The words Pura Vida, for those who want to know is a description given to the Costa Rican lifestyle. Pura Vida essentially means “Simple Life” or “Pure Life” and for the local ‘Ticos’, it is a way of life. Several publications have named Costa Rica as one of the happiest places on earth to live. So how could life be anything but “Pura Vida”!
In late September my husband, son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter and I took to the skies. We were on our way to visit one of the “happiest places on earth”. My son and daughter-in-law recently bought a property in Guanacaste, Costa Rica and of course we HAD to go check it out. The property is located in a beautiful and very sustainable gated community called Mar Vista. Their property offers a stunning panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean – Shown above. The community includes a club house, pool area with a swim up bar, and an International Baccalaureate K-12 school along with other amenities.
Eventually our son and his family will build a beautiful home atop this fabulous hill. Can you imagine looking out at this absolutely gorgeous view everyday. I sure could!
It is a beachfront resort complete with restaurants, spa amenities, and just steps from Flamingo Beach – a “Blue Flag” ecological beach. The resort is currently under renovation and will be rebranded as ‘Margaritaville’. Its completion date is scheduled for November 2018. It promises to be better than ever.
Flamingo Beach is one of several ‘Blue Flag’ projects that is supported by various authorities that keep Costa Rica’s beaches ecologically sound and stable. The commission assess such vital criteria including water quality, waste disposal and tourist safety to just mention a few of the agenda items.
Educating its people helps to maintain a beach’s Blue Flag status. Costa Rica wants to be a world leader in preserving its natural resources and beauty.
We traveled to Costa Rica – Central America, when it is considered the rainy season and had absolutely no regrets. People visiting the Caribbean know that most of the days start out sunny. Then the afternoon storms roll in and after that it clears up for a very pleasurable evening.
The landscape is very lush and the temperatures are very high with lots of humidity. However, one of the major benefits to traveling at this time of the year is the crowds are far less and the prices are much lower compared to the high season.
The Playa Flamingo Beach Resort’s rooms were nicely appointed. Their ambience was subtly accented with just the right amount of décor. The resort has several restaurants that served traditional Costa Rican food, as well as American and European cuisines.
We really enjoyed their breakfast buffet every morning. The chefs prepared omelets and eggs anyway you wanted. They also set out tropical fruit and other appetizing side dishes. We sat under a covered patio that gave us plenty of fabulous views of the ocean.
There were so many beautiful parts of Flamingo Beach including the number of tide pools that appeared after the tide recedes. My granddaughter loved them all and we spent hours looking at crabs, sitting in the pools and playing in the water.
As you might expect fishing, catamaran excursions, snorkeling and other water activities are readily available! We chose the sunset cruise on a beautiful catamaran complete with drinks and food, snorkeling stops and wild life watching.
We were astonished to witness a mother whale with her calf breaching next to a rock outcropping. What a joy to see this rare event! Costa Rica has so many beautiful attractions. Our cruise ended with a stunning sunset.
We experienced several day trips. One included an incredible jungle hike along the Rio Celeste (Blue River).
This incredible attraction ended with a spectacular natural wonder. The Rio Celeste waterfall is a brilliant blue color that at first glance looks as if it had been dyed. But come to find out it is a natural chemical reaction to volcanic minerals.
During the hike, we observed where the clear river and the mineral water meet – The Los Tenideros. This is where the water turns to an azure blue hue. The color is hard to believe until you actually see it. You may even detect a foul odor caused by the combination of sulfur and calcium carbonate.
As we proceed along the trail, you will come across Poza Azul – a pool of dazzling blue water. In the past, people spent time wading and swimming in these fresh water ponds. But it has since been determined to be detrimental to the environment and is no longer allowed.
The hike can be accessed from the ‘Tenorio Volcano National Park’, which is located in rural Northwestern Costa Rica near the town of Bijagua. The area is known for its lush green foliage, rolling hills, farmland and pastures.
The hike is moderately difficult starting out with a paved path, turning to gravel, and finally to dirt. Areas of the hike are strewn with rocks and above ground tree roots. There are several hanging bridges that take you across the river. Good shoes, rain gear, snacks and water are essential. Many choose to use a walking pole or stick to secure their footing. Remarkably we passed families, older and younger adults who were wearing flip flops!
Our hike turned a little sketchy during a pretty intense thunderstorm. We endured horrendous thunder and buckets of rain that muddied sections of our path. Our granddaughter hates thunder so we reduced her fear by singing songs that chimed with the constant booming sounds.
The Rio Celeste Waterfall is 295 feet in height and cascades down into the azure blue pool. Its beauty was surrounded by the lush green foliage of the jungle. It can be viewed by climbing up a staircase that gives its visitors a great photo opportunity. It is becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area.
After spending the day on a fascinating and exhilarating hike to Rio Celeste, we definitely earned a relaxing evening back at Playa Flamingo Resort. Our next adventure will continue by exploring a different part of Costa Rica. It too will be filled with fabulous photos and wondrous tours. Stay tuned!
Take time to visit Gay’s “Rock of Gratitude” – https://www.rockofgratitude.com/