Thanksgiving in Paradise

Thursday was our “lazy day.” Yes, we had been having such a stressful time we needed a day to relax! We spent most of the day lounging around the pool catching some rays, catching up on our reading, and catching some z’s. After an afternoon stroll down the beach and a snack at a great restaraunt on the sandy beach it was time for Thanksgiving dinner. That’s right, Thanksgiving dinner! Pasatiempo is owned by Americans who moved to Costa Rica and they have many American guests so they put on a Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, stuffing, gravy…all the fixin’s! We stuffed ourselves silly in the customary American way and spent our last night in Tamarindo just as we had spent all the others…relaxing!

Sailing and snorkeling at sunset

Wednesday we took an awesome sailing trip on a 40 foot catamaran. We slept in and made our way down to the beach to browse the shops on the main drag before the trip. Then we got picked up bye a small motor boat on the beach and shuttled out to the catamaran anchored in the bay. The crew on the boat was great, we had all you can drink libations and a snacks. The crew turned us on to the “Costa Rica Special” a mix of Cacique Guara (costa rican rum) and fresca…great! We sailed around the point of the bay and dropped anchor to do some snorkeling. The crew went out with us and were great at finding cool fish, even helping us touch and hold the safe ones. After about an hour of snorkeling it was back to the boat for more drinks and snacks and the sunset. It was a little cloudy so the sunset wasn’t as spectacular as it was on Monday, but nothing could dull our spirits! After the trip it was dinner at Pasatiempo and more relaxing away the evening in the hammock!

Surfing and live music

We spent the whole day Tuesday on the beach surfing. We left the beach water logged and hungry and decided we needed some pizza for dinner. Yummy, thin crust italian style with some nachos for an appetizer! We then headed back to Pasatiempo, our little hotel. When we checked in they let us know there was going to be a band and a “pretty big party” on Tuesday night in the bar. Well they weren’t kidding! We grabbed a table down in front early and bye the time things were bumping the place was packed! It was like the whole town was there! A couple of bands played some good music and eventually our long day in the sun started to catch up with us. We made our way out of the bar, past the people crowded everywhere outside, and around the side to our room. The music was still bumping so we hung out on our room’s patio in the hammock and chairs listening until the band stopped at midnight. Then it was inside for some well deserved rest.

Canopy zip-line tours and too many potholes

We awoke early on Monday, packed up the car and headed out to Arenal Paraiso to take the canopy zip-line tour. They had 11 lines, some very long and one that flew you over a river! You can see some pictures on their web site. It was amazing! Once we got the hang of slowing down and stopping without slamming into the end of the line and the trees it was great!

After the tour we loaded into the Daihatsu and began the 4 hour trip to Tamarindo. Should have got the hummer! I’m not sure it’s possible to count the potholes we hit, but lets just say our car’s shocks are shot! We arrived in beautiful Tamarindo in the afternoon and headed straight for the beach. The water here is very warm so we all took a nice swim and tried to catch some bodysurfing waves. Then it was out to dinner, lobster for all! Our hotel was showing the monday night football game on the big screen, so how could Randy and Flash pass that up? After a few beers at the bar it was off to bed.

Now it’s time to rent some surfboards and catch a tube!

Sunday, a day of rest.

We got up early on sunday morning and attempted to do the Canopy zip-line tours. However after speeding past the place in the rain our short trip turned into a long “let’s turn around, it can’t be this far away” adventure. We ran out of time to do the zip-lines, because we had couples massages scheduled for 3:00. We hit the hot springs early, had some more drinks, then hit the spa for a little rubbing. After the massages we had dinner at the Tabacon restaurant and headed to bed early…it would be up early on Monday for our trip to Playa Tamarindo.

Arenal Volcano makes some fireworks

On the trek back to our hotel we got to see the Volcano Arenal spewing hot magma boulders down the face of the mountain. What an amazing site! The boulders would tumble down the face and hit something hard and split into millions of glowing pieces.

We got back to Tabacon and changed and headed back up the road for some Vaquero (cowboy) steaks. Don’t order them Medium unless you like to taste what the cow ate for his last meal!!! We were able to see the Volcano Arenal erupt again during dinner and then it was down to the hot springs!

What? There’s more?

Where can we go from here?

We spent the rest of Friday night drinking, celebrating, calling the USA on our credit cards, and having a merry old time. Saturday morning came too early, especially for Vicki and Randy who awoke at 2:00AM to a 6.2 earthquake…get the car, we’re out of here!!!!! Mel and Flash didn’t happen to feel a thing, too tired, fancy that.

We slept in on Saturday morning, had a nice breakfast at the hotel buffet (included in the price of the resort…booya!) We then piled into a van to head to our white water rafting river. After 1.5 hours of winding roads and SMALL towns we arrived at the river. Our 19 year old guide, Jose, gave us a 5 minute quickie instructional in spanglish and we were off over the class IV rapids! Jose made sure Randy and Flash got WET, Mel and Vicki were protected by their strong men. We had a few swim breaks in the river; we stopped at one point and it was off into the rain forest for one of our guides to pick watermelon and pineapple to snack on. Then it was back in the raft and down the rapids, one called CONFUSION which gave us all bruises. Jose was a great guide and we ended our trip jumping off a 2×6 sticking out the side of a cliff.

Hot News from the Hot Springs!!!

Flash proposed to Mel!!!! Oh, you want details now, alright here it goes. We first indulged in some long awaited drinks at the swim up bar. Randy and Vicki were off to explore the springs and Mel insisted that Flash and her take shots of tequila (of course not knowing at this point). Can you believe he had a diamond ring in the back pocket of his board shorts! No wonder he didn’t want to sit down.

We wandered our way through some pools, and Flash found the most secluded dark pool. We swam around like fish, splashing in the falls. Mel began to feel faint and Flash recommended she sit on some rocks bordering the hot springs. Things became silent, flash sunk into the water and clasped his hand against her leg, of course having a death grip on the ring!

Flash said, “Will you marry me” those are the exact words that came out of his mouth. The ring flew in front of my face, tears streamed down my face and I said YES!!!! A complete surprise and totally unexpected proposal. I knew it would happen one day, but not today.

With ring on the finger we were off to find my parents. Flash contacted my dad the Tuesday before our trip, and told him he would plan to propose in Costa Rica. Flash swore him to secrecy, meaning don’t tell Mom!!!

I called my mom over, held up my hand, her face was the award winning Kodak moment. Of course dad already knew. So the rest of the evening was filled with continuous libations- even Randy indulged in a screw driver, showing everyone his ‘happy feet’ dance. Quite comical in a pool.

More posts to come, now we are off to white water rafting through the rain forest…

Arenal Volcano

This place is amazing, and far exceeds all of our expectations. Mel seems to think that Costa Rica is 10 times more amazing than Kauai! We arrived at Tabacon Resort at 12 noon and were greeted with some tasty gauva juice. We weren’t able to check in till 3pm so we sat on the patio, had a Mai Tai enjoyed the view, browsed the gift shop and then were off to explore.

We drove to the Arenal Volcano lodge where there was an observatory overlooking a lake and the active volcano. The volcano was heavily covered by fog and clouds, but we were able to catch a couple quick peeks at the top. Most amazing mountain! Now, the roads to the observatory… all rock and dirt, our rental car’s shocks, not sure they exist, but our bladders and butts sure paid the price. On the way back from exploring we stopped off to look at the infamous Tabacon Hot Springs, which includes 12 warm pools of natural spring water, rivers and waterfalls. You CAN swim through the entire landscape. This is an adult waterpark!

After exploring we returned to our resort to check in. We then ordered room service and decided to spend the remaining of the evening exploring the miles of hot springs.