We joined the small crowd of people standing in the gusty wind right outside the Liberia airport. Almost everyone held a sign. Most shouted “Taxi! Taxi!” each time a person emerged from the door leading away from customs and toward the airport exit.

We didn’t shout, but we did hold a sign. And each time the door swung open, our hearts quickened, our eyes scanning for Boo and Auntie.


Finally, we found what we’d been searching for. The drivers knew not to shout “Taxi!” this time. They could tell by our excited squeals and the way we jumped up and down that these two newcomers already had a ride arranged.

It was so wonderful to bring Lee’s mom and sister into our Costa Rican world. The flight was late, so we slept at a nearby hotel, rising bright and early to begin the trek to Nosara.


We explored a few stores along the way, then about 15 minutes from home stopped at Playa Garza to give them their first look at one of our local beaches. I don’t care how many times I see it – the aqua water lapping up on the ivory colored shore with the rock outcroppings in the background – it does not disappoint. And watching someone else see it for the first time brings even more magic.


garza beach

We settled in that first night, playing in the pool and drinking micheladas – a new favorite beverage we recently discovered. Basically, you pour a beer (in this case, Imperial) over a generous amount of freshly-squeezed lime juice. Salt the rim if you really want to jazz it up.

The next day, we rented quads to go exploring. I was shocked when Alva and Erin agreed to this activity on the list of “possible outings.” It’s rather outside their comfort zones, but that’s why I was also proud of them for taking on something new and adventurous.

The dust on the dry dirt roads is horrendous, so we geared up with bandanas to cover our mouths and noses and goggles for our eyes. Anywhere else we might have looked like bank robbers. But here, we just looked like another group of gringos seeking thrills.


We rode to Playa Pelada and picnicked on the beach, even having the opportunity to watch a turtle head back to the sea after laying her eggs beside the panga boats on the shoreline.




Then we took the quads up into the mountains outside of Nosara, engines growling as we sped up hills and then down again, churning up dust in our wake. We stopped in at the Black Sheep Pub for a pint before heading back home, completely coated in a thick layer of dirt and grime. Our hands ached from gripping the handle bars so fiercely, and our whole bodies tingled with the memory of the engine’s vibration and the jostling roads. But we had a great time.




The next day was spent doing yoga and searching for sea glass on Playa Guiones before dining at La Luna, one of our favorite beachside restaurants. We walked the beach in the dark and discovered a major hermit crab convention. We marveled at the stars.





Our final day together in Costa Rica, we took a road trip north along the Coast Road to one of my favorite tucked-away beaches, Playa San Juanillo. The trip was not without “adventure,” naturally. Wicked winds have been wreaking havoc in our area, and a huge tree had fallen to block our path at one point.


Thankfully, someone had created a detour around it through a bit of pastureland. We made a river crossing that wasn’t too bad since it’s been so dry, and not long after that stopped in Ostional for a quick peek at that beach before moving on. That’s when we noticed a large piece of plastic undercarriage hanging loosely from our car, dragging on the dirt roads for who knows how long.



We had a few tools in the trunk, but not the right tools. Thankfully, a Tica woman who was parked nearby walked over and asked what we needed, and she had just the tool in her vehicle. Within a few minutes Lee had the piece detached, and we tossed the dirty thing in our trunk, thanked our Good Samaritan and were on our way.

San Juanillo was lovely. In addition to being gorgeous, it’s a great beach for swimming and sea glass hunting. We did lots of both before heading back to Nosara, a little sunburned and tired but satisfied.





And now, this morning, Lee is taking them back to the airport and the house is empty except for me, the dog, and the constant background noise of the roaring wind. Electricity has been out all day, so all the laundry and work I planned to do will have to wait. What can you do but shrug and say, Pura Vida?

Alva and Erin were great guests. It’s not easy to host guests when you don’t have water for brushing teeth or flushing toilets between the hours of 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. This morning our kitchen smelled like a Mexican restaurant because of the dirty taco dishes piled up from last night’s dinner, which we finished too late to be able to wash before the water was cut off. They handled our wild home with fortitude and grace, and it was fun sharing this place with them – the good and the bad. Costa Rica will forever be a part of me, and now it can be a part of them as well. I’m so grateful they made the trek, and I miss them already.

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