i can't think of a better way to spend my first mother's day

Turns out we have wireless internet at our hotel! I was planning to write some stories about our trip while we are here, so I don't forget details, but even luckier, you get to read them already. This one's long but it was a full day so I had a lot to say!

Mike and I arrived at our hotel in Quepos, Costa Rica yesterday at 5:30pm local time, 17 hours after we left our apartment at 3:30am. We flew 3.5 hours to Houston, 3.5 hours to San Jose, and then drove 3.5 hours from San Jose to Quepos. Quepos is about 90 miles away from San Jose, but due to mountains and road conditions that require a rather scenic route, it takes a long time.

Our hotel is paradise. It is run by an ex-pat who bought it almost a year and a half ago. She and everyone else running this small hotel couldn't be nicer. I am writing this from my rocking chair on our veranda. Top floor of the three story hotel, with a gorgeous ocean view and jungle view. Right now I'm watching dozens of little monkeys running, playing and fighting over mangoes on the trees surrounding us and a lower roof a story below us. Mike is photographing them and I'm kicking back with my feet up, unwinding after an amazing day.

It started with a wakeup call from the monkeys running across the roof of our room and throwing mangoes off the trees. They're little but they make a lot of noise! Mike gave me a mother's day card, with a gift certificate to Devachan for a curly hair haircut (homemade, since he tried but they don't offer gift certificates). We had breakfast one story below our room, in the open air restaurant.

I came back up to our veranda and alternately read, dozed and watched the monkeys from our hammock. Mike took the 5 minute walk out toward town in search of cranberry juice for me, since I wake up best in the morning with a glass of cranberry juice before I even get out of bed. I survived without it this morning, but he's good like that so he went looking. About half an hour and $8 later, he was successful!

There is a private beach at the hotel, but it is a 20 minute hike (a real hike, steep and rocky and full of roots and everything). It's also a low tide beach only, as it's very rocky. We took a walk down near low tide this morning, but I didn't do well with the rocks. My sense of balance is starting to get a little wonky, so we didn't go all the way in. We explored the area a little and then hiked back up. It was a little too much for me, I started to feel pretty woozy and had to rest a couple of times. When I start to feel pretty good I sometimes forget how much more difficult it is for me to do things these days. I don't think we'll do that hike again.

After a quick lunch at a nearby cantina, we were picked up at our hotel for a mangrove boat tour. We were the only ones on the tour and Freddy, our tour guide, brought his wife, Jasmine along for the ride. They and 0ur boat driver, Andreas, were wonderful. He took us through the canals among the mangrove trees and we saw raccoons and anteaters curled up sleeping in the tops of the trees. We saw a snake. Andreas caught a tiger crab and we saw it up close. Many, many different species of birds, almost none of which I can actually name. Freddy spoke perfect English and was a wonderful guide. When we spotted one of the two anteaters (little ones, they only get to be about 17cm long), Andreas took Mike (both of them in bare feet) and they climbed across the crazy mangrove root systems, small roots but strong and flexible, which look something like this, with cameras to get good shots of the anteaters. Freddy got a kick out of that, and started calling them the Tico monkey and the Gringo monkey! I'd love to have a picture of that, but Mike had the camera.

We sped out through the canals to the mouth of the ocean and saw so many different things. The best, though, was the capuchin monkeys, about a dozen of which swarmed the boat once they saw we had bananas! They climbed right on and took little pieces of the bananas right out of our hands! Mike did most of the feeding, and I have some great pictures of him with the monkeys.

The tour included an early dinner afterward at a local restaurant called Rancho Leon. We ate with Freddy and Jasmine. They tell us it's the best place to get the favorite local food - we had chicken cooked with peppers and onions, and it came with rice, beans, plaintains and potatoes. It was the best food I've eaten in a long time. With my finicky pregnant tastes, this somehow hit the spot (minus the beans!) and tasted amazing. Freddy and Jasmine dropped us back off at the hotel with a request that we come back in a couple of years with the baby so that they can meet him/her and they can show him/her the monkeys up close!

It's now 6pm and we're watching the sun set over the ocean from our veranda. It's a tough choice on how to spend our evening - in the hammock, downstairs by the bar chatting with our fellow guests and the lovely owner, or down by the pool. This is the life!

*Update: Mike said I should put in the names of birds we saw. Apparently he remembered many of them so here you go (this is for you, Mike K.): blue heron, ibis, common mangrove hawk, some kind of little yellow warbler with a brown head, egret, kingfisher, among others!


Elena said...

It sounds like you're having a great time! It's nice when vacations are a good mix of activity and relaxation. The food sounds incredible! I hope your vacation continues to be awesome!
Oh, and a very happy Mother's Day to you!

Thais said...

i am so so so so so jealous - i realyl want to see pictures - cant believe you saw an anteater!
Happy Mother's Day! hope your first one was great!

maresi said...

I went to the beach today and saw ZERO of the cool things you did. I hope you keep having a wonderful time - and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Also: apparently we have to start preparing our Ninja Turtles costumes. I'll let you figure that one out. :o)

Fizzgig said...

heyyyyy isnt that the monkey ross had on friends?

how cuuuuuuuuuuute! Will there be monkey photos? Ocean? Jungle. Such a tease.....at least for me, its been raining for a week at home.

enjoy. I'm pretty jealous.

Katherine said...

So glad that you're having a great trip so far! Like Thais, I'm quite jealous of your vacation, but I'm glad that it's going well :) Hopefully you're feeling good and getting lots of good naps! Mike is a peach for going out to find you cranberry juice - I'm not sure Phil ever got the chance to do something like that for me, but I'd like to think he would have... ;)

Anonymous said...

sounds like heaven!! Very jealous and glad you had an awesome first mother's day!!

Thais said...

so we are watching "house hunters international" (our new favorite HGTV show) and they are in Costa Rica...MARco and I are thinking about moving...holy crap!

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