Paradise in Costa Rica

Panama – Costa Rica – Panama – Toronto: Nice way to kick off the New Year! Here are some photos from my adventures with Sahra Featherstone and Melissa Shouldice in Costa Rica!

Sahra and I were happily surprised Melissa showed up last minute!

Sahra and I were happily surprised Melissa showed up last minute!

After a week hosting the JAZZ.FM jazz safari to Panama, Sahra and I beelined from Panama to San Jose, rented a car and drove to Liberia. As my close friends can attest, the fact that Sahra suggested renting a car made me feel doubly fortunate that she was my travel-mate. We’ve known each other for almost nineteen years and really get along…but I’m also fortunate in that she enjoys driving because I’ve never driven an automobile and previously had always taken taxis everywhere. Renting a car meant we could go anywhere and check out many different areas and beaches.

twilight from our rooftop

twilight from our rooftop

We drove several hours deep into the jungle where I’d rented a house with a private pool. We were joined by a family of howler monkeys and insects of every size and variety.

This is a (real) twig on top and a stick bug underneath!

This is a (real) twig on top and a stick bug underneath!

I saw two sticks mating…bugs that looked like fairly large twigs, conjoined and buzzing about in mid-air.

leaf me alone!

leaf me alone!

I saw a giant leaf that seemed unimpressed by the scene and walked away. I later found out it was a moth that disguised itself to look like a leaf.

if this frog was on green wallpaper? he'd be green!

if this frog was on green wallpaper? he’d be green!

A butterfly with wings the size of pieces of toast fluttered about while I did some reading in a hammock on the roof. Inside the house, we saw several cute little geko’s and tiny translucent frogs that seemed to turn invisible as they scaled the wall. I had a feeling that the frogs might be poisonous so we caught them and released them outside. (Turns out they are harmless and called glass frogs or conchranella albomaculata.)IMG_2521

Healthy food daily!

Healthy food daily!

We also had one very large spider in each bathroom. I admit this isn’t everyone’s idea of a dream vacation but we weren’t exactly roughing it. The house had all the amenities, the pool was cool and I had nary a bite of any kind. After a couple days, Melissa Shouldice showed up at the Liberia Airport and we picked her up and went shopping for fresh fruit and coconuts, fish, rice and beans and rum.  Flying from Toronto to Liberia, Costa Rica for just three days seems a tad eccentric but our one day at The Four Seasons alone was worth the long flight for Melissa I’m sure.

IMG_2597Mel, Sahra and I booked lunch at this luxury hotel and decided to eat down on the beach instead of in the restaurant.

i think this is called a "selfie-cheater"

i think this is called a “selfie-cheater”

Technically you have to be a guest of the hotel but they seemed only too happy to have guests to fuss over…(I mean, come on, it’s Mel and Sahra; they should live on this beach!) …only 12 people on a private beach and at least double that amount of people were on staff. IMG_2595bbGuys out of Abercrombie and Fitch mags in stylish work duds would come by and offer iced cappacinos, snacks and even asked if we’d like our glasses cleaned.

beach fashion - ooh lala!

beach fashion – ooh lala!

We ordered fish tacos and lobster nachos. I am not in the custom of spending twenty five bucks on nachos but they were so tasty and went down great with rum in coconuts! I thought about my many friends that I wished could share the moment – maybe next year!

we crack each other up!

we crack each other up!

Nothing like an impromptu pool party! (uh, this is kinda sad, huh?)

Nothing like an impromptu pool party! (uh, this is kinda sad, huh?)

We explored several beaches over the next few days (my fave in that area was Playa Coco) and when Melissa split Sahra and I drove down to Jaco Beach to see our old friend Lalena, who I call The Queen of Jaco. Of all the places I’ve been to in Costa Rica Jaco is still my favourite beach.

Paradise.

Paradise.

Pura Vida! Costa Rica!

Pura Vida! Costa Rica!

Queens of Jaco?

Queens of Jaco?

The waves are nice and big and the sunset can’t be beat. After five years in a row, I know many of their best restaurants including a tiny unpretentious place called Café Del Mar. Amazing coffee and food – and right across the street the largest coconuts imagineable.

Breakfast!

Breakfast!

They call it Pipa Fria and not only does it pack half a litre of coconut water, you can open it up and eat the innards. It’s a lot of work but so tasty! Next year I know I’ll be back to Jaco with friends…it really is Paradise!

I nominate Sahra Featherstone as the greatest platonic friend on the planet!

Next year we’ll be back with friends….yeah we’re talkin’ to YOU  Dale and Jessica!

I went back to Panama for one last night and then flew home the next day. On our last night in Panama City’s old town we stayed at the most artistic hotel in the city, called Tortalo.

So ... a Bare Naked Lady walks into a bar...

So … a Bare Naked Lady walks into a bar…

It reminded me of The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto in that it is filled with art, each room is funky and unique and there are a couple bars that attract a young hip crowd.

My old chum Kevin Hearn was shocked to see Sahra and I in Panama City. Then we drank!

My old chum Kevin Hearn was shocked to see Sahra and I in Panama City. Then we drank!

The rooftop patio was playing modern dance music and down on the main floor a blend of vintage jazz, funk and salsa. We enjoyed a pole dancing performance (this was more artistic and athletic than racy and the mostly older crowd of cool couples seemed to really enjoy it) and all of a sudden Bare Naked Ladies walked in the front door.

artistic and athletic!

artistic and athletic!

Ishmael is a fun guy!

Ishmael is a fun guy who hosts at Tantalos!

I saw BNL’s keyboardist, Kevin Hearn outside the window so I stood at the front door and welcomed them as if it was my house and I was expecting them.

Ed Robertson and Tyler Stewart were completely surprised – and we spent an hour catching up over drinks. Small world!

The flight on Sunwing home was speedy and in no time I was home in minus twenty degrees with nothing but a sear sucker suit and bahama shirt.

Luis Mario Ochoa was a big hit at Lambton! You can see him sing at BLOOM on Bloor one Thursday a month!

Luis Mario Ochoa was a big hit at Lambton! You can see him sing at BLOOM on Bloor one Thursday a month!

I bee-lined to Lambton Golf & Country Club directly from the airport and arrived just in time for a concert by Luis Mario Ochoa and Hilario Duran.

Laura Fernandez and great Cuban food an hour after I land in snowy Toronto? Pinch me!

Laura Fernandez and great Cuban food an hour after I land in snowy Toronto? Pinch me!

IMG_2846IMG_2845It was the perfect welcome home! And finally Sunday…brunch with Jessica and friends. Cold? Schmold! It feels great to come home to friends!

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s