Pura Vida – Pure Life. In Costa Rica this simple phrase is a greeting, a way to wish someone well and a verbal manifestation of this tiny Central American country’s philosophy of environmental responsibility. My two adult daughters and I couldn’t imagine a better place to enjoy an exotic family holiday – one that not only turned on amazing experiences (and delicious cocktails!), but also gave us a new perspective on life.
After a night in the capital San Jose, we were on our way to Tortuguero National Park, where we were staying at the Laguna Lodge, accessible only by boat. The water was very low, so we had to travel very slowly. The ride was exciting as we had no idea of what to expect. The lodge was very charming and simple with lovely swimming pools and the frog ponds were great to visit too.
Our Travel Director Jorge asked us all to meet at 3pm for a get together with our fellow travellers – a diverse mix of people from grandmothers and parents to adult children, teens and young kids – and it was fun to meet everyone over a welcome drink.
We were thrilled to be able to go to a viewing of the turtles on the beach later that evening. At around 10pm we walked with the guide to the beach and sat quietly waiting for the turtles to emerge – it was so exciting to see them nesting. How they know exactly the right place to dig their nest and lay their eggs is simply incredible.
The following morning we went on an early excursion into the jungle. It was really worth the early start – we saw monkeys, iguanas, toucans and endless other wildlife – unforgettable! After an adventurous day of sightseeing it was nice to spend the afternoon just relaxing by the pool together – I can’t believe how my girls have grown up!
One of our highlights was visiting a local school in the small village of Tortuguero, which was very interesting to walk around. Only 700 inhabitants, very poor, but the people were friendly and we enjoyed purchasing small local hand-made items such as earrings and purses. I couldn’t get over how happy everyone was, and they didn’t seem to regard us as ‘strangers’. The town was spotlessly clean and we just loved the fact that even in this small town, they had their beautifully decorated waste bins organized between paper, glass, aluminium and other…wow.
Look out for part two coming next week!
Theresa, Angela & Kelly Szejwallo