This is a continuation of this week’s blog about my recent trip to Costa Rica and Panama. There were so many things to share, express and learn that I couldn’t put it all into one blog! I hope you enjoy the rest of the experience!
Monteverde Cloud Forest
It was time to go to our last destination in Costa Rica, Monteverde. We had already been in Costa Rica for a week, but it seemed like there was so much left to do. Conveniently, it only took us about one hour by car to arrive at Toad Hall Hotel (which was not our final destination but a must see place to visit) which overlooks Lake Arenal.
In Toad Hall Hotel they sell unique handicrafts. I completely fell in love with one of the first bags I saw. When I asked what it was made out of I just had to buy it! It was made out of recycled plastic bags. The artist weaves the plastic and then dyed it different colors.
I had finally found the ideal place for me to buy my souvenirs. I also found some very rustic pencils that says Costa Rica on them that I used for a DIY Project which you will see in the future!
ToadHallHotel.com is a very special place and Marilyn, artist and administrator (with the heart of a Mexican), made us feel super-welcome. She gave us a tour of the place, the lake view is spectacular and the decor left me speechless.
I liked everything!! Each space was decorated with such attention to detail… I decided that this would be my perfect home… except for the heat, I stayed mainly in the air-conditioned parts of the hotel!
Also, the hotel is very economical. I would say even if you are traveling on a budget, this would be a great and beautiful place to stay if you get the chance. We stayed a while to enjoy the view at the bar accompanied by dinner and a drink before we continued.
Finally, we arrived at Melvin’s House, a very cute cottage in the middle of the jungle where we were going to stay. The yard looked like a jungle with huge trees, so many that you couldn’t even tell if they had neighbors, even though they told us there were a few people who lived close. Personally I LOVED it!
The next day we had a full day of activities, starting with zip lining (13 different zip lines with the last one in Superman position :o).
We walked on suspension bridges and afterwards took a ride on horseback through the mountains… finished dead tired!! But it was as much fun. I still remember and can feel the adrenaline!
The zip line experience also included a Tarzan jump which was very different than just the regular zip line because of the angle and the speed!
We had so much fun, and since the suspension bridges were at the same location we went straight to them.
It was very cool to end everything on horseback.
I suck at horseback riding, but I gave it my best. I don’t know why I’ve just never been very good at it, but I enjoyed my horse Cubano. He was beautiful, the mountains too were beautiful.
Our guide Don Martin took us to what are called choker trees and let us go inside one to take a picture.
I was impressed by how well our guide new the area and the mountains. I’m pretty sure that if there was a new branch on the path he would have noticed it! He knew every corner of every tree and his love for nature and the horses was clear to see! It was such a great experience! (martinhorsetour.com).
Before leaving to Alajuela (to the airport again) I returned to the cabin to design something new. I had no idea what was going to happen next on our trip, but I had a beautiful view, a table, scissors and some time. So I started to cut a colorful blouse and after cutting the tag out, I decided to use that to leave a thank you note for our hosts in the lodge, 100% recycled.
We had been traveling with friends up until this point, and they had an earlier flight than us, so we said goodbye at the airport and we were supposed to go back to the hotel and rest, but I just had to take advantage of our time in San Jose! We did some sightseeing in the taxi, and got off at a handicraft market (of course). I have to say that there wasn’t a whole lot that really inspired me, because it all looked the same. That is, up until we found an artist named David Cisar (He can be found as Cosito on Facebook). With a very interesting sense of humor, we immediately got along with him. I wanted to buy everything in his shop, and when I found out that most of the items he sold were also made out of recycled material it was extremely difficult for me to decide what to buy!
Everything was unique and interesting! We ended up going back more than once to bring other people to his shop to buy more jewelery! He recommended a place for us to go to dinner that night called The German Club / The Meeting, it was a German tavern. It was a little bit strange eating German food in San Jose, Costa Rica, but it was a very good choice! Excellent delicious food and of course GREAT BEER! We highly recommend it!!!!
Finally…Bocas del Toro, Panama !!!!
It all started with the plane. Only 6 people were going and I was terrified. I had never flown on something so tiny, where I could actually see the pilot. It was like being in a van with wings!
We had heard mixed reviews from people about their experiences, but at the end of the day I’m still alive, and it wasn’t that bad! It was awesome to see Costa Rica from the sky. I was really nervous about the landing, but in the end I barely even felt that we had landed. I was waiting to brace myself for the worst with my husband at any moment. But it was all great!
From the moment we started to see the islands all I could think was WOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!! We had already seen and done so much that I didn’t think it was possible to top them, but little did I know at that point there was still something incredible, new different, fun amazing and exciting that laid ahead of us!
As we were landing we saw houses on the water and mangroves everywhere! The climate was incredible. It was a little warm, but after the heat in Costa Rica we did not complain! There was an amazing sea breeze and it seemed perfect. Marc picked us up at the airport and took us to his house, where we took the boat that would take us to the sailboat where we would be staying on our trip.
His family was very nice. We rented a sailboat for 2 days, and Marc was our Captain, DJ, chef, and basically everything else!
Marc was amazing and made our stay unforgettable. One of the very strict rules Marc had was no shoes on the boat! So once we stepped on off they went! It felt so good to be barefoot all the time (ciudadanosdelmar.com-citizensofthesea.com).
My panic about getting eaten by jaws in the middle of the ocean had not completely disappeared because every time I looked into the water all I could think of was the theme song from Jaws… especially at night, but since we were going to go snorkeling again, I wasn’t going to let that ruin my trip! I love all that is in the sea, and this time snorkeling was a totally different experience. The colors of the corals, giant sea stars, fish of all colors (all in my mind because the underwater camera died at the beginning of the trip) and seeing a manta ray was amazing. Every thing was going smoothly when suddenly I came across a giant barracuda! The first thing I saw was his head and little by little I saw the body. I got a huge knot in the pit of my stomach, and I couldn’t move, which is weird because we were in water. I think we looked at each other for a while and then he started to go. I started to followed a little and then thought, what am I doing! I began to relax when all of a sudden I saw it again. I am surprised I didn’t faint or anything but then I thought “Well I just hope its not hungry.. or angry, because I’m not going to be able to do anything about it.” I think this one was in a good mood that day. He just swam around a little bit more and then left. I thank the fishes for allowing us to invade their territory. With the other fish it was the same. They let us invade their space and they just continued on the same as if we weren’t there. They let us enjoy the spectacle that is them.
We snorkel 2 times more and enjoyed many beautiful sunsets. We drank great beer and ate amazing rich food, both of which I still miss. Everyday Marc cooked us something that was even more delicious than the day before. All fresh, amazing ingredients. The music (Cafe del Mar) was amazing. At night they turned down the lights on the boat and put up hammocks to sleep.
One day we were on a deserted island as castaways. It was really fun, but only for a little while, I wouldn’t want to really be shipwrecked and have to enter the mangroves with all that I’ve heard was in there to try to survive.
I saw a dolphin! Apparently another 3 passed while I was in the bathroom… typical luck! It was 2 days of super relaxation, good food, good music, seeing the sails of the sailboat was incredible and being part of the sea and mother earth for just a couple of days.
Before we left, I had to take advantage of the sounds of the ocean, birds, nature, the movement of the sailboat and the view! I decided to redesign the last blouse I would wear on my trip. Again, I used the tag and the materials I had with me to leave a thank you note for Marc and his family.
DIY instructions coming soon for this fun halter top.
Before going back to the airport we took a tour of the town to find some little souvenirs that would help us always remember this great trip! But it turned out that everything that we liked was already in the airport!! :p
It took all the last energy and strength we had to make it back to Alajuela. We decided to go to the downtown area because it was very close. We ate, bought the last of our souvenirs, visited one of the many museums, had some more coffee and then it was back to the hotel!
Journey’s End! I am more in love than ever of nature!!!