Semana Santa in Costa Rica

Playa Espadilla, Manuel Antonio

There are three times of year when I’ve been told to stock up on food and stay in my house.  First and still unproven are the months of September and October, our supposed rainy season.  Second is the two weeks around Christmas – New Year’s and third is the week of Semana Santa (Easter week).

Several people have told me about the holiday season here and I’ve always listened.  So really, I can’t report on all that goes on.  But I can write that at one point I walked into town and saw traffic on my little narrow roads…so many white SUV’s (AKA rental cars), driving on roads that are really more like one lane but we somehow manage to get two lanes plus an area to walk.  And so many people.  Actually, I was a little confused on dates and I walked down to the Malecon to watch the sunset with my neighbors (a lovely couple from Texas who I hope will return soon!) and was so surprised to see so many people there.  Only realizing later that it was indeed Semana Santa.

Never have I ventured to the beach during these weeks. I’ve seen pictures and I honestly don’t want to see firsthand the mass crowds that accumulate there, both from the tourists as well as all the locals who come from the interior of the country to enjoy the holiday at the beach.  I’m also told to not bother going to any restaurants as there will be long waits (lol, like the service isn’t already slow in almost every Costa Rica restaurant!). And then there are the dry laws from Wednesday – midnight after Good Friday…still in effect in many parts of the country (but not here in Quepos!)

I like my little piece of paradise without all the crowds of people.

Playa Espadilla, Manuel Antonio

So during these holiday weeks, I just stay put and enjoy the ocean view from my terrace.

I know the local hotels and vacation rental companies are happy that Semana Santa is late this year.  For some reason, they all tell me that when Semana Santa is early (like last year’s in March), the high season dies down much quicker.  I don’t really get it.  It’s still hot and sunny in April but that is their experience and I’m sure they are all relieved…both because it was a good high season here in Costa Rica but also because they can now take a breath.

My neighbors did venture out to the beach during the week and shared with me these two photos…TOO many people!

Manuel Antonio beach, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Pura vida…Chrissy

Mangos and Mangas

manga fruit in Costa Rica

Did you know there is a difference between mangos and mangas?  Actually, a better question might be for most of my readers…did you know there is such a fruit called manga?  I get them confused all the time (so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) but at least here in Costa Rica, they call the big mangos you eat the States, “mangas” and then there is a smaller version that they call “mangos”. (or maybe it’s the other way around!)

We’ve got both types of trees on the property where I live but I will probably never get to enjoy them…the monkeys will be eating these sweet treats and dropping the pits to the ground long before I’ll ever get to them.

Here are photos of the two types plus the pretty flowers the trees create just before the fruit develops.

mango flowers

Mangos in Costa Rica
Young Mangos
manga fruit in Costa Rica
Young Mangas

Pura vida…Chrissy

Costa Rica Fiestas and Broken Rollercoasters

Fiestas in Costa Rica

We recently had our annual fiestas (like a County Fair) here in Quepos and a friend told me a funny story about something that happened on one of the days.

Her kids and their friends were all on the rollercoaster as it was speeding around and up and down the tracks when all of a sudden, the ride was stopped.  The kids were at the top (hopefully secure in their cars).  And then a maintenance worker proceeded to climb up the ride to fix something that had broken.

It’s really not a surprise to me.  After all, I’ve already mentioned that the planes have duct tape around their wheel base.  And fortunately my friend has lived in Costa Rica for many, many years (as a resident and just got her citizenship a few months ago) so she wasn’t shocked or freaking out in the moment.

Only in Costa Rica…

Fiestas in Costa Rica Her caption on this one was too funny and pretty much sums it all up…

“Let me just tighten this screw here so the kids don’t fall to their deaths…”

Fiestas in Costa Rica

Thanks to Kristine Morley, co-owner of Manuel Antonio Vacation Rentals for letting me post her pics!

Pura vida…Chrissy

It’s the little things that matter

I know the last few posts have been a little bit of a downer…showing the darker side of paradise…And it was totally my intention this year to create more positive than negative posts.  If you look back to January, you’ll see they were all fun and happy posts.  But then reality sets in as it often does.

So I’m counterbalancing the last few posts with a quick but important blog about being grateful for the little things…

Like my friend Adrienne, co-owner of Cafe Milagro, who, out of the blue, surprised me with yellow lemons one day.

yellow lemons in Costa Rica

The Cheesecake Factory-like avocado rolls that I just had at Sunset Place in the Quepos Marina.  Drank it with a Havana Club mojito and it was perfection!

avocado rolls in Costa Rica

The fritos I recently found in my little pulperia (haven’t seen those since moving here)

fritos in Costa Rica

Or the Mug Root Beer that I just found at my little Costco (again, at least 2 years since I had one of those).

Alright, admittedly, the last two items are junk food and not something I’d normally eat but it’s just such a treat…and a reminder that I live in such a different world.  Both in that they normally don’t exist here but also to be grateful for the little things.  That’s what really matters.

It’s also a learning opportunity for us all.  In California, I never would have thought that there weren’t yellow lemons, fritos or root beer in other places of the world.  I mean, there’s Starbucks and McDonald’s everywhere, right?  Wouldn’t it only make sense that other things like yellow lemons and fritos are everywhere as well?

I had a funny conversation with a Tica friend recently who said to me: “Maybe yellow lemons just can’t grow here.”  No!!!  They just don’t exist here.  If we can grow limes, we can grow lemons!

I enjoyed making all kinds of delicious creations with the yellow lemons and eating the fritos alongside my homemade veggie burger.  And what was most fun was introducing Root Beer floats to a Tico friend.  Not just because it was something he had never experienced but I was reminded of going to A&W out in the Palm Springs area with my dad many years ago, and enjoying root beer floats with him.

It’s the little things that matter.

Pura vida…Chrissy