A Big Birthday for my “Little” Brother

Hola Brother Sean,

There is a part of me that feels safe writing whatever I want for your birthday. Why you might ask? Because of the countless times you have told me that you don’t read my blog.P1010480

So I feel liberated. I feel I could tell my readers anything, and everything about my “little” brother, and you wouldn’t be the wiser.

I could tell them about the time I dressed you up as Sporty Spice complete with a sports bra and pony tail made of yarn. I could then tell them that you then willingly and without being asked did the worm while having the whole thing video taped.

13331_167047868537_2892311_nOr I could tell them about the time you wore a hula skirt, tighty whities, coconut bra and a clown wig and then posed for a photo.

I could even post that photo at this very moment, because really, what are big sisters for.

But alas, I’ve matured in my older age. None of these moments will be posted on the blog. Besides, then I wouldn’t have any material for your wedding.

No, no, instead I think I’ll write something different. Something a little more fitting for the 539375_10151241362775180_754095281_noccasion.

There are a lot of people in my life that know me really well.There are friends who have been with me since high school, people who have watched me grow up and mature. But there is only one person who has been with me through absolutely everything. That would be you.

No seriously, I couldn’t have gotten rid of you even if I tried!

I often hear people talk about how much they fought with their siblings growing up. How growing up with their brothers and sisters was such a challenge.

389585_10151729260228538_2083539611_nI just don’t think we had that. My memories of growing up with you are nothing but positive. Whether or not that is because you let me be the boss all the time remains to be seen. Either way, I look back on my childhood with a smile, and that has a lot to do with the awesome times we had together (think sealbert, spiderman and syrup)

But it’s not our upbringing that makes our relationship so special, it’s actually these awesome adults we’ve morphed into over the years (sidenote: I like to think of us morphing more like Captain Planet then Power Rangers).

I think there is something in our genes that turns us both into stand-up comedians when we are together. The only glitch is that the jokes we make are often only hilarious to us. There is no one in the world who can bring me to a full on belly laugh quicker then you. (insert poop joke here)

I also am not sure how, but you’ve also managed to become a wise little gaffer. Several 167338_488361878537_2972806_ntimes during this trip I found myself reaching out to you for “help” when things were getting tricky. Whether I’m down the street, or in another country, you are always there to talk me down.

Little brother, I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without you. Thank you for everything you have done for me. From making sure our diabetic cat doesn’t die while we are away (an extremely tall order) to performing Shaun and I’s marriage ceremony (another particularly tall order). I admire the way to live your life and how you encourage your older sister to do the same.

So the Happiest of Happy Birthday’s to you dear “Boner”, you gift is on its way….PS..it’s me in 10 days ūüėČ

Pura Vida!

Kate

 

Beers of Costa Rica: A Taste Test

The time has come my friends, can you believe it.

This post marks the end of our cerveza based trilogy. It started back in February with the Beers of Panama, then the sequel last month with the Beers of Nicaragua.

Now the time has come for the final chapter, the Beers of Costa Rica. But this wasn’t just any taste test. Costa Rica has a thing for beer. In fact, we ended up with nine different beers on our roster. We knew we couldn’t do it alone, so we had to call in some reinforcements.

While staying at Kaya Sol, we met three fabulous ladies, Benny, Eryn and Magda, who just so happened to live in our hometown of Victoria. Such a small world. They graciously agreed to step in as guest samplers for this post. We are ever so grateful to them as heaven knows we would have ended up on the floor had we tried to get through these on our own! So without further ado: The Beers of Costa Rica

P1030171

P1030177Imperial- Alcohol Content 4.6%

Kate: Normal- I’ve drank so many of these it tastes like home
Benny: Generic, refreshing a go-to beer
Eryn: Light flavour-flav, great for a summers day, very nice for the ladies
Shaun: Good, reminds me of Lucky, drank a ton of these on this trip
Magda: Quality “America” beer, low booze, easy to slam, like a Mexican Corona.

 

 

P1030180Bohemia- Alcohol Content 4.3%

Kate: A little lighter, a little chemically, I would drink it if there was no Imperial
Benny: Watered down, light, bland, could drink all afternoon by the pool
Eryn: Like a watered down Imperial. Too light, not enough kick
Shaun: Tastes like crappy light beer. Not great, but I could pound a few
Magda: Crappy Imperial, no body Would be disappointing if you wanted a good beer, but OK if you were desperate.

 

P1030179Kaiser- Alcohol Content- Mysteriously Missing

Kate: Wow, water with a backsplash of…well actually nothing. It’s bubble water. Lack of alcohol content on can means it might in fact be club soda
Benny: Nasty, leaves a strange taste in my mouth, flat
Eryn: A “German Beer?” Not exciting at all, I’m burned with this beer. Gagable
Shaun: This beer is pretty bad. Reminds me of beer garden draft beer, smells funny too.
Magda: Beer of the King? These are getting worse. End of the night beer.

P1030173Bavaria- Alcohol Content: 5.0%

Kate: After the last one, this is great, but wouldn’t order it all the time. Needs to be cold.
Benny: Flavour punch, actually tastes like beer
Eryn: Punchier, I would drink a case of this. Still light, but good
Shaun: It’s not a bad, a little sweet but much better beer. I would drink it again.
Magda: Better, satisfying. I’m more committed to Imperial.

 

 

P1030174Bavaria Light- Alcohol Content: 3.4%

Kate: Yup, yup, I could drink this. Kate beer alert. Funny smell, but could be cause my glass it getting skanky.
Benny: A lighter version of the one before. A poolside beverage
Eryn: Not much to this one. Similar to Budweiser
Shaun: Pretty light, not much to it. Don’t waste your money on this beer.
Magda: eww, who drinks light beer. *note: an arrow has been written on page pointing at Kate*

 

P1030176Pilsen- Alcohol Content: 5.1%

Kate: Delicious. Hoppy but really drinkable. Would be best ice cold. At the moment I like it better then Imperial, but I go back and forth
Benny: Light and Crisp
Eryn: A medium beer, I like this one
Shaun: Good beer. Not the greatest, but good.
Magda: Bitter. 2nd choice after Imperial. Made us all start talking about Lucky Lager.

 

 

P1030175Bavaria Dark- Alcohol Content 5.0%

Kate: Dark, heavy, malt but actually much better then expected. Normally don’t like thick beers but this one is good. Might just be Imperial with food colouring.
Benny: Dark, caramel colour. Not a lot of flavour for a “dark” beer
Eryn: Nice colour, but I’m pretty sure there is a vampire behind us.
Shaun: Pretty Good, more of a pint beer not a hot day beer *note: this looked like “hot dog” beer, and no, no vampires attacked us”*
Magda: Amber colour, my fave. Like a Racerocks beer

P1030178

Imperial Silver- Alcohol Content: 4.6%

Kate: After so many beers, this just tastes like my glass is dirty. I know I like it though
Benny: Less intense than regular Imperial, light
Eryn: Less good then Imperial
Shaun:Good reminds me of a Corona. One of my favourite beers
Magda: What’s the point? They are all the same. The regular is better.

 

 

P1030172Imperial Light

Well, unfortunately after 8 light beers and a huge bowl of pico de gallo our palates just couldn’t handle anymore. Everything was starting to taste like dirty yeast water. So we called it and left one lone beer out of the taste test.

I can attest that Imperial Lights are my go-to beer here in Costa Rica, but I’m into the whole “light beer” thang. If you aren’t into light beer, you might share Magda’s sentiment of “What’s the point?!”

 

So there you have it, the very long conclusion of our Cervaza taste test. Costa Rica, the land of light beers. Where if you drink them all in a row, you begin to be suspect that they are all just the same thing  but in different cans.

What’s your favourite Costa Rican beer?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

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.

P1030114

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

 

Seekretspot, Playa Pelada, Nosara

Like any good traveller, I’m a peruser of Tripadvisor. Since we are travelling on a budget, I always want to do some research to make sure the places we go to eat will be worth our while.

When you look up Nosara on Tripadvisor,  the top recommendation is Seekretspot. This little hole in the wall boasts authentic italian gelato, a full coffee bar, an internet cafe, and reasonably priced room rentals. The only trick is, it is notoriously hard to find.

Needless to say, it sounded like an adventure to me.

P1030070Although I had intended to do some research regarding its location, I actually stumbled upon Seekretspot during our adventure over to Playa Pelada. We were wandering aimlessly when we noticed a vague sign in the bushes that said “gelato” with an arrow. We certainly aren’t the kind of people to turn down a delicious cold treat on a hot day, so we followed the sign.

I was pretty stoked when we discovered that the sign was actually directing us right to Seekretspot.

 

P1030072¬†The place looks more like someone’s home then a Gelateria, but we walked up to the porch anyways. We opened the door, and the first thing we noticed was their amazing a/c. I know, it seems silly, but it is actually hard to find in Nosara! The next thing we noticed, was of course, the gelato. They had all sorts of unique flavours, and they change every day. During our several visits we tried chocolate chip mint, baileys, chocolate, passion fruit, and caramel. Each one more delightful then the last.

P1030071There is one other very notable things about Seekretspot. In my humble opinion, they have the best quality book exchange in all of Costa Rica. As an avid reader, I’m always looking for good books. Unfortunately, beggars can’t be choosers, and I am often at the mercy of whatever lame spy novel has been abandoned by earlier travellers. There are certainly places where you can go for bigger book exchanges, but they often require you to give them two books to take one of theirs. Not a fair deal if you read books at my rate.

The book exchange at Seekretspot is magnificent. Not only do they let you exchange your books one for one, but their selection was amazing. By amazing, I don’t mean huge, I mean really quality books. I must have sat their for 20 minutes before decided which books to finally take. I’m not sure if its just the type of people that Seekretspot attracts, or a magical twist of fate, but either way, I ended up with an awesome book score that will last me the rest of the trip.

So, if you are in the Nosara area, and like to read, drink coffee, eat gelato and go on adventures, check out Seekretspot. I wish I was there now!

What is your favourite flavour of Gelato?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Why Choose Fear?

For those of you are Rent fans, I hope you read the title with the necessary musical inflections in which I wrote it!

Today we are going to dive into a little Philosophy of Kate…Kateosophy? Hmmm, maybe not, sounds like an invasive medical treatment.

1419881264_0e44eec49c1

My journey into the land of self-awareness continues. Our trip is winding down, and I’ve started to think about how I will adapt and integrate my new way of thinking into life back at home. As a result, I’ve started developing a few tricks to help avoid falling back into my same old patterns.

Today I figured I would share one with you!

One of my goals this trip has been to get a handle on negative emotions. I talked a little bit about it in this post back in December. If I am in a negative head space, I feel as if I can’t get out of it. I will actively choose to wallow in it rather then pulling myself out. I often rely on others to “pump my tires” to pull me out of my own negativity. This is ¬†pattern that I’ve repeated over and over in my life (just ask my Mom!)

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why I do this. I realized that I often feel like my emotions are to complicated to attempt to figure out. When I am in a funk, I am not feeling just one single thing, I’m feeling tons! The thought of dissecting all my emotions and addressing them seems exhausting. So, I choose to stay in them and be negative instead.

Sounds like a bummer eh? Well I’m happy to say that this realization actually helped to create a serious “AhHa” moment for me. The result is the formation of a trick to help pull me out of my funks.

So here goes:

All emotions, every single one, fall into one of two categories: Love or Fear.

Positive emotions: Happiness, Joy, Empathy, Hope, Elation, Excitement, Gratitude, are all rooted in Love

Negative emotions: Anger, Frustration, Jealousy, Guilt, Doubt Sadness, Rage, these emotions, these are based in Fear.

This simple realization has helped ground my entire belief system. Instead of looking at my negativity as a complex mixture of emotions that I need to unpack and digest, I look at it as my Fear.

I then ask myself.

Why am I choosing Fear?

When I am choosing to wallow in my own negativity, I am making a concious choice to live a life based in Fear. It doesn’t feel good physically or mentally, but I’m making an active choice to stay in it.¬†When I am whirling in my head, and feeling my negativity take over. I consciously ask myself “Why am I choosing Fear?

This one simple question has become my focal point for pulling myself out my funks, and switching gears. And I think it is its simplicity that makes it so effective. Negativity isn’t about the complexity of your emotions, it is about choosing Fear over Love.

So, this is my new state of being. I choose Love over Fear.

Life just isn’t as complicated as we make it out to be

If you are interested in any more of my learnings check out my My Philosophy page!

Pura Vida!

Kate

Twitter:@caketress

 

 

 

Botella de Leche, Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Woops! Somehow this post got lost in the mix. It should have been safely nestled between returning from Nicaragua, and getting to Nosara. Enjoy!

After our near tragic return from Nicargua, we returned to our home base of Tamarindo.

Our shuttle didn’t arrive back into Tamarindo until 10pm, so we were pretty thankful that we had decided to stay for two nights. The thought of getting up early the following morning to take another shuttle seemed like a terrible idea.

P1030050Although our day in Tamarindo consisted of little more then doing laundry and regrouping, the place we stayed at was definitely worth writing about.

This wasn’t the first time we had stayed at Botella de Leche. We had actually stayed there for one night back in December, but because it was such a short stay, I never wrote about it.

Botella de Leche is one of the original surf hostels in Tamarindo. They offer a variety of room types at a really reasonable rate. The price point for this hostel is a huge selling feature, as everything in Tamarindo tends to be really expensive. The fact that this place is inexpensive AND has a pool, makes it a really rare find.

the pool

the pool

Outside each room is a hammock, which we are finding is becoming more and more an integral part of our Costa Rican lifestyle. Their shared kitchen is huge, and they offer free coffee in the mornings.

Although the property is small, they have managed to create a wonderful little oasis with papaya trees and other tropical plants growing inside the gates. It feels like you are leaving the dusty busy roads of Tamarindo behind and entering another world.

the kitchen and living space

the kitchen and living space

Botella de Leche is definitely geared towards surfers. You can book a variety of lessons and surf trip options with them. Although they aren’t the closest hostel to the beach, they make up for it with their accommodation and perks. If you are looking for a hostel in Tamarindo that is both affordable and relaxing, I would highly recommend Botella de Leche.

 

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

 

Marsella Valley Nature Center, Nicaragua

After four fantastic days visiting with Colleen, it was time to move on to our next location.

P1030023Our friends at Girl Gone Galaventing had recommended the Marsella Valley Nature Center to us. Located just 5 miles from San Juan del Sur, the reserve is in the perfect location for those wanting to explore both Playa Marsella and Playa Maderas. Each beach is 1km away from the Center. Walking to Marsella was a breeze, but there are some pretty intense hills getting to Maderas. Luckily, anyone who sees you walking up them will likely stop and offer you a ride.

Our Cabin

Our Cabin

The centre has several cabins for both short and long term-rentals. The majority of the rooms we’ve rented have consisted of a bed, bathroom, and shared kitchen, so the novelty of having a fully stocked cabin all to our selves was irresistible.

Our room was huge, and consisted of a double bed, kitchen table, small couch, coffee table, and lots of storage space.

Our Porch

Our Porch

Our kitchen was just outside our unit and had all the amenities we needed to make a couple decent cook ups. Outside of our cabin we had a little garden, and a large porch with several places to sit.

Aside from their accommodations, the Nature Center also offers their guests and visitors a wide variety of unique experiences. The property is huge and those visiting can spend time walking through the vast array of hiking trails. You will undoubtedly encounter all sorts of interesting flora and fauna along the way.

The most unique part of the Marsella Valley Nature Centre is their Disc Golf course. Yes, that’s right…Disc Golf! You better believe that Shaun and I rocked a Disc Golf tournament during our stay there. More on THAT later!

The only downside to our stay here was the heat and the bugs: two factors that simply go without saying when you are staying in Central American in March. We had several very hot nights here in Marsella, and mosquito netting was definitely a must. Shaun also kept getting bit by something that his body did NOT like. He woke up one morning with baseball mitt hands, and the next morning with Angelina Jolie lips. No, I did not take photos!

Despite the heat and bugs, this was a really unique and nice place to stay. If you are looking for a cheap place to stay that has all the amenities, including Disc Golf, Marsella Valley Nature Center is a great spot. Just make sure you back the bug spray!

What is the worst thing you’ve ever been bitten by?

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