Costa Rica

2/2/11 - Wow, we had a vacation in Costa Rica for 10 days in January & were amazed by the beauty & philosophy of the tiny country! They live by the saying "Pura Vida". It is meant to convey living in the moment & celebrating whatever good fortune you have right now. It is often the Ticos' (Costa Rican people) response when you inquire about how they are doing. Pura Vida!

The country is an amazing example of valuing & preserving natural resources. They have amazing biodiversity in the jungles & rainforests, and work hard to protect it. They also have focused on alternative sources of energy & get all of their power from water (so many waterfalls), geothermal (7 active volcanoes), wind & solar power.

We were on an Olivia tour aboard the sailing yacht Windstar. It was our 7th Olivia tour & we are never disappointed with the luxury & comfort of traveling with them. We are so fortunate to meet wonderful women on each of our trips. It was great to reacquaint with old travel companions & to meet several new ones. This was our second voyage on the Windstar & we loved the feel of an intimate group (150 passengers) on a luxurious yacht. We spent 3 days on land before the cruise began and 7 days on board, stopping at ports in Nicaragua (1) & Costa Rica (6).

We visited an active volcano in Nicaragua & in Costa Rica. Neither is spewing lava, but both are simmering & sending up steam & fumes. We took a ride over the rainforest canopy in a 6-seater aerial tram and went to La Paz Waterfalls where we trekked through rainforest to see 5 different falls. We visited a coffee plantation, and ate several typical Costa Rican meals, which always included rice & beans and plantains. And we learned even more about the Tico culture when we watched local dancers performing the dances of their native villages. We stepped off tree platforms in the rainforest to go zip-lining! The steel cables we were harnessed to led us to 9 platforms, where very capable guides hooked & unhooked us. That was a thrill, to say the least (once we all got over our nerves)!

We also hiked through 2 national parks & a wildlife refuge, encompassing primary & secondary forest as well as black sand & white sand beaches. There we saw an incredible array of animals - 3-toed sloths (!), capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, toucans, scarlet macaws, raccoons, coatis, iguanas & more. Take a look at the photo gallery to get a sense of the beauty of the places we visited! It was an incredibly active vacation & we came home exhausted, but tremendously grateful that we were able to enjoy this fabulous trip. Pura Vida!

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