Life Update from Costa Rica: 2020 So Far…

friends on the beach at sunset

It’s been a while since we’ve provided an update on life in Costa Rica. I don’t know about you, but for us, 2020 has already felt like the equivalent of 7 years. How is it only May? And how is it that we’ve already been in Costa Rica for 11 months.

Starting 2020 with a Bang…or more accurately, a cough

2020 didn’t particularly get off to a good start for me, given that I caught the flu on Christmas day that proceeded to completely take me out for nearly two weeks (ie. the whole time we were home for a visit). I was essentially the ghost of Christmas vacation and while I was physically present in Canada, I was rarely seen. The flu was no joke and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I (eventually) recovered just in time to fly to Northwest Territories for a work trip where it was a balmy – 40 (celsius).

January Visitors

2020 was full of plans for visitors and festivals and birthday trips. Our friends Jackie, Jon and baby Allison were our first visitors of 2020 spending two weekends with us in San José bookending their trip to Santa Teresa (one of my favourite beach towns). We are getting pretty good at showing off the best parts of San José now.

A few days after our first visitors left, we had another visitor arrive. One of my friends from my uOttawa days, Emily, came and stayed with us for a few days before her family met her here for their family vacation. Emily is one of those friends that years can go by without seeing each other or talking and you pick up right where you left off. I was able to take a couple of days off and do some day trips with Emily, showing her Irazu volcano and the Orosi hot springs.

We also went to La Paz waterfall which I hadn’t been to before. La Paz has several beautiful waterfalls, gardens and animals. There are also baby snakes we discovered while Emily unknowingly stepped on it. We don’t talk about that though…

Soon after we parted with Emily, I had to fly back to Canada for work. I spent another week in Yellowknife with a stopover in Calgary and a week in Toronto. In between work commitments, I was able to visit with friends that I wasn’t able to properly catch up with over Christmas.

More Visitors

Whale tail uvita beach

Not long after I got back from Canada, we had our next round of visitors arriving. The first of which almost didn’t make it here. Looking at you, Sera!

Sera had planned to come visit us in Costa Rica in the middle of February so that we could go to Envision Festival together and so, she booked her trip the previous August when she found a sweet seat sale for flights to San José. About 5 days before Sera was to arrive in San José, she discovered that her flight was, in fact, to San Jose, California…not Costa Rica.

So after immediate panic and many phone calls with airlines, she was able to get another flight to Costa Rica that was much more complicated and landed her in Liberia, rather than San José. After a few more bumps in the plan and with much doubt that we would ever see her again, Sera arrived to our condo safe and sound.

After a couple of days hanging out in San José, and two all-nighters to get my work done, Sera and I were off to Envision Festival on the pacific coast. This festival is a bit hard to explain in a paragraph, but it was definitely an experience I will never forget. It was hot. It was loud. But it was also very peaceful. We would spend each morning and afternoon at the festival, attending workshops on things like ‘manifesting like a motherf*cker’, fungi and mycelium, yoni steaming and yoni eggs, and of course, yoga. We’d watch the sunset over the ocean and dance the night away to music we’d never heard before. In a nutshell, it was magical and weird and there is no one else I’d rather Envision with than Sera…so I’m very glad she didn’t end up in San Jose, California.

Once we got back from Envision, we unpacked and then re-packed for a beach trip with more visitors, Liam and Julia. We planned on meeting up with Liam and Julia in Santa Teresa, so Rob, Sera and I drove there from San José on what was a very interesting drive… This drive could be shorter and involve crossing less rivers if you catch the ferry, but we missed it (both directions).

Santa Teresa

We rented an AirBnB in Santa Teresa for a few days for our crew of 5 and then stayed in a beautiful bungalow at a yoga retreat centre. We spent most of our days at the beach; surfing, digging holes (mostly Rob) and drinking iced coffee. It is here we discovered the most delicious frozen banana coffee. Maybe if you are lucky, I’ll write a post dedicated the the drink that changed my world!

banana iced coffee

When we weren’t at the beach, we were in the pool at the AirBnB or binging Love Is Blind because… #priorities (note: did you know that Jessica is 34 and Mark is 24?!?!). We would have dinners at beachfront restaurants (or at the AirBnB when Liam cooked for us) and watch the sunset with some tropical bevies. We also took a day trip to visit Montezuma waterfall which ended with lunch and much deserved cold beers after a very hot afternoon hike.

One night, we had our own Costa Rica wine clüb at a local wine bar. What does this involve? Glad you asked. We told the wine bar owner our theme, “Love is Blind” (obviously) and asked them to pick two bottles of wine that they thought best captured the theme. They did not disappoint. Then they had us guess what ‘variety’ of wine the bottle was. What they didn’t know is that we aren’t a fancy wine clüb and can barely tell the difference between a white and a rosé, but we all had some good laughs and even better wine.

On our last day, before leaving Santa Teresa, we found some tide pools to snorkel around it. We swam around with lots of little fish in the most beautiful, clear water. Liam, the ultimate sea creature spotter, even found a little hiding octopus. After being one with the fish, we had lunch and started our adventure back to San José.

The Last of our Visitors

We had a couple more days with Liam and Julia in San José before they flew back to Canada. Both Rob and I had to go back to work, so we set Liam and Julia up with our DIY San José coffee tour map and recommendations for our favourite restaurants and sent them on their way to explore. After being properly caffeinated and having our last dinner together, they were on their way back to Canada.

Right after Liam and Julia left, some of Rob’s colleagues came to Costa Rica to work out of the office here for a couple weeks. Most of them had never been to Costa Rica before, so we took some time to show them around to our favourite market, a close national park and hot springs…then the pandemic hit and they had to head back to Canada early and that was the last of our visitors…

Cancelled Plans

At this point, it was the middle of March and we had several plans in the works to make the most out of our last few months in Costa Rica, but have largely remained inside our condo since then.

Both of our birthdays are in March, so we wanted to get out of the city and do some surfing trips for our birthday. We were making plans to visit Bocas Del Toro in Panama for Easter but once the borders closed, we knew that wasn’t an option. We had other friends who were planning on coming to visit us in April, but due to the events of the world and border closures, that trip had to be cancelled. Sad, but necessary.

Like for many others, the global pandemic has throw us for a loop. We are lucky to be safe and healthy and have been pleasantly surprised with how Costa Rica has responded to COVID-19. But I’ll save my public health perspectives on a global pandemic for another post.

Stay safe out there friends!!

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