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Costa Rica, Pura Vida

The one thing everyone says about Costa Rica is how lush it is. And despite having near drought conditions (it was the rainy season but there was little rain and we heard of water lock-offs), much of the landscape in the northwest still looked green.

Postcards from Costa Rica

Costa Rica from Above

Postcards from Costa Rica

Costa Rica from above

Postcards from Costa Rica

Costa Rica from above

I had traveled to Playa Potrero, Costa Rica in Central America to celebrate a milestone birthday of one of my close friends. It was a welcome break for me. I didn’t bring my laptop – the first time I’d traveled without it in more than 5 years – so I could disconnect totally from the everyday details that filled up the spaces in my life and reconnect with longtime friends.

We played trivia games, read, walked the beach, slept, ate, drank copious amounts of wine and one day the women in the group – all five of us – headed to the nearby town of Tamarindo for a day at Coco Beauty Spa, and lunch. (I chose Coco’s natural volcanic mud wrap – Costa Rica has more than 100 active volcanoes – and relaxed for almost an hour in warm mud. Everyone said I looked relaxed and glowing after. )

Zip lining Costa Rica

Post Cards from Costa Rica

Ready to go zip lining

Did you go zip lining?

It’s the one question everyone’s asked since I returned. I nod as I smile. Seems zip lining is the thing to do in Costa Rica so I was glad to have my début there. Joan, one of the other ladies in our group, and I were the only ones who decided to leave the comfort of the villa for some outside activity.

The Congo Trail Canopy Tour with a total of eleven lines and two hanging bridges caught our attention. The longest line was about 900 feet, the shortest about 400 feet. While it was fun flying through the air, I would have preferred to see the beautiful trees up close.

To avoid losing our cameras, we left them at the company’s office. They took one photo of each of us as we approached the second line (I have proof that I actually zip lined!).

Postcards from Costa Rica

Capucin monkey

As we waited for our guide, we watched several capucin monkeys as they swung from tree to tree. They moved quickly but this one came close enough as if he wanted to see who we were and what we were doing. Isn’t that the cutest face you’ve seen?

Postcards from Costa Rica

“We take care of our natural resources.”

Signs like these remind us how zealously Costa Ricans guard their natural treasures. We were warned not to take anything, not even shells from the beach, when we were leaving the country. 

The dark brown sand, soft and compact under our feet and the warm, inviting waters of the Atlantic called to us from just beyond the gate of the villa. My friend said he saw whales in the distance. I kept an eye out, hoping I’d see one but didn’t.  Most afternoons, we’d stroll the length of the beach, oblivious to the broiling rays of the sun.

Postcards from Costa Rica

Playa Potrero

Each evening, we gathered on the back patio, cameras in hand, and waited for the sun to paint the sky with dazzling purples, oranges, blues and yellows.

Postcards from Costa Rica

Sunset, Playa Potrero

Postcards from Costa Rica

Golden sunset, Playa Potrero

Postcards from Costa Rica

Sunset near Playa Potrero

All too soon, our week of pura vida (real living) came to an end and it was back to long days, busy schedules and long commutes. Every so often, I’ll pull out my phone, look at my photos and smile. Pura vida!

Linking up this week with Travel Photo Thursday, that Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox organizes.


  1. That’s beautiful. I had to look up zip lining and discovered several in Texas, though why anyone would want to go zip lining in the Dallas area I can’t imagine. Being above all the greenery in Costa Rica–wow!
    Kathy Waller recently posted..Writing.My Profile

  2. Beautiful photos! Costa Rica looks like the perfect place for pura vida. I’d love to get there one day!
    Molly S recently posted..Paris la NuitMy Profile

  3. Oh what a great trip and I LOVE the idea of disconnecting! Those sunsets are simply spectacular.
    Jackie Smith recently posted..Greece: Finding ourselves in “Pigi” HeavenMy Profile

  4. Hola Marcia, nice to see you back! I love your “umplugged” trip to Costa Rica. It’s a perfect destination to leave your gadgets behind and just focus on fun, nature and friends. We all need to kind of trip sometimes. Reconnecting with friends, spa, monkeys, beaches, zip lining, amazing, greeneries, sunset – Pura Vida indeed!
    Marisol recently posted..Florence At LeisureMy Profile

  5. Isn’t it great to sometimes just escape somewhere where you can just disconnect from everything?! You look so happy and carefree in your picture. Sounds like you guys had a great time. I haven’t been to Costa Rica since I was a kid, and when I was in Nicaragua last year, guides told us that Costa Rica is now overrun with tourists. I’d love to make a return visit and see how things have changed for myself.
    Dana Carmel recently posted..Rediscovering Santa Ynez ValleyMy Profile

  6. What a great way to celebrate a milestone. Good to know Costa Rica is protecting it’s natural habitat so well. Good on you for ziplining. I hate it when we don’t do something that a destination is famous for and then everyone asks if we did it!
    jan recently posted..Short Breaks like a Wongaling Beach Mini-Break can be a life saverMy Profile

  7. Looks as if you had a lovely and relaxing vacation. The sunset photos are incredible, so pretty. We haven’t been to Costa Rica, I think mostly because I tend not to choose tropical destinations but I have a huge bug phobia, I don’t deal well at all. Maybe one day we’ll get there if I can find a bug-free zone. 😉
    Patti recently posted..It Was Meant to Be ~My Profile

  8. Pura vida! I really want to go to Costa Rica some day. Those beautiful beach shots of yours are just feeding that urge. Good for you for not bringing your laptop. I think it’s freeing to be able to disconnect for a while, but I have a hard time remembering that if I bring my devices along. I think I would have been one of the people opting to hang out in the villa instead of ziplining, but it’s great when there are choices.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Villa Borghese: Enjoy the Outdoors in RomeMy Profile

  9. Who says people can’t “fly” except in an airplane? But you need to get a GoPro to film future zip-lining excursions.
    Dick Jordan recently posted..A Perfect Fall Day Along the Big Sur CoastMy Profile

  10. This looks like such a wonderful break, Marcia! I’m glad you were able to unplug and enjoy what Costa Rica had to offer and spend quality time with your friends. Those sunsets are stunning! Costa Rica has been on my top 5 places to visit for years and hoping to make it there soon. Welcome back to the real world!
    Mary recently posted..Strolling through the Golden Pavilion KyotoMy Profile

  11. Marcia, Your photos are gorgeous. What a great way to unplug and just enjoy life!
    Corinne recently posted..Weekend Travel Inspiration – TurkeyMy Profile

  12. wow, the sunsets are stunning there, I would do that every night….I haven’t yet made it to Central America, one of these days
    noel recently posted..A night walking tour in Vienna – Travel Photo MondaysMy Profile

  13. Hi Marcia! I read your post earlier in the week, and obviously forgot to comment 🙂 I was probably fighting with my Internet connection! I’ve heard lots of good things about Costa Rica. Your photos are gorgeous, and it looks like you had a great time. The spa is definitely something I would be first in line for. The zip lining might take a bit of convincing 🙂
    Nancie recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday — 09/25/14 — More Deliciousness From PenangMy Profile

  14. I love Costa Rica and your post takes me back to my 10 days of bliss there last fall. If only real life was like that all the time. Isn’t is such a treat to disconnect!
    Leigh recently posted..A Hike to the Summit of Gros Morne Mountain in NewfoundlandMy Profile

  15. Simply beautiful, you need to bring me next time!

  16. Great, I will, Zerona!
    Thanks for your comment.

  17. Lovely photos, Marcia. I didn’t zipline when we were in Costa Rica, but my daughters did. Seems I never hear the last of it. Next time …
    Sophie recently posted..Autumn in MunichMy Profile

  18. Sophie

    Lovely photos, Marcia. I didn’t zipline when we were in Costa Rica, but my daughters did. Seems I never hear the last of it. Next time…