Saturday, 3 August 2019

Pura Vida! An adventure of experiencing Costa Rica

Following mine and Gary's last major travelling expedition in Vietnam, we decided to explore a different type of landscape... Costa Rica!  Originally planned for last year but we chose to move in together pending our imminent uprooting.

Rather than a day-by-day, hour-by-hour narrative of what we did, we're going to let the pictures do most of the talking - and rightly so as there's lots of them!  At the bottom there's a 15 minute video featuring nonsense, animal encounters including terrifying howler monkey sounds and daring adrenaline activities.

We were in Costa Rica from 17-30 April, with a short stop in Mexico on way back, 30 April-1 May 2019.  A place packed with beauty, wonder and adrenaline - it's all about the conservation of wildlife and well-being of people.  Here we go...

San Jose

We made it to the lush Costa Rica.  πŸŒΏπŸŒΊπŸ¦πŸ¦ŽπŸ’πŸ•·πŸš  From the animal books I grew up with to seeing them for real. 😍  My man organises us the best travels - a perk of being with a traveller (I get the 'life admin' jobs 🀭).  Hoping for serious Jurassic Park/World vibes!  Adventures and activities await us...

Spending the Easter weekend in San Jose.  Celebrating when Jesus emerged from an egg according to Danny! πŸ€ͺ

Visited the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum and learned some history of Costa Rica and their coins.  We wanted to visit this on one of the first days arriving here, but was closed due to Easter celebrations.  So upon our arrival back at the start after the group expedition (to follow) we visited it.

La Fortuna

From San Jose to La Fortuna!  On the way, stopped at a waterfall viewpoint.  From seed to shipping at a coffee plantation.  Animal spotting around hotel (animal pics to come... 😱) and colours of Costa Rica.  Then dipping into Arenal volcano hot springs at night!

Canyoning first thing in the morning!  We strapped on our harnesses for a bit of fun!  It was really awesome being in the rainforest rappelling down waterfalls and getting soaked.  Danny didn't bring swim shorts so he had to wear Gary's, leaving his legs looking like twigs, more than normal.

Fully immersing ourselves into the natural side of Costa Rica.  A swim at the impressive La Fortuna Waterfall, the tallest in Costa Rica and then getting a closer look at the imposing Arenal Volcano.


Travelled onto Monterverde via boat across Lake Arenal.  Walked across the hanging bridges in the cloud forest (clouds weren't there πŸ˜”) taking in the sights from great heights.  Then we did a night walk in a Monterverde forest - pure blackness, saw sloths, possums, armadillos, vipers, scorpions, frogs, sleeping tucanette, fireflies... and way too many bugs, all of which were attached to me. 😱

It's all about nature and wildlife in this beautiful country so we took a tour in the cloud forest.  The animals are all around you, birds, monkeys, sloths, iguanas, you see it all.  The other side of the country is the adrenaline activities, we've done Canyoning and Ziplining for the rush!

Later we flew above the cloud forest!  It felt like being in a dream getting those birds eye views, so cool.  It was literally the definition of breathtaking.  As usual, the pictures don't give it justice - so check out the companies video to give you a better idea of what we did.  😱

Fauna of Costa Rica - all seen in their natural habitats!  You don't even have to try to see wildlife, it's just in front of you all the time.  Danny couldn't get enough of them constantly walking, climbing, flying and swimming around him.  Danny didn't get pics of everything he saw, as some were too quick or missed opportunities because I was in such awe watching them.  Like spider monkeys, howler monkeys (see video at bottom of Danny listening to their howl at 5am), possum, agouti, snakes, dragonflies, ferral San Jose parakeets, scarlet macaws, plus many more birds!  The iconic keel-billed toucan was Danny's animal of the adventure.  He was lucky enough to have seen it twice, once when I loudly interrupted our ziplining induction. 🀭


Bonding with our travelling family on a huge catamaran.  Plenty of fun jumping off the boat and on the slides.  Even dolphins joined in!  Ended the day watching the sunset followed by impromptu drinks on the rooftop pool at the hotel, ending/beginning with a slight hangover.

It's not a holiday if you don't go to the beach!  Manuel Antonio beach ranks up there for the best one Gary's been to.  A stunning bay with pure sands and turquoise waters surrounded by lush vegetation and families of thieving animals (ok that last parts not so nice πŸ˜‚).  Sorry Railay beach in Thailand you might be knocked off the top spot!

Mexico City

Landed in the early evening, ventured out to explore the City and search for our grub.  Found a unique restaurant with a huge tree in the centre.

In the morning we visited the temple ruins and museum, literally just around the corner from where we were stopping.  Saw more of the city, then later that evening we went to the local cinema to watch Avengers: Endgame as we couldn't wait.  Hilarious experience of Spanish adverts and subtitles.

So, here's our own piecemeal video bringing together some recordings we got, in a variety of angles and qualities.  It's 15 minute long and is in chronological order that gives us a great memory to look back on.

Video thumbnail by Gary Purdy.

The end, with reflection

Travelling is not right without a bit of reflection, so here is ours:

  • Incredible how we all gelled together as a group.  As it's 'forced' at beginning it can go either way, but we all became great friends during it.  Getting to know each other and helping one and another through activities.  Memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.
  • Our hearts have been imprinted with the Pura Vida (pure life) lifestyle of Costa Rica - focused on happiness and well-being not power.  Why can't all countries be like this?!
  • Flor, our group lead guide did an impeccable job at organising us everyday and keeping us safe.  So knowledgeable and helpful.  Thank you.  πŸ‘  We were pretty lost afterwards - please carry on organising our lives!
  • Danny was inspired to get more involved with wildlife locally.  Plus thinking of ways of how he can get involved with Costa Rica from a distance.  He might contact Berny (wildlife guide) about some ideas.
  • Talking of local...  'Costa Rica tree frog found in bananas at Nottingham Lidl'.