What I’ve learned in my first month as a backpacker

I’ve been roaming Costa Rica with my backpack for 6 weeks now, and although the last two weeks have been full of family and luxury, I have learned a few things from our more “rustic” experiences.

So without further ado, my list of learnings so far:

I actually wore these socks again after this photo....low point

I actually wore these socks again after this photo….low pointClothing:


  1. Underwear becomes optional very quickly
  2. Clean Clothing becomes your prized possession
  3. If you work out every day (as I do), you will stink, always. The bonus, is it makes you run faster, as you want to get away from yourself.
  4. When you are packing and your husband asks whether he should bring a towel, say yes…or he will use yours. Two people…one towel…not pretty.
  5. You can pay beautiful little old Tica’s to wash your clothes for you. When you get them back, they smell like Disneyland, Sparkles, and Magic, all at once.
Missed a spot!

Missed a spot


  1. Stopping and thinking to yourself, “When DID, I last wash my hair?” Is totally acceptable
  2. Hair legs make it easier to scratch bug bites with.
  3. For the first time since grade 8, I have a uni-brow. No matter how hard I try to remember to deal with it, it is a lost cause.
  4. Always remember to scrub your feet when you are in the shower.
laundry day!

laundry day


  1. Nip Slips during surfing are a fact of life…for me anyways.
  2. Beer tastes best after you’ve had mouthfuls of salt water.
  3. If it feels like a bug is biting you, it is.
  4. Your days aren’t always beach walks, and adventures. Sometimes its dirty socks in a sink.
My two staples!

My two staples


  1. The last nights in hostels before moving on are always the most inventive meals. Raw carrots and tuna anyone?
  2. Lizano Salsa, truly does belong on everything.
  3. Not ALL Costa Rican coffee tastes delicious. Hostel coffee can taste like sludge…yet I’ll still drink it.
  4. Being in the kitchen when everyone is checking out of the hostel is the best place to be. Lots of leftover goodies to be handed out!,
  5. Hanger is deadly, and should be avoided at all costs.

What do you think about what I’ve learned? What advice would you give someone who is new to backpacking?

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Our first Mandarina (of many!)

For those of you who read our Must Sees, you know that Mandarina was an important one!)

I didn’t get one on our first day, because wobbly pops appeared to be a priority. I actually had intentions of waiting until later of the week. I figured it would give me a little adventure to look forward to! Well, that thought process, lasted less then 24 hours. Shaun, and I were poking around on day 2, and I simply couldn’t resist.

The first Mandarina (of many!!)

The first Mandarina (of many!!)

Shaun and I split this one. Pineapple, Passionfruit, and Banana, with water and no sugar..My mouth is watering just typing this.

Waiting patiently for our first sip (some of us are waiting more patiently then others)

Waiting patiently for our first sip (some of us are waiting more patiently then others)

I was obviously in my happy place.

Smoothie Love!

Smoothie Lover!

I figured this would be a once a week treat, as we have a pretty strict budget, but to my delight, a small smoothie is only 1000 colones or 2 bucks! Such a good deal in fact…

Round 2!

Round 2!

We went again the next day!! (Pineapple, Passionfruit, and strawberry in case you were wondering ;))!

What other smoothie combinations should we try! They have so much variety!

Pura Vida!


Healthy Hostel Meals Part 1

I’ve decided to start a series of posts dedicated to healthy hostel meals, because let me tell you, it’s going to be a work in progress. I look forward to looking back on this post months from now, and laughing at how ridiculous some of my meals have been. It’s going to be an awesome learning process.

As soon as Shaun and I checked in, we decided are best bet was to do a grocery shop. The fact that I was borderline hangry, and he needed a beer may have helped drive us to the store. Luckily, there is a SuperCompro right next store to our hostel, so off we went! Here is what we ended up with.

Our first grocery run!

Our first grocery run!

  • Rice- brown, much to my insistence, and Shaun’s dismay. Not a time saver in the least, but so much better for you. I kept telling Shaun, we’ve got no where to be!
  • Instant Noodles- You can guess who those are for!
  • A pineapple-You can bet this will be the first of many!
  • Cervasa- Of course
  • Laundry Soap
  • Can of black beans
  • Head of cabbage
  • Salad Dressing
  • Eggs
  • Bananas
  • Mixed Veggies (more on those in a later post!)
  • Tortillas
  • Apples

I had a couple strategies for our shopping. First, find things that had protein that would have some staying power, but that won’t go bad right away (eggs, beans). Second- look for ingredients that we could make mass amounts of and keep in the fridge, (rice, beans, boiled eggs). Third, keep in cheap! Getting cereal and milk would be easy, but its expensive, goes quickly and doesn’t have staying power. Fourth and the most challenging is fresh veggies. We have made a pact that every dinner will include veggies (and in my case lunches too!). I can tell already this will be challenging, but it’s so worth it. It’s amazing how much better you feel when you’ve got veggies in your system!

As soon as we got home with our grocery goodies this happened:

Let me tell you, with my hangry hovering at a dangerous level, this meal was amazing. Banana, almond butter (brought from home) on a mini tortilla. A quick protein burst to get us through to the evening. A perfect start to our Costa Rican hostel dining experience!

Any tips for eating healthy while living in a hostel?

Pura Vida