Well, I finally made it out of Costa Rica’s Central Valley. Two weeks ago we had a mini-break (three working days and the weekend) which allowed for a little holiday. One of my co-workers (Alex) and I decided to go to the Caribbean coast for this mini-break. We did some searching and found a little cabin about 150 meters from the beach in Playa Cocles (which is near Puerto Viejo).
We arrived to a very humid and sunny beach town with lots of local charm. After getting settled into our perfect little cabin we headed straight for the beach. The few hours of floating in the water and talking were so, so needed. We then had some dinner and swung in the hammocks on the cabin’s deck, talking and reading. (And keeping an eye our for extremely large bugs.)
And thus was our holiday. We basically ate (lots of delicious food), relaxed in the hammocks or at the beach and did some work (we are teachers after all) every single day. It was wonderful. The beach where we stayed, Playa Cocles, was almost deserted, and considering how beautiful it is I’m glad for this. The new header picture is from this beach as well as these:
One of the days we went to the nearby Jaguar Rescue Center to meet some of the native residents. This was a great trip, with only two down sides: 1) no jaguars and 2) not being able to take pictures of the baby howler monkey, which sat in my hand to eat some leaves. It was adorable!
The center houses many animals that are either in rehabilitation or can’t be let out into the wild for various reasons. The guide was very knowledgeable and I really enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed seeing the baby monkeys and the cutest little sloths you ever did see! Now, I just need to see some of these guys in the wild!
As luck would have it, while planning this trip I realized there was an open water swimming race happening during the very same weekend. I really wanted to join, but I was worried about my lack of training. On the day I registered for the race I had only swam three times since July (my last training with the group in the UAE), so I was not confident in my abilities!
I decided to register for the 1km race as I was fairly confident I could do that one. Alex asked how long I thought it would take and I told her my goal was to go under 25 minutes. Not knowing the course or the water and weather conditions, I just wasn’t feeling very confident. However, after I did a little warm-up swim and determined that there was very little current I was feeling much better. It was a good race! I finished strong and was happy with my swim time of a few seconds over 19 minutes. I also suspected that I might have placed in the top three because I didn’t see any other women around when I got out of the water, so I made Alex stay to see the posting of the results.
I came in second place!! I was so happy and surprised. I have been swimming competitively on and off for 22 years and this was the best placing I’ve ever achieved. In my age group for women there were 16 swimmers. In the whole event 1K swim, male/female and all ages I was the 6th fastest swimmer! This makes me excited to participate in more races, and maybe even swim a bit more.
Now about the food, so far I have really enjoyed Costa Rican cuisine but I have not had much of it. So it was really fun to try some new places in Puerto Viejo. There are a lot of little cafes with creative menus. We lucked out and found some amazing places to eat and I am excited to go back to Puerto Viejo and because there is so much to try still.
If you are in the area, make sure to visit Bread & Chocolate. The grilled cheese with bacon is to die for! And their desserts are amazing. Another great little place we found is Como en Mi Casa Art Cafe. I ate the best gluten free (made with plantain flour) pancake I have ever eaten and the homemade jam, lip-smacking good! I am looking forward to returning for some more delicious food, relaxing hammocks and nearly deserted beaches.