Wow! What a great time we had in Costa Rica. It was about an 18 hour travel day, but well worth it once we hit the beach! We had a long lay-over in Phoenix on Monday night, so we ran to a movie theater and saw Super 8. We both like it a lot. The train wreck scene was crazy and I could barely catch my breath the rest of the movie. That was a good time killer because we then had an overnight journey to get to Costa Rica. (PS I really don’t like planes. I hate the smell, the noise and it’s really bad when the person behind you doesn’t stop talking. I’m going to get some of those noise-reducing headphones for next time.)
We planned this trip with our friends, Mark and McCall. They were on a different flight and I was a little nervous about finding them at the airport. But we walked right through customs and they were standing right in front of us, no problema! We had the rental car and we were off! The airport is in the capital city of San Jose and our destination for the week was Santa Teresa-a tiny, quiet surf town. It seemed to be open just for us. I swear we were the only tourists! Here’s a picture of the main road running through the town. Most of the locals rode ATVs or bikes to get around, usually with a child on their hip.
We stayed at this great place called Hotel Griss. It is run by an Italian family. The accomodations were just what we wanted- a cabin-type bungalow with kitchen and 2 bedrooms. The only cement was the floor, the rest was constructed out of wood. There were lots of windows and so we slept with those wide open. The weather was perfect! Always in the 80’s or 90’s. I never really felt too hot. It’s the wet season right now and we had a couple of heavy storms but they were at night and never ruined our plans.
Stairway to our place
The first morning we picked up our surf boards from Kina Surf, owned by a family from New Zealand. They all moved down there together and surf everyday and rent surfboards to tourists and teach lessons. Our favorite was Carolyn, the matriarch of the bunch. She was SO nice and even defended us when we got accused of never paying for our hotel.
We quickly fell into a routine: Santa Teresa Beach @ low tide for the AM surf session, then back home for lunch and a quick nap, then Playa Hermosa @ high tide for the PM sesh. We’d last until sundown, about 6:00. Then we’d go find some dinner. We ate at Burger Rancho, run by some German surfers, Chicken Joe’s, where Rico Suave worked and loved talking to us about his hometown we were in. My favorite meal was at Fuente de Vida-a locals owned restaurant. We got authentic Costa Rican food, which for dinner is Casado. A combo plate of beans, rice, salad (kinda like cole slaw), potatoes, pasta, and chicken, beef or fish, topped with fried plantains. These girls were our waitresses, Angela and Selena. After we ordered, they ran to the store to get the ingredients. They are eight year old gemelas (twins). I practiced my Spanish with them. They were so cute!
We usually cooked breakfast, but on Wednesday we all wanted banana pancakes, so we found Zwart Cafe. It’s a bakery, restaurant, book store, art/souvenir shop, internet cafe also run by some international transplant who is an artist and runs this place, where locals do all the cooking. I loved my banana pancakes-mostly because they were so pretty!
Notice our empty plates, fuel for the morning surf.
This vacation was different for us. We usually run through the country trying to see everything and go to all the hot spots. This time was purely for the surf. We went to one location (Santa Teresa) and stayed there. I got a little antsy, but mostly because I’m not a good surfer and spent most of our surf time swimming, walking, or taking pictures, which I truly enjoy. Pitt, who loves surfing almost enough to replace kayaking with it, was loving his time spent in the water. I watched him catch some great waves and he was stoked! Surfing was brand new for Mark and McCall. They picked it up quick and had fun! I got some great pictures of them riding. I first tried surfing in Mexico in 2006, then spent 3 months in Hawaii trying to catch on. I don’t think I’ve really tried it since so I felt like it was my first time too. It is hard and I still can’t really do it. But I enjoy being in the water and watching everyone else.
McCall believes in “try, try again.” She never stopped!
That’s Pitt on the far left, catching a sweet wave! Mark is in the orange waiting for the perfect wave.
Beautiful Playa Hermosa
For spending 4 days in the sun, we got some nice tans. We ate great food and had tons of fun playing games with Mark and McCall at night. For the record, the Grewes won both rounds of Settlers! Boxman level 8 is still unconquered. I have the best husband in the world who pulled me out of the water after watching me get tossed by 5 huge waves. And we saw 3 monkeys-not a hundred like everyone else that goes to Costa Rica but 3. I’d say overall it was a great vacation!