Costa Rica…just because

Chris and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary in September. We were actually in different states at the time. Neither of us are big on getting gifts and are pretty laid back in most things, so we don’t have a record of doing much on our anniversary.

If there is one thing we both equally LOVE to do it is travel and explore new places. Our kids are so much fun to travel with, so we never want to leave them behind…which means we don’t do the thing we love as a couple, we do it as a family.

About a month after our anniversary I told Chris we should really get away just the two of us for our 20th anniversary. Well, then I got to thinking how there was no good reason for us not to just go now. (thank you airline points, living on a budget and grandparents that like to keep our kids!)

We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, nonetheless the next four years. One of my prayers has always been that God would teach me to number my days that I might gain a heart of wisdom. I guess you could say numbering my days in October meant booking a trip instead of saying, “One day we should…”

Chris booked the tickets to Costa Rica, the grandparents, and the Airbnbs…and a couple weeks later we were on a plane…because why not?

I decided I want to run a hostel on a beach in some remote town when I grow up. Seriously, it just makes sense. Chris can be the social guy welcoming everyone while I can make chocolate chip cookies for the travelers that wander in. Not to mention…we would have plenty of room for kids and grandkids when they come to visit.

If you are a property investor, my name is Ashley – feel free to contact me in about 12 years.
We had zero plans. I actually didn’t even know what city we were flying into until we were basically headed to the airport. We knew we wanted to be away from the populated areas and the resorts. We wanted to explore and do whatever we felt like doing that day – no agenda, no plan, minimal contact with other people.

We rented a little jeep like thing with 4-wheel drive, looked for roads on Google Maps that led to beaches, and we explored. Most beaches we came to had less than 5 people around or were completely empty. It was perfect. It was hard to believe empty coastline like that still existed.We chose to stay in 2 different Airbnbs on the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica. One was a little cottage with a private pool and was walking distance to a serene beach. We like Airbnbs for numerous reasons. Most Airbnb hosts are super helpful regarding the local area, so it makes traveling to a new place easier.  (The first one we stayed at is called Casa Mango by Playa Junquillal)The next Airbnb was up the coast a bit more. We found our favorite beach a short drive from this one. It also had a pool that was shared between 3 little cottages. (The Red Villa at Villas La Paz)

(Use this link and you can get $40 towards your first trip with Airbnb)

I get asked a lot about food when we travel – we eat local. Chris and I usually ate at little local shops once a day and then did breakfast at our Airbnb and snacks on the beach. We both have stomachs of steel and no food allergies or intolerances, so eating different foods in new countries has never been an issue for us. I’m super thankful for that!
I mean do you see those crowds we were dealing with? Seriously, empty beaches for a couple that really needed some alone time. I was not complaining!

I will note that a few locals told us the beaches we visited weren’t as calm as the more developed areas (rip currents). We were always sure to note the water conditions and any pertinent information about the area. I only mention it if you are wanting to travel to Costa Rica (or anywhere with beaches) with kids – be sure to research water/current conditions. The dirt roads to the remote beaches…be prepared for traffic stops and make sure to pack food, you won’t find any stores the more remote you get!There are a million things to do in Costa Rica – we were more focused on us than trying to do everything. We did take a day to travel to a volcano, waterfall, and natural hot springs. It was rainy and cold the further we went into the rainforest (of course). The overcast day made it impossible to see the volcano, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.At home I am in constant motion. I don’t know the last time I sat down to read a book. I feel like a pinball bouncing around most days, so I wanted a couple hours just to sit with a book in the shade on the beach. Chris is not a fan of slow. He was hoping for a day of surfing, but it wouldn’t have been wise to surf off the secluded beaches. We spent a few hours on a beach with other people – he surfed. I read. We were both quite content…and then I was ready to retreat back to the dirt roads and seclusion!The last several months have been so busy for Chris. We had been functioning in a routine of passing by each other more than making sure we were consistently connecting with each other. Prior to this trip I considered a vacation for just the two of us to be a luxury. And – yes – it is in most ways a luxury, but getting time away to focus on each other is a necessity. We won’t be waiting years and years to do it again.

It was so, so good to be away from work and from kids we adore to remember how much fun we have when it is just the two of us. I’m ready to go back.

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