A Paradise on Earth
Costa Rica is just not an amazingly beautiful country, it is the happiest and “greenest” country in the world. Everywhere you look it’s green. Everyone is always smiling. Costa Rica is “Pura Vida,” which means “pure life”, two words that I heard everywhere I went. Instead of asking me how I was, people would ask me if I was “Pura Vida.”
Still not convinced about the magic of this place? Let me give it another shot.
This past September I had to go down to San Jose, Costa Rica for work (indeed, sacrifices must be made). Once I finished all of my job obligations, I wanted to take the time I had left to explore the country, so I asked my local friends for THE place to go, the one spot I could not miss for anything in the world. Automatically, they told me about Puerto Viejo (Old Port), and so it was decided.
Next stop Puerto Viejo.
Saturday morning, 7 a.m., my friends and I started our journey to Puerto Viejo. Road trip!! We had to cross all the green mountains–amazing views, and waterfalls everywhere. After two hours of driving, it was breakfast time. So, we pulled over at the first restaurant we saw. The menu: gallopinto (rice and beans fried together with spices such as cilantro), some meat, and, of course, Costa Rican fresh brewed coffee. Delicious!!
Off we went again. Finally, after 4 hours of driving we arrived at our destination. Colorful houses were surrounded by jungle, one two-way road, and the beach. The more we drove in town, the more I could see what Puerto Viejo was all about. I pulled down the window, and there it was: HUMIDITY at its best. The town is simple but full of color. Everywhere there are little shops and restaurants, people walking, riding bikes, drinking Imperial (Costa Rican beer) and laying on hammocks.
We stayed at the Namuwoki-Lodge Resort, a beautiful cozy hotel where the rooms are actually bungalows.
As soon as we arrived and checked in, we got ready for the beach: bikini, sandals, towel, sun block, and sunglasses. There were only a couple of things that we were still missing: beer, water, and snacks. We had to make a quick stop at the convenient store at the corner down the alley, which was exactly on our way to the beach (the beach is walking distance to the hotel).
Now we were 100% ready. Next step: we had to cross the jungle. Wow, this was a new one for me (reminder: I am a city girl). We needed to be careful with the huge spiders hanging everywhere and with the holes on the ground, potentially the house of some snakes.
Of course, I started to freak out. Luckily my friends were there for moral support: “Enjoy the adventure!! Get your inner Scout Girl out of you!!!” And so I did it.
After a couple of spiders later, we arrived at paradise itself.
No one was there but us and a few locals. The water was crystal clear and reflected a full range of different blues. I immediately jumped into the water, and it felt amazing. Warm, but still refreshing. I spent the next 3 hours there.
This is a place were to truly experience nature itself. Peace surrounds you.
The sun started to come down. It was time to return to the hotel and get ready for dinner and, of course, the party.
Our dinner: Caribbean style chicken with perfectly cooked rice and fresh salad. As I enjoyed my dinner, I started noticing that the whole ambience and energy of the town felt even more relaxed. Suddenly, we had some reggae music on the background.
After dinner, we hit “Tex Mex”, a bar located very close to the beach with live reggae music and the best fish tacos I ever ate. We drank, danced, and sang some of Bob Marley’s classics. It was so much fun! The hours passed and it was time to move along and go to the next bar: “Johnnies’ Place.” We just had to walk a 100 mts, and there we were. This bar is actually at the beach. It also has more of a club feel to it. Half of it is under a ceiling and the other half is open air. In the middle of the open air section there is a tree full of candle lights which provides all the lighting of the place. This allowed us to admire the sky full of stars!! It was simply breathtaking.
At around 3 a.m. the party was still going on, but we were dead tired. It had been a very long day, so we decided it was time to call it a night and return to our bungalow.
The next day before we hit the road for our return to reality, we decided to have some breakfast at the hotel: coffee, toast, fresh squeezed orange juice, and some home made eggs. Yummy!! It was the perfect way to end this amazing weekend!!