Spring has finally sprung in NYC and yet all I can think about is a getaway. About this time of year two Spring seasons ago my sister and I went on our very first trip together. We went to Costa Rica and it was incredible...
Olivia (above) has always been the wild one out of the two of us. She can be disorganized at times, spontaneous and full of creativity. All the energy she doesn't waste on worrying about things (like having her passport days before our trip) she spends on caring for others and being what everyone who knows her would describe as the most compassionate and amazing friend.
I, on the other hand, worry about everything. I plan and over plan in attempt to make my life smoother, and never learn you can never plan for everything, like forgetting your passport in a hostel safe as I actually did on this trip!
Olivia and I spent about 2 weeks backpacking it in Costa Rica, a rare opportunity that only manifested because we both happened to be in school at the time, her in undergrad and me back for grad school. We landed in San Jose, her from Washington DC and me from NYC, and somehow we met with perfect timing in the passport line despite having no real plan or way to communicate once in country. Once oriented we were off to find our way to what would be an awesome hostel with the nicest people and excellent pancakes.
On our first full day we were eager to get out of the city of San Jose and make it to one of the tropical beaches we'd been adoring online for months. We walked from our hostel to the city center, soaking in the old European-style buildings along the way. We made it to a bus terminal in a seedy part of town that would take us to Puntarenas where we would catch a ferry and continue on to Montezuma.
It wasn't until sundown that we arrived in Montezuma which allowed us to enjoy the most incredible sunset on the water. From there we went door to door until we found a hostel with an available private room to stash our packs while we looked for a dinner spot.
After an incredible seafood platter dinner right on the beach, a couple of drinks and a good nights rest we were ready to explore this small town on the Gulf Coast of the country. We wandered the town and rocky beaches and later decided to "hike" the Montezuma Falls.
What began as a leisurely hike became and intensive climb to the top of four tiered waterfalls. Once at the top we lounged on the rocks and waded a bit until some Italians convinced me to cannonball from a rope swing into the pool of water. Olivia was smart and skipped the swing, but maybe it was my leap that got one of the Italians to invite us their pasta dinner at the hostel next to ours that night.
The following day we took a small tour boat out to Isla Tortuga for a barbecue and snorkeling. The island was small and quiet with the whitest sand and most aquamarine water we had ever seen. We spent the entire day in awe, going to and fro from our shaded spots on the sand to the warm clear water.
The next day we explored some more and enjoyed the beach until it came time to head to our next destination, the Costa Rican rainforest. We spent 2 days in Monteverde where we ate in a treehouse, ziplined across the rainforest canopy and did some much needed laundry. We decided to cut our time there short in exchange for more beach time, this time on the Caribbean coast.
By the time we reached Puerto Viejo Olivia and I were totally in love with Costa Rica and plotting ways to stay forever...
It wasn't until we made the long walk to Punta Uva that we really understood just how magical Costa Rica is. Although said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, Punta Uva was relatively desolate the morning we arrived. The beaches were undisturbed and the palms were picture perfect. Olivia and I could barely believe such a place existed.
We spent hours here until our stomachs demanded our attention, and then we made our way back to town. First walking and getting caught in a morning shower, then sharing a cab with hotel-less strangers and finally reaching a roadside cafe of sorts where we shared our meal with an adopted pup of the hour (Costa Rica has so many dogs, we made more canine friends than human ones on this trip!).
Our last days were spent exploring other beaches, Like the black sandy Playa Negra, and the many shops around town until we had to head back to San Jose and ace the inevitable return home.
I somehow envy myself each time I look back on this trip. The places we saw were incredible, but even more so exploring it with my sister is what I truly treasure. We learned so much about one another and relied on each other more than ever before. Naturally, there were a couple of quarrels but far less than I expected! And yet we could have had 10x more fights and it still would have been an amazing trip.