A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about beaches

Low-key marvels

What the camera did not capture

sunny 21 °C
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I started this memo on my first night in Costa Rica when the soft darkness of rainforest and its heavy, humid air gently enclosed me. It was one of those passing moments that just cry out for an impressionist painter or a poet. There were many such moments, low-key marvels, I call them. My non-native English won't do them justice, of course, but I'm feeling brave, so here goes!

When dusk settles on the forest pathway, hundreds of tinker bell lights flicker on and off. You can almost hear the fairies giggling.

A coconut rolls in the surf on a secluded beach, lulling you to sleep, until the tide rises to tickle your feet.

Geckoes of all sizes vanish with a flick of the bathroom light.

You feel the tinies breeze on your left shoulder. Hummingbird, he says smiling from the other side of the table. You stare at him, then over your shoulder, incredulously. I'm blessed, you think to yourself.

A whole fried red snapper seasoned in Caribbean style, served with calypso sauce and fried yuca (cassava). A glass of dark, smoky Malbec.

Hammock on every Caribbean porch. Rocking chairs up in the mountains.

There's a trail of ants carrying leaf cuttings on the pathway. It's feeding time in their fungal garden.

A very practical bit of rainforest wisdom: "hear the wind, open the umbrella".

A big, stunningly beautiful butterfly with iridescent blue wings. It's the elusive Blue Morpho. It'll fly past you, kind of dipsy-doodling, and flashing those brilliant wings. It won't stop to pose and it won't come back.

The moment you learn that the cold water pool next to the hot springs is +27 °C. Hilarious.

Out for dinner in the dark with rain pouring down, you suddenly have your flipflops sucked off your feet and end up anckle-high in the mud. And you find it amusing!

Posted by sussesimis 07:03 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged beaches animals birds food rainforest drink weather Comments (0)

Pura Vida

The tico way of life

overcast 30 °C
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Pura Vida! You hear it a lot. Like when you get out of a taxi, or when someone nearly falls off the path, or as the first thing in the morning, or even, when you sneeze - Pura Vida!

Although the direct translation would be "pure life", it's more than that. And whatever it is, it's good for all occassions. Whether your business is yoga, bracelets, organic food, tours, whatever, you can't go wrong naming it Pura Vida Whatever.

Intrestingly, the phrase was adopted from a Mexican movie from 1950s. I learned it from this article Costa Rica is “pura vida”! by Nuria Villalobos.

Ticos (or ticas, female) is what Costa Ricans call themselves. I'm not sure why exactly, or what it means. But I find it cute. And just like Pura Vida, Tico is popular in advertisement and business names. You could take a Tica Bus to a Tico's Bar reading the Tico Times, then go home to your Tico Tico Villa. How cute is that?!

There's also la hora tica, tico time. You might hear it when you're waiting for a bus and ask from a fellow commuter if he knows when the bus is coming? - At 10:30. Well, tico time. This would be said with an affectionate smile.

Posted by sussesimis 14:18 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged beaches people language Comments (0)

Rainforest 24/7

This forest does not whisper

all seasons in one day 27 °C
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I'm on the Caribbean coast now, in the southwesternmost corner of Costa Rica, just a few kilometers from the Panama border. I'm staying in a small village called Punta Uva. Punta Uva means "Grape Point" and gets the name from the sea grapes (Coccoloba uvifera) growing on the rocky point sticking to the sea in front of the village. The village is made up of a few dirt roads, a pulperia (a small grocery store), a handful of local residents, a couple of restaurants, and a few small lodges.

The beaches are spectacular. You may want to check out the gallery for some photos I just uploaded.

On arrival I was blown away by the sounds of the rainforest. You hear a squeak here, a squawk there, whistles and howls, screeching, chatter, croaks and grunts, shrieks, chant, buzz, and shrils. And then some. The forest snaps, taps, clicks, and rumbles. It certainly does not whisper.

Howler monkey

Howler monkey

The forest sounds are just so intense that they overload your senses. It actually took a couple of days to really notice the beautiful butterflies and colorful birds, monkeys up in the trees, or even the tropical plants and flowers just there along the pathway.

Last night there where howler monkeys (Alouetta palliata ) just above my cabin making ungodly howling noises at 2:30 am. Maybe it was the supermoon affecting them, but they usually move around at dawn, that's just after 5 am.

We are so close to the equator here that day and night are almost as long, so it gets dark at around 5 pm. I'm usually up with the monkeys, then ready for bed by 9 pm, unless there was time in the afternoon for a little nap in the cosy hammock on the porch...

The weather here is constantly changing. On my arrival day it was raining all the way from the San Jose intl airport to Punta Uva, a journey that took over six hours due to the weather and crazy traffic. Since then we've had daily tropical showers of rain, but mostly it's been a mix of clouds and sunshine. The temperature easily reaches 30 °C but never drops below 20 °C, and due to the high humidity, the temperature feels higher too.

You'd think that being surrounded with this tropical wonderland, there'd be not much writing done. But there's a screened window with a jungle view above my desk. I'm inspired. Up to 10 pages.

Posted by sussesimis 14:34 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged beaches rainforest weather Comments (0)

The snowbird has landed

Report from Miami, FL

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Miami Beach boardwalk

Miami Beach boardwalk

At the poolside

At the poolside

Celebrating family reunion with ice cream cake

Celebrating family reunion with ice cream cake

ooked a room in a boutique hotel housed in a renovated art deco building just a block from the sea on Mid Beach. It was every bit as stylish, funky, and welcoming as I'd imagined. Once there, I had a nice dinner watching the US election coverage and went to bed by 10 pm thinking that politics is so boring. Boy, was I ever wrong...

In the morning, there I was in Trumpland. Totally unprepared. The news did nothing to ease my jetlagged mind. Curiously enough, I also felt kind of priviledged to be visiting an US state on such a historic moment.

Decided not to watch TV again until my writing retreat was over.

After some leisurely strolling on the scenic Miami Beach boardwalk, people watching in a sidewalk cafe, and finishing a mystery novel at the poolside, I'd again reached that calm and peaceful state of mind that is the essence of a retreat.


The family reunion between cousins was an absolute pleasure. How is it that two people who meet maybe once in a decade have such an easy reconnection? Kids have grown up, jobs have changed, people we know may have gotten old, the weather is not like it used to be, but we are the same.


If everything's gone as planned, I'll have continued my journey and hopefully reached my destination on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica when this blog gets published. Pura vida!

Posted by sussesimis 20:07 Archived in USA Tagged beaches family Comments (0)

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