Pura Vida – Eleven days in Costa Rica

Pura vida – The pure life.  Traveling in Costa Rica is an adventure that provides some of the most amazing sights and experiences. Five years ago I had the amazing opportunity to help chaperone a group of 22 teens on an 11 day youth group trip.  I am SO excited to be planning another trip to this fabulous country so I thought I’d dig up some old photos to share some highlights of that trip.

After a 3 hour layover in Colombia, we arrived in the capital city San Jose.  We stayed one night in this populated city then took a coach to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.  We boarded canoes with small motors and were guided up river, against the current, to an indian village near the border of Panama.  We stayed for a few days with no electricity, open huts with mosquitos nets and ladies who cooked our food over fires.  Our service activity was to plant trees, and help with reforestation of the rain forest. We met some locals and our kids played a soccer game; the natives won even though some of them did not have any shoes.


Our next stop was a beautiful beach on the Carribean Sea.  I had such fun watching these kids interact with each other.


Caribbean Sea

We stopped one afternoon at Don Juan’s Organic Farm for a tour and a delicious lunch.




We hiked to La Fortuna waterfalls and up a path to Arenal Volcano.  We all (even me) participated in 8 extremely long and scary legs of a ziplining course through the rainforest.



Arenal Volcano



Finally, our coach bus took us to the other side of Costa Rica and we spent a few days in the laid back surf town of Tamarindo.



Pacific Ocean



Howler monkeys

I had chaperoned this trip because my youngest son was only 14 years old at the time and I thought I should be there with him.  Really I just wanted to go! I am so glad that I did.  When I told Mike about the quiet little beach town, he was interested.  We looked into the idea of moving there after retiring and considered it quite seriously.  Well, things change and we don’t always have as much time in our lives as we think we do.  Due to the change in my life, I now try to live life more fully and I do not plan on waiting for that some day. As Buddha says “The trouble is, you think you have time”.



At the age of 51 I unexpectedly became a widow. For the first 6 months after my husband died, I was in shock and numb. I journaled and with the help of friends, family and therapists was able to get back to living my old life, even if it is now very different. Before I was married, I had spent a semester in England and backpacked around Europe. My husband and I moved from New York to California for 8 years and started a family. Travelling took a back seat to raising a family and going to work everyday. Since the loss of my husband I have visited a lot of places with family and friends and took a solo trip to Thailand. I am enjoying sharing my stories and adventures as well as some of my insights to how I am traveling the path of being a widow. I hope to share my stories and adventures as well as some thoughts on being a middle aged widow. While I have some great experiences traveling to Thailand and cruising to Central America, some of my adventures involve a trip to see a Broadway show in nearby Manhattan and a shopping trip at Bed, Bath and Beyond. If I can inspire anyone to go out and continue to live a good life that would be my greatest accomplishment.

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59 Responses

  1. Liz says:

    So beautiful! Never realized you were so well travelled!

  2. Addie says:

    Interesting adventure with your young son, a lifetime memory with awesome photos. You keep on exploring…good for you.

  3. nrhatch says:

    Have a great time on your repeat visit!

  4. Gelli says:

    I enjoyed reading this. It feels like I was there, too!

  5. generationtrygirl says:

    Grief is hard, but its great that you are doing amazing things and embracing life with your son!

  6. realmofvibes says:

    My husband has visited Costa Rica. I have that on my to-go list in addition to zip-lining! 🙂 Looks like you had fun.

  7. Kaylee Marie says:

    Costa Rica has been one of my favorite destinations. The zip-lining was incredible! I’ve never done anything like that before I went to CR. What a thrill! Loved your photos and your story…brought back great memories.

  8. Danielle says:

    That looks amazing! What an experience to have with your son! I am so sorry for loss, and I hope your 2nd trip is just as amazing!

  9. Fantastic pictures, looks like a great time. I hope your return visit isn’t too bittersweet!

  10. thecla11 says:

    What a fun experience! Great pictures!

  11. homekeethome says:

    Wow, what an incredible experience! I’ve always wanted to try zip line but I’m a bit too afraid of heights.

  12. We are going to Costa Rica in a few months! This post made me even more excited for our trip!

  13. Wow this looks amazing!!

  14. Beautiful! I’m hoping to make it here and several other places someday.. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Love the photos, especially the monkeys! I really want to see Costa Rica someday.

  16. what a wonderful trip. I am sure it is something you and your son will remember forever. I have heard that this is a lovely place to live as well. My uncle had looked into moving there at one point.

  17. Payastyle says:

    Always wanted to go to Costa Rica, now I wanted even more! I love the idea of cutting yourself from your phone and all electronics and just truly enjoy the time!

  18. It’s great that you had such a fun time on your trip! I’m sorry about your husband though, and him not being there to experience going back with you.

  19. What a great post. Thoroughly enjoyed reading. Thanks for sharing..I so want to go to Costa Rica.

  20. I hope to visit one day, its a very popular destination where money goes a long way for Americans.

  21. Jacqui S says:

    The pictures are amazing! Looks like you had a great time. I’ve never been to Costa Rica, but hear it’s a wonderful place. Will have to add it to my list!

  22. Oh wow it looks amazing. Your photos are beautiful

  23. Sarah Bailey says:

    Their water and land forms were so staggering and I can’t help but stare at the waterfall, sunset and volcano. Hope I can go there someday.

  24. Megan says:

    I’ve heard so many WONDERFUL things about Costa Rica. It’s definitely on my bucket list of places to travel and your pictures look so breathtaking!

  25. I can see why you jumped at the opportunity to chaperone this trip as it looks like it was awesome. I’m sure all the kids had the time of their lives. What kind of animals are those after the zip lining?

  26. Innana says:

    I LOVE Costa Rica! My Hubby and I went over there for our late Honeymoon back in 2014 and absolutely fell in love. I cannot wait to go back!

  27. It’s a very rewarding trip and I’m sure you had so much fun. It a lovely learning experience as well.

  28. Angela Milnes says:

    Great place! if you want to know what living a peaceful, simple, uncluttered life with a deep appreciation for nature, family and friends, just come to Costa Rica and experience it yourself! ¡PURA VIDA!

  29. bennymakachi says:

    Traveling is good for the soul. These pictures are beautiful and take me to Costa Rica even though I’m so far away! I hope you enjoy your trip this time even more! 😊

  1. April 19, 2017

    […] reality has changed. The future is not promised.  After I came back from chaperoning my son’s youth group to Costa Rica 5 years ago, Mike had thought moving to Costa Rica was an […]

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