Finding Peace in Costa Rica/First Encounters


How many places can you get a ride in a freshly painted oxcart?

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Or visit a Blue Morpho butterfly garden/nursery?

(These two definitely needed a room!)

A Little Peace….

When my husband first began exploring his plan for a journey to Costa Rica, I was skeptical.  I knew nothing of this rare gem of a country back then and could only imagine the most primitive, inhospitable settings; and I had serious reservations.  He is, however,  a tenacious fellow and has had hypnotic powers over me since we first met.  In his prodding way and insistent encouragement of my accepting the new and unexplored, he has brought out the more adventurous side of me.  When I agreed to visit (for already he was entertaining the idea of a life of retirement there) I wanted to have a more active role in the type of vacation we would have.  One of my requests was to visit a volcano, a coffee farm and spend time in the mountains as well as the typical beach fun.

It isn’t always easy to get around in this small country in a quick and efficient manner, especially during the rainy season, with roads often being washed out and there not being a large set of modern highways to travel. There is, I am happy to say, a wonderful and fairly new toll highway that leads out of San Jose to many of the more popular areas to visit.  Of course, there is always a small “puddle jumping” plane ride available to most areas of the country if you are in a hurry or have limited vacation time and want to visit areas that are not easily connected.  We chose to visit beach and mountain areas that could be traveled fairly quickly and easily either by tour van or rental vehicle.  For our first journey we chose tour van assistance,  being not quite sure what rentals-or driving conditions-were actually like.

We arrived to a beautiful airport, immaculately clean and modern,  not quite what we expected.  Then we stepped out into the contradiction which, at that time, seemed like utter chaos.  There were people everywhere, waiting for van rides to the rental car offices and hotels, as well as double lines of local taxi drivers eagerly hoping for fares.  We had prearranged van service to the lodge we chose to pick us up for the drive up to Peace Lodge in  Poas, near the volcano of the same name.  If we had been the faint of heart kind, we would have turned around and gone back inside to ask for an immediate return flight home, for our ride was NOT waiting for us, nor did it show up after some waiting and inquiry of the van drivers who were waiting for their own fares.  As a side note, I must take this opportunity to tell you that the courtesy and helpful nature of most all Costa Rica people is beyond compare to anything I have experienced, even in many parts of the US.  After someone finally understood our dilemma, they placed a call to our lodge only to find out there was a confusion and our ride would not be there to pick us up.  What to do? We had no knowledge of San Jose hotels and no transportation to get there.  We stared out into the sea of eager faces, ready to drive us up into the mountains to our destination; but had read the advisories regarding the ethics of some cab drivers over others and also about the questionable driving habits of many of these drivers.

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View from the drive to Poas

Suddenly, like an angel out of the dark, a very well dressed, handsome Costa Rican man stepped around his van and said he would be happy to assist us and get us safely up to the lodge.  He worked for one of the local tour van companies and was free to take us.  This was our first encounter with Alex and would not be the last.  I will share more about that ride in another post; but for now I want to introduce you to the beautiful, uniquely private and richly diverse lodge where we spent the first three days of our trip in the most relaxing, peaceful and gorgeous setting.

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Peace Lodge is located near Poas, a volcanic mountain where nature is simply amazing.  The lodge began as a nature and wild animal preserve and has grown into one of the most beautiful lodge experiences in Costa Rica.  From hand feeding hummingbirds to long hikes to three gorgeous waterfalls, there is much peace to be found on the preserve.  On the property there is also a butterfly garden and nursery where you can see all stages of butterfly life, and see the rare and exotic Blue Morpho.  There are also habitats for rare birds, sloths and monkeys.  These exhibits also bring in day tours from the city and surrounding areas during the day.  You can also enjoy tours in the reptile garden or stroll through the orchid garden for quiet meditation. This is not typically a family style lodge but its sister lodge over at Arenal is very family friendly.  The lodge does have a beautiful swimming pool as well as three on site restaurants.  When we were there we found the food a bit on the expensive side and our trip came within the recovery and rebuilding period following a very damaging earthquake, so there was not much chance of going elsewhere for meals.  I believe things have improved in that area at this time. Now for the lodge.  If you click on the link I have highlighted in the text, you will be directed to the actual web page for the lodge and can find more wonderful photos and information there.  Meanwhile, here are just a few of our favorite moments from that part of the journey.

These are a few photos of our room.  There was an indoor garden Jacuzzi tub surrounded by lush vegetation with the open style ceiling you see in the photos above. It was Spring here and quite chilly in the mountains. Thank goodness the tub was heated!  There was also a walk in shower large enough for a family as well as a stone rustic shower right beside the tub.  Two sinks offered us all the room we needed for personal care.  The bed was so comfy and we enjoyed a gas fireplace on demand for the chilly nights.  The Jacuzzi in the bottom photo was on the balcony, as well as a hammock and glass topped table where we enjoyed morning coffee and evening drinks.  Our favorite moments were watching the swirling mists roll in across the mountain every morning until the sun rose to fade them away.

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The Rumpus Room sized walk in shower….

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Hike the waterfalls…

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The Butterfly Garden is serene, a perfect place to watch the life unfolding and thriving there.

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This is Sam.  He was giving interviews…

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Feeding the hummingbirds.  Did you know there are over 30 different varieties  of hummingbird in Costa Rica?

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For our first day……

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Poas volcano.  It was very early, before 8 am when we arrived.  On that day the fog was thick and it was going to rain, so visibility of the volcanic lake was dim.  Still, it was a thrill and a dream of a lifetime for me.   Later that day we visited the Doka coffee plantation.

But……

that’s another story……stay tuned!

Remember, for the most updated information and to make reservations to Peace Lodge, visit their web site here

Pura Vida!!

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9 thoughts on “Finding Peace in Costa Rica/First Encounters

  1. I more fully understand why you have such wonderful memories. The photos are gorgeous, Cheryl, and you look so happy. Thanks for sharing your views of such a beautiful part of the world.

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