Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pura Vida

Amie and I are living the good life. We find ourselves in amazing location after amazing location. Splendid beaches are followed by lush jungles. Fantastic sunsets are followed by rich cultural experiences. Islands, blue water, sunsets, waterfalls, lakes, we have seen it all and we just can't seem to get enough of it. We will arrive at a new location, just as magical as the last, and tell each other "I love you in this jungle" or "I love you on top of this volcano....I love you in these ancient ruins.... I love you in this colonial town." After all, this is our honeymoon!

The good life. Pura vida! "Pura vida" is a Costa Rican expression that means "The good Life." Costa Rican's use it to say hello or goodbye or just to express themselves. Because for them, life here is good indeed. Fantastic scenery all around and magical natural beauty. They have it all.

We are now in "Bocas Del Torro" in Panama, enjoying this new inspiring location. "I love you on this small tropical island surrounded by palm trees and white sand beaches." But before I go into the details of Panama, Let me catch you up on the rest of Costa Rica.

One of the best days we had in Costa Rica was in a place called "La Fortuna" where we had the good fortune to spend some time at a place called "Tabacon," which is a hot springs resort with not just any hot springs. This resplendant little gem of hot springs has piping hot water flowing through a lush green jungle.

The water meanders through this meticulously sculpted jungle landscape from pool to pool down waterfalls where people sit under the cascading hot waters. Jungle stretches its roots into the pools and rocks are sculpted into place providing perfect niches for people to sit and relax. The jungle blooms in color around you as you go from pool to pool, from waterfall to waterfall, enjoying all the different temperatures Tabacon has to offer. The whole time I was there, I was thinking of how much Wavy would love this place. It is literally the perfect hot springs. As if all of this was not enough, you enjoy the waters while in the shadow of an active volvano. For it is the deep heat of volcano "Arenal" that is heating these waters. "I love you in this swim up bar with tropical drink in hand watching a volcano throw up firey rocks that splash down the volcano side, leaving a molten path of red glow in it's wake." Tabacon hot springs comes HIGHLY recommended!

After we had had enough of watching lava flow down the mountain, and after we had spent some time in the jungle there, we moved on. We had a choice to make. Go back to the Pacific or explore the Carribean side of Costa Rica. We decided on the Carribean and headed out for a coastal pueblo called "Cahuita." We did an amazing nature walk there which took you allong a beach and then into the jungle where we saw spider monkeys and white faced monkeys only a few feet away. We arrived around the time of the Independence Day celebration of Costa Rica. We saw a marching band playing through the streets of the town followed by a hoard of smiling children carrying hand crafter paper lanters glowing from the light of candles. Tearing ourselves away, once agin we moved on.

We went south, staying close to the clear blue waters of the Carribean and ended up at a town called "Puerto Viejo." Here we shacked up at a clever hostel called "Rocking J's." We are not sure if it is "rocking" because you are swinging in a hammock, or because of the fun you are having hanging out with the other guests at night. Or, maybe it is the fun attitude of Rocking "J" himslef who has created what is, for sure, the best hostel we have seen. Every surface is covered in art. Sculptures, paintings, installations, and mosaics. Everywhere there are mosaics, crafted with broken tile and a lot of patience. There are 2 huge hammock hotels where for only a few dollars you can sleep for weeks on end and not dent your wallet. There is a sprawling tent city where other budget travellers stay. There is a tree house that is purched up high above looking over the entire place. The stay there was great, and the company was good. We also saw one of the best sunsets of our entire trip just on the beach outside Rocking J's. The sky went from blue to fire red and was reflected in the tide pools below.

When we weren't lounging on the grounds, we were off exploring. We took a guided nature hike with our jovial guide nammed "Riki." He took us the the jungle showing us the healing properties of the plants, what was eddible, what was not, he showed us colorful frogs and Crocodiles and, of course, poisonous snakes. He taught us more in one day than I had learned in an entire semester of biology class.

Soon it was time to move on again. Next up was crossing the boarder into Panama, where I sit now and write this post. There is much to say about this new country we are in... We have seen Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Panama is next in line and it has already been amazing. But that story will have to wait...

Until next time.... Pura Vida!



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