2023-02-06 To Costa Rica and Back With Love ❤️🌴🌺

I’ve started this post a few times now… first in the airport eight days ago and then again a few days later from the gym at the resort I was staying at. A beautiful place that lends itself more to passing hours relaxing and forgetting about the ins and outs of the day than it does spending time documenting the experience.

And how wonderful that was… the forgetting. The letting go of all responsibilities and obligations and just existing.. right there… in the moment. How easy it was and truly made me feel it should be more like this all the time. Everyday life. 

Now here I am, home for a day and coming to terms with Monday and my week and routines and all the lists I made for myself before I left so I could truly let go of it all in my mind. 

At this point… it’s 9AM and I’m getting my cardio and the lists themselves feel like a kind of evil, like if I open that notebook, it will be like opening Pandora’s box and I won’t be able to hold on to this free feeling I acquired on vacation.

I suppose in a way now that I’m back.. wanting to write this for posterity is also a procrastination tactic. So be it. 

I’m not going to go into great detail. And pictures speak for themselves anyhow.

Sunday Day 0.. Travel from Omaha to Costa Rica. A super early 4am start followed by two flights and a 3 hour drive to Nayara Gardens situated in the downward slope of the Arenal Volcano, dormant since 2010.

We arrived at 8 PM.. a few hours after sunset, and did a quick check in and change to make it to dinner at 8:30. It’s all a blur now. But it was the first of several meals at La Terraza.

After that I was so spent and melted into the bed in a way that’s hard to describe. 

Monday Day 1.. It was Jim’s idea to not schedule anything on our first day and just spend time getting a feel for the resort, restaurants, pools, and options. We found the gym and after that went back to La Terraza for our first buffet breakfast.

A delicious meal at a spot with a tropical garden/patio feel. After, we walked all over with the map in hand and I found I could not help but stop every minute or so to take pictures. It was so beautiful and ohhhh… the flowers!

We eventually made our way to the pool in the adults only section of the resort—A nice spot in the shade. We were quickly greeted by a person offering drinks and food.

I could have spent hours at that spot… just sitting and thinking about nothing at all. Lots of people watching opportunities with little dips in the pool in between. I barely even cracked the one book I brought.

I’m not sure how long we stayed, with time being a blur like it does, but we eventually made our way back to our room to talk about our plan for the week and get ready for dinner. 

That second dinner was at Asia Luna. As one might guess, Asian fusion cuisine. For the record, all my dietary restrictions went out the window on vacation (as it should be) so I enjoyed as much of what the resort had to offer as possible.

After dinner we went back to the room and despite the full day of not doing much, I found myself exhausted again and ready to just chill and watch a show… which is what we did most nights after dinner as there was not much evening entertainment to be had. I wasn’t sad about it. 

Tuesday Day 2.. An early-ish wake-up to make it to breakfast before our 8:15 departure to the zip line excursion we had booked. I’ve zip lined a few times before but Jim had not. It was exhilarating at the start, but by the end we both agreed we didn’t need to do that again. Not because it was scary, just because it didn’t feel that fun. But check it off the list anyhow.

There was a 20 minute shuttle bus ride back to the result and I gobbled a quick lunch (leftovers from the previous day’s lunch) and headed solo for the spa. I had booked myself the Signature Nayara spa package which was a massage followed by a facial. It was done at a private space outside and quite honestly was the best massage experience of my life.

From start to finish, just perfect and if there’s one experience I had on this trip that I would absolutely recommend (and do again if I ever went back), that would be it!

When it was over I wandered back to the room and it was nearing the time to get cleaned up and dressed for dinner. This time we went to the Nostalgia wine bar for tasting and tapas. Great wine + great food = a wonderful night.

Wednesday Day 3.. We had another early breakfast and another excursion planned. This time it was a 7 hour tour including a visit to the hanging bridges park and the waterfall with lunch at a local place just outside La Fortuna. 

We saw a lot of cool stuff and got some great pictures. Too many pictures! 😂

Three Toed Sloth
Bee Hives
Eyelash Pit Viper
One of 7 Hanging Bridges
Mot Mot

We arrived back at the resort mid/late afternoon and I honestly can’t remember what we did then. Nap maybe?

We had an early-ish dinner at 6:30 at the fine dining restaurant, Amir Loco. We were seated at one of several cozy two person loveseats facing a stage at the front of the room. There was a woman singing songs in English and Spanish. It was all Very romantic.

Another early dinner meant an early return to our room with a pretty relaxing evening. Did I mention we had a deck with a little private pool outside our door? All the little pavilions are individual guest/couple buildings separated by large tropical trees and plants for maximum privacy.

These pics were obviously taken at some point during the day.

Zooming in…. That’s our view of the Arenal Volcano! Yowza!!

Thursday Day 4.. Also our 3rd Wedding Anniversary.

We did not have anything planned for the morning and just wanted to have another super relaxing day like the first day.

We spent most of the time walking around and found a lovely hiking path after breakfast. I really could not stop taking pictures at every turn at this resort. So many strange and beautiful plants.

We eventually made our way back to the same pool as the first day and that’s where we had lunch and more cocktails.

Our dinner that night was a romantic private 4 course meal. It was super swank and a nice way to celebrate our anniversary. Cheers to hopefully many more.

Friday Day 5.. We had a fine morning with another hike on the same trail we found the day before. We also had our last buffet breakfast as we were set to travel back to San Jose in the afternoon. Such a sad thing… to pack everything up to leave when I really didn’t want to. Saying goodbye to our little private bungalow was tough…

But we had another super early flight the next morning and didn’t want to do that crazy drive in the middle of the night. It wasn’t scary, just a super twisty road that kind of made me feel a little ill after being on it for over 2 hours.

And so it was that we left right around lunchtime and made our way to the big city where we checked into a different hotel for the night. We were on the 14th floor with quite a view.

We had dinner in the hotel restaurant and watched while the sun went down. Pretty cool.

I fell asleep super early.. like 8pm which was ok because we had to get up at 3:30AM to head for the rental car return and airport.

Saturday day 6.. I actually woke up at 3. We both did. So we just packed what little we’d unpacked and checked out.

It was another long travel day and we went through customs in Dallas. The quickest and easiest experience I’ve ever had. No waiting and everything was done with facial recognition. We had to physically have our passports but that part of the process didn’t require any show/scan of it for verification. Wow times have changed!!

It was so wonderful to get home with a few hours left in the evening to just unpack, relax, and  catch up with the kids

So that was it. A great trip!! Not quite long enough as I would have enjoyed a few more days of that freedom. And a few more days after to continue to feel it while relaxing in the comfort of my own home. But alas… it’s probably time to crack open those to-do lists. 

Cheers to Capturing the Moments for Posterity, 

~Miss SugarCookie

PS..Just a few bonus snaps of birds we saw on and off the resort..

PPS.. Some of these pics, like this last one, were taken with a technique that pairs using binoculars or a sporting scope with the iPhone to get super close and clear images. I mean… we were never really that close to the deadly eyelash pit viper. 🐍😜

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