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Thousands of miles away from home with vast spans of empty perfect beaches, coconuts, mangos and passionfruit, the sun and each other we basked in living unplugged and only for each other. No TVs, limited internet, no cell phones, just us.

Costa Rica is an amazingly beautiful country. We began our trip by flying into San Jose and having a driver take us to our resort, Xandari By The Pacific. We had toyed with the idea of renting a car and driving ourselves but after being dissuaded by the threat of long winding roads with no signage we decided to get there safe. Good decision. The major highway was closed for repairs and our driver coursed over and around many windy valleys to reach the pacific side. The resort’s turn off was marked by no more than a bus stop…we never would have found it. Our room was bright, open, cheerful, and soothing.

Our first night we explored a little, dined at the only resort’s restaurant (thank goodness it was amazing food!) and fell asleep to the sound of the ocean. We stayed at the resort our first day, relaxing, reading, swimming, running, just being. The secluded expanse of beach seldom had other people enjoying it and its gray sand felt like warm silk on our toes.

We donned our Vibram shoes and took a long run on the beach, the sea salt breeze and sun beating down on us felt amazing. New to running, I think I may have experienced one of my first enjoyable running experiences–this sure did beat the treadmill! Our calves were rocked for the rest of the trip but it was worth it. I read a novel for the first time this year, A Dog’s Purpose, and loved being engrossed in a book for fun! Unfortunately, it turns out to be a bit of a tear-jerker if you sob easily in anything dog related like I do….so there was more than 1 occasion that I was reading semi-bawling. I also started to re-read my favorite book, The Count of Monte Cristo.

We spent the rest of our days relaxing, touring, and eating well. Costa Rica has some of the very best coffee I’ve ever had.

We spent our first and last mornings horseback riding on the beach. I love horses.

Our private guided tour of Manuel Antonio Park turned a quiet forest into a dynamic habitat with Howler monkeys, sloths, iguanas, lizards, blue morpho butterflies, Scarlet Macaws, crabs, a red-eyed tree frog, and more all within the same mini ecosystem.

Brad spent an afternoon surfing, only to come in from ridiculously large powerful waves to be stung by a stingray. We just had to fit some more adventure into our trip…. He was stung on his foot and despite looking like a tiny puncture wound the venom went quickly to work, numbing his entire leg and sending us on a Costa Rican ambulance ride to a local clinic. We learned that the only treatment for a stingray injury is to quickly submerge the area into the hottest water you can handle. The heat denatures the venom protein rendering it inactive. He was quickly seen by a local doctor and within 45 minutes they had soaked and cleaned the wound and sent him home with a course of antibiotics…we only paid for the taxi ride home. It was impressive care and thankfully wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

After his injury, I still stayed active and got in a bodyrock.tv inspired workout on the beach. The laborers nearby were cutting down coconut branches and they kindly machete opened some coconuts for me…i have an unquenchable love for coconut…and it is simply the best post-workout drink. I also found dozens of sand dollars on the beach on an afternoon run–we saved a whole one and are going to try to make it harder for a christmas tree ornament.

Our last day we read by the pool and then enjoyed the afternoon coastline on a catamaran sailing next to dolphins, snorkeling and enjoying fish kabobs and local beer in the sun. We didn’t want to leave.

~Pura Vida~

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