The weather is never predictable, and as we docked in Limón, Costa Rica, the skies looked like they could open up with rain at any moment. Some people seemed surprised or even disappointed, but considering Costa Rica is 51% rainforest, this was to be expected!
We left our cruise ship to be greeted by many locals offering their services and selling tropical knick- knacks. We decided to hire a private taxi to take us on a tour and, ultimately, to the beach. Rain or shine, it was going to be a beach day!
Let me start by saying, I'm absolutely a resort girl. Whether we book a week at a beach resort or spend the day there as an excursion on a cruise, I love having the luxuries a resort provides. However, staying at a resort is no way to experience the culture and sometimes an adventure is necessary. Costa Rica gave us an adventure!
We started by (and I'm serious) stopping at the home of our cab driver's friend! We saw him as we drove along and Tony (our driver) asked if we would like fresh coconut. Who would I be to turn down that?! We pulled up to his home, which was the epitome of an island shack, with chickens running around the front yard and his trusty dog by his side. We hopped out of the car and immediately felt welcomed. We enjoyed fresh coconut, tasted a fresh cocoa bean (did you know they're white?!), and held baby chicks. I could have stopped the tour there and called it a successful day!
As rain began falling, we left to visit a local fruit stand to enjoy fresh bananas and mango. There are few things as tasty as fresh island fruit! We then stopped by a banana farm to learn about the process. Did you know that banana trees only produce fruit one time? And like humans, it takes 9 months! Costa Rica is a huge supplier to the USA (think Dole fruits), so it was neat to see where our produce has been coming from.
My intense love for animals becomes apparent to everyone I meet, and the locals of Costa Rica were no exception. So when Tony brought us to a dock for a river cruise through the jungle to see some wildlife, I was thrilled! Sloths, monkeys, iguanas, birds....you name it! We saw so many animals in their natural habitat.
You'd think the sun was setting by this point, we had done so much already! But after our jungle cruise we made our way to Playa Bonita beach, just north of Puerto Limón! The rain had cleared and the waves were HUGE (my husband's ideal beach day). The water was warm, so it took no time to jump in and begin body surfing with the waves. We met some locals who were dying to have their picture taken with an American girl. I obliged and left feeling like we had really made some friends!
After a fun afternoon with our toes in the sand, we ventured back to the ship. The sun was starting to set and the locals were making their way home. I watched us coast away and waved goodbye to a new place that stole a piece of my heart.
Costa Rica. I'll see you again soon.