Costa Rica was incredible, a bit intimidating at the start, and always stunning. We saw a variety of wildlife, monkeys, 3 toed sloths, 2 toed sloths (which have a strange similarity to a blonde surfer dude, I swear I heard one yell "hang loose in the distance"), alligators, and fortunately only 2-3 spiders that were larger then my palm. In Costa Rica the lizards and iguanas are like squirrels in America, roaming the streets and trees freely. Apparently of the 119 snakes in Costa Rica, only 19 are posionous (no biggie....right?). At a park called Hacienda Baru, a man named Ronald taught us about ancient medicine in Costa Rica (particularly sutures). Did you know there is ant in Costa Rica that was once used for stitches? It's true, not only did Ronald tell us, Ronald showed us. He proceeded to catch an ant from a 60 foot large ant hill (yes, 60 feet), and pinch that ant onto his skin. Do note, the ant was an inch long, and when the body was broken off, the head stay attached to Ronald's hand by the pinchers . In the past, people would leave multiple ant heads "stitching" a wound for up to a week (which is truly a sentence I never thought I would say).
The weather, was sunny in the morning, stormy in the afternoons, and always humid (thus causing my hair to look similar to a Captain Hook wig the whole trip). The sun would rise at around 5:00 am, which meant we arose around 5:00 am. As our Spanish improved, so did Alex's early morning wake up calls. One day Alex saw monkeys run by our room, and he woke me up shouting "MONOS MONOS" at the top of his lungs (mono is the Spanish word for Monkey). At night the sun set at 6pm, the sky never failed to get pitch black by 6:15. When the sunset was not over shadowed by a storm, it was stunning.
During the past two weeks we began to familiarize ourselves with Costa Rican culture. After reading Costa Rica guidebooks with tips about safe traveling, Alex and I dressed particularly drab, not wanting to stand out (biggest mistake of our stand out lives). Most of the people we saw in Costa Rica were dressed to the 9s everywhere we went (by that I mean, it was not uncommon to see a woman on a hiking trail with wedges or heels, and full make up). The food was delicious, and we became particularly fond of the local favorite "Pollo consado" (rice, black beans, grilled chicken, plantains, and a salad). As Alex puts it "we ate enough pollo consado to feed a small village."
Driving in Costa Rica was a pretty intense (frightening at times) experience. For the record intense (and frighting at times) looked like a semi driver passing a motorcycle on a blind turn, going 80km, and the passenger has a toddler on their lap (not to mention the driver is chugging a 2 liter bottle of orange or grape fanta). We saw this happen more then once or twice, or ten times. Don't worry (or worry immencely), at the end of the trip Alex was driving like a true Tican driver. This looked like Alex passing semis, while he sipped a 2 liter bottle of orange or grape fanta (sans the toddler on my lap). When driving, it was not uncommon to arrive at road the was no longer a straight road, but a road with a small river running through it. We learned from the locals, if you do approach a river when driving, take a big gulp of fanta, and drive straight through (and we did).