To Costa Rica With Love


Photograph by Dolores Fino (used with permission)

 This is an entry in the We Said Go Travel Writing Contest written by Naomi Fino from America. Thanks for your entry Naomi!

15 years ago, I fell passionately in love, not with a person, but with a place.  On my last night in Costa Rica, while sitting on the balcony of a hostel in San Jose surrounded by my sister and friends, my heart surged with the resistance one feels when parting with a loved one and I broke down in tears and cried.  There have been many return visits since that first trip, sometimes with family members, sometimes with friends, and often as of late, by myself.   This is the last week of a 6 week visit to Costa Rica, and the familiar feel of heartbreak has descended, like the first spattering of rain that falls, gathering force until it becomes a torrential downpour, so deafening and fierce, that it is impossible to hold a conversation without shouting.

During one visit to La Fortuna, we met some locals on a canopy tour where we zip-lined with an aerial view of the jungle, the trees in silent competition with each other for the sun.  We had already visited Tabacon Springs, an incredible hot springs fed from Volcano Arenal, with its pools of various temperatures of healing and relaxing water scattered throughout the property, linked by paths and surrounded by lush jungle.  The locals told us about another hot springs nearby and took us there at night.  Armed with flashlights, curiosity, and a healthy fear about what lurked in the waters, we waded through the warm pool of water, uncertain what was underfoot with each tentative step we took.  With the flashlights turned off, the darkness was thick like the humid air.  We sank into the water floating on our backs and the volcano rumbled in the distance while hundreds of fireflies winked at us like jungle stars.  The magic of that moment was inescapable and a decision was, unknowingly, in the making.  In the breaking dawn of the next morning, we had a clear view of the volcano and stood in the road, mouths open in astonishment, as we were treated to more rumbling from Volcano Arenal and the spectacular sight of lava.  The bus back to San Jose to catch a return flight was intentionally missed that morning – with no regrets.

La Fortuna is on the itinerary again for a short visit in a couple of days.  There will be two nights there to relax in the glorious waters of Tabacon Springs, then a return to Manuel Antonio, a favorite destination and the focus of my passionate love with Costa Rica.  It was about 6 years ago that, by a chance encounter with a German traveler, I learned of Casa Buena Vista, a bed and breakfast set in the jungle with a lovely view of the ocean and Manuel Antonio National Park in the distance.  The intention was to stay a few nights then continue down south, but when the time came to leave we asked instead if we could stay one more night, and then another, and yet another.  It is a 15 minute walk down the hill to a gorgeous beach lined with jungle and speckled with palm trees, or a 10 minute walk up to the main road where a variety of restaurants with incredible views and delicious food beckon the hungry traveler.

There are a variety of activities and tours to do to keep any adventurer satisfied, from canopy or night tours in the jungle to snorkeling or fishing tours in the sea.  There is a fantastic snorkeling tour run by Sunset Sails.  Not only is it wonderful to be out on the water in search of playful dolphins, majestic whales, and shy turtles while sipping cervezas or cocktails included in the trip but, it being a family run business, you get the personal attention, delightful humor, and warm personality of the knowledgeable crew. One of the most delicious fish dinners with rice and vegetables can be had on their tour, served after snorkeling in the sea and before the spectacular sunsets that frequently grace the skies.  If you are lucky and conditions are right, you may even be able to see the “green flash” that occurs just as the last bit of sun slips into the water.

It is such displays of nature that enchant the appreciative traveler. These can be found even when relaxing on the porch while the mono titi monkeys chirrup their way through the jungle, or an iguana embarrasses himself by falling off the roof and finds he is clinging to a plant while the inconsiderate human laughs at his clumsiness.  For a moment the laughter distracts me from my heartbreak, which is only tempered by the thought that perhaps, one day soon, I will stay.

About the Author: Naomi Fino:I live in California and am currently doing 2 1/2 months of travel through Central America and South America.  I love to write, design and sew clothes, and fire dance. Occasionally I am a lazy thrill-seeker that doesn’t like to work too hard for a good adrenaline rush. 

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Photograph by Naomi Fino






Writing Contest

This is an entry to the We Said Go Travel Writing Contest. The theme of this contest was "Inspiration: A Place You Love". Enjoy reading and don't forget to leave a comment!

17 responses to “To Costa Rica With Love

  1. I have never met a person with so much lust for life and travel.

    Enjoy. We see through your eyes.

    Love ya,

    Doug and Peter

    P.S. She writes with passion.

    1. Doug and Peter, I love that you see through my eyes all of this beauty…and that you see it with your own eyes as well.

  2. Sounds like an awesome trip to Costa Rica. You did it right by getting off the beaten path and taking the advice of locals and fellow travelers. That is often the source of the best tips on places to go, things to see, and where to stay.

    1. It was – and pretty much always is awesome! I agree with what you say and locals and fellow travelers do have some great advice.

  3. Beautifully written. Captures the essence of Costa Rica and the love affair that the writer has with Costa Rica, which is easy to understand having been there myself a few times.

    1. Thank you, Joe. I am happy to hear such kind words from someone who has also travelled to Costa Rica!

  4. yes, I understand completely how a place on this earth is part of your soul. Sometimes
    this can’t be writin in words. But you did this beautifully.

  5. Knowing Naomi and knowing Costa Rica it is easy to see how the country is part of her soul. This piece conveys her special connection to the country, in graceful color.

    1. Dan, you are one of the amazing people that, over the past few years, has continued to shape and colour my love for Costa Rica. Thank you for being you and all of the glorious and wonderful moments you have shared with me!

  6. There is a reason if I decided to move to my Country 6 years ago and to live here in costa Rica and I think your post helps to understand at least a 50%. The other part is to visit the Country, to feel the experience to be sourrounded by nature, in each single second of your trip

  7. Costa Rica is a destination that falls in love with anyone who likes nature and adventure.
    Thank you for this beautiful article where you describe your beautiful holiday. More than half of the best destinations were discovered.

  8. Costa Rica is one of the most incredible places in America. A holiday surrounded by nature with very friendly people. Very good article. Danny

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