10 Things That I Miss

Well, Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and we’ve all had time to reflect upon what we love. While there are soooo many people I miss (I’m looking at you Bean), there are a few creature comforts I miss as well. Here is a little run down of the top 10.

10 Things that I Miss

  1. Pickles and Mustard- They are expensive and hard to find!
  2. My Wedding Ring- I left it at home, but I miss the bling, and people knowing for certain that I’m a Mrs.
  3. Always being sure that you are allowed to put toilet paper in the toilet- It’s a constant battle
  4. Hoodie pockets-I never realized how often I walk around with my hands in my pockets, you better believe I’ll be buying one in the airport on the way home!
  5. Hot Showers- Or more so, always knowing when your next hot shower will be, and when your hair will be clean.
  6. Having two fluffy pillows every night-Unfortunately for Shaun, he probably misses me having this more then I do #pillowgrump
  7. Green Juice every morning- I’ll be hugging my juicer when I return
  8. BC Wine-Speaking of juice
  9. Wholly Fit Workouts-No brainer!
  10. YOU!! (well, mostly likely if you’re reading this it’s true!)

i-heart-picklesWhat do you  miss when you are travelling long term?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

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Exploring Montezuma, Costa Rica Part 1

With excitement of Christmas coming to an end, I thought I would catch everyone up on a couple things before everyone got here… Enjoy!

What a day!

I feel like we lived three days in the past 12 hours, Montezuma just has so much to offer

If you’ve read my Must Sees post, you know I’m a gal who loves her waterfalls, and Montezuma has one that they are known for! Shaun, and I planned on getting up bright and early (not uncommon for us), and hiking out to see it. We ended up dilly-dallying, and left the hostel around 7:45.

The trail head was about a 5-10 minute walk from our hostel, just at the bridge you go over to enter Montezuma. There is lots of parking, and often guides waiting to try and sell you on a tour. Luckily, being early has it’s advantages, and no one was there to bother us.

That being said, Shaun, and I only planned on going to to the lower waterfall. There are two other levels to the Montezuma waterfall, and apparently the trails can be a little dicey, and hard to find. It’s highly suggested that if you are going on the big adventure, to hire a guide.

The sign at the trailhead should probably be taken seriously.

The sign at the trailhead should probably be taken seriously.

The hike, is just that, a hike. You’ll climb rocks, navigate through tree roots, and even cross a river. It’s highly advisable to wear water shoes or running shoes, or something with a little more grip, as the rocks can get slippery.

The path is marked with yellow paint, so just keep your eyes out. It’s pretty self explanatory. It reminded me a lot of the harder parts of the Mt. Finlayson climb, in Victoria!

This doesn't even begin to do it justice!

This doesn’t even begin to do it justice!

Iphone is broken so we are learning master the selfie on an old school camera

Iphone is broken so we are learning master the selfie on an old school camera

After about 15 to 20 minutes of hiking, we made it. Piece of Cake! And let me tell you, it was GORGEOUS. My biggest suggestion is to get there early. We got there around 8:15, and had the place to ourselves for about 20 minutes or so. After that, it just got busier, and busier. Having those moments to enjoy it all to ourselves was such a beautiful way to start the morning, and a moment that seems rare given the popularity of the attraction.

We stayed for over an hour, taking pictures, and watching a group of people dive off the cliffs. Oh, that’s another thing. If you are looking at this majestic waterfall, and the first thing you think of is, “oh man, how great would it be to jump off that thing” think again. No one has ever jumped and survived. The fall looks straight down, but when you look at it from the side, you realize it juts out juts out quite far. If you are looking for places to jump in, just watch the locals. They know the places that are deep enough, and sage enough to jump in from.

A guy pre-belly flop

A guy pre-belly flopside,

After a short time, we started the hike back. We had brought plastic bags to put our shoes in, but had managed to navigate the slippery river rocks without getting them wet…that is, until Kate, the clutsy wonder, misjudged a step, and plunged both feet into the river. Sigh….of course. Luckily Shaun was there to catch me. No harm done, just bruised my pride. Despite walking home in squishy shoes, it was a morning full of memories that will stay with me for a lifetime.

We did a lot more exploring that day, but I’m going to break it up into two posts. Mainly because I think we are going back to keep exploring mid January. So I’m going to have even more to talk about!!

My early morning zen moment.

My early morning zen moment.

What’s the most amazing waterfall you’ve ever seen?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress.

Hotel La Aurora- Montezuma, Costa Rica

I feel like shouting from the hilltops..

“I LOVE MONTEZUMA!”

After 9 days in Santa Teresa, Shaun and I were itching to explore a new area. We hopped in a taxi, and headed off on the 25min drive to Montezuma. I’m consistently amazed at how these gigantic taxi vans can navigate the rough Costa Rican terrain. We crossed rivers, climbed mountains and flew down steep hills, all while the driver was texting. Amazing, isn’t it!

The entrance to La Aurora

The entrance to La Aurora

We finally arrived at our hostel, which is gorgeous. Hotel La Aurora is perfectly located right in the middle of the little town.

As we explored the hotel, we realized that it is deceivingly large. Everywhere you turn is a new hallway full of rooms.

Our room

Our room

Our room has a double, and single bed, and our own bathroom. There is a communal kitchen, but each room has its own fridge. There is coffee every morning in the kitchen, and wifi in the outdoor reception area from 6am-10pm.

Lots of books and hammocks are scattered around, so there are lots of places to lounge around and relax.

The view outside our room.

The view outside our room.

Our room is located right in the centre of one of the big communal areas, but luckily the shut down at 10pm so noise isn’t an issue.

Shaun was pretty darn excited to see P1010101the view from our room. A pool table! Epic. It didn’t take us long after checking in to partake in a game or two. (Although, let’s be honest, I was just in it for the “lessons” from an attractive husband).

So the rooms, and entertainment are great. The kitchen is small with basic amenities. I couldn’t see myself using it long term.

The resident cat. Of course we make furry friends wherever we go!

The resident cat. Of course we make furry friends wherever we go!

Despite the small kitchen, this place is fabulous. Apparently this hotel was one of the very first hotels in Montezuma. The owner was an artist, and there is incredible artwork hanging all throughout the building.  The onsite staff are wonderful, and you can book all your tours, and shuttles through them for cheap.

We were only in Montezuma for 2 nights, but have already decided that we will be back, and when we do we will be staying at Hotel Aurora.

Have you every stumbled across somewhere and thought, Oh my gosh, this is my place! If so, where?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Our stay at Villas Macondo, Tamarindo, Costa Rica

With our two weeks drawing to a close, I thought I would take the time to write about our amazing experience at Villas Macondo.

Our home for the past two weeks.

Our home for the past two weeks.

As many of you may know (or may have figured out by now), I love to plan, so being able to hand pick the first few places we stay in is a dream come true. I spent countless hours on trip advisor, reading reviews, looking at pictures, and scrutinizing locations. With all of the positive information out there about Villas Macondo, it just seemed like a no brainer.

The view as soon as you enter.

The view as soon as you enter.

Villas Macdondo truly is a little hidden oasis, right in the middle of the bustling town of Tamarindo. It is about a 2 min walk to the beach, and has a supermarket right next store.

our little home

our little home

When it comes to accommodation, Villas Macondo offers several different options. They have everything from fully equipped two story apartments, to rooms with a ceiling fan, safe, bed and private bathroom. We opted for a fancier poolside room with a/c,a double and single bed, tv and a fridge. Each unit comes with a private porch, hammock and outdoor dining area.

To the right is the kitchen, to the left is the internet room

To the right is the kitchen, to the left is the internet room

Included in your stay is Wi-Fi, use of an internet room with two computers, a book exchange, and access to a basic kitchen with a fridge, stovetop, toaster, blender and microwave.

The thing that sets Villas Macondo apart is their service. Tom, and his team have not only created a hotel, but an experience.Everyone from the

photo 5grounds keeper to the security guard greets you with a smile. The care and attention they put into the facility is amazing. I watched Miguel, their handyman, spend three full days lovingly putting up Christmas lights, and decorations around the hotel.

These special touches do not go unnoticed.

The set up of Villas Macondo is perfect for both couples or a family who want a private experience on a hostel budget. If you are a solo traveller, or are looking for a place where you can mix and mingle with people, then this might not be for you. The lack of communal eating space, and the privacy of each room, does not encourage the forced interactions often found in traditional hostel set ups. That being said, we’ve met some great people while we are here (I’m talking about you, Karen and Terry!), and we could not be happier with our experience.

If you are visiting Tamarindo, I would highly recommend checking this place out!

What do you prefer when you travel? Privacy or communal living?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Exploring Playa Grande, Costa Rica

Have you ever noticed that the length of a beach can be deceiving?

It looks like you are so close to the end of it, but it somehow magically keep going.

Well we certainly noticed that during our adventure to the other side of Playa Grande! (had we clued in to the name, we might have known what we were getting in  to!)

Playa Grande is right next to Playa Tamarindo, just on the other side of an estuary. Shaun heads there most mornings, because it’s often where the good surf is. During our last trip, we even stayed there for a week. Our goal was to not only get to Playa Grande, but hike all the way to the other side of the beach.

That is where we were heading!

That is where we were heading!

So, we packed up Titty Tonka with water and some energy bars, and headed off. First things first, get to the estuary, and find a boat to take us across.

There they are!

There they are!

For 500 Colones, or 1 dollar each they’ll take you across. When Shaun surfs in Grande, he usually just paddles over on his board. Sometimes when the tide is right you can wade across as well. But with a high tide, a backpack and no board, the boats were our only option.

Boat rides are fun!

Boat rides are fun, so are photobombs!

We got to the other side and started our trek.

The view from the Grande side of the estuary

The view from the Grande side of the estuary

The first thing I wanted to see was the house we stayed in last time we were here. Shaun had just proposed to me, the week prior, so I spent the majority of my time there reading Costa Rican bridal magazines!

There it is nestled in the trees, didn't want to go to paparazzi on the people staying there!

There it is nestled in the trees, didn’t want to go to paparazzi on the people staying there!

So then we walked…and walked…and walked. I’m not gonna lie, I may have been afflicted with a little bit of hot hanger mid way through. Despite my grumps, 6.5 km later, we got to the other end.

That's where we came from!

That’s where we came from!

We found a log to sit down on to take a much deserved rest. Shaun drank his warm beer while I ate my energy bar and played around with the panorama settings on my phone.

Looks shorter in panoramavision!

Looks shorter in panoramavision!

took this one while standing in the ocean!

took this one while standing in the ocean!

So, after quenching our thirst, resolving the hangry’s and reapplying suncreen, we started on the long trek back. Lucky for us we had a bit of cloud cover and a breeze on the way back so it wasn’t quite so hot. We made it back to the hostel safe and sound. Needless to say, we both slept very well that night!

Have you ever embarked on a journey that ended up as way more of an adventure then you thought?

Pura Vida!

Kate