Do you have a LIST?
You know, the top places you want to go and things you need to do there in the next 5 years? Mike and I have a dynamic list of national and international spots we hope to journey to in the next 5 years (then 10, 20, 30)…by ourselves..with the family…and there is no better time to conspire than right after each journey. When we traveled to Argentina and Bolivia last year we knew we had to get back to another Spanish speaking location,fast, as well as hit a spot in the USA. Hence the Colorado road trip with some camping last summer and then Costa Rica. Between now and December we need to come up with our next domestic and abroad locations. Biking in the south of France is my choice this summer, with the boys. Mike is off to a Haiti medical mission trip with my Dad in the Spring so this has inspired us to seek out some family voluntourism options. BUT how helpful can two kids under 4 be on a volunteer trip? This summer New York and the Jersey Shore in June is a definite but only for a long weekend. Late July, when work settles down will be the best time for the Paris + South of France biking trip! My mind is flip flopping around and research time is exciting!
Well, as my Costa Rica trip comes to a close and the ACIS travel season starts, I think about the joys and pains of air travel. We all experience amazing trips but sooner or later we encounter weather issues, mechanical problems and obstacles associated with airlines. Crying kids, late night layovers in cities we never meant to stay in are just part of it. There have been many times ACIS group leaders tell me their stories of such annoyances when dealing with the airlines but they also say it is always worth it because they have explored and experienced places beyond home. We all know it is part of travel however it is such a bummer when flight issues happen. We finally made it to Miami, 11:30pm and we are beat. An overnight here after a flight cancellation, a few hours sleep, then hopefully Chicago and the office tomorrow. These kids are troopers! My husband is amazing and Mike’s mom is the best travel companion. We will hit the wide open road to the world again soon. For now just a few hours sleep would be great….then back at ACIS Chicago to help teachers on their next adventures! (I may just be a little groggy if you call the office tomorrow)
After 12 days in Costa Rica, time to go home. Adventures with my family make me so ridiculously HAPPY. After my homestay in 1997, a trip to Nicoya Peninsula in 2007 and this time around I know I need to come back here more often. Definitely come here with kids, try glamping at Rio Tico Safari Lodge, explore Monteverde and wander the empty beaches near Marino Ballena National Park. Pura Vida!
If you are looking for beautiful empty beaches, head to the wildlife refuge of Hacienda Baru North of Dominical, then stop all along the way for more endless sandy beaches and Pacific views until you get to Parque Nacional Marino Ballena. I bet this area will not be empty for too much longer.
Roadside ceviche by Victor. Along the road South of Dominical, we have seen a ton of these ceviche stands. This chef, Victor says Gringos and Ticos alike agree his is the best from Manuel Antonio all the way down the Southern Pacific coast. Yum!
Mike’s is taking the professional photos - I will have to replace my blackberry pictures for journeymom.com when we get back.
All by ourselves in the rainforest. If you love camping you have to visit here. If you don’t like camping you have to anyway!
Waking up to the river, birds of the rainforest and soft pattering of rain is the LIFE! What is glamping? Glamour Camping. We love our safari tents here in Vergel de Punta Mala. We went swimming in the river, then fishing and the sweet little restaurant down the road cooked our catch - fresh tilapia.
Monteverde, perfect for big and little kids. Aerial tram over the cloud forest, hike along the suspension bridges and hear the barking of howler monkeys! Poco a Poco Hotel even has a kids clubhouse and small farm with cattle next door.
On Sunday the ACIS group zipped through the rainforests, some of us even jumped with the tarzan swing (harnessed in of course) that was scary! I think Jeff got it on video so we might all be famous or infamous on the ACIS website soon. I enjoyed all of you so much. I made the drive successfully back to Arenal and I can appreciate our driver a bit more if you know what I mean. It is still cloudy and enchanting - no views of the peak of Arenal yet. Next, off with my family to Monteverde. See you on our next adventure…
Enjoying the fog as it calmly settles over Arenal. An enchanting view from the restaurant at our hotel. After the natural hotsprings last evening, the sweet breeze along the boat ride on Rio Frio and more adventures to come tomorrow I am elated. Thank you ACIS.
The Yellow Cortez is my favorite tree in Costa Rica. It has flowers that bloom for just 4 days of the year. These shine like sun among the greenery. Grateful for the chance to see the beauty. Lovely lazy Iguana hanging in this one.
Our guide Herson shows us the beautiful waterfall. We just made it over the “oh my god” bridge. Phew glad we had a skillfull driver!
There is a snowstorm heading to Chicago today, really happy to be here in the sunshine. The ACIS group arrives today, see you all at the pool! Then we are off to Arenal tomorrow. Arenal is an active volcano in Northwestern Costa Rica, rumble!