Posted by Lauren
On Thursday, April 12th, I boarded a plane in San Francisco to begin the first leg of my trip to Costa Rica. After a red-eye flight, I found Kerry and Jacquelyn in the airport. There were only three things between the three of us and our other two friends, Fran and Krish, who made it to Costa Rica the day before:
1. Layover in Miami – literally my first sight of Kerry was her with some beef jerky HAHA
2. Short flight to Liberia, Costa Rica
3. Unbooked shuttle ride to Tamarindo (very last minute)
We lucked out and found a cheaper, transportation alternative. Our “guide” suggested we stop for something to drink, so we grabbed a six-pack some Costa Rican cheetos and hit the road. When we pulled up at the Best Western: Vista Villas, Fran and Krizia were waiting for us. We all shouted and jumped, ecstatic for finally unifying our group! We checked into our amazing hotel room and gaped at the view before commencing a photo shoot :) of course.
…then we brought it indoors…
We rehydrated and set out to wander the city of Tamarindo. There are a few main streets, including one right along the beach; plenty of surf shops, excursion businesses, hotels, and restaurants to explore!
We stopped for food at a place with an outdoor patio and enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner. The ceviche was great, extremely fresh, and served alongside crackers. I ordered some type of mahi mahi dish which, I enjoyed… but I liked my mojito better :)
Each of us ordered a different drink and then we shared, round-robin style. That became a theme of the trip. No double ordering! Between the five of us, we always had five different dishes + drinks. Smart, right?
We walked along the beach, enjoyed the sunset, and just relished the moment. It was very peaceful and the water was just heavenly. Can we please get warm water like that up in Santa Cruz, please?
When we got back to the hotel, we changed into our swimsuits and went for a swim at the hotel’s pool. It had a swim up bar, so we chatted more with Gilbert (an expat from Salinas) and Javier (who is an excellent salsa dancer). My hair turned an unusual shade of green, so I refrained from getting back in the pool the following day. Post-swim, we showered and got ready to dance the night away…
Our hotel hosts a “ladies night” on Friday’s, so all we had to do was walk out of our room and BAM! party time. Live music, free drinks, great dancing... super fun!
The bottom, right picture – the “cheers” shot – shows six hands. One of them is of a girl named Mandy who kept calling us “California Girls.” She went to CR with her boyfriend, but I guess they got into a fight and broke up – so she left for Tamarindo. I couldn’t even imagine what that would be like, but she seemed like a resilient Chicago chick who focused on the bright side of things…
The next morning we woke up early and enjoyed our hotel’s continental breakfast (cereal, pastries, fruit, coffee, juice). The view from the open-air restaurant/patio was unreal. Take me back!!!!
Activity of the day: All-Day Adventure Tour of Hacienda Guachipelin! I found this good description, so I’m copy-pasting it ;)
The excursion was a little over an hour away, but our trusty driver, Piña, got us there quickly and safely! (He was so sweet!)
Activity 1: Horseback Riding!!
We rode to a beautiful, crystal clear swimming hole and literally jumped right in!
We rode back to the stables, boarded a bus, and went tubing in El Rio Negro. No camera pictures because of obvious reasons… but the tubing was definitely my favorite part of the whole excursion!
That picture ^ is from the Trip Advisor site, fyi. After getting wet in the river, it was time for lunch! And man, was everything delicious!! In the photos below, you will see chips, the serving station, tomatoes + salad, cantaloupe (AMAZING!), pumpkin (we had to ask what it was), cucumber + cheese squares, fajita veggies + beef, and…
…the bottom, right-most foot item, kind of red in color, in the collage above ^ was some type of chickpea dish. That stole the show for me… I wish I knew what else was in it!
Because riding a horse isn’t enough… one could ride a giant ox? bull? what is that thing called??
And the final event of the day: ziplining! There were seven zip lines throughout the canyon course, an area to repel (upside down!), swing on a Tarzan rope, and rock climb. Pretty sweet stuff…
On the way home, Piña suggested we stop at his friend’s bar for a drink. Umm… sorry Piña, but I was hungry at that point! He really wanted to stop and seemed trusty enough, so I warned him about my hunger and he promised NACHOS! Ok, Piña, whatever you want!
El Paso del Vaquero went from a “1 round” stop to a “4 rounds” stop, but we all loved every minute of it! Also, since we were far away from Tamarindo, we didn’t have the touristy inflation prices to deal with! The nachos are in the second picture, Piña is in the third picture, the fourth picture has a really funny item – basically fries and hot dogs, and the fifth picture is of tasty plantain cakes, which we covered in guacamole:)
The plantains were really good! Definitely happy we stopped!
Back at the hotel, I face planted into the couch and didn’t wake up until 4 am when I let the girls back in the room. Oops. I missed the memo on the trip’s Rage Calendar, apparently.
** I learned about the Rage Calendar one day too late. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. #swearI’mnotagrandma
Their night looked fun though!!
Sunday morning I went for a very HOT, very short, 2 mile run around Tamarindo. 90 something degree weather is no bueno for running! We all ate breakfast at the hotel, packed up our bags, and stashed them in the lobby. From 11 to 3 we rested on the beach, swam in the warm Pacific Ocean, ate more nachos (from Eat at Joe’s), and I read a book I’ve been meaning to read for a year or so.
Piña drove us to the next hotel of our trip, one in Playa Flamingo. Before I write anything about the second half of our trip, I just want to say that the Best Western Vista Villas was a wonderful hotel pick (Kerry did the choosing so we all have her to thank).
The staff was accommodating, friendly, and down to party! The room was huge and comfortably fit all five of us on sleeper sofas, a trundle, and a normal bed (duh). We had a kitchen area, a fridge, and a gorgeous view! Here are some room shots from right before we left (it’s messy, fair warning).
Ok…. Part II of the trip is “coming soon.” HAHA, soon, riiiiight… here’s what the Sunday “beach day” did to me, to keep you laughing until the next post:
Any bad sunburn tales? Anybody also been to Tamarindo? I’d love to hear your stories!