Adventures Abroad: Costa Rican Style

Howdy y’all,

 

Last post you read about my Costa Rica take away, now it is time for the fun stuff. This post will be based around all the places we went, and all the activities we partook in. My travel buddies were my twin brother, mom, and dad. Our itinerary, along with comments are listed below, enjoy! Pictures are at the bottom.

 

June 21, 2017:  

  • Flew into San Jose, Costa Rica airport.
  • San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica. We headed downtown where we stayed one night. Once we were settled, we took a stroll downtown to see the nightlife. We saw street vendors, dancers, various shops, museums, fountains, and food hubs. With just one night, we got an excellent taste of the city.

June 22:

  • Woke up at 5am and transported to Tortuguero, which can be translated to “Land of the Turtles”, and is a village on the northern Caribbean Coast in the Limon Province (1 of 7 provinces). The transportation was first by bus, and then a 30 minute boat ride through the jungle to our resort.
  • Drove by a Dole banana crop, and numerous pineapple crops (2 most popular commodities in Costa Rica).
  • Once we were at our resort, a boat was required transportation to get anywhere else near by.
  • Greeted with a drink and explanation of what to expect during our stay.
  • Went on a boat tour to find various jungle animals. We saw many different birds, iguanas, basilisks, caiman, white face capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, lizards, river otters, but no sloths.
  • Arrived back at our resort for buffet style lunch, where we ate too much, and didn’t feel bad about it at all. Foods and drinks were amazing.
  • Changed and went to the pool/monkey bar. The pool was shaped as a big turtle, with a mini waterfall. The monkey bar had its name for a reason, seeing as the trees were filled with white face capuchin monkeys. The bartender said the monkeys would come and make a mess of the bar sometimes.
  • Changed for a buffet style dinner. Again, the foods and drinks were scrumptious, but hard to try everything before we were too full. A good problem to have;)

June 23:

  • Woke up to howler monkeys at 4am, which lasted for 20 min. The rain drove them away eventually. Their howl is low bass sound that crescendos (gets louder). You wouldn’t think such a booming sound would come out of such a small animal.
  • We learned that any clothes and shoes left out of our bags would get moist from the humidity. Made sure to pack everything up before crawling in bed.
  • Took a boat over to another resort for a nature walk. We saw howler monkeys, a stick bug, ground crabs, spiders, lizards, butterflies, toucans, but no sloths.
  • Got back to our resort and went on a canopy tour (zipline tour). This was our “warm-up”  for what was to come later. We flew from tree to tree, and walked across hanging bridges at about 50 feet from the ground.
  • Went over to the town of Tortuguero to see the beach and local activity. The beach was on the Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea), with Panama one way, and Nicaragua the other.
  • The town was small but packed with lots of little shops to buy food and tourist items. The locals were not afraid of keeping their doors and windows open as people walked by.
  • Went back to our resort for lunch, a dip in the pool, and to sip on a tropical drink.
  • As night fell, we went back over to the town of Tortuguero to try and find green turtles nesting on the beach. Unfortunately, it was the very beginning of the season, so we did not see any turtles. We did find three turtle tracks and nests though. In the end, it was a magnificent walk along the beach, under the stars, with the waves rolling in.
  • No turtles, no sloths, but saw a grasshopper shedding its skin.

June 24:

  • When it rains, it pours. Woke up to a downpour rain, and the howlers couldn’t compete.
  • Packed up, and got ready to be transported to Lomas del Volcon hotel in Arenal, La Fortuna.
  • Saw spider monkeys on our way out.
  • Drove by a Chacitta banana crop.
  • Arrived at our hotel in Arenal. Arenal is known for a volcano that is in the top 10 most active volcanoes in the world. We were told that you can see the top of the volcano 73 days out of the year, and we got to see it twice while we were there. Very lucky!
  • Ended our day by getting some drinks at happy hour, eating dinner while looking at the volcano, and playing an intense game of Yahtzee (I won).

June 25:

  • Picked up from our hotel at 5:30am to go bird watching and walk the hanging bridges with our guide, Carlos, at Mistico Hanging Bridges.
  • Saw various birds and a pit viper snake.
  • Made our way back to the hotel, where we changed for Canyoning (waterfall rappelling). Picked up by Chobani, who was known as the rastafarian guy. He had dreads, loved reggae, and had a big personality.
  • We were served a tasty lunch, and then headed to the waterfalls. The guides called my brother and I gemelos (twins), and they all joked and had fun with us.
  • The biggest waterfall was 165 feet, and the smallest was 90 feet. They also had a “Monkey Drop” that took took you directly over a small body of water, and they would drop you straight down. It was quite the adrenaline rush, which was radical.
  • My dad wore a Sounders jersey, and they all recognized it because they had a Costa Rican native, Leo Gonzales, play for them a couple years ago.
  • Ended the day at happy hour, dinner, and played another game of Yahtzee (I got last).

June 26:

  • Ziplining day! We figured out pretty quickly why the zip line tour in Tortuguero was the “warm-up”. These zip lines were four times longer, and five times taller. But they were insanely awesome. We had a blast, and couldn’t stop smiling.
  • Once again the guides had fun with us gemelos. One guide had the saying “Sup Bro” on one glove, and “That’s My Boy” on the other. He was quite the character.
  • After the ziplining, we went on a hike that was underneath the ziplines. The hike involved a few little waterfalls, hanging bridges, and overlooks of Lake Arenal and the volcano.
  • Ate at a soda (local restaurant) for dinner.
  • Cooled off at the pool. Ended the night playing Yahtzee (I won again).

June 27:

  • Rafting day! We made our way to the river where we whitewater rafted.
  • On our way, we saw 2 SLOTHS! One was in a parking lot of a supermarket, and the other was on the side of the road in a tree. A shame not to see them out in the wild, but amazing at the same time.
  • Our guide was Louie, and he too had dreads, a common theme.
  • There were 6 people in our boat, and my dad and I were the only ones not to fall out. Louise would purposely try and get people out of the boat, and he did good, but not good enough.
  • We rode a mix between level 3 and level 4 rapids (5 being ranked as the highest).
  • At the end, we were provided with a beer as we drove to the home base to eat lunch. While at home base, our guides showed us how to make make coffee the traditional way, which was through their own hand made strainers. They also showed us how they pressed the juice out of the sugar cane, and explained how they made moonshine out of it. They gave us a taste of their moonshine at the end of it. Not too shabby!

June 28:

  • Travel Day!
  • Stopped to take pictures at the gigantic windmills. The three main energy sources in Costa Rica are through windmills, geothermal, and solar.
  • Made it to our final destination on the beach of the west side of Costa Rica. We stayed at Bahia Del Sol.
  • Got there in time to see the amazing sunset.

June 29:

  • Beach Day!
  • Started the day off with yoga by the beach, with the waves setting the calm mood.
  • Rented boogie boards for the day. Spent the majority of the day in the ocean waters, in the pool, and hanging out on the beach. I boogie boarded enough to get a rash on my stomach.
  • Watched another sunset while sipping on tropical drinks.

June 30:

  • Snorkel Day!
  • Woke up and did our own yoga by the water.
  • Geared up to go on the Lazy Lizard catamaran tour.
  • Found a spot to snorkel, swim, and jump off the boat. Saw dolphins, mana rays, puffer fish, and many other fish.

July 1:

  • Another Snorkel Day!
  • Woke up to yoga. Couldn’t get enough.
  • Went on a snorkel tour with Aquacenter. Again, we saw dolphins, and many fish.
  • The new sight was two green turtles mating.
  • When we got back to our resort, we walked the beach to get some souvenirs, then returned to sip on Pina Coladas as the sun set. The best sunset yet.

July 2:

  • Return Day!
  • Woke up and did Dr. Oz 7 minute workout by the beach.
  • Walked the beach one last time, and played in the water one last time.
  • Flew back home.

Pura Vida!

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Sloth in Arenal

Hola mis amigos! It has been a while since we have posted, and we have good reason. I myself (Luke) have been in Costa Rica, and Alison has been in Hawaii (you will hear from her later). I posted on Instagram (@ourmindfuladventure) while I was away, which showed a snapshot of the beautiful country I was in. My comment was, “The PNW has a lot to offer, but so does Costa Rica.” Oh boy does it! Our blog was brought to life with the intent to discover the amazing PNW, but traveling abroad is an excellent way to see new landscapes, new ways of living, new ways of thinking, and dive into a new culture that may be instilled in you forever. With that, we do not want to pass up the opportunity to share our experiences in different parts of the world, near and far.  

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Beaches of Tortugeuro

To start, you’re probably looking at the title of this post and asking yourself the question, “what does Pura Vida mean?”. Well, in spanish it literally means “pure life”. The words can be used as a greeting, as well as a send off comment. However, it means much more than meets the eye. Pura Vida is a mindset. Yes, it is a way to say pure life, life is good, and more, but it also symbolizes being in the moment. To sum up the locals responses, it embodies the ability to focus on what is good in life, what brings you joy, and to surround yourself by good energy and good vibes. After spending 12 days in Costa Rica, and interacting with the locals, I have created my own interpretation of these two words that have a powerful impact. In comparison to the common lifestyle in the states, where it is a hustle and bustle mentality, Pura Vida can mean slowing down and taking time to focus on who and what is around you. In essence, what can you draw from that will supply purity and positivity to your life in that moment. In doing so, you are able to develop your attitude and outlook in a positive manner. By having a positive attitude and outlook on life, others are then able to draw from the positive energy you exude. There are a multitude of negative forces trying to drag us down, but there are more positive forces acting to lift us up. If we can see past the negatives, then we are able to focus on the joys in life. To sum it all up, be in the moment, surround yourself by good energy, develop your positive outlook/attitude, and focus on the joys in life.

pura-vida-1-e1499967265481.jpegAlthough this is a shorter post, my goal is to portray the impact Costa Rica had on me, and offer a mindset seen in a different part of the world. I will be putting up another post that will go over where my family traveled, and all the fun activities we had the chance to partake in. Also, Alison will be composing a post regarding her experiences in Hawaii. Keep an eye out. Hope y’all have an amazing rest of your Thursday, and a spectacular weekend.

Pura Vida!

The Buzzing Bee

Surprise! I know we said every other Thursday, but we couldn’t wait that long. We sincerely hope you enjoyed our first post, and learned something new and exciting in the process. Thank you to those who provided feedback, it is very much appreciated. Keep it coming! Our goal is to continue to develop a platform designed to present an array of experiences and adventures to support an active lifestyle and a mindful outlook. With that, we want to say our intention is to provide suggestions, and potentially uproot new experiences as a result. The experiences and adventures discussed are ones we stumbled upon, and thought, “hey that was pretty darn fun, glad we gave it a go”. Furthermore, an open mind can take you places you never thought possible, and may change your way of thinking and perspective on life.

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Waterfall at the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon

On that note, we recently attended a hot yoga class. The studio we went to practices a style known as hot vinyasa flow yoga. This means that the practice contains many poses that flow into one another, usually cued by breath. As newcomers to the class, we arrived early and began to settle into our mats and awaited the cue to begin our first pose. However, instead of the expected downward dog cue, the instructor asked us to find a comfortable, rested, and seated position. Once the class seemed to find ease in their positions she began to explain the sound of the month known as, Bhramari, also referred to as, Humming Bee Breathing. Now bear with us as we are new yogis, and do not know enough to teach by any means. Beside the fact, we are excited to share our discovery of a new term and practice. For both of us, it is a practice we are going to implement as we continue on our journey.

The full name for the practice is Bhramari Pranayama, where Pranayama is the formal practice of controlling the breath. There are many ways to practice controlling the breath and Bhramari is just one of them. Bhramari is known as the Humming Bee Breath because when you exhale you make a humming sound, almost like the sound a bee makes as it buzzes by your ear. When practicing you want to feel the buzzing sound in your mouth and head.

You may be wondering, why and what is the purpose of this practice? We are delighted you asked. The buzzing sound you make as you exhale is designed to create static in your head which acts to clear your mind and settle your thoughts. From experience, we know life gets busy, and it may be difficult to control the distractions around you. Therefore, Humming Bee Breathing can help block the “noise”, aiding to focus on what is important to you in order to journey through life with a clear mind.

At the end of this post we have included a link to a website which provides more detail on how to perform this practice at home. In the link it also talks about a hand position, which goes with the sound, known as a mudra.

We both found this practice fitting to ourselves, but also to the time of the year. We are now in the month of June, and next week we will be celebrating Summer Solstice. A new season, Summer, is right around the corner, which means new adventures await. We found that this practice may help us with keeping our minds open as we welcome new adventures and opportunities so that we may make the most of them all.

Let the humming begin!

Over and out,

Luke and Alison

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Bridge at the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon.

 

 

 

 

Links:

https://www.artofliving.org/yoga/breathing-techniques/bhramari-pranayama

https://tiffanywoodyoga.com/blog/tip-of-the-month-how-to-practice-bhramari-pranayama-bee-breath-1

The Adventure Begins

Hey there awesome adventurers-

Well, this is it! Our first blog post is up! For those who are joining us on our journey, I wanted to introduce you to Luke and myself (Alison) by providing a little background, how we met, our first adventure together, as well as the purpose of our blog.

First, a little background on both of us. Luke was born in Utah, but grew up in the small town of Snohomish, Washington, best known for their antique stores (we will get to those another time) and good looking people 😉 –  A little fun fact, he has an identical twin brother. I was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon, which is either known to some as Track Town USA, hippy town, the home of the University of Oregon, or my personal favorite, a town south of Portland.IMG_3014

After all the awkward stages of childhood, Luke and I met at Pacific Lutheran University on the first day of orientation. Ironically, we were in the same orientation group because we had both signed up for the intro to music class. Little did we know that we would eventually become each other’s best friend and adventure partner. On our first date, Luke brought a pen and paper to write down our similar interests, and it became very clear that we both had a great passion for the PNW and a desire for adventure. Besides academics, we were both involved in athletics (Luke – Soccer, myself – Softball), and involved in numerous extracurricular activities such as Outdoor Rec, Kinesiologists of the Future Club, Research Club, Community Service, Intramurals, etc. Our involvement in sports, clubs, and other various activities opened up yet another door for endless adventures and memories.

Enough about us. Now that summer is in the air, I thought it would be fitting to share our first adventure during our first summer together. For those of you who do not know where Snohomish, Washington is go ahead and pull out a map. It sits a little North and then East of Seattle Washington. Across the way is the city of Everett, which holds the Everett Marina. The Everett Marina is a fantastic place to visit during the summer time, seeing as it is hopping with good people and good vibes. If you enjoy sitting on the grass listening to live music, a farmers market with fresh local foods and products, then this is the place for you. Not only is the marina exciting on land, but the Marina is full of life on the water! On a warm summer day you will see windsurfers catching air, while others are kayaking in the sound, as well as taking it in as they sit on the beach eating lunch and soaking up the sun. The list goes on! On the day that Luke and I were there he and his parents took me on a kayak tour around Jetty Island. Instead of using the free ferry, we kayaked around the point into the sound, and then back where we docked our kayaks so that we could walk the beach of Jetty Island.IMG_3037 It was a blustery day, so the water was a bit rough, which made docking the kayaks a little tricky. Luckily I was with experienced kayakers, Luke’s parents both having many years of kayaking experience and Luke who grew up kayaking, so I had nothing to worry about. With the wind picking up, the waters were filled with wind surfers tearing up the waters and kids flying kites on the beach, which is always fun to watch. After walking on the beach we returned to the mainland to visit the Everett Farmers Market. The market sits on what feels like a board walk. As you walk through, the air is filled with the scent of good food and fresh flowers, followed by the sounds of constant laughter and conversation of people walking by. In the market there is a mix of booths, some are food, others flowers, as well as local based products. A personal favorite of mine is called elSage Designs, based out of Mount Vernon, Washington. They sell clothing with an emphasis on their screen printing designs.

After walking through the market, we set up a picnic on the grass in front of the stage, listened to some live music, and soaked in the sun rays. What a day, and what an adventure!521685_608563582509166_1082114246_n.jpg

Giddy up! There it is, our first adventure, and one of many! Our hope with this blog is to share more of our adventures with the intent to give you ideas of what to do in the wonderful PNW. There are countless places to go, people to see, and memories to be had. We not only want to share our stories and adventures, but also create a platform to promote an active lifestyle and clean living. It is our passion to adventure through life with curiosity and questions, which creates a mindful outlook of who we are ,where we are, what we are doing, and the incredible life to be lived.

We are new to blogging, and wish to improve as we dive deeper. Feedback is greatly appreciated:) Look out for blog posts every other Thursday, as well as Instagram (@ourmindfuladventure) posts throughout the week. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have, we would love to hear from you.

Over and Out,

 

Luke and Alison

“Adventure Passionately, Inquire Curiously”

Here is a list of links to check out

Everett Marina Music: https://everettwa.gov/806/Music-in-the-Parks

Everett Marina Farmers Market: http://everettfarmersmarket.net/

Jetty Island: http://www.portofeverett.com/recreation/beaches-kiteboarding/jetty-island-290

elSage Designs: https://shop.elsagedesigns.com/