Carpe Run

Seizing the day (and the run) one day and mile at a time!

Pura Vida! Our Costa Rican Vacation

on December 29, 2012

We traveled to Costa Rica last week for 8 days and it was absolutely fabulous!  I will admit I was a little nervous about how rusty my Spanish is and what we would encounter there but I was ready for an adventure, and Costa Rica delivered!  Ben’s Dad and his wife and his Aunt and Uncle who have been to Costa Rica numerous times and are starting to build a house there this summer joined us and it was truly wonderful.  Since Ben and I arrived a few days early, we stayed at an all inclusive resort for the first 3 nights.  We planned to use this resort as a springboard for some excursions since it was pretty centrally located to the airport and the ferry we would be taking to the middle of nowhere on our 4th day 🙂

Balcony view our first morning

Balcony view our first morning

Our section of the resort

Our section of the resort

We actually didn’t spend a whole lot of time here total and didn’t even use any of the pools although they looked nice. The food was decent although we found breakfast to be the best meal of the day by far.  As for other amenities, we looked for the gimnasio that first morning and didn’t find it, so we ended up just walking on the beach for a bit that day before breakfast.  We did use the gym on our last night there and I busted out a HORRIBLE 3 miler on the treadmill.  I sweated like I had never done before in my life and it was tough, I think a combo of all the food I had been eating and the hot weather.  This was the only actual run I did while on vacation since once we left the resort there was really nowhere to run safely without hurting myself lol.

The first day Ben and I were there alone, we traveled to Arenal to see the volcano and visit Baldi Hot Springs.  The hot springs were so relaxing and it was a great day to get into vacation mode.  I also enjoyed the 2 hour drive there through the cloud forest.  Driving around and seeing the country from the road is one of my favorite parts of traveling.  There wasn’t much exercise this day to speak of, unless you count the little bit of climbing up and down the hill we did at the springs, which lie at the base of the volcano.

Our second day in Puntarenas was one of my favorites!  Ben’s Dad and Stepmom arrived and we traveled on a catamaran to Tortuga Island in the Gulf of Nicoya.  We went down to the port and hopped on the boat where we layed across nets on the front of the boat and sunbathed, drank Imperial, ate fresh fruit, and enjoyed the ride to the island.

Boats at the dock

Boats at the dock

Ben and I and our beers on the way to Tortuga

Ben and I and our beers on the way to Tortuga

Once we got there, we enjoyed some snorkeling for a while and then came back for a delicious lunch with music! An appetizer of ceviche, a salad course, a main course, and dessert were served along with a glass of white wine. It was wonderful!

SERIOUS musicians by the bar

SERIOUS musicians by the bar

The main course, fried chicken breast with sauce, sauteed veggies and rice with a slice of bread

The main course, fried chicken breast with sauce, sauteed veggies and rice with a slice of bread

Lunch was great and my father-in-law even joined in with the band! Good times had by all. After lunch we retreated to the beach and Ben and I decided to try our hand (or balance) at stand up paddleboarding! This was our only workout for the day and it was a good one! I was surprised at how easy it was and FUN and I can’t wait to do it again sometime. I didn’t wipe out ONCE which I totally expected to. After paddleboarding we ended the day with a banana boat ride during which the guys totally flipped us into the water. It was a lot of fun! The ride back to the mainland was great too with more drinks and fresh fruit and a setting sun.

Panorama of our boat and the island

Panorama of our boat and the island

Leaving Tortuga

Leaving Tortuga

The next day was travel day to the Nicoya Peninsula! Ben’s Aunt and Uncle picked us all up and we took the ferry from Puntarenas. This was when the real adventures began. We had so many great times and saw beautiful places including Playa Samara, waterfalls, a beautiful mountaintop labyrinth, as well as Playa San Miguel.

One of the ferries to Naranjo

One of the ferries to Naranjo

Infinity Pool at the house

Infinity Pool at the house

Sunset from our the balcony

Sunset from our the balcony

Beautiful San Miguel!

Beautiful San Miguel!

Waterfalls at Karen Mogensen Reserve

Waterfalls at Karen Mogensen Reserve

Teak fields!

Teak fields!

Mountain Top Labrynth

Mountain Top Labyrinth

Me and my main squeeze hiking a forest trail

Me and my main squeeze hiking a forest trail

In general, I thought that the food was fabulous and I ate A LOT of it. The typical lunch or dinner is called a Casado, which literally means “married”. It was one of my favorite things to order and I had it several times during the week.

Grilled Chicken and Onions with Rice, Beans, Cheese, salad, beet salad, and plantains.

Grilled Chicken and Onions with Rice, Beans, Cheese, salad, beet salad, and plantains.

I am a little addicted to plantains now as well as beans and rice. I blame all the rice for my weight gain we will talk about tomorrow 🙂 As for exercise, I did pretty well considering I was limited on equipment and time! As I mentioned we did a treadmill workout at the resort and a lot of hiking. I also did a few morning workouts outside with the sunrise with a few body weight circuits followed by a light swim in the pool. The paddleboarding counts too as does any swimming I did! I tried to keep moving whenever I was in the pool. I also made a point to always take the stairs through the airports on travel days too. All in all it was an awesome fun packed vacation and we can’t wait to go back! I am feeling so much less stress now and it was a great time to unwind after the semester. Now I have loads of laundry and a long run to do today! Be back tomorrow with my weekend weigh-in and a new challenge I’ve accepted for January!

Last Costa Rican sunrise

Last Costa Rican sunrise

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