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In search of sun

Chernack Greenstein in Costa Rica, 2011

rain

Swinging in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica.

Swinging in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica.

Hola from Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. It has been more than a year since we updated you on our travels, and yes, we are still going … just at a slower, more realistic pace, given the fact that we have 'real' American working hours and limited vacation time.

For the last two weeks, Dave and I have escaped the snow for what was supposed to be sunny Costa Rica. For the first ten days we experienced horrific torrential rains, while sleeping in a house with a tin roof that amplified the sound of every drop.

My high school friend Jeff and his wife Carrie kindly lent us their home in Punta Uva, just outside of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, which is just north of the Panama border on the Caribbean side of the country. The house was in the jungle with the ocean in site.

My high school friend Jeff and his wife Carrie kindly lent us their home in Punta Uva, just outside of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, which is just north of the Panama border on the Caribbean side of the country. The house was in the jungle with the ocean in site.

Unlike our trip around the world, we dined out a bit, but we had to go back to our roots with some home made rice and beans, canned peas and toast. Yum!

Unlike our trip around the world, we dined out a bit, but we had to go back to our roots with some home made rice and beans, canned peas and toast. Yum!

A local frog joined us in the bathroom one night.

A local frog joined us in the bathroom one night.

From the porch we watched howler monkeys, and enjoyed the friendliness of a very pregnant cat.

From the porch we watched howler monkeys, and enjoyed the friendliness of a very pregnant cat.

Without a car or phone to call a cab, we stuck to biking around the area, despite the rain.

Puerto Viejo town.

Puerto Viejo town.

We also managed to do mini hikes at the Cahuita and Manzanillo beach areas.

Cahuita Beach

Cahuita Beach


Cahuita Trail. After a short hike in the mud we ate at Bambada, and owner/chef Walter made us the most fabulous fish and shrimp in a coconut curry sauce.

Cahuita Trail. After a short hike in the mud we ate at Bambada, and owner/chef Walter made us the most fabulous fish and shrimp in a coconut curry sauce.

After another short, muddy hike at Manzanillo beach, we dined at Maxis. Do go!

After another short, muddy hike at Manzanillo beach, we dined at Maxis. Do go!

The best part about the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica was the cuisine. We loved the coconut infused sauces, the jerk chicken, meats, fresh fish, sweet rice and beans and plantains.

We visited Bribri to meet some indigenous Tico's who make chocolate from the local cocao plant.

We visited Bribri to meet some indigenous Tico's who make chocolate from the local cocao plant.

At a local spa called PURE we treated ourselves to jungle chocolate facials with products smelling so good it was hard to resist licking our faces.

Please note that if you are traveling to this area, DO NOT go from December to the beginning of March if you want sun. No guide book will tell you this, but it is the rainy season in this area, and a slight damper on a vacation. The Pacific side of the country is quite sunny during this time, but more touristy!

We originally planned to visit turtles in Tortuguera National Park on the northern coast of the Caribbean side, but with rain in that area too, and turtles in hiding, we opted out. We went straight to La Fortuna to soak ourselves in hot springs at the base of Arenal Volcano.

The volcano was covered in clouds the entire time we were there, but the hot springs at the Tabacon Resort were worth the 7 hour drive.

The volcano was covered in clouds the entire time we were there, but the hot springs at the Tabacon Resort were worth the 7 hour drive.

We splurged for a night at the Tabacon Resort Hotel to allow us admittance to the hot springs. It was absolutely worth it. (A tip: online there is a two night minimum stay, but if you call the day you want to stay, they will give you a room for one night if they haven't booked up.) We piggy backed our luxury night at the Tabacon Hot Springs Resort with a hostel rightly named, Sleepers Sleep Cheapers Cheap, or something like that. At $9 a person per night, it was a dream destination, plus we had our own room : - )

Iguanna in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.

Iguanna in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.

For the remaining four days of our trip, we went by bus, ferry and then bus again to Santa Teresa on the Pacific Coast. We were in town with Mel Gibson, and down the street from Giselle's home too.

For the remaining four days of our trip, we went by bus, ferry and then bus again to Santa Teresa on the Pacific Coast. We were in town with Mel Gibson, and down the street from Giselle's home too.

This rustic town is new on the tourist trail, mostly occupied by surfers and yoga enthusiasts from around the world. Oddly, there aren't too many locals in the area, which just received electricity in the late 90's. Israeli and Argentinian ex-pats seemed to own most of the properties.

Dave took surfing lessons, and really took to the waves. The next day we both took a great yoga class (my first) at Casa Zen.

Dave took surfing lessons, and really took to the waves. The next day we both took a great yoga class (my first) at Casa Zen.

Beautiful beach at Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

Beautiful beach at Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

We also walked to another area called Manzanillo, which a local recommended to us for having calm waters. It did, but the walk turned out to be 10K. The only other couple on the beach, with a car, was from New Hampshire, and they were kind enough to drive us back to town.

We also walked to another area called Manzanillo, which a local recommended to us for having calm waters. It did, but the walk turned out to be 10K. The only other couple on the beach, with a car, was from New Hampshire, and they were kind enough to drive us back to town.

Monkeys hung out above our room at the Mini-hostel in Santa Teresa.

Monkeys hung out above our room at the Mini-hostel in Santa Teresa.

You can't tell here, but more people come to the beach at night in Santa Teresa than during the day to enjoy the cooler air and sunset.

You can't tell here, but more people come to the beach at night in Santa Teresa than during the day to enjoy the cooler air and sunset.

Both Dave and I have visited Costa Rica before, taking advantage of the wealth of adventure sports the country has to offer (zip lining, kayaking, canyoning, etc.,) but this time we stuck with a needed mellow agenda.

Here's why .....

After ten months of living at our friend Niel's home in Boston, we finally bought a place in the South end, and love it. I work a few blocks away at a non-profit called Room to Grow, dedicated to enriching the lives of babies born into poverty. Dave continues his work at StillSecure.

We spent a week this summer in the San Francisco area, visiting Sonoma and Napa Valleys to continue our around the world wine tour. We both completed the 100 mile Rodman Ride for Kids, a charity bike ride, and we've enjoyed reconnecting with friends and family.

During the year, our new friends from our trip from Amsterdam, Hester and Freck, visited us in Boston, and we've made an effort to stay in touch with many of the other travelers who made our year abroad such an experience.

We've included some photos of our year, and will certainly be in touch again, soon enough!

Until then,
- Elizabeth (and Dave, editor and advice giver for this blog entry)
At the top of mountain in Santa Teresa.

At the top of mountain in Santa Teresa.

P.S. We are still working on our around the world book. At this rate, by 2013 it should be done ; - )

In May, the college gals got together for a hike at Blue Hills.

In May, the college gals got together for a hike at Blue Hills.

In June, we visited Jessica and Dave in Deansboro, and my Dave enjoyed his first Saranac Brewery tour.

In June, we visited Jessica and Dave in Deansboro, and my Dave enjoyed his first Saranac Brewery tour.

Dave enjoying the Adirondack chairs at my favorite Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown, New York.

Dave enjoying the Adirondack chairs at my favorite Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown, New York.

IMG_7003.jpg
A family Bar Mitzvah brought us to California in August. We enjoyed Sonoma and Napa Valleys, with our favorite destination being Healdsburg. We had a lovely stay at the Haydon Street Inn.

A family Bar Mitzvah brought us to California in August. We enjoyed Sonoma and Napa Valleys, with our favorite destination being Healdsburg. We had a lovely stay at the Haydon Street Inn.

In August my cousin Michael invited Dave and I behind the scenes of an REO Speedwagon concert.

In August my cousin Michael invited Dave and I behind the scenes of an REO Speedwagon concert.


We watched the concert from on stage. Pretty cool!

We watched the concert from on stage. Pretty cool!

After a two hour wait, we finally made it to the front of the line at Red's Eats in Wiscassett, Maine. The lobster roll was worth the wait!

After a two hour wait, we finally made it to the front of the line at Red's Eats in Wiscassett, Maine. The lobster roll was worth the wait!


It doesn't get better than this.

It doesn't get better than this.

Inspired by an 11-year-old boy I met at a Jimmy Fund event, I grew my hair for two years to share with a child or adult undergoing medical treatment that would prevent hair growth. In November 2010, I cut my hair for Locks of Love.

Inspired by an 11-year-old boy I met at a Jimmy Fund event, I grew my hair for two years to share with a child or adult undergoing medical treatment that would prevent hair growth. In November 2010, I cut my hair for Locks of Love.

Thanksgiving 2010 with Lisa, Joanne and Cheryl. We also celebrated all of our birthdays from the year.

Thanksgiving 2010 with Lisa, Joanne and Cheryl. We also celebrated all of our birthdays from the year.

New Year's Eve 2011 with Sara and Diana. Adam and Dave stayed behind the scenes.

New Year's Eve 2011 with Sara and Diana. Adam and Dave stayed behind the scenes.

Posted by daveliz 20:12 Archived in Costa Rica

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Comments

Hi Elizabeth and Dave,

All great stuff! Thanks very much for sharing. Sandy and I wish you both a wonderful New Year.

Alex

by Alex Freedman

i am so glad u are on the road again. luved reading your blog and seeing the pics. what fun the 2 of u are having. keep it going. luv linda

by linda e. greene

I was so excited to see another blog entry!I love how you both are embracing life with such enthusiasm. I'll make sure that book group reads your book in 2013!

Love,
mom

by cheryl chernack

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