mean. We are still trying to decide which misery is worse! lol   Then the money. The longer Gary stays working, the better his retirement. It's scary to just call it quits and know that's it. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! PS--our youngest doesn't know we're considering the move in two years, so please don't tell  her!

So while we ponder what to do, why don't you enjoy this really cool song I came across yesterday that has quickly moved to my favorite. Here's the video:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My first post

This is my very first post on this blog. Even though I don't have any readers yet, I'm excited to start this journey. This is going to be a great place for me to keep information handy and sort through my thoughts on our upcoming move. Feel free to leave comments or helpful advice!