I’ve learned my lesson. Last year around this time was the coldest I’ve ever been in my entire life yet! “There’s no way I’m staying in Michigan next winter” I would always think to myself. Thankfully, I held true to the idea and have been experiencing one of the hottest, funnest, craziest, and best winters of my life! I usually leave home in the summers but it just makes more sense to get the heck outta there during the stupid cold months. Snow? What snow?
Dani came and picked me up from the mall and we headed directly to her university, The University of Costa Rica. She had a dance class to attend to while I found the opportunity to blog. It’s a lot harder to blog when I’m in backpacker mode rather than when I’m in one place for a long time, like when I’m in volunteer mode. Anyways, after her class was complete, she took me around campus where I met her brother Julian and her mother. Julian is a young professor at the college as well as her mother. We went back to their home where Dani had my own room and towel prepped for me. Later on I met her other sister Vivian. Now, I’ve officially met all the Gutierrez siblings and all of them were completely receptive of my arrival!
Maria Jose, her husband David, and Dani all had the day off and wanted to show me some more of Costa Rica. They took me to a secluded beach in Punta Leona called Playa Blanca that’s relatively hard to get to, filled with palm trees, coconuts, parrots, and some of the warmest ocean water I’ve felt in a while. The breeze was always gentle and there weren’t too many people there. The sun was shiny and the temperature was decorous. David supplied the Imperial beers, one of the most popular local beers of Costa Rica. It was the life.
We found a contorted coconut tree, extending out to the ocean that was perfect for climbing.
After sometime, Maria treated everyone to Pops ice cream which is commonplace in Central America. I’ve never seen one back home. Ice cream is ALWAYS a good thing to have. Next, we drove to yet another beach in Hermosa. This one was different though. The waves were monstrous and the sand here was dark and hot, similar to Monterrico beach in Guatemala. We ate here and chilled the day out underneath a tent. The beach here was meant for surfers. Anyone else attempting to swim would risk getting caught in its current.
After a full day at two different beaches, we called it a night and ate dinner back at the house. All the meals I’ve had at the Gutierrez residence has been the best. Here, a typical Costa Rican breakfast consists mainly of gallo pinto, which is rice with beans mixed with something that turns the rice into a darker color. I don’t know. I never asked. All that mattered to me was that it was effin delicioso! Especially when you mix in some salsa lizano. If only I could explain what lizano is to you non Ticos. It’s better than everything. I’m bringing some back home, courtesy of Dani’s nicer than nice mom who bought me a bottle for the road. Muchas gracias Senorita Gutierrez
The next day, Dani took me to a town called Cartago and up to a volcano called Volcan Irazu.
It was a windy day and there wasn’t too much to see but thought it was the perfect opportunity to play around with photos while we were up there.
That same night we met up with Julian and Vivi’s fiancé Mike at a bar nearby where I tried my first Costa craft beer. Dani mentioned that there was a river about an hour or two away that not many people knew about that you could actually swim in. I was game for it and so we went along with two of Dani’s amigas. Dani’s tiny little dog Nano came with us also. She was right, the bed of the river was secluded and there was no one in sight. We went up the river climbing rocks, big boulders, and smaller passages as little Nano hopped and slid all over the place, when eventually we reached the deep, jade colored pool. It was vanilla and clear enough to see through. And cold, but refreshingly so.
Just like any natural pool, I could have played in that thing all day long. There was a giant slide and also cliffs to jump from. Plus, the pool was deep enough to dive at the bottom and explore what was below. We went down to another pool that was a little lower beyond the river and took a few pictures there too.
Back at the house, Dani and I would play a few intense rounds of tri-ominoes where she was able to best me each time. As we played I planned out my route back north towards Mexico. My plans changed where I wasn’t able to leave Costa Rica the next day but instead leave a couple of days later the following Sunday. I didn’t want to leave on Saturday because no one wants to spend to their birthday on a bus for more than 24 hours.
“Oh it’s your birthday?!” exclaimed an excited Dani.
“Yeah it’s on Saturday.”
“Perfect because it’s my uncles birthday Saturday too and we’re having a big party!”
Open bar. Sounds like a great plan!