Back in December we were sitting in a cafe on a rainy day in Flagstaff and we jumped on some tickets to Costa Rica for a solid price of $288 round trip. Why Costa Rica? I spent some time down there a few years ago with my good friend and we were total beach bums for three months. She now lives there, so we went to visit and to explore more of this beautiful and diverse country.
We began the trip on the beach in Sámara in familiar territory. It was the middle of summer, and the Pacific coast was hot and dry, just what we needed to sweat out the rest of winter and get some color. When I first visited Costa Rica I fell in love with the simplicity of life and the beauty that is everywhere. The people of this country are masters of contentment and often rely on the tide, the seasons, the weather, and other natural cycles, rather than time to navigate the day. This is one of the reasons I originally felt so drawn to the pura vida of Costa Rica; this feeling of timelessness, reinforced by the lessons of the ocean and oneness of life in the jungle and the mountains.
I was looking forward to returning to a place so close to my heart, and with more funds this time that would allow us to explore more of the country. We flew into Liberia, which is closer to Sámara where we would be home-based. We arrived after dark and had a reservation at a small hotel close to the airport and recommended by my friends, Peter and Blaize, who we were visiting. They were able to pick us up in the morning, and after a long-awaited breakfast of gallo pinto and café con leche we set off for Sámara. We were welcomed with a beautiful sunset that made everyone on the beach that night stop to admire the colors before they began to fade.
10 things that life in Costa Rica can teach you:
1) everything is always good
2) whatever you have will do
3) if you're tired, take a nap
4) eat fruit
5) the tide always washes away the sands of the day
6) if you smile at someone, they will smile back
7) more is not always better
8) we are nourished, body and soul, by the Earth, and our vitality depends on this Earth nourishment
9) smooth roads, AC, smartphones, refrigerated transport, and shoes are all overrated and under-appreciated
10) life is meant to be enjoyed
A fulfilling day can consist of doing absolutely nothing. It is your own life, and you are free to do what you want with your time. There are no standards for comparison here, no social media obsessions or other mainstream distractions subconsciously controlling people’s minds. Life is so much more simple and happy. Each new day arrives and is greeted with a smile. Each hour, each minute is taken as it comes, not anxiously anticipated or regretfully dwelled upon; because what is life except for this very moment we are experiencing right now? Costa Rica is a great place to vibe with these perspectives..and the amazing scenery just makes it easier, as all your troubles and worries seem to dissolve into the salty air when you’re standing on one of the countries many beautiful beaches, hence its name.
These beaches are where we spent our first week. Lucky for us, my friends have a 4×4 vehicle and visit neighboring beaches daily to surf so we were able to hitch a ride in the early mornings before the heat set in to some little paradises only occupied by locals.
This was the sun, the heat, the complete opposite of winter that I was hoping to find on our trip. The Southern California coast was nice on the soul, but I was hard-pressed to strip down to my bikini. On the contrary, it was so hot on the coast in Sámara that a bikini sometimes felt like too much. It would get into the mid to upper 90’s in the high afternoon, and that was a time to rest, nap, play cards, eat fruit, shower, and avoid direct sun and any labor whatsoever, even if you’re on the job.
Oftentimes you’ll see workers resting in the shade at this time of day, and Blaize reminded me that Costa Rica is a place where you can take a nap anywhere you like, even right on the side of the road. It is a place where we are reminded that we are human, that the human body has limits, and it is necessary to act within these limits. If the body is hot and tired, stop and let it rest. The pace of life in the States is so fast; we are constantly pushing ourselves to the limits and past them, draining our energy reserves, depleting our immune systems, and recharging with unnatural stimulants and caffeine. In a place where the heat can be borderline unbearable, the people know not to push it. The task can be completed at a later time. All is good.
It is such a refreshing culture to learn from. I felt as though I was able to hit reset on my vibrations and slow down my internal clock, such a deep breath of fresh air.
One day, as the temperature began to rise and the tide began to go out, Blaize and Peter took us to some low tide pools that we soaked in to find some relief from the heat. There is so much life in these little pools; it was like swimming in a fish tank with the little ones nibbling at your feet.
Another day we went to Camaronal early so the guys could surf. This beach, in addition to having great waves, is a sea turtle refuge. Although we didn’t see any turtles, their tracks and eggshells were scattered along the black sand beach as we walked the length of it.
One night Blaize and Peter took us to one of their favorite river spots to watch the sunset. I happened to take a photo at the exact moment a fishing bird dove into the water; right time, right place.
Athen of course there were days where we just walked the beach in Sámara, a walk I made habitually three times a day during my previous trip.
Most meals we prepared ourselves at the hostel we were staying at. We did go out a few times though for some authentic and favorite dishes as well as a bit of shopping in town, mostly for lighter clothing not made of cotton. I noticed some changes in the town of Sámara since the last time I had been, almost four years ago, but all in all it was the same beautiful beach and fun-loving town with coffee bean-colored skin and white grins and pura vida greetings.