Costa Rica By the Numbers

Are you ever sitting quietly, minding your won business, when all of a sudden you think to yourself “I wonder how many pineapple’s Kate and Shaun ate while they were in Costa Rica?”

Well my friends, you are in luck. Today’s post gives you a run down of this, and many other numerical facts about our trip to Costa Rica.

Enjoy!

Pineapples Consumed: 29215_pineapplefruit-940x626

Watermelons Eaten: 12 (all Kate)

Bags of Rice: 7

Bottles of Lizano: 14

Surf Boards Broken: 1

I may not know surfing...but I think it's supposed to be in one piece.

I

Sunglasses Broken: 3 (All Kate)

Dresses Purchased: 3

Bracelets purchased: 14

Waterfalls seen: 4

photo (1)

Lines zipped: 13

Sloths: 3 (2 moms and a baby!)

Bottle’s of Sunscreen Used: 6

Beaches Explored: 35

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Steps Taken: 1,984,287 (pedometres rule!

Illness Fought: 4

Illnesses Won: 4

Volcanos seen: 2

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Countries Visited: 4

Books read Shaun: 10

Books read Kate: 28

Coming Soon:

Don’t forget to stay tuned to hear about the next exciting chapter of Hostels and Hot Rollers. 

Pura Vida!

Kate

 

 

 

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Meeting Fantastic while Travelling

It’s a day for shout outs today on the blog!

One of the best things about travelling is meeting some seriously fantastic people. I kept track of all the amazing people we encountered during our trip and thought I would take a second to mention them all.

A huge thank you to each and every one of you for leaving us with a unique and special memory. Perhaps our paths will cross again some day!

Pura Vida!

  • Karen,Terry-Kelowna
  • Alyne-Tofino
  • Junior-Tamarindo
  • Steven, Michelle-Tamarindo
  • Giovanni, Jullieta, Fransesco-Italy
  • Jake-California
  • Tia, Steven-Perth
  • Julian, Colleen-Fernwood
  • Yeison, Sam-Coco
  • Ian, Susan-Ontario
  • Jennifer, Andrew-Hamilton
  • Fransesca-Beligium
  • David-Barcelona
  • Enrique, Mariela- Matapalo
  • Gonzalo- Venezula
  • Manolo- Pueto Viejo
  • Jenny- Bocas del Toro
  • Jessica- La Fortuna
  • Bethan- UK
  • Amah- Colarado
  • Fabricio- Samara
  • Javier- Nicargua
  • Vince- Nicaragua
  • Kim, Wes- Victoria
  • Lydia- Colarado
  • Marco- Nosara
  • Pam- California
  • Neal- California
  • Ben- Brooklyn
  • Jeremiah- D.C
  • Benny, Magda, Eryn- Victoria
  • Simon- Montreal
  • J.C, Emerson, Jorge and Judy- Nosara
  • Chris- Idaho
  • Karen- Toronto
  • Sharr- South Africa
  • Gary, Jolene- Tamarindo
  • Dan, Jackie- California

Travel Workouts Week 15- TRX and Kettlebells in Nosara

Ever since the Around the World Running Blog Relay began, I have been running like crazy. It’s been great motivation, but, as a result, my strength training routine has fallen by the wayside.

When I read about the TRX and Kettlebell class at the Wellness Centre in Guiones, I knew I would have to try it out.

P1030131As some of you may have read, I rocked a TRX class back in Tamarindo and loved it. The thought of adding kettlebells to the mix sounded amazing. It’s funny how having the opportunity to add actual weight to your routine is such a treat when you are travelling!

I arrived at my first class and was instantly delighted by the temperature of the room. It had been a HOT one in Nosara that week, and although the room didn’t have a/c, it was in the basement of the wellness centre and was nice and cool. I find sometimes classes with a/c can get too cold and aren’t ideal for working out, this room was great.

Our class was taught by Tinis, a gorgeous Tica surf instructor who really knows her stuff. The more classes I attended with Tinis, the more I came to really appreciate her teaching style. Technique is super important when working with TRX and Kettlebells, and she spent ample time making sure everyone in the class was rocking it. No matter whether it was your first time, or your fiftieth time, she had her eyes out to make sure no one hurt themselves. I was also amazed at how she could tailor the class to suit everyone’s goals and levels. She could balance teaching a new student the technique for kettlebell, while guiding others through a TRX routine, all the while, motivating all of us to push ourselves to get the most bang for our buck.

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Tinis teaches Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm. There is another class at 12:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays taught by someone else. Drop in is $10 for visitors and $5 for locals. Ten bucks is an awesome deal for this type of class, as you are guaranteed to get your money’s worth. 

I try and get most of my workouts done early in the morning or later in the afternoon when it isn’t as hot out. For those who are looking for a mid-day workout, this class is truly ideal. Doing a cardio class mid-day is not only exhausting, but  the intense heat here in Costa Rica could make it potentially dangerous. Tinis’ class is the perfect way to get in a great workout that is focused on getting stronger, feeling the burn, but without over exerting yourself.

So, if you are in the Nosara area, check out the TRX and Kettlebell class at the Wellness Centre. Tell them I sent you!

Want to learn more about TRX? Check out this article that Tinis is featured in!

Check out more recaps of my travel workouts here!

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Kaya Sol, Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica

We are constantly asked by travellers “Where is your favourite place that you’ve stayed?”

We’ve had all sorts of answers prior to this, and they tended to vary from day to day. But, after our experience in Nosara, we can safely say, “Kaya Sol!”

P1030317Kaya Sol has been on our radar since the start of the trip. It seemed that any time we mentioned Nosara to people they would recommend Kaya Sol. The further along in our trip we got, the more excited we got about our stay. So much so that we kept extending our booking and deciding to stay longer. By the time we arrived, we had decided we would be staying for 3 weeks.

This turned out to be a fabulous decision.

No matter what kind of traveller you are, Kaya Sol has an accommodation option that will work for you. They offer everything from hostels, and private rooms to apartments and houses. Oh did I mention a “real good time” is also included in your stay?

The hotel is located in the northern part of Playa Guiones. It’s about 200m from the beach and 40m from the local grocery store. There are several restaurants and coffee shops that are super close, and then its about a 10-15min to the heart of Guiones. That being said, once you are at Kaya Sol, you’ll find that there isn’t much need to leave.

I would describe Kaya Sol as an oasis. The property is deceivingly large, but built around P1030280the existing trees and greenery. You’re more likely to feel like you are in the a tranquil jungle then on the property of a hotel. The hub of Kaya Sol is their restaurant and pool area. Their pool is shaded, and includes a waterfall. The shade makes it nice and cool all day. It’s the perfect way to get away from the heat, which was regularly creeping over 40 degrees during our stay.

Although their amenities are great, it’s the people that truly make Kaya Sol amazing. We have, of course, already heard about Neal, the bartender, but the rest of the staff is just as wonderful and helpful. From Judy in reception to J.C and Emerson at the restaurant, everyone is there to make sure you are taken care of.

The bar

The bar

I can’t mention the restaurant without talking about their food. Seriously now, we had some epic meals while we were there. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and if I were you, I would partake in all three. Jorge knows his way around the kitchen and whips up some amazing food. My favourite was the chipotle platter. A veggie and rice dish in a miso cashew sauce with your choice of meat. Get it with brown rice and the fish of the day and you won’t be disappointed. Then there were the pancakes. Not just pancakes, but Eytl’s famous coconut, oatmeal, ginger pancakes! Don’t worry, there is a whole post on those coming later!

The restaurant offers live music two nights a week, as well as Trivia Night on Mondays. But regardless of what day of the week it is, there are always great people at the bar. We met so many wonderful people during our stay, including three girls from our hometown of Victoria, and one guy who helped us become Trivia Night champions on our last night (thanks Chris!). Despite the activity at the bar, everything winds down by 10, so you don’t need to worry about the noise. Nosara is all about getting up early for surf. Perfect for early birds like us.

Rocking the self-timer in one of our apartments

Rocking the self-timer in one of our apartments

The one tip I would give about Kaya Sol would be to book early! We stayed there for three weeks, but ended up switching rooms four times. It was actually really nice because we got to get a feel for the entire property. We stayed in a couple private rooms that had a bathroom and fridge, as well as full on apartments. Let me tell you, having our own kitchen AND kitchen table was a huge novelty!

So if you are looking a place to stay, or a place to eat, check out Kaya Sol in Nosara. Make sure you say hi to them from the “Zealanders!”

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

 

4 You Hostel, Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica

I’m going to let you in on a little secret travel delight of mine.

I absolutly LOVE to book things in advance on the wrong day. The joy of waiting for a shuttle that never comes, or arriving at a hostel on the wrong day is totally thrilling.

Well, obviously I’m joking, but this does tend to happen to me often while travelling. No matter how many times I double check, I am the queen of booking things for the wrong day. So I really wasn’t ALL that surprised when we arrived in Nosara only to learn that our reservation had been made for the next day.

P1030056Being the solution oriented couple that we are, we quickly decided that Shaun would stay with the gear, while I trucked down the road to find somewhere to stay. Based on the difficulties we had trying to make a reservation in the first place, we knew that Nosara was filling up fast, so there was no time to waste.

Let me tell you, the lucky horseshoes we had been carrying around since our debacle in Nicaragua continued to be present. The very first place I stumbled upon, 4 You Hostel, had one room left. It was a private room, with its own bathroom, and it was within our budget. I told the owner that I didn’t even need to see it, and that we would take it. She insisted, and frankly I was amazed. It was honest to goodness the nicest room I had seen on our entire trip.

Our room

Our room

We checked in and were in awe of the amenities that 4 You had to offer. Our room was not only immaculate, but felt like it was brand new. Had it not been for the Costa Rican heat, I could have easily mistaken it for a boutique hotel back home. Shaun and I both had long showers in what we dubbed “the best shower in Costa Rica”.

The VERY clean kitchen

The VERY clean kitchen

Across from our room was the shared kitchen, which was amazing. Unlike many of our accommodations, it was evident that 4 You Hostel was built with the intention of being a hostel. The shared kitchen has two of everything, including sinks and stoves as well as tons of storage space and every piece of kitchen equipment you could possibly need. It is perfectly designed to accommodate lots of people making lots of meals. Aside from being well equipped, the kitchen was also immaculate. Another rarity in the land of hostels.

One of the communal living spaces.

One of the communal living spaces.

Aside from the kitchen, the communal living space at 4 You is all outdoors. They have multiple couches ,chairs and benches set up so guests can lounge, relax and enjoy the free WiFi. They also have a deal with the Coffee shop next door, so between 8-10 you can pop over and get a free coffee and a discount on the delicious crepes they make. Can’t beat that. And, if you are looking for some beach time, it’s only a 10 minute walk away.

Although 4 You Hostel wasn’t in our initial plans, we certainly felt pretty fortunate that we got to stay there. If you are looking for accommodation in Guinoes and don’t mind a little bit of a walk to the beach, I would highly suggest checking them out!

Do you have any reservation error stories?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

 

Our Favourite Places in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

With fewer and fewer places left to explore, we are nearing the end of our series of favourite places.

Luckily, there were three pretty neat places in San Juan del Sur that I want to share with you guys! So lets get right into it shall we!

P1020989The Loose Moose: The name alone would have sold me on this bar, but then I found out it was owned, operated and themed by and for Canadians. A little slice of home right in the middle of San Juan del Sur. Who would have thunk it “eh”?

The small and cozy reminded me of lots of the bars back home (I guess that’s the point right?) The walls are adorned with gorgeous murals that reminded me of the west coast. Above the bar you will find all sorts of Canadian swag including lots of hockey jerseys and other memorabilia. It didn’t seem to matter who your team was, everyone there was on Team Canada.

What this bar lacks in size, it makes up for in P1020963party. The minimal seating inside doesn’t deter people from hanging out and the party often spills out into the street.

The bar has two big claims to fame, authentic Canadian poutine, and delicious caesers. A novelty for some, but for us it made us feel right at home. They also have a pretty impressive sushi menu as well.

If you are Canadian and looking for a place to get your Canuck on, or just wanting to indulge in a little good ole fashioned Canadian hospitality check out the Loose Moose.

P1020990El Gato Negro: Another place whose name attracted me instantly. Since we had left our big black bear cat at home, a coffee shop called Black Cat obviously caught my attention.

You can imagine my delight when I discovered this was not just any coffee shop, it was a coffee shop/bookstore. I can’t tell you how many times Colleen and I stopped in for a coffee and some girl talk and I would be instantly distracted by reading all of the titles of the books. Not having my selection limited to what I find in a dingy corner of a hostel was intoxicating.

P1020993It wasn’t just their books that made this place a favourite.They use local beans and have a roaster on the premises.As a result, their coffee is amazing. They also have a wide variety of breakfast and lunch options. They focus on offering healthy alternatives and even offer a huge smoothies menu with all sorts of superfoods you can add to them to give them a nutritional boost.

El Gato Negro also has an assortment of products on sale, including tarot cards, organic dried fruit, clay art, and their coffee beans. After indulging in so many cups of coffee I was very tempted to pick up a bag of beans to bring home. But alas, the thought of lugging them around for a month and a half won out.

El Gato Negro is an institution in San Juan del Sur. No trip to the town would be complete without stopping by and checking it out. If you are a coffee drinker, make sure you pick up a bag of their beans. You’ll regret if you don’t!

P1030034Cafe Revolucion: Okay, so this one is a bit of a cheat. Cafe Revolution isn’t actually in San Juan del Sur, it is on the beach in Playa Maderas. Despite the fact that it is 9km away from the town, I just couldn’t leave this funky beachside bar/coffee shop off the list.

Cafe Revolucion has a little bit of everything: cold beers, brick oven pizza, coffee bar and lots of things in between. It really is a one stop shop for whatever your post-surf cravings are. They even offer board rental and camping space for those who stop by and just decide not to leave.

 

P1030037The thing that really attracted me to Cafe Revolucion was the view. I could sit on the bar stools, write my blog, sip on a Cappuccino, enjoy the warm breeze while watching Shaun surf. I’ve visited a lot of need places in my travels, but this was an experience that was hard to beat.

So, if you are staying in Playa Maderas, or just heading there for the day, stop  by Cafe Revolucion and enjoy their laid back vibe. Be prepared though, some people arrive and then they never leave!

There ya go and there ya have it, another list of our favourite places. As always, if you have any questions about these or other places we’ve visited, come check out our Facebook page or leave a comment below.

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

 

Creepy Crawly Costa Rica

I have this memory of sitting on the plane on the way down here, writing a note in my iPhone of all the possible blog posts I could do while visiting Costa Rica.

Creepy Crawly Costa Rica topped that list.

Based on my previous experiences here, I knew I would likely encounter all sorts of crazy critters. Let me tell you, Costa Rica did not disappoint.

So, here is a list of a couple of my favourites that I’ve documented a long the way and their score of how creepy I think they were!

Be advised, if you get the hibbie-jeebies easily…this post might not be for you.

P1010767

Praying Mantis: These guys are just COOL. I’m bummed that this is such a bad picture, but It was the only time I’ve seen one when I’ve had my camera at the ready.

This little guy was creeping around the floor one night in Playa Coco being as elegant as all get out.

Hope to see more of these before I go!

Creepy Crawly Score: 2/10

P1010783Toad: We’ve encountered these little toad friends a couple times during our travels. This guy is from Mal Pais, but my favourite toad friend encounter happened in Tamarindo. We were eating dinner outside our room when one of these little guys decided to jump off our door frame and on to my back. Needless to say I was slightly jumpy after that!

 

Creepy Crawly Score: 3/10

photo 2 (2)Ants: Brace yourself, you are about to encounter an ant rant. Ants are insane. One moment you will be going about your day, minding your own business, then, all of a sudden, there will be zillions ants all over the place. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened our travel food bag, only to find that there are hundred of ants inside. Actually I can tell you…it’s three times. But that is three times to many.The third time I made the discovery while travelling on a shared shuttle. Yes…I was THAT girl.

The ants you find in the food bag are actually fine. They are sugar ants, and are just looking for food. Once the food is gone, they’ll just leave on their own. Very polite little creatures.

The ones in the picture on the other hand, they are jerkwads. They look like the sugar ants  and seem so unassuming, but these nasty creatures will bite you like crazy. Luckily for me they appear to like the taste of Shaun more. The only thing that will convince them to leave is a big ole can of Raid. If you catch my drift.

Although  I wouldn’t necessarily call them “creepy”, their bitey, “come out of no where”, jerkwad status gives them a bit of a higher score.

Creepy Crawly Score: 5/10

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Scorpion: Okay, moving on to something a little more disturbing. We haven’t actually seen a live scorpion, but this little dead guy somehow ended up all tangled in my sarong. I was throwing it in the washing machine and noticed his sad little body on the ledge. I’m pretending that he was dead the whole time and didn’t crawl into my space on his own accord. A girl can dream eh?

Apparently their sting is like a bad bee sting. Regardless, it is not something I feel I need to experience myself.

Creepy Crawly Score: 6/10.

P1010508Grasshopper on Steriods: SERIOUSLY! I know right? These massive grasshoppers are all over the place here in Costa Rica. You can guarantee that if one is visible there will be a group of tourists around it taking photos (like me at this moment in time)

We saw this one outside of the grocery store in Tamarindo. My brother’s very brave girlfriend Nat put her hand there for perspective. What a trooper!

Although I think these are more cool then creepy, the thought of one of these guys landing on me gives me the willy’s. So their score gets a boost for their “don’t touch me” factor.

Creepy Crawly Score: 8/10

P1010079Snake…head?: Can you imagine waking up to find this on your porch? Well we can! Yes my friends, that is the head of a snake, covered in ants.I think maybe a howler monkey in the trees above our place ate the other half, but I can’t be sure.  I’ll just give you a moment to let the picture sink in.

Snakes are the one thing that I CANT handle. Just writing about them gives me the shimmy shakes. This one would have gotten a 10/10 in the creepy crawly score had it been alive, but the dead factor and its comical face lessened its score a little bit.

Creepy Crawly Score: 8.5/10

P1010078Golden Orb Spider: Ding Ding Ding, we have a winner! Neither Shaun and I are big fans of spiders, especially these Golden Orb guys. Not only are they all over the place in Costa Rica, but they are really big fans of hiding in or around Tatonka, and making me squeal like a little girl.

You know that gross stat about how many spiders people eat while they are sleeping?

Ewww!!

Creepy Crawly Factor: 10/10

 

So there you have it, a little taste of what we are encountering here in Costa Rica. I should point out that lizards, cockroaches, and centipedes did not make the cut. Maybe I’ll have to do a part 2?

Or maybe not.

Which of these creepy crawlies do you dislike the most?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress