Costa Rican Adventure


It’s one thing to write about the magic of incredible places after I’ve returned home but writing from the destination is a completely different story – the words flow on their own. There is no need for recollection, I am surrounded by all of the sounds, sights and scents of a tropical paradise. 

This particular adventure came about from an even more untraditional situation than usual. O had a week off and I had just come into unemployment from a position that was a big step in the wrong direction. Here we were in the coldest and snowiest month of the year in Toronto itching for another O and M classic excursion. The problem with looking for a winter escape this time of year is that it’s not an original idea and flights tend to be very full so finding our way requires much more creativity and patience than usual. That being said, very little can deter us when we set our sights on palm trees, a salty breeze and tropical sunsets. 

O had been to a small town on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica a few years ago and had a particular craving to return. A small beach town ridiculously close to the equator in January? Sign me up! After extensive travel, we landed in Liberia, Costa Rica. The airport itself wasn’t much to note, very simple and not unlike most airports in tropical destinations. The real adventure began as we exited the building and were greeted by the full force of Costa Rican heat. No amount of time spent in Florida throughout my life could have prepared me for this temperature. It didn’t take long until I was drenched in sweat but with each breeze that intervened, I was grateful for the layer of perspiration keeping me cool. We opted for local transportation partially because it was drastically cheaper but also because due to our last minute way of travel, no shuttle service had availability. The bus trip required a transfer in Nicoya, a small inland town where I had the pleasure of experiencing my first taste of Costa Rican food and hospitality – both were incredible! With somewhat renewed energy and continued eagerness to arrive at our destination, we boarded the second and final bus. While neither bus had much needed air conditioning, the second was by far more comfortable and resembled a coach bus unlike the previous local bus. As the bus sped along the single lane highway, I drifted off to sleep with the warm air blowing through the open windows. 

I woke up as the bus jolted to a stop. I had no idea how long I had been asleep but I nudged O to ask the bus driver for the name of the stop at which we had arrived. Very glad we asked! We had arrived in Playa Samara. We frantically gathered our things and exited the bus onto a sweltering, uneven street in direct mid afternoon sunshine. As I looked around, suddenly the heat, weight of my backpack and any other discomfort became irrelevant. My heart melted to the sight of the most beautiful, authentic beach town I could have ever imagined. The main road was lined with local open air restaurants, modern patios designed to attract tourists, booths of varying size selling anything from snacks to trinkets to tickets, and a beautiful mix of local residents and expats of various walks of life. Surrounding these open air establishments was a lush abundance of greenery including palm trees of every kind glowing bright HD green in the beaming sunshine. We made our way toward our accommodations which O reserved simply through a promissory email, periodically asking locals for directions along the way. It’s been a while since I was this grateful for my knowledge of the Spanish language. We walked along the beach, each step getting more exhausting in this heat until we reached a vibrant oasis – a series of pastel colored buildings built into a small hill. They were surrounded by a garden with an array of bright flowers and the most inviting, uniquely shaped pool lined with chairs and loungers. We had arrived at our home away from home. 

It took a while to rally. After all, we were not used to this heat. We changed into more weather appropriate clothing and wandered along the beach to the local supermarket for snacks and refreshments after the worst of the afternoon heat had passed. We sat down on the beach and waited for nature’s sunset performance. It was nothing short of spectacular. As the sun began its descent behind the hill that juts out into the water from the beach, the vibrant show of colors began. Pink and orange streaked the pale blue sky from the west as the east darkened and an electric glow of yellow light filled the air. It was a glow that illuminated skin in a golden hue. A glow that can never be captured by any device. A glow that every person on this planet needs to experience in person. We sat there, bathing in the invigorating light, grateful to be drinking the wild air.

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