Which made our 2 weeks in Costa Rica at the end of February and the beginning of March very pleasant indeed. From -5 (-20 overnight) to 30+ degrees C and sunshine makes for happy people.
We started our trek by getting a rental car from the San Jose airport and driving about an hour and a half out to Jaco Beach, on the Pacific side of the country. Six days at a surf camp near (but not right in) a beach town where shorts and a tank top (or a bathing suit) kept the worst of the humidity at bay worked great. Mike had 3 surfing lessons--one on his birthday--and I had 4 sessions of yoga. We met a fantastic couple of women (one from Germany and one from Ireland) that we hung out with for pretty much the whole week, having an absolute blast. Even took a day trip out to Carrera National Park, about 30 minutes away, where we went on a hike with a great guide who showed us Scarlet Macaws, Capuchin Monkies, Howler Monkies, Lizards, 2- and 3-Toed Sloths, Cicadas, Bats, and a wide variety of ants.
The next leg of our adventure took us further south along the highway, where we broke up our 3+ hours of driving with a monkey challenge (me going through a tame version of a 6-part ninja course) and some zip lining.
Then we arrived at our next destination: the Finca Bellavista treehouse community, where we stayed in the rainforest for 4 nights. Up a steep and rocky 3-mile road near Piedras Blancas National Park, you come upon this neat community with both renters, volunteers, and full-time home owners. Our treehouse took a 10-minute walk to reach, and we had solar power and mosquito netting. Luckily, it wasn't wet season, so we didn't see many bugs (other than the huge one hanging out on the bathroom mirror--likely friends with the gecko in the kitchen). Finca Bellavista produces most of its own food, which you can purchase to cook up yourself, or have them cook it for you in the communal kitchen/eatery. We did both. With a few kilometers of trails, and multiple ones at that--some in loops, some to the river or waterfall, one to a scenic point--we never lacked for things to do. We had a routine of hiking in the morning, sitting on the covered balcony in the afternoons when it rained, then going to base camp for 'happy hour' where we could meet with others before having some supper before walking back in the dark with myriad stars overhead, the rain clouds having cleared until the next day.
Our last night of happy hour saw 8 people in the space (one being the bartender), where two of us (including the bartender) didn't have our cellphones out. I sat there enjoying the view and writing stuff in my head, trying to figure out how to end my next book The Forgotten Magic. At least when we all got to supper, we sat together and actually spoke to each other. Better late than never!
On the last full day, we drove up to the highest spot of Cerro de la Muerte ('Summit of Death' at 3335 metres, or nearly 11 000 feet, where they have all their antennas and cell towers set up) and did some wandering. We watched the clouds roll through, stealing the sun and masking everything outside a few metre radius, cloaking the world in a haze of mist. We found one path that our GPS said went about a kilometre (a rather steep km down) and followed that, watching the flora change from scrubby and dull to lush and colourful, and when we reached the end, discovered that we had followed a maintenance road to a hydro tower. Not as inspiring as we might have hoped. We found a craggy rock to climb when we got back to the top and found the 'real' path that people likely usually take. Hey, we always like finding things off the beaten track ...