Sunday, June 15, 2008

Punta Leona

Mi amiga, Maria (that I worked with at Delta a few years ago) is from Costa Rica. She now works for CNN in Atlanta and her parents have a house on the beach en Punta Leona. She flew in Friday night and is staying for a week, so she invited me (or did I invite myself?) to come for the weekend. When she showed me a picture of her parents casa, I thought "this is WAY TOO UGLY, I dont know if I can stay in that shack!"Punta Leona es un resort on the coast 2 hours west of San Jose. There are a lot of houses build around this resort and it is surrounded by mountains and selva (forest)..absolutely beautiful!!
Maria flew in on the Delta flight friday night arriving at 830pm. I took a taxi to the airport to meet her. Senor Calvo was already there and I recognized him right away. (the last time I saw him was 4 years ago) It was perfect because we sat outside waiting for her just chatting Spanish of course. I told him that I didnt want to speak English at all this weekend and he was happy to hear that. He wants Maria to speak more Spanish with her daughter, Bianca anyway. As a matter of fact, he reminded us every time he heard us say somthing in English:) The whole family was great in helping me out if I was stuck on a word, or if my grammer was wrong (A LOT of that) The drive from the airport was about and hour and 45 min.....WINDING up through the mountains. I must say though that Maria's dad is a great driver. About half way there we stopped at a little restaurant and picked up a few coffees to go. Did I mention that the coffee is unbelievable here? The place was too authentic to NOT take a picture....I was amazed at how slow time goes here. I have never experienced anything like it. We woke up at 530am Saturday morning and went walking/hiking for 2 1/2 hours. It was awesome! Senor Calvo is really into the hiking and brought 2 sets of binoculars for us to search out all the birds. There are lapas here (scarlet macaws) and I did see them flying by, but not up close. Also toucans, which we heard, but did not spot.

I tried believe know I love birdies.Along one of the trails there was a butterfly farm. It was so cool. Hundreds of beautiful ones. Maria waited for us outside the tent. She is scared of them!? Yes, Butterflies...and yes, I teased her! She freaks out with any "creepy-crawly" as she calls them.I think the most amazing butterfly is the Morpho. I remember seeing this butterfly in the rainforest and it was as big as my hand. It is very muted on the outside (here eating a banana)

Its not a great pic, but you get the idea....a little dull. When the Morpho is flying though, you see this brilliant, vibrant blue color. They were fluttering way to fast for my camera, so here is a picture just to show you the color.

After our hike we realaxed with our coffee and enjoyed the view out of the huge windows....we had the most delicious Tico breakfast prepared my maria's madre: ripe papaya and pinapple, fresh squeezed orange juice, gallo pinto (black beans and rice), eggs, fried cheese (oh my god!) ham, cheese, and toast. Afterwards, we were satisfied and set to head down to the pool for the rest of the day. My goal this year is to NOT GET SUNBURNT!! Somethin' different with the sun down here! I loaded up with 25 spf and low and behold, IT WORKED!! I got a great tan! The pool was huge and surrounded by mountains and greenery. Bianca called us "lazy bums" all day....because we were!! We laid in out lounge chairs talking and listening to our ipods.
The rains starts a little bit later here, which I was happy about. We took showers and sat out on the balcony with binoculars and coffee to see more birds. I wanted to see those darn toucans!!My mom is going to love it here! She was the one who got me interested in birds a LONG time ago. When I was growing up, we always had a ton of bird feeders in the yard and we would sit at the bay window observing them. We will have to do a birding tour!

The Calvos wanted to make sure that I saw an amazing sunset, so at 5pm we drove up the mountain to Hotel Villa Caletas. I had read about this place in my Lonely Planet guidebook. They said it was a "must see" if for nothing more than to have a drink at the restaurant or open air amphitheatre facing out to the water. That is exactly what we did. Even though it was cloudy, we were able to see the sunset and enjoy a spectacular view.
There was a wedding going on in the amphitheatre at sunset, how romantic! We went down later to check it out! You cant see too good in this photo, but the couple stood down at the columns and all the guests sat in the rows going up which face out to the ocean. Perfecto!We got someone to take a family picture. They really did make me feel like part of the family.Dinner was at Marisqueria Juanita, a quaint open air restaurant on the beach in Herradura. Maria's padres really like this place and after eating there, I understood why. We started with the fried plantains! oh yes! damn tasty! I had a great dish called Arroz Juanita, it was the house special, rice with shrimp and chicken. Of course it came with the traditional black beans and a salad. (I have eaten beans every day since I arrived!) It poured down rain, lightning too! Im learning to love the rain (more so when im inside watching it)

Sunday we started all over again....up at 530am going on a hike, back for breakfast and this time we went to the beach. Playa Blanca. I did get sand, but I have been wondering how I will continue with my collection. I am going to be visiting so many beaches, I really can't have 20 bottles of sand from Costa Rica. I will have to pick a few favorites. For example, I went to a black sand beach a long time ago here, Ill have to get that one for sure! Sure enough, it started to rain around 2 or 3pm so we went back to shower and more relaxing. Marias padre made us a cocktail with Guaro, the national liquor of Costa Rica. Its clear, and he mixed it with sprite and fresh lime juice. Buenisimo! It reminded me of a vodka tonic, very refreshing! Chin chinWhile we were at the beach that day, Marias padres went and bought my bus ticket for me in Jaco-so sweet!! It picked me up right in front of the Punta Leona entrance at 530pm, and I arrived home at 730. It was a wonderful trip and so easy. My roomies were having dinner when I walked in so I grabbed a plate!! Pura Vida!!

1 comment:

  1. Cindy, don't ever think the dearth of comments means no one's reading. I always look forward to your posts, especially now that they have 53% fewer exclamation points. At this rate you might actually start using them like normal people someday soon. Why, I'm just sure of it, I am.


I enjoy reading your comments. Thanks for stopping by Viva Cindy!


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