Saturday, January 19, 2013

our kind of vacay

That ended up being our slogan for the week. We said it jokingly to each other all week, whenever we did something fun or cool or weird or crazy. And there was a lot of all of the above. We've been to so many timeshare presentations that Jon's on all sorts of call lists. We got a call with an offer to come stay at an all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica for pretty cheap, as long as we listened to the presentation while we were there. (please don't ask me how we got it. We've been going to at least 6 timeshare presentations a year for about 9 years). We gratefully traded the snow for the sun on Saturday, January 12th. The boys stayed with Jon's parents the whole week and did just fine. We flew into the airport in Liberia and stayed within about a 45 min radius of that. Our resort was on the Pacific coast directly to the West (about 30 min from the airport).
We got there in the afternoon on Saturday and checked into a hotel the first night. We were going to our resort the next day. So after we settled in, got something to eat, got our rental car and figured out what our first excursion would be, it was nearly 4:00pm or so. We heard about a waterfall nearby so we set out down that main highway you see on the map in red, towards the SE. That main highway across the whole country is only two lanes!! We weren't seeing any signs so we stopped to ask someone who didn't speak a lick of English (turns out not many people did there!). So after some hand motions and pointing at the map, he figured out what the heck we were talking about and told us we were close. We got a little further down the road and saw a rough wooden hand-painted sign. We turned off the main road onto a very rough rocky dirt road.  After a couple miles of getting jerked around on that road, we see a big rock painted with "waterfall" and an arrow. We didn't realize it, but got there right as they were going to lock up a wooden gate for the night. So after some more hand signals and one word sentences, the guy let us run down to see the falls and snap a quick picture. I literally said as we were scrambling down the rocky path, "do you think this thing is going to be more than a trickle down a rock?" That's what we expected because of the lack of signs and paved roads. Then a minute later we start to hear the roar of water and about died when the view opened up to this: 
It took our breath away. It looked like a scene right out of LOST or Jurassic Park. We snapped these pictures and then ran back up the steep path to the car and decided we'd come back the next morning since we couldn't check into our resort til later in the afternoon anyway. 
A cheap breakfast the next day since we'd be eating good the rest of the week at the resort. I wish our McDonalds had this option! So delicious (except the fried plantains in the middle. Those were gross.)
We always had a view of these volcanoes driving across the country:
 I couldn't get enough of all the beautiful trees around:
Well, the next day was Sunday and the place ended up being packed out with locals and a few other tourists. It was really cool to see it deserted the night before.
Jon climbed in and behind the falls. I didn't go all the way in since the water was freezing and I'm not keen on water pounding down on my head.
We wanted to hike down the river away from the falls for a little exploring and adventure. It was beautiful with green jungle on either side of us:

As we were hiking back up the river to the falls, we all of a sudden started hearing some whoops and hollers and big splashes. No discussion needed. We were determined to figure out who and where people were jumping. We followed the sound and saw a group of locals jumping in this beautiful little water hole. We had to climb over/under two sets of barbed wire to get to them. Nobody spoke English and eyed us a bit while we walked up but we just acted like we knew what we were doing and smiled a lot and cheered for the other people jumping in and pretty soon they were cheering for us too. 
 The water pouring in over the rocks was warm. It was awesome.

I kind of look like a wuss since it doesn't look that high but it definitely feels higher when you're looking over the edge!
We had to take a shuttle from our resort down to the beach since it was on a pretty steep mountain side. It was beautiful and rugged with all the lava rock along the shore. That was the first black sand beach we'd ever been on. The sand was smooth and soft and the water was comfortable.

 Looking back towards the main beach:

 We did a zipline canopy tour which was really fun:

There was a tree full of howler monkeys. I kept having to remind myself in my head that these were wild and that we weren't at the zoo!

 I think I'll leave it at that for now and post the rest tomorrow since my house is about five steps beyond "disaster", we're all still in our pajamas and I've been working on this almost all day. More to come...


  1. This is my dream vacation! I need to start going to more time share presentations. Can't wait to see more and live vicariously through you.

  2. Gorgeous! WOW! Your trip looks amazing! I lived in Costa Rica and went to most of the coastal areas shown on your map...but I never made it to Liberia. But it looks so great from your pictures that you've given me an excuse to go! :) I really miss gallo pinto (the breakfast). I never had it at McDonald's but my Costa Rican 'mom' made it for me every day. Yum! SO glad you go to go to CR!


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