We arrive at Liberia Airport, hop in our shuttle and stop for a taste of the fresh local food we’ll be enjoying for days to come. My skin already feels softer in the humid air. We enjoy the scenic drive through small towns. We notice a pattern: soccer field in the center, encircled by a school, a church, a mini market and a bar. We are greeted by a friendly host at Cala Luna who offers us an expedited check in after our long day of travel and we quickly settle in for the night.
As sunlight slowly seeps in around the edges of the curtains, we wake up smiling…it’s officially vacation! We dig around in the suitcases in search of surf attire that collected dust over the winter. We slather on sunscreen and head into the al fresco dining room for breakfast. I’m delighted to find real food for breakfast, this ain’t no American hotel with the standard american diet of processed, high fat food…this is a colorful display of rice, beans, veggies and fresh fruits. I savor every bite of papaya, I’ve never tasted fruit so fresh or flavorful. I indulge in an extra glass of French-pressed coffee before we take off.
A driver arrives to whisk us away for surf lessons. It feels reassuring to start off the day with a local who knows the water and waves here. After a couple hours of playing in the sand and surf, we stroll down the street in search of lunch. We enjoy cold smoothies, fresh fruit and veggie paninis. We spend a bit more time getting aqcuainted with Tamarindo before we walk back to Cala Luna. El ninos are enamored of all the creatures- we come across a large Iguana enjoying an afternoon mango fiest. The kids stare at him, he stares at us then he suddenly takes off running. Kayla lets out a terrified yelp, then realizes he is running away…not at us.
We spend some time soaking up the lush scenery in our private pool, this feels so luxurious! The girls take the trail down to the beach to photograph each other- I guess that’s how teens entertain themselves these days. Later, we find the Green Papaya Taco Bar, which becomes our favorite restaurant of all time. For me, because they serve tacos jam-packed with a variety of veggies and damn good guacamole. For the kids becuase they get to enjoy dinner perched on a swing. To each his own.
Is it Friday? I’ve lost track.
Kayla and I sit with our friend Gato on the patio until everyone else awakes. Gato is the cat who apparently lives at the villa and uses our lounge chairs when vacant. I enjoy the sounds of adundant wildlife, such as howler monkeys and an assortment of birds. After breakfast, we head back to the Iguana Surf School and spend the morning playing in the water.
The Zen Cafe satisfies our post-surf hunger. Yet again, we eat rice, beans, veggies and plantains…but I’m pretty sure this won’t get old. The kids have smoothies too and we all enjoy the best fruit on the planet.
The afternoon storm rolls in, so it’s siesta time. As it turns out, we were due for some lazy lounging in the villa. Everyone feels refreshed.
Dinner time comes quickly and we find the Dragonfly Cafe. I’m falling in love with the al fresco dining experience. We try some local delights such as Enyucadas and I have a quinoa bowl mixed with veggies and avocado. We say yes to dessert, it is vacation afterall. The kids get a giant churro bowl overflowing with caramel ice cream. We go back to Cala Luna with happy bellies and a sugar buzz!
To keep it interesting, we swap our normal beach morning for some time at the community pool. Oli plays with other kids (can I get a Hallelujah?!). David lounges in a cabana and the girls come and go…who knows what kind of trouble they’re up to. I don’t put much thought into it because I’m adrift in my inflatable avocado with a pina colada. After lunch at Zen Cafe, we head out to surf. The beach is blanketed with sunbathers and the surf is packed! I remember it’s Saturday. We cut our trip short because it’s just not quite as relaxing as past days.
We take bikes back Cala Luna and enjoy some quiet time before dinner. The kids are begging to go back to Green Papaya…and really, there is no argument, so we just go with it. We thoroughly enjoy eating all the tacos, enchiladas, bean dip and guac. No regrets.
It’s my birthday! As I finish breakfast, the staff comes over with a special treat and their best rendition of “Happy Birthday”…I actually wish they would sing in Spanish so I can really soak up the culture, but I appreciate the gesture. We spend the morning playing in the pool and enjoying pina coladas. I can get used to this. Then, we toss all our stuff back in suitcases and load up the van for Arenal. Read more…