We’re home! The trip was, in a word, wonderful. WondROUS. We had the best time. There was one whole afternoon where we were hiking through the nature trails overlooking this amazing ocean vista that the two of us just kept saying, “I’m so happy.” and “This has worked out so well.” and “I’m so glad we’re here.” over and over, because we were, and it did, and we were.
Dan and I are not really travelers. Given the choice between jetting off to a foreign city or watching Locked Up Abroad reruns on the couch, we’ll almost always choose the latter. So this trip to Costa Rica was kind of out of character for us, and I think our friends and family seemed evenly split between “you’ll have a great time,” and “this is SO not your thing.” I planned the entire trip more or less on my own, spending countless hours scouring the internet for information about where to stay and how to get there in a country neither of us knew really a single thing about, except that it seemed like it was a world away. (This is actually not true as Costa Rica is closer to us than Seattle, a city we have family and friends in and have thus been to, but it’s Costa Rica! It borders Nicaragua and Panama! It seems like it should be farther.)
I wrote up a whole big long overly-detailed post about the trip but then I realized the only people who’d ever be interested in that much detail are Dan and I, to remember, so here are some of the highlights:
* Hiked up to an active volcanic crater. Totally breathtaking, figuratively and literally (elevation: 8885 feet!).
* Used a Costa Rican ATM to secure local currency. Dan ran out surprised it was working to find out how much to get. Everything there is priced in thousands because the exchange rate is roughly 500 colones to $1, so like, our bank account said we had nearly 3 million available and I thought it was an error until I realized it was saying 3 million colones.
* Tried a bunch of awesome Costa Rican snack foods procured from a supermercado. I love Costa Rican snack foods. Actually, I pretty much loved Costa Rican food in general – tons of black beans, rice, and cilantro, some of my favorite food items.
* Monkeys EVERYWHERE. Not as much up north, but at Manual Antonio. Monkeys on roofs and in trees and on the beach and ON OUR DECK. A troop of somewhere between 10-15 monkeys (it was nearly impossible to count) visited us one morning, climbed all over our furniture, the railings, the grill, peered in our windows, and tried to steal the plate of pineapple we had been enjoying. By the end of the trip, I got almost casual about it, like, oh, there’s a monkey over there, so back to what we were talking about…
* I broke my personal rule about not swimming in bodies of water where I can not see the bottom. Dan got me into the ocean. It was ridiculously fun.
* Our room in Manual Antonio had the most amazing view either of us had ever seen. If we weren’t out, we were sitting on the balcony. Speaking of which, Costa Rica is humid. People say Atlanta is humid, but now that I have been to Costa Rica, I laugh at those people. Costa Rica was so humid that even when it wasn’t even hot out (as in, 65 degrees or so), your skin would be covered in a layer of sweat and your clothes were damp just from the air. I have been here when the weather claims it’s “100% humidity” – not even close to this.
* The homemade corn tortillas we had for breakfast at the hotel near Poas may have completed my life. I can no longer consume storebought ones and fear I need to learn how to make my own now.
* Hiking on the nearly unused nature trails at the resort (which we loved more than the national park ones, just as much nature with none of the crowds), we came upon one of the gardeners, the men who designed the trails. He very excitedly led Dan scrambling down a cliff face to preview a new trail he was making that showed off yet another stunning ocean/rainforest cliffside vista. How many vistas can one place have? Manuel Antonio’s answer is A LOT.
This was easily the best vacation either of us has ever taken, and we both are hoping we get to go back. And it felt restorative, like upon returning home we both feel a little like ourselves, before, even though Amy’s existence is so much woven now into the fabric of who I am. I feel lighter. And that is very nice, indeed.