Costa Rica, Travel

Muchas Gracias Costa Rica!

It has been just over a week now since we left Costa Rica. I’m now sitting here in Santa Marta, Colombia writing this blog post, reflecting back on our time there with a lot of mixed emotions.

Family photo before we sent Buddy back to the US

Admittedly it went by so fast, it feels a little like a dream. Did that really happen? Did we actually live there or did I make all of that up?

It was the first time Brice and I lived outside of Oregon together (and for him, ever). While it was only 3 months and there are plenty of things I wasn’t crazy about – San Jose area is expensive, not walkable, and filled with traffic, I am still missing it already.

We really loved the Crossfit gym we joined, with excellent coaching and a great community.

I was surprisingly very excited about the role I had with Intel, giving trainings regularly, feeling like I was making a positive impact and becoming a true part of the team.

With Coach Alexander and my 7am workout buddy Ilinka

I cooked nearly every day in our nice apartment, which I never felt I did enough of back in Portland. Restaurants were up to par with Portland by any means, but we did finally find an amazing cafe/bakery we liked to frequent (albeit it was a 20-min drive from our apartment on a good day…).

And most importantly, we were making some good friends.

With great friends Jose and Adriana (and Tuki too!)

Once we finally feeling settled, it was time to leave!

Outside of the work day, we took full advantage of the beautiful sights of Costa Rica. Though it got exhausting at times getting in the car to tour around every weekend, I am so glad we got to see and do as much as we did.

Obviously I didn’t blog as much as initially intended. Staring at a computer all day at work and venturing out on weekends made that less feasible. Perhaps now that we are just in travel-mode, I will catch up on some blog posts soon.

But in the meantime, I’ll just summarize our numerous highlights instead.

  • Exploring Cartago, the hillsides of the Orosi Valley, and Prusia Forest
  • Catching a rare glimpse of the top of Arenal volcano
  • Wandering through the quaint surf town of Dominical with Summer and then again with Kristen and Stacy
  • Hiking to Nauyaca Waterfall in the blazing heat TWICE (my friends must hate me)
  • Learning all about how vanilla, coffee, cocoa beans, cinnamon and tons of other spices are grown at Villa Vanilla
  • Watching a local rodeo in Uvita (where apparently the thing to do is get drunk and jump in the ring with the bulls…)
  • Spotting sloths, monkeys and beautiful red macaw parrots in Manual Antonio park with Brice’s dad, Keith
  • Ziplining high over the jungle with views of the beach
  • Riding horses along the beach and through the jungle in Puerto Viejo
  • Staying overnight at an adult hippie summer camp, Punta Mona
  • Completing the Juan Santamaria 8km Run in Alajuela (with zero signage on distance during the run, I was convinced we got screwed over and only did 5km, for some reason like a crazy person, I was very angry about this…)
  • Attending a family paella party by our apartment owners/friends Ricardo and Ruth
  • Touring a dairy farm and sampling a lot of cheese with my coworker Elka
  • Brice summiting Cerro Chirripó, Costa Rica’s tallest mountain at 12,500′
  • Becoming fans of the La Liga soccer team, cheering them on both at a home game and also at a local sports bar
  • Experiencing the presidential election season, from the first weekend witnessing election day parties for the first round with 13 candidates to hearing, from coworkers all about their thoughts on the two main candidates, to seeing celebrations in the streets when Carlos Alvarado surprised nearly everyone by winning.
  • Stocking up on artisanal goodies and fresh produce from the Organic Farmers Market in downtown San Jose
  • Improving our Spanish and learning when to use the phrase “Pura Vida” (answer: for basically any and every situation!)
  • Eating A LOT of variations of rice and beans 🙂

Whew, we definitely crammed a lot into our 90 days! And we weren’t even able to cross everything off our list, but alas our visa expired, the rains had arrived and it was time to move on…

I am so thankful for the amazing adventure we had and all the people we connected with along the way. To all my incredibly welcoming coworkers, Crossfit companions, Ricardo and Ruth – gracias!!! Saying goodbye is never easy, so instead I’ll just say Pura Vida!

As for now, I am officially on leave with Intel and the full-time travel has begun! We are being a bit impromptu with our plans but currently, we are in northern Colombia before meeting up with Summer again in Panama City at the end of May.

Video of Our 90 Days in 90 Seconds

I’ll be posting more for reals this time but in case you are hungry for more in-the-moment news, be sure to follow me on Instagram at @BingoAbroad.

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