Rocky Beach, Dirt Roads, Welcome to Dominical

Playa Dominical
Playa Dominical

We spent three nights in Dominical and spent some time exploring the southern peninsula.

choppy, full breaking waves....not ideal for any recreational activity
choppy, full breaking waves….not ideal for any recreational activity

Danny had hoped to surf some great waves, but the ocean didn’t cooperate. Predictably Nature.

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He made the best of what he was given.

Supportive wife looking on - praying the waves don't make me an early widow.
Supportive wife looking on – praying the waves don’t make me an early widow.

I stood on the beach and took photos with one hand

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while my other hand was free to keep our son from being swept into the sea.

Southern view
Southern view

While I was busy taking photos, a young, skinny, blonde, Canadian – with feathers stuck in her hair – wandered over to me selling chocolate from her portable ice cooler. She made the chocolate – it was one of a kind – I wasn’t keen on carrying melted chocolate back to my hotel room, so I told her to find me later. We chatted about life.

Northern view
Northern view

She continued on her business route and blew kisses to the baby as she walked away shouting, “bye mi amour.”

Danny came in for a few minutes to talk about his rides and failures.
Danny came in for a few minutes to talk about his rides and failures.

Danny came in so see what baby and I were up to and I made him stay for a few photos. Then he told me he was going to ride some whitewash a few times before heading back to our hotel.

He is out there, but hidden by the water
He is out there, but hidden by the water

Danny paddled back out

P1000328After he came in for the day, we drove back to the board shop – while Danny had stepped away for a minute – I spotted our blonde Canadian Chocolatier and waved her over to me.

Dominical - where time stands still - and you can see an under commercialized Jungle.
Dominical – where time stands still – and you can see an under commercialized Jungle.

I paid $4 for a medium sized – vanilla dark – chocolate bar that was made in her kitchen (well, the kitchen she house sits for) and it was the BEST chocolate bar I have ever eaten/shared.

See all the stickers on the sign?
See all the stickers on the sign?

I recommend taking a chance on street entrepreneurs.

Rio Baru - I wish I would have taken a photo when the tide was out - the water was a crystal blue.
Rio Baru – I wish I would have taken a photo when the tide was out – the water was a crystal blue.

After three days in Dominical, we headed back towards San Jose – the scenic route – taking back roads.

road between Dominical and Quepos - endless palm trees.
road between Dominical and Quepos – endless palm trees.

We drove through a monstrous thunder storm that blew in north of Jaco.  As we drove higher up the mountain, the air was cooler and crisper than the coast.  Danny and I liked the Atenas area.

Wiley stayed busy reading his book while we enjoyed the scenery.

Peace Out
Peace Out 

Much love to Costa Rica, we should get together again sometime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playa Biesanz, a hidden gem in Manuel Antonio

Tarzan boy
Tarzan boy

A trail hidden off the road between the Shana hotel and the hotel Parador in Manuel Antonio leads to Playa Biesanz.

Dan rented some snorkel gear.
Dan rented some snorkel gear.

There is a lot of coral around this beach and some rocks, but the waves are gentle – good for some easy long boarding – and swimming with a baby.

P1000222There is one man sitting on the beach renting out equipment and no people wandering the beach selling things, so if you want a beautiful, peaceful place to lay out – this beach is the place.

P1000243Even though this is a semi-uninhabited beach, nudity is still frowned upon…unless you are an infant, than no one cares.

P1000246This was my second favorite beach on the south pacific side of Costa Rica.

First selling point: quiet/not crowded

Second selling point:  safe surf/fun for small children

Third selling point: IT’S FREE, whereas Manuel Antonio is not free.

Look at this kid? just over a year ago, he was so tiny!
Look at this kid? just over a year ago, he was so tiny!

I did hear a young girl tell her mom she didn’t like this beach because of the coral particulates that lined the surf, as the waves pushed the water onto the beach and dragged them back again. So if you had children who are old enough to body board, they may not enjoy this beach as well as Espadilla; where there is nothing rough hampering your walk into the water.

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check out these guys.

I preferred Biesanz over Espadilla

P1000284Playa Biesanz, where there are more ants than people.

Just the way I like it.

PuraVida Has Me Rethinking My Life Plans

I am beginning to think our trip to Costa Rica was life changing.

Here is why:

Baby is having a great time. He loves being confined to highchairs.
Baby is having a great time. He loves being confined to highchairs.

Open air eating – everywhere.

What a view, huh?
What a view, huh?

Mountain, lush jungle and an ocean.

say hello to my little friend. Crabs, all types, were abundant.
say hello to my little friend. Crabs, all types, were abundant.

A slower paced life, a simpler life.

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I washed all my clothes and utensils by hand. I used fewer clothes and fewer utensils. Not a whole lot of nic nacks laying about.

P1000165The calming sounds and sights of nature.

Helllo there!
I’m ‘holding on’ to Danny’s glasses while he swims

Walking to each destination, just a short distance away. I love to walk.

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Swimming in the ocean, our favorite family activity!

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And the ocean is warm.

P1000200I lost count of all the fresh water streams, rivers, estuaries that we walked over.

P1000204When it rains, the temperature is still warm. No shivering as you walk to your next destination.

Raul is the parking lot attendant who always kept a good eye on our vehicle. Good man.
Raul is the parking lot attendant who always kept a good eye on our vehicle. Good man.

Friendly people. My husband mentioned, at least once a day, how friendly Ticos are.

Pura Vida. Costa Rica
Pura Vida. Costa Rica

We either need to visit Costa Rica more often…or move to Hawai’i.

 

Sorely Needed: Good Directions To Church Building

Before we left the States, I went to the LDS website to find the meeting house in Quepos. The LDS Meething House Finder link is no bueno, in fact, it has the wrong address posted. I thought I would do any Latter Day Saint – or some other visitor to Quepos – the service of posting good directions and photos of landmarks that will lead you to the LDS Meeting House.

MAPtoQuepos

There are two main roads that lead into Quepos off Highway 34, North side of town and South side of town (for those of you who are directionally challenged: If you are coming from Jaco, you are coming from the North toward Quepos and if you are coming from Dominical, you are coming from the South side of Quepos….all on Highway 34).

maptochurchQuepos

We were coming from Jaco, so we took the North road into Quepos and drove south (toward town). I had been praying to find the church or some LDS Missionaries to lead us to where it was and as we were driving in a rain storm, I look out of the driver’s side window and there it was, the LDS Chapel. Smiles all around.

Here are some photos of where you should be:

Just before the church,
Just before the church,

This is a photo from the North Side of the Church

Off to the left (or East side of road) is the Chapel.
Off to the left (or East side of road) is the Chapel.

Sitting across a little canal, surrounded by bared fencing is the quaint LDS Chapel of Quepos, Costa Rica. Where the members greet you warmly!

Meetings begin at 9am

Just south of the Chapel is this restaurant Kukula's. located on the right (west) side of the street.

Just south of the Chapel is this restaurant Kukula’s. located on the right (west) side of the street.

Kukula’s should be found on Google Maps if you zoom in close enough.

and just in case you end up driving into Quepos without seeing the Chapel and you see this sign:

Just before you reach the church

turn around, you went too far.

Some of you may be wondering how our little man enjoyed the church service.

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Just about as well as he does back home…..he spent most of the morning wandering around with his mom or dad following him around.

Thank goodness for the wildlife hanging around.

P1000137Nature is a great source of entertainment!

Costa Rica’s Rainy Season Is Beautiful

We found a hotel that I deemed safe for our son to play, but the room wouldn’t be ready until 3 o’clock. Hotel Costa Verde had lockers and several bathrooms (with showers) for guest to use while waiting for a room. We put our luggage in a locker and got dressed for the beach.
P1000089Playa Espadilla sits right in front of the National Park Manuel Antonio.

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Danny had some poison ivy lingering on his arms and legs, so he went into the ocean for his treatment. Danny believes the ocean can heal or help any type of health problem and I don’t disagree with that. The salt water is healthy for lots of reasons and I’m just glad that water isn’t as cold down here as it is in California.

This guy ran all the beach rentals and wanted to show baby how to build a sand castle.
This guy ran all the beach rentals and wanted to show baby how to build a sand castle.

Danny and I took turns watching the baby. 15 minutes back and forth is how it went…for a while.

It is a work out keeping up with baby. Curious George ain't got noth'n on or son.
It is a work out keeping up with baby. He is Mr Curious.

Although it was a cloudy day, I was slathering sun block on myself and the baby. I asked Dan if he wanted some, he declined because it was a cloudy day….I grew up in southern California and I knew better what could happen on a cloudy day at the beach.

P1000085Guess Who Got Sun Burned?

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After I was beached out, we found a place to eat up the hill from our hotel.

just in case you miss the food in the US, you're in luck....
just in case you miss the food in the US, you’re in luck….

El Wagon was our go – to restaurant in Manuel Antonio, because it was a short walk and they make incredible fish wrap (mahi-mahi) and delicious nachos.

Every time we sat down in the out door dining area, I kept thinking up our dream home and how I wanted an open eating area with mosaic floors.

(since a sixth grade visit to the J Paul Getty Museum I have been in love with mosaics).

I loved the Costa Rican thunder storms that passed through.

Danny and I agreed that the Rainy Season was a great time to visit Costa Rica. The rain didn’t hamper our trip in any way. The foliage was a vibrate green and the clash in temperature created a mist, that rain forest mist, that US Zoos fail to really capture.

someday.
This is what my ideal kitchen area looks like.

I’ve been to the San Diego Zoo many times….and Costa Rica’s Rain Forest wins hands down.

see the mosaic floors?
see the mosaic floors? Love.

The other upside to rain? Baby boy loved getting wet. He might be screaming because we wont let him run into traffic, but when we pick him up and walk in the rain, the boy is happy.

P1000107When he is happy, we be happy.

Finally, nap time.
Finally, nap time.

Our room was finally ready and I was ready…for a nap.

P1000114The view was beautiful. I love a moody sky and the sun was out by morning.

Enjoying the small things.
Enjoying the small things

While I rested on the bed, with our air conditioner on, our son found the broom and dust pan and started another party of his own.

He wore himself out.

Our Central American Adventure Begins

Waiting on our ride to Costa RIca
Waiting on our ride to Costa RIca

My brother-in-law, Ryan, dropped our little family off at the airport early Friday morning. Things didn’t look good at the ticket counter when they couldn’t find us on the flight….then they found us and we got boarding passes. It was standing in line for the TSA check point, that I realized our nice Nikon camera was sitting in the back seat of Ryan’s car. Doh. So, Danny bought me a water proof Panasonic pocket camera.

"They" told us driving in Costa Rica would be dangerous....shoot, we love the way people drive down here!!! That's how we drive!
“They” told us driving in Costa Rica would be dangerous….shoot, we love the way people drive down here!!! That’s how we drive!

When we arrived in Costa Rica and went to the rental car place, the people told us that the insurance we purchased in the US to cover accidents in CR wasn’t valid down here, so we would have to buy their insurance. Doh.

those mosquito bites all over his face are form Texas mossies, we hardly saw any in CR.
those mosquito bites all over his face are from Texas mossies, we hardly saw any in CR.

We rented a cute little Suzuki Jimmy, that took every rugged hill like a champ! From San Jose, we had a two hour drive to Quepos/Manuel Antonio.

P1000032The drive was beautiful.

only a little traffic.
only a little traffic.

We didn’t have a GPS (which the rental car place insisted we have – no thanks) so we followed signs, read our map and prayed that we would get where we needed to go. We stopped just outside of Jaco (pronounced ‘HA-CO’ like ‘taco’, with a “ha” sound in front) to eat lunch. I ordered the typical black beans/rice, fried plantain, potatos and salad…with a side of steak. Danny helped me finish it after he ate up his shrimp.

Jaco
Jaco

We stopped in Jaco to see the waves and it seemed like a perfect day to catch some swells….but I was tired and my baby boy was driving me nuts, so I said, “we need to keep driving…” if only I had known.

We arrive in Quepos to find that our hotel had over booked and the only room they had was one without air conditioning.

We drove on towards Manuel Antonio and found this gorgeous five star hotel and I said, “Dan let’s stay here, just one night!” but it was too fancy for children. So we found a nice Bed and Breakfast.

Our first night in Manuel Antonio.
Our first night in Manuel Antonio.

DiDi’s Bed & Breakfast was so cute. We were only there one night and made friends with several nice Canadians.

I love it when he smiles.
I love it when he smiles.

Our son was having the time of his life…..and I thought this trip was for us grown ups?

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It was a long night. In the morning I realized why parents dump their kids off at gramma’s house so they can enjoy their vacation.

the back of our room faced the jungle.
the back of our room faced the jungle.

Although I liked the B&B, it wasn’t baby safe, there were too many opportunities for him to hurt himself. So Dan and I spent the whole time making sure he didn’t jump off the stairs or dive into the pool.

P1000070Safe, $45/night with light breakfast included.

pool sat next to the breakfast area and baby wanted in!
pool sat next to the breakfast area and baby wanted in!

If I went back with just adults/grown children who wouldn’t try to drown themselves in a pool, I’d stay at DiDi’s.

here is my "I think I still like you" face. He screamed all night and my head was killing me.
here is my “I think I might ship you home” face. He screamed all night and my head was killing me.

So we decided to leave after breakfast and find another place to stay before we began our exploration of the area.

here I am talking to the couple from Vancouver, British Columbia.
here I am talking to the couple from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Some things to take into consideration while traveling with babies. Make sure hotel room/surrounding areas are baby safe. Things I have never thought of before……

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