costa rica and florblanca resort
i got 99 problems, and they are all mosquito bites. literally.
brian and i are back from my birthday adventure to costa rica, and i have no tan (shocker), i forgot to buy souvenirs, and i am covered to high heavens in itchy bites. despite all this, we had a really really fantastic time, and i'm going to tell you about it so maybe you'll consider costa rica for your next jaunt.
we booked a villa at florblanca resort in santa theresa on the nicoya peninsula. we chose florblanca because it's in a surfing town, on a beach with renowned wave breaks up and down it, and it has an award-winning pilates/yoga studio and spa --(you can read more about that here). plus, their food was touted as extra-delicious, fresh and super-healthy. we wanted a place with some authentic local flavor and we wanted to try somewhere new to both of us - it was our first time in central america. maybe b/c we both studied french in school, so our spanish mostly looks like this:
traveling there isn't a breeze, but rather an adventure. from raleigh we took a quick flight to miami, another fairly short flight (2 hours) to san jose, costa rica's capital (where the airport is surprisingly nice and new). from san jose to the resort, there are a number of travel options, including renting a car, taking a bus or ferry, or another short domestic flight on a small airplane, but in the interest of time and convenience, we chartered a small private plane that flew us to tambor airport, and from there it was a 30 minute drive to the resort, prearranged by the concierge in an air-conditioned SUV complete with cocktails, a friendly driver and plenty of latin music .
brian meares and i both thought the flight was fun and considered it one of the highlights of the trip.
arriving at florblanca, we found our expectations exceeded
our villa was gorgeous and right on the beach (ask for villa #1!) with an open-air living area and bathroom, and a deliciously air-conditioned bedroom complete with a fluffy canopied bed with luxurious sheets, gorgeous artwork and impromtu bouquets from the local flora each day arranged by the staff.
the outdoor bathroom was really a treat -- you could take a bath and lean back to watch a family of howler monkeys in the trees right above. they lived at the resort, maybe 12 or so?, and would howl every morning right at 5:00. It was disconcerting at first, but costa rica is a wakeup early kinda place, so it quickly became part of our routine.
our days started usually by 7:00 -- coffee by the ocean, surfing, shell hunting and fish spotting in the tide pools, and then settling in for the most amazing breakfasts, where we were often visited by a friendly local dog or two, or the resort cat, julio.
i took several pilates lessons - private and group - and got an amazing workout each time, helping to warrant my indulgences at every meal. the pilates studio was right by the ocean - and when you're about to give up on your 100s, a little wave crash can help you count the time to get through it.
afternoons, we went on several excursions -- we were brave and tried the infamous zip lines through the rainforest, and on my birthday we took a horseback ride through a local cattle farm, up a mountain overlooking the coast, and down a trail to the beach where we were able to run with the horses during the sunset.
i am unsure why i look so confounded about this horse - we got along famously.
and of course on my birthday, there was a benedict(ory) breakfast (smoked tuna!)
we jumped off waterfalls and climbed big rocks
afternoons were for cocktailing, sunning and lounging.
and fish tacos. oh i had so many fish tacos
the town of santa theresa and neighboring mal pais were fun to explore - full of young people, surfers, and ex-pats who like us, came to vacation but gave into the dangerous sea sirens who lure you to call it all quits and move permanently to costa rica. great restaurants everywhere, the friendliest folks, and dogs, cats and chickens roaming the streets, i swear with a smile on their faces.
the rainy season just started in costa rica, that's why the mosquitos are out. why they love me so much, well, when you got it... but the itches are a reminder of the lovely time we had, and the extra-special birthday i was lucky enough to celebrate, healthy and happy, in one of the prettiest, most laid-back, and inviting places i've ever visited. i highly recommend costa rica, and especially florblanca for their all-around first class service, amenities and location.
pura vida yal.
*monkey photo from marysia swim