Category Archives: Costa Rica

Wordless Wednesday: Pura Vida

Pura vida 
Pura = pure and vida = life
Technically, “Pure Life” in Spanish would read “Vida Pura.”
Instead, one meaning of the phrase is closer to plenty of life,
full of life,
this is living,
going great,
real living,
cool. . .  
It can be a greeting, a good-bye, how are you doing, see you later…
The phrase decorates t-shirts and bumper stickers, covers sarongs and skin tattoos.
Pura Vida IS Costa Rica.
Jaco Beach, Costa Rica
I want to be there. 
Instead I will live vicariously through my characters, 
through daily writing and editing, and through my memories.
Pura Vida

Novel Inspirations & Memories Captured

I’ve been focusing on editing my manuscript lately. I’ve been loosing myself in the lush rainforests of Costa Rica, dreaming my toes are sinking into the black sand beaches where much of the story takes place.  I look back on the photographs of my journey through that wonderland daily, coaxing memories of the sound of howler monkeys in the treetops, the scent of orchid blooms mixed with gallo pinto, the feel of the pregnant air, heavy with with imminent rain.

Since I wasted spent an afternoon playing with my photos on Picnik, I lessened my guilt by using images that would inspire my writing, and words to go along with my characters and story.

Inspiration is everywhere
if you just take a moment to look…

I’m linking up again with Galit Breen of These Little Waves and Alison of Mama Wants This  
for the Memories Captured meme. 
Check it out!

These Magic Moments {Costa Rica Edition}

Last night Kiddo was telling us how he wanted to move to Costa Rica. As much as we dream of that as well, we tried to explain that is just isn’t feasible.

“But I still have all our Costa Rica money,” he said. “We can move there and be rich.” He ran to his room and dug through his fire engine bank. He proudly presented me with 350 Colones…the equivalent of 69 cents.

Maybe not this year…

Looking back at photos, it’s easy to see why he was so utterly enchanted by that distant land full of magical moments…

Summer Fun: Gone Wild and Retro

The Summer Fun meme from Things I Can’t Say just seemed like too much fun to pass up.  Except, well, this summer hasn’t been much fun.  We enjoyed a few day trips to the beach but Kiddo spent the long, hot days at camp.  No vacations.  We spent far too much time in the ER or at the dentist, Orthodontist, Dermatologist, and Oral Surgen’s offices.  It was too damn hot and buggy to even play in the pool.

So instead of dwelling on this summer’s washout I decided to think back to our rocking summer not long ago. It was the summer we decided (or technically fate made the call) we would remain a family of three.  It was our first real family vacation. We decided to go big or go home. We traveled to Costa Rica.

For ten days we traversed the rugged countryside and treacherous roads. We climbed erupting volcanoes, hiked down to breathtaking waterfalls, and surfed on black-sand beaches.

Kiddo proved that 5-year-olds are fearless adventurers.  He zip-lined through a primeval rainforest without an ounce of fear.  He chased and hand fed wild monkeys as he laughed with delight.  He left worrying about the danger up to me.

It was the summer that will linger in our memories like a morpho butterfly carried along the moist and salty breeze.  It will be forever beautiful, wild, and dreamlike…

I only took about 3000 pictures. Below are just a few favorites summer memories.

All photos here are copyright and property of Vinobaby’s Voice.  Do not copy without permission (or I’ll track you down and stick a rabid monkey on your a$$).

Look!  It’s erupting!  @ 5 a.m.


La Fortuna Waterfall

View from our hotel breakfast table

Arenal lava

Sunset Manual Antonio

Wild Red Squirrel Monkeys inside our B&B

All I can think of is the movie Outbreak…”Here Betsy…”

100 ft up in the canopy and no fear


To read more about our escapades in Costa Rica:

“Link up your Summer Fun for a chance to win prizes from Ubisoft.”

Road Trip: Costa Rica and the Oh My God Bridge

Costa Rican road trip day 4: a supposedly “relaxing” journey from the Arenal Volcano to the Pacific paradise of Manual Antonio. Hubby and I were crazy enough to drag a 5-year-old through a Third World Country for an adventure of a lifetime.  Our ride was a manual 4 x 4 Diahtsu Bego,  which is a Central American version of a Kia Sportage or basically a tin can on wheels.  But it was a gutsy little tin can; it had already climbed rain drenched mountain roads and forded two rivers and a washed out bridge without a cough or a sputter.  The same could not be said for me.  Costa Rican Imperial beer was our reward for surviving each day…

A little background on the roads: there are no street signs or addresses in Costa Rica,  no “highway” exits are marked, and the traffic lanes have this particular way of ending with absolutely no warning.  Mountain roads consist of two of the narrowest lanes known to man smashed between a rock wall and a cliff. No guard rails. There can be two lanes then suddenly there is a one lane bridge with a several hundred foot drop on either side.   Roads go from pavement to dirt without any rhyme or reason and the potholes are big enough to eat a small car. It took me a while to learn how not to wet my pants or scream as we traversed the treacherous “roads.”

We said goodbye to our beloved Volcano Lodge perched just below the constantly erupting Arenal Volcano and made a quick stop to collect some pumice stones and sand along the banks of the rainforest river.  We spent a couple of hours cruising along the far side of Lake Arenal before settling down onto the flatter roads of the Central Valley.  Troops of monkeys chattered in the trees above us, herds of cattle moseyed across the broken pavement, and powerful mountains puffed away in the distance.

Not long after lunch we were pulled over in a speed trap.  We played the roles of stupid Americans as Hubby learned how to correctly bribe the Policia in a Third World Country.  Perhaps a nearly sobbing wife and a cute 5-year-old smiling in the backseat helped us get off with only a $15 “fine” and a promise to slow down.

We broke for a pit stop at a little cafe by a large river.  As I held my wiggling child with a vice grip we crept across a narrow concrete bridge as semis overflowing with logs and watermelons barreled past us only a foot away.  Below us lay dozens of crocodiles: wild, fearsome, and really fricking big.   As the massive trucks rumbled by I wondered if I would rather let us get plowed over by a semi or jump and take our chances with the crocs if I had to pick.  I chose getting the hell off the bridge instead.

We dipped our toes in the Pacific for the first time on the beach of the famous surf town of Jaco.   Tanned boys tamed massive waves against a breathtaking backdrop of cliffs and rainforest as we wandered between the cigarette butts and used condoms.  Time to move on.

A little further South we pulled alongside a beach side bamboo shack shaded by coconut palms.  We dangled our feet in the black sand as we sipped papaya smoothies and watched the waves roll in along the deserted Hermosa shore.

Kiddo sang Dave Matthews at the top of his lungs and hand surfed as we drove through lush palm oil plantations.  There was no dvd player, no cartoons for amusement, just a new world passing by through the open windows.  It was enough.

Traffic came to a sudden standstill.  The road instantly narrowed to one lane.  A lumbering metal structure caked with rust and age rose ahead of us.  The bumpy asphalt ended, replace by jagged ancient wooden planks.  We waited as cars and motorcycles bounced across the so called bridge, their shocks squealing in dire protest of the rugged conditions.

Oh my God.

An old pickup across the river flashed its headlights.  It was our turn.  Hubby revved it up to a whopping 10 km per hour.  The old metal railroad trestle didn’t start for at least 25 feet.  There was not even flimsy  wooden rail separating us for our impending death in the river.  The planks were spaced unevenly and there was not much clearance on either side of our narrow car, which I knew would crunch like a soda can if we fell off the bridge.

Oh my God, oh my God…

Strips of metal were laid  across the boards in a few places where ruts wore the wood down to splinters.  The car hit one with a resounding crash, jerking us up and down.  In a few spots the wood was completely absent.  I could see the river directly below.

Oh my freaking God…

My head hit to roof on the last violent buck.  As we neared the end, patches of pavement were plopped around like blobs of play-dough over the worn wood.  River grasses crowded the edge as we hit the solid pavement of the actual road with one final thwack.  We had survived.

That was fun!  Can we do it again?  Kiddo cheered from the backseat.

 Oh. My. God.

Mama’s Losin’ It

This post was in response to one of Mama Kat’s fabulous writing prompts.  Check her out.