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How was Costa Rica? Part 1

Day 1: 
We got up at 3am and drove to the airport for our 6am flight to Atlanta. Elena and I sat in one row at the front while Jonathan and Allee sat in a row towards the back of the plane. 

I couldn't even see them.

We were blessed to are in Comfort Plus. Loads of leg room!

I thought to purchase a cute pizza pillow at Kmart and we packed a blanket in her carry on. It was nice that she could take a nap.

Upon arriving in ATL after a quick 55 minute flight we headed to our gate and then grabbed some breakfast. Our flight to Costa Rica was due to leave at 9:45, but because CR is two hours behind us we'd be arriving there at 11:30 after a 3 1/2 hour flight.

On the second flight we were separated again. This time since the flight would be longer & hence I sat with Allee. I watched Hidden Figures while she watched Moana. Shortly after my 1st movie ended we had turkey sandwiches. They didn't bring out any other snacks because we experienced turbulence. No biggie though. I watched a documentary while Allee took a nap.

I also picked her up a pillow for the trip. 

 When we arrived it was amazing how PACKED the airport was. I mean it wasn't just full like the Atlanta airport it was incredibly stuffed in a more chaotic way. People were scattered everywhere. We went outside to find Jonathan's uncle and were HOUNDED by cabbies for their services. I must have said, "No. Gracias." 20 times. We finally found him and headed toward our car. On the way another guy came over and insisted on helping load our bags into the car. He did and was soon collecting his tip and heading off on his merry way.
So... The roads in Costa Rica are a thing to behold. Truly a wonder. I mean traffic is frightful, but the craziest part is how people aggressively drive here! They don't abide by traffic laws and there are people on the highway walking the double yellow lines in between lanes selling their goods to cars stuck in traffic. Add to that motorcycles that drive in between cars on the highway and it was intense. Once we got into the town we are staying in Jonathans uncle drove through like a maniac. I thought we were toast. We made it though! I was so captivated by the sight that I didn't take a single photo. Oops!

Anyway, we arrived after a CRAZY car ride to Jonathan's aunt and uncles home. Settling in with out things was great, but dinner took forever because we had to wait for the torrential downpour to lighten. Yeah. We came here during rainy season. What were we thinking. Lol. 

Elena met her cousin Nicol. She is 12. They are inseperable.
 Dinner at Jonathan's grandparents house was so so so stinking good. Braised chicken & potatoes, rice, avocado, bean puree on homemade cheese tortilla, salad with beets, bread, crackers and finally coffee. I am hoping this will be the only meal here that I forget to photograph. 
I was full for a while! A couple of hours later however Jonathan's cousin Paola showed up with her hubby. She brought bread. yep. We ate again! 

 We left the house at 7pm. It felt like 9, but I had forgotten the time change. We stayed up 2 extra hours, but eventually gave up and headed to bed at 9pm CR time. Needless to say DAY 1 was amazing.

Day 2:
Waking up at 6:30am wasn't exactly how I planned to spend my 1st morning in Costa Rica, but my body is still on Eastern Standard Time. Alas, while my internal clock said, "It's 8:30! Wake up!" I was not very happy to look at my phone to see that it was so early. I pathetically laid in bed a lot longer than I care to admit (possibly an hour and a half?), but I think it was out of sheer protest. I mean, I am on vacation. I can't get up early when I don't need to?! Right?! The view off our balcony didn't hurt though! Makes it worth it for sure!!

Anyway, Hubby's uncle set off to the market on his daily routine and returned with fresh fruit for salad. We enjoyed some lovely guayaba, mango and banana with drizzled honey. 

About an hour or so later we set off to Jonathan's grandparents house for the traditional Costa Rican breakfast. Beans & Rice (Gallo Pinto), Eggs, Tortilla, Fried Sweet Plantains (Maduros) and Cafe'. 

Oh man. I was really full. After this we quickly walked back down the street to grab my portable phone charger from my suitcase and then set off on a walk of downtown Moravia. 

It is gorgeous here! We walked about 5 1/2 miles.

It was great, but I'll never do it in sandals again. I'll also need to remember sunscreen! Yup. I am a lobster. My girls and hubby are a lovely tan and I look like a freshly slapped tomato. *sigh*

We were pretty blessed to enjoy such a clear day! It's rainy season here and having so many hours of clear skies after SO much rain yesterday was refreshing. The girls even got to play at the park near where we are staying.

 Before arriving at Jonathan's grandparents house we stopped by his other aunts house. Which happens to be right next door. The girls enjoyed playing with their cousin Nicol while the adults chatted inside. There were beautiful fruit trees and herbs growing in her yard too. It was lovely.

We had some fresh mango, banana, papaya, and nutmeg shakes. YUM!

 When we headed back for dinner we ate fairly immediately and enjoyed some time talking before the girls started asking to head 'home'. Elena showered and was in bed by 8pm. Allee was a little harder to convince, but she went to bed shortly after. As I type this it's only 8:30pm here, but it feels like almost 11. Jonathan has resigned to trying to stay up later starting tomorrow night. We will be here 2 weeks and are not wanting to go to bed too early. Ya know? Welp, it was a great day!

Day 3:
This morning my eyes popped open before 5:45am (Costa Rican time), but I stayed in bed till it was 7am. My internal clock is so confused 1st thing in the morning. I am sure in a few days it will get better. The morning was just as beautiful as the day before. It's lovely here before the rain kicks in.

Jonathan's uncle picked up fresh guava, banana, watermelon and mango drizzled with local honey. It was a perfect breakfast. 

Jonathan took off shortly after with his cousin Pablo to play basketball while I (accompanied by one of Jonathan's aunts) went over to his grandparents house with the girls. 

Instead of having lunch at the house we went to Jonathan's cousin Pablo's restaurant in town. He and his wife opened a cute little Peruvian place called Cafeteria Misky Moravia a year and a half ago. It was phenomenal. I wasn't expecting such great food. I knew it would be tasty, but the presentation was so appealing!! I want to go back before we head home. 

This is a fresh fruit Mojito. 


Yerba Buena (Mint) Lemonade

Both the girls enjoyed a mini version of the house Chicken Sandwich. 

This was my Turkey Sandwich.

Jonathan's Pork Sandwich.

Of course the girls enjoyed a cake too. 

Overall, it was a beautiful lunch
After that we took a walk to the mall and then visited with Jonathans cousin Pablo for dinner. It was a great day!

Day 4 :
After our usual morning fruit and traditional Costa Rican breakfast Jonathan and his grandmother reminisced over some old photo albums while I photographed a few pictures from another album. I haven't gotten a chance to get them edit them. Will post some later.

Here is Jonathan with his aunt & grandma.

Elena, Nicol & Allee

We drove 2 hours that morning with Pablo and his wife Annie to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. I don't think words can express how beautiful this place is. I read online that it is the #1 Waterfall Gardens visited Costa Rica. I completely understand why! It is breathtaking. There are of course many beautiful animals as well as the waterfalls. 

It rained so much the whole day and I didn't even care that I was soaked. We arrived back at the house late at night after a couple of stops on the way. We hit a ton of traffic so it wound up being over 3 hours before we got home. It was okay though. As soon as we arrived we had to pack an overnight bag and quickly head off to Jonathan's cousin's house. It was only 20 minutes away so it wasn't much of a drive, but by the time we arrived all we could do was get the girls  ready for sleep. Went to bed pretty much immediately after arriving. We really needed the rest!

Day 5:
 The next morning Jonathan's cousin Daniel knocked on our door to let us know that the taxi we would be taking to La Fortuna would be arriving in an hour. According to my body clock it was 7 am, but in Costa Rican time it was 5 a.m. You could tell it was early for him and his wife, but it didn't feel so bad for us. We have been going to bed 2 hours later than we're used to to compensate for feeling like we're getting up 2 hours late every morning. For example: I'm laying in bed blogging.  ,, at 9:51 a.m. ET, but it's only 7:51 am here. It definitely makes getting up in the mornings not as difficult.

After a very long drive we arrived at a hotel that was not the one that I thought were staying at, but was even more beautiful!! La Pradera was lovely!! The best part? It had air-conditioned rooms. One of the only concerns I had about the lodge we were going to stay in was that it did not have air conditioning. I am so glad that we were in a different place. The average temperature while there was 96 degrees. Trying to sleep in a room that was almost a hundred degrees would have been brutal.

  On the way toward our hotel the we stopped on the side of the road to take some pictures.

 Once we arrived full extent of our view was before us. It is amazing how close we were to the volcano itself!!

The girls had a great time swimming, but before they did get in the pool I snapped a quick pic while the clouds we're clear of the volcanoes top.

The gaming tables and some lovely patio area for people to sit.

This view blew my mind. I'm standing in the doorway of our room. I wish we hadn't left so soon. I could have just stood there and watched that volcano all day.

 I got to try a local beer. It was delightful.

After lunch we headed to the Baldi Hot Springs Hotel & Spa. We had such a great time.

We had so much fun, but were ready for bed after a dinner buffet on site. 

The girls were in bed pretty early.

Since this post is super long I'm going to make it a two-parter. Find out what we did the next day in La Fortuna and what we did with the rest of our time in Costa Rica. I will be posting part 2 in the middle of this week instead of waiting till Saturday. Thanks for reading!



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