December 18th, 2022

I'm really late to make this final update for Costa Rica. I flew home and immediately launched into the holiday season, and so slipped on getting this up to date. In any case, my last week in Costa Rica was just as great as the previous. Wesley flew back home on Sunday, and me and Vassil spent the rest of the week exploring more of Jacó and the surrounding area.

We finally made our way down the coast to the very aptly named Playa Hermosa.
One of the days, we rented ATVs and dirtbikes and started exploring the network of dirt trails around the beach and mountains near Jacó. It was a really great time, and since it was unguided we got to explore more and put the petal to the metal.
A pretty view of the coastline that we stumbled upon while out on the ATVs.
Another day, we went riding bikes down the coast and came across this beatiful view.
Another shot of the coastline. Although you cannot see it here, there was a flock of birds feeding on fish in this area. It was mesmerizing to watch them circling and dive-bombing into this rocky, turbulent coastline in search of breakfast.
When in Costa Rica, do like the monkeys do!
Finished my work week working from a beachside bar, sipping a beer and watching surfers. It's moments like this that I really, really love my job.
As you can see, I was really soaking up the fresh seafood this week! Fish, calamari and seafood soup. The calamari and grilled fish were at this really nice restaurant, with a local band that was suprisingly great.

December 11th, 2022

What a phenomenal week! We crammed so many amazing things into just this one week. It was really difficult to distill out just the highlight reel. I'm so used to traveling alone, and it's been a really good change of pace to have some friends around to explore new places with. It certainly makes socializing much easier, and opens up more possibilities as far as exploration goes. From going out dancing to hiking and exploring less traveled areas, having a group of people removes a ton of the mental calculus that can come with traveling alone.

Over the weekend, we left Jacó and went bouncing around some other areas in Costa Rica, including Monteverde and La Fortuna. Monteverde was my preferred town, as it was nestled in the mountains. It was a little more nature-focused and quieter, which I tend to enjoy. We went hiking and sightseeing there, which was really amazing. La Fortuna seemed to be more active and bustling, which was nice in its own way. We had a fun night out partying, and were surprised how receptive the locals were to hanging out with us toursists.

Unfortunately, I can't take credit for this shot. Wesley captured this amazing photo in Jacó.
Out riding ATVs, with the Arenal volcano looming behind us.
We came across this crazy tall tree while out hiking. Like one of the canopy trees from the nearby rainforest, but thriving on its lonesome.
Similar to a plant in Hawaii, these plants react to touch and curl themselves up.
A nice overlook of Jacó from a hike.
Here's the group we went hiking with. Vassil, Wesley, Richelle and Jessica.
We visited this abandoned restort (called El Miro) while out hiking. The story behind it was really interesting, the owner was a pretty terrible person who screwed over a lot of people before it all came crashing down. This left the restort half complete and abandoned.
This interaction had me laughing pretty good. Jessica promised she knew the land owner, so we could ignore the private property sign. As she was fiddling with the fence, Vassil had casually found a back entrance behind the brush.
Another gorgeous view overlooking the city, from El Miro.
Enjoying the sunset on the beach. I edited this one quite heavily, to "magic eraser" away a couple people in the ocean.
Some leafcutter ants. It was pretty crazy to see them at work, and the paths of destruction they left in their wake. Our tour guide said they can strip a tree of its foilage overnight!
We were out hiking and came across this family of monkeys that was surprisingly unconcerned with us getting close. Jessica, who's lived here for 9 years, said it's pretty unusual for them to be so undisturbed by people. I guess they were hungry!
Spotted a toucan, eating some berries in the tree. It has been amazing how much diverse wildlife we've seen in just the week we've been here.
Some crocodiles, hanging out on the bank of the river. There was a whole colony of them here, fourteen total by my count.
To cap off the animal photos, here's a funny video I took of coatimundis playing with Vassil's 3D camera while in Costa Rica.
And of course, we've been having some amazing food while here. Avocado and egg toast, a big sushi boat and a couple so called "casados," which are a just a common Costa Rican dish with a variety of fruits, veggies, rice and meats.
Some more food photos. Casado, shrimp salad, seafood soup and a fancy cocktail with smoked (and still smoking) cinnamon. 

December 4th, 2022

For the next couple of weeks, I'm staying in Jacó, a small beach town in Costa Rica. I'm out here with a couple of friends, and went in completely blind to any expectations. It's been a great time so far, with a good mix between being off the beaten path and tourism. I landed on Saturday, so not a ton of photos to share for today. I'm sure I'll have much, much more for next week's update!

On Saturday night, we went into town and found a bar that was somehow even more American than most bars in America. It was a fun way to start the night, having a few drinks and playing billiards.
We ended the night at this over-the-top club. I was surprised, though, that there was so little people actually dancing. Mostly just locals hanging out, trying to have conversations over the absurdly loud music.
We passed by this fence that had some barbed wire with vines wrapping around it. I found it kind of poetic, and snapped this cool photo.
Turn soonest, to the sea! A nice little river heading out into the ocean, with a decent taco spot on the right hand side.
Capping off the weekend with a nice sunset and some light reading.