August 8, 2016

Nicaragua!



My trip to Nicaragua could have easily been written off as a bust. It pretty much rained for the entire time we were there and when the rain finally stopped, it was overcast for the rest of the day.
I am super grateful for my awesome friends, who made the trip awesome despite the yucky weather. The people you travel with can have a huge impact on your experience.

We booked our tour through Viator, the only tour company I use when I travel. It was a day trip which included a stop at an active volcano, a stop off in Granada, a boat ride on Lake Nicaragua and a trip to a local market for some shopping. It also included lunch, transportation from our hotel, visa and park fees. For a hundred and seventy-five bucks, it was a pretty good deal.

We were scheduled to be picked up at 4:30 in the morning but didn't actually get picked up until close to 5:30, which meant standing outside being attacked my ravenous mosquitoes. Can I pause for a sec though and talk about those mosquitoes. They were on another level y'all. I swear they were immune to bug spray. I'm surprised we didn't come back with holes in our skin.
We were slightly annoyed by the late arrival  of our tour bus but what can you do? You just have to be flexible in these situations.

Our first stop was for breakfast in Liberia. We had a beautiful view of a lake. Unfortunately it was overcast and it began raining before we left to continue our journey across the border.
I can only imagine how much more stunning it would have been if it had been sunny.






I slept most of the way until we got closer to the Nicaraguan border. Listen, border crossing is usually tedious but the process to cross over from Costa Rica to Nicaragua is arduous. It took over two hours, mostly of us just standing around waiting to get our passports stamped and what seemed like 15 passport checks. I may have exaggerated a tad, but it was a lot. 

Finally we made it across the border and the rain decided to really unleash itself in full force. Our first scheduled stop was the volcano but because of the rain we had to put it off. Luckily we had very persistent tour guide who wanted us to enjoy every bit of our trip and get what we paid for, so he made sure that as soon as the rain held up we were back at the Masaya National Park to visit the volcano. 
Visiting an active volcano was never on my bucket list but man it was such a cool experience. If you look closely enough, through the sulfur smoke you can see actual lava. 



Of course, we made some news friends on the trip. I think people are naturally drawn to our energy. We have so much fun that they just want to be part of it. It's always great to make connections with people from all over the world.


The next leg of our adventure led us through the city of Granada in a horse led carriage. I wish we could have explore on foot because the city had some colorful buildings and I wasn't able to get any good photos. We did stop off at the chocolate factory and tried some yummy chocolate and liquor though.




After a very long day we enjoyed a relaxing boat ride on Lake Nicaragua and even stopped at an islet to feed some monkeys.





I was pleased with the trip overall and even more ecstatic because Nicaragua made number eighteen on my list of countries visited. Slowly but surely the number is growing!!!

July 26, 2016

Scene in Tamarindo

Hey lovelies,
I have tons of pictures from my awesome trip to Tamarindo.
Check out just a smidgen of the action as captured by my phone and camera.




made a friend who wanted to be in on the photo action
one of many beautiful sunsets


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July 24, 2016

Tamarindo, Pura Vida




Hey lovelies,
I'm back from my trip to Costa Rica and what a trip it was!
You guys know I've done a few solo trips and while I genuinely enjoy traveling by my lonesome, nothing beats a trip with great friends.
My girls are loca and I love it! They kept me laughing from the moment I woke up, to the moment I laid my head to rest.
when no one is looking 

This is how we act when other people are around
I mentioned in a previous post that we would be staying in Tamarindo, a great little beach town in Guanacaste. Prior to choosing this location we'd heard that it was a very touristy spot because of the abundance of beaches but we were pleasantly surprised upon our arrival to find the town relatively quiet and not over run by tons of people.

We stayed at the Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas. The location is perfect because it's right across from beach and everything is within walking distance which is a huge plus in my book. It wasn't palatial by any means but we had a great view of the beach from our room and they provided us with breakfast every morning. I love that they also offer free surfing lessons and snorkeling equipment which can be very expensive when purchased through some tour companies.

view from our back door
The hotel also has the livest party in town. Everybody and their spirit animal turns up at the Crazy Monkey bar for the Friday night party. We specifically booked our trip so that we would be there to experience the party. I swear the entire town was there. We partied with some lovely fellas we met at dinner earlier that evening. It was a most memorable night.

our new friends 
Overall our intention was to have a very chill vacation with most of our days spent at the beach but we did throw in some activities to keep things spicy. I used viator.com to book a couple excursions. I've used them on several trips and I'm always pleased with the service and level of professionalism. Check 'em out when planning your vacations.
We had a full day trip which consisted of zip lining, horseback riding, tubing and a stop at a mud bath and hot springs. It was a blast but as you can imagine we were exhausted. We also did a day trip to Nicaragua (I'll chat more about this in a separate post). Didn't get any pics zip lining or tubing. womp womp.


finally about to relax in the hot spring. We are exhausted at this point

I think my favorite part of the trip was just sitting on the beach and watching the sun set. No matter how many sunsets I saw, it never got old. There's something magical about the way the light slowly spreads across land and sea. It truly is pura vida!