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Costa Rica

Enjoy Costa Rica All Year with the 2015 Costa Rica Wall Calendar

This time last year I had just landed in Costa Rica for my first Central American adventure. I found Costa Rica to be an incredibly beautiful and friendly country and of all the places that I’ve traveled it was the first place that I felt I would be able to call home.

As I look back at my photography from my travels, I wanted to share the photos in a way that would allow others to enjoy the beauty of this amazing country as well. With this in mind, I’ve decided to celebrate the scenes of Costa Rica and the Pura Vida Lifestyle through the 2015 Costa Rica Wall Calendar featuring images from my travels.

Pre-Order Costa Rica Calendar

2015 Costa Rica Wall Calendar Preview

I’ve included a few shortlisted images below. If they inspire you I invite you to pre-order your very own 2015 Costa Rica Calendar today! Calendars ordered by November 26th will be printed and shipped (to Canada and USA) in time for Christmas. 

2015 Costa Rica Wall Calendar Details:

  • 12 month wall calendar
  • Size: 8.5×11 inches
  • Canadian and USA holidays
  • Language: English
  • First month: January 2015

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Pre-Order Now!

 

 

Happier Than A Billionaire – A Must Read For Costa Rica First Timers!

Happier Than A Billionaire by Nadine Hays Pisani

During my first visit to Costa Rica last fall, the friend I was visiting handed me Happier Than A Billionaire: Quitting My Job, Moving to Costa Rica, and Living the Zero Hour Work Week, by Nadine Hays Pisani. He said that it was a great introduction to anyone visiting Costa Rica for the first time. He was right! I had already been in the country for a week, so it was a lot of fun reading about many of the things that I had encountered during my introduction to Costa Rican life.

The book is a hilarious true account of an American couple (Nadine and Rob), who had had enough of their rat race cookie-cutter American life. They were not happy or inspired by their day to day lives anymore, so they sold everything and moved to Costa Rica! I laughed out loud at some of the hilarious experiences Nadine talks about in the book, from encounters with bats, to suicide showers.

What I loved most about this is that I saw so much of myself in their story. Just before my trip to Costa Rica I had done the same thing. One day I simply decided that I had had enough. The next day I gave notice to my landlord and over the month that followed, I sold all of my furniture, donated a bunch of stuff I never used to the thrift shop, and boxed the rest up and put it into storage before hopping on a plane to Central America.

So now, here I was, reading about this couple’s crazy adventures doing exactly the same thing! Nadine and Rob had more of a plan than I did at the time, but after aching to do this for the past five years, I was so excited and happy that I finally got the ball rolling!

Sunset at Playa Ostional, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Sunset at Playa Ostional, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Now I follow the Pisanis’ journey online from Canada, as I continue to set my life up to live a location independently myself. Soon I will be off to Central America again. Costa Rica is the first place I have traveled where I have felt truly and comfortably at home. It’s such a beautiful country! There’s so much life, nature at every turn, beautiful sunsets, the people are wonderful and the food is delicious! Not to mention that I LOVE the language! I have always wanted to be fluent in Spanish, but taking classes in Canada is nothing compared to learning where it is the mother tongue.

I keep Happier Than A Billionaire at my bedside and read a passage from it when I need a little escape from the cold rainy days of a Canadian spring (which is often). Between the book and looking back at the thousands of photos I took of sunsets, jungles, volcanoes and beaches during my visit, I get my fix. But it’s never quite the same as breathing that tropical air, feeling the hot sun on my face, or hearing the waves crashing on the beach… Costa Rica, I will be seeing you again soon!

So if you’re going to Costa Rica, and you’re not quite sure what to expect, or if you want a fun book to read on the plane or on the beach when you get there, pick up Happier Than A Billionaire: Quitting My Job, Moving to Costa Rica, and Living the Zero Hour Work Week! It’s a light and funny read and who knows, it just might inspire you to create a tropical dream life of your own!

The book is available on Amazon. You can also follow Nadine Hays Pisani’s journey online on Facebook, where she shares beautiful images of her daily Costa Rican life.

Have you read Happier Than A Billionaire? What did you think?

A Tamarindo Sunset

My favourite colour and favourite time of day is sunset.

This one is in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, where I have watched some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.

Like this photo? Visit my INK361 Shop for prints and other cool photo products. This iPhone case could be yours!

iPhone photo case

 

How To Make a Costa Rican Michelada

Costa Rican Michelada

When traveling to new places, I always make sure that I try the local beers and cocktails. In Russia it was vodka, in Bali it was Arak liquor, in Belize it was 1 Barrell Rum (mmm, tastes like maple syrup), and in Costa Rica it was the Costa Rican michelada!

I was introduced to the Costa Rican Michelada (as opposed to the Mexican michelada) during my stay in Tamarindo. I was a little skeptical at first (seriously, ICE and SALT in BEER???) but WOW was it ever refreshing! It’s a must-try if you’re in Costa Rica.

Ingredients:

Serves: 1

  • Sea salt
  • Ice
  • 1 Fresh Lime (or lime juice from concentrate, but fresh is always better)
  • 1 bottle of Imperial or Imperial Light beer (I prefer Imperial Light)

    Note: If you’re making this at home and you don’t have access to Imperial, you can make a “Mexi-Rican” variation using Corona.

  1. Use a slice of lime and to moisten the edge of the glass with lime juice
  2. Dip the glass in sea salt to rim the edge with salt (same way you would for a caesar)
  3. Fill the glass halfway with ice
  4. Squeeze the entire lime into the glass
  5. Serve with a full bottle of Imperial Light to be poured in at the drinker’s pace
  6. Sit, relax, enjoy and (if you’re not near a beach) watch this:

What cocktails ave you discovered while traveling?

Did you love your Costa Rican Michelada? Then like it and share it with the social buttons below.

The Tropical Hangover

The Tropical Hangover…

I’m feeling it. I’m feeling it baaaaad!

It’s been a week since I spent my last full day in Costa Rica. I started that morning like every other morning: on the beach with a kickass workout. After my workout tho, I had a bit of an emotional moment while cooling off with a swim. I stood there, water waist high, and looked out at the ocean. I closed my eyes, breathed in the tropical air, listened to the waves and tried to imprint that moment into my mind.

I didn’t want to leave.

Costa Rica Sunset in Tamarindo

My time in Costa Rica had an impact on me that I did not expect. I’ve done a good amount of traveling over the years, and of all the places I’ve been, I’ve never felt at home like I did in Costa Rica. It seems I’m not the only one with this feeling. In Tamarindo, where I spent about half of my time, there are a ton of expats. People who have realized that a simpler life is where their happiness lives. Most have sold their homes and possessions and transplanted their lives to this beautiful paradise.

You don’t need much to be happy. This became abundantly clear during my time there. I left Canada with one suitcase and a backpack for my camera gear. I probably only used about half of the stuff I packed. I could have packed carry-on luggage and had everything I needed. This really showed me that I don’t need much to be completely satisfied in life. Some of my must haves: sun, beach, heat, fresh foods, and daily workouts. All of these things are provided by the location and cannot be packed in a suitcase! Everything else can be bought when I get there.

I returned to Vancouver last week to -10 degrees celsius. My body is still in shock a week later. The cold dry air is sucking the tan right out of my skin and has me moisturizing at least twice a day. All I can think about is getting back to that life where I spent my days in shorts and tank top, or some days I wore nothing but my bikini all day! Now, I have to layer up just to take out the garbage. “No me gusta!”

So now my only thought is:

“Get back there as soon as possible!”

Time to get my ducks in a row and make that happen! But first: The Olympics! 

Respect Nature!

Steve the Crocodile

This is Steve. Steve lives in Tamarindo. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him several times, and it blows my mind how stupid some people can be when it comes to viewing and photographing wild animals. There were tourists getting dangerously close, and it makes me wonder:

“Are they aware that Steve is a killing machine???”

I mean seriously! He is a crocodile! In the wild! His brain is the size of a pea! All he knows how to do is kill, eat, sleep and sunbathe! This is not a zoo!!!

Warning CrocodileSo some facts about crocodiles:

  • They are DINOSAURS!
  • They have GIANT TEETH!
  • They are PURE MUSCLE!
  • They eat EVERYTHING!!! (Even you!)
  • The jaw of an 18 foot crocodile is more than 5,000 lbf (pound force). To put this in perspective, a great white shark is 670 lbf (source: Wikipedia)
  • they can run up to 17km/hr in short spurts (that’s faster than you!)
  • They WILL kill you!
  • Then the will EAT you!

I kept my distance and let my zoom lens do the rest. Even this made me nervous, especially after seeing how prehistoric he actually looks!

Nature does not discriminate. If you piss off a crocodile, it will not end well for you. You WILL lose! I could just see some crazy Crocodile Dundee situation happening with some of these other people. Wow. (Scroll to 1:52 in the video below video)

Keep your distance. Don’t be stupid. Respect nature!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MH_MObR3G54

 

My Heart is Heavy As I Leave Costa Rica

Playa Langosta, Costa Rica

My last walk on the beach at Playa Langosta this morning.

My heart is heavy as I sit at the departure gate of the Liberia airport. Costa Rica has captured my heart and made me feel at home. I feel as though I’m leaving a piece of myself behind as I prepare to go from a month straight of 30C in this amazing place back to zero degrees in Vancouver.

I mean seriously, I have to put on PANTS! That is just insanity! I haven’t worn pants in over a month! And socks and shoes? Whaaaat?! No gracias!

My mind, body and soul are all connected to this place and as I get closer to flight time, they are all resisting the reality of leaving.

Yes, I will get on the plane, but I am already planning my return as soon as possible. And if I play things right, it will be more permanent. This place has become home. I have fallen in all-encompassed love with Costa Rica. The culture, the people, the language, the food, the beaches, the lifestyle. I’m in love, Love, LOVE!!!

Pura Vida! It’s go time!

Staying Fit While Traveling

Staying fit while traveling can be a challenge. It can be tough to get into a routine when your location changes often. While in Costa Rica I’m happy to say that I’ve been getting a workout in almost everyday. My favorite has been the beach workouts. I started doing them every morning while in Tamarindo, either with a local personal trainer or self-led HIIT workouts at the water’s edge.

For the personal training sessions, we used Nick Holt Fitness. We did several amazing TRX suspension training workouts with Nick. He tied the TRX to a tree, and with the jungle on one side and the ocean on the other the view was gorgeous, no matter which way we turned.

We worked out barefoot in the sand with the TRX and used a log for ground work and kettle bells for an added challenge. Nick pushed us HARD and our post-workout dip in the ocean was well deserved. I would recommend him to anyone who wants to maintain regular training while in Tamarindo and surrounding area.

Tamarindo Workout

While traveling around Costa Rica, I continued my beach workouts wherever possible. I would do a 35 minute HIIT workout with a different combination of exercises each time. With the heat and humidity I would do half my workout in the water. It was perfect!

What I love about the HIIT workouts is that you don’t need any equipment, and if you’re doing them on the beach, you don’t even need shoes! All you need is a timer of some kind and music to keep you moving. (I use my iPhone for both.)

All exercises are are completed using your body weight. Some examples of some would be:

  • Squats
  • Lunges (walking or stationary alternating or reverse)
  • Pushups
  • Lizard Crawls (these are fun when you do them on the beach when you see your lizard tracks in the sand)
  • Planks (do them in the water and let the waves pull the sand out from under you for added challenge)
  • Single Arm Alternating Planks
  • Site-ups / Crunches
  • V-sits
  • Burpees (the one everyone loves to hate)

I always include squats and planks in my workouts (cuz who doesn’t want a nice beach bum and killer abs?), and then I mix in a bunch of other exercises, depending on which are I want to focus on. I could add many more to the above list, but these are great if you’re just getting started with HIIT.

I drink a protein shake about an hour before I workout and I always ensure that I’m well hydrated. You should always make sure you drink plenty of water but if you’re traveling in the tropics this is especially important. In warmer climates your body loses a lot more water through sweating, so make sure you are drinking LOTS of water throughout the day. This will ensure that you are well hydrated for your workout as well as for general your health.

While in Costa Rica, I have had several days where I’ve missed my beach workouts, but those days are usually spent exploring which involves a lot of walking and/or hiking, so I get my exercise in other ways. When I returned from Central America I was so hooked on the TRX that I bought one to use at home and I love it!

Travel is no excuse to get lazy!

How do you stay fit while traveling? Please share in the comments below.

To give you a little taste of my workouts, this is my gym in Montezuma:

 

Releasing Baby Turtles in Montezuma

Yesterday I was walking along the beach here, in Montezuma, Costa Rica, and I came upon a turtle hatchery just as they were hatching baby turtles! This was not a tour, or a tourist attraction, just a hatchery doing their conservation work.

There was a handful of people hanging around as they pulled the baby turtles from their sandy birth hole, and we were given the opportunity to hold them.

All I can say is that this was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen and done.

Baby turtles in Montezuma

Baby turtles in Montezuma

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(more images to follow)

10 Days in Tamarindo

I’m in Costa Rica!

I spent my first 10 days in Tamarindo with a friend. I used the time to unwind and release any remaining stresses of city and office life and create a routine to take and appreciate each new day as it comes.

My days have looked like this:

Wake up between 6-6:30am. Get up, drink a cup of coffee and a fruit shake before heading to the gym for a workout.
My gym looks like this:

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After an amazing HIIT workout (either on our own, or with Nick Holt Fitness) in the sun and sand, take a dip in the ocean to cool off and head home for a shower and tasty breakfast of eggs and bacon, with fresh local fruit and veggies. Then spend the day doing some work, maybe a photowalk, an afternoon snack of tacos and a cerveza (or two?) at Kahiki (total cost $6), or a stop at El Pescador for one (or four?) of their ridiculously delicious piña coladas, or one of the other beach bars for a refreshing glass of sangria.

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Sometimes our friend “Steve” makes an appearance in the estuary next door, we’ve seen him quite a few times. Apparently he has a couple of friends that live there with him as well. Steve looks like this:

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If we haven’t (accidentally?) been sucked in to the awesomeness of sangria happy hour, we may head home for a dip in the pool and a nap before going to a 5pm Spanish class. After class, its home to cook a deliciously healthy dinner with all fresh ingredients and, of course, a cocktail or two (cuz really, whynot?)

By the time 10pm rolls around there’s not much fuel left in the tank and it’s time for bed.

Sleep. Repeat.

Yup, they were rough days in Tamarindo… I’m dreading my return there toward the end of my trip… ; )