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  • Writer's pictureJon Watkins

Costa Rica- Pura Vida!

What exactly does Pura Vida mean and why is it Costa Rica’s idea of a fist bump? Jon and Jenn share their two trips to the Guanacaste region. Fun fact: both trips were booked under the influence of wine. The best part is that one trip was an all-inclusive while the other was not, so you will get a firsthand account of which style resort is better. As long as you have 100% Deet, you will be ready to go.

Plus, a guide to the surf spot of Tamarindo, ziplines, horseback riding, catamarans, deep sea fishing and Volcano National Park. So, pour yourself a cold Imperial Beer or Cacique and enjoy!

Transcript from Podcast:

John: Episode six, or if you listened to the last episode episode five because...

Jen: No, it's six,its embarrassing ?

John: Listen.

Jen: Your editing stinks.

John: Well, I didn't know where we werewe didn't write it on our paper and we drink wine while we do our podcast, so that doesn't help things. But this is episode six, if you're going in order of Our Savings Starts Tomorrow.

First of all, I guess we should say, cause we've never said it on our podcast. I went back and listened to them. We've never mentioned the fact that we're married.

Jen: Oh, I guess...

John: I could just be your gay friend, who's just drinking wine and we're gabbing about trips we've been on. So, what, why are you looking at the art that I'm just saying we should establish the relationship.

Jen: Yes.

John: Of who we are.

Jen: Yes. There is a relationship.

John: Yeah.

Jen: There's a bond .

John: Id say cold relationship, but that's still,

Jen: Oh my gosh. Well, that's just because you're upsetting me about a contractor that's for a whole other podcast.

John: Problems with contractors. Listen to that podcast its coming out next season. So yeah, we've been just traveling since we were high school sweethearts and we love to travel.

Jen: We do.

John: We love to drink wine and we like to just share our traveling stories with you. So hopefully you learn something from it and either it'll help you save money or lose money.

Jen: Yeah, and look, we're not these like crazy extravagant travelers that are going to like super exotic, crazy places. I know we're just like your more average family .

John: We went to Disneyland. We did try three episodes on Disney world.

Jen: Exactly.

John: This one's on Costa Rica, which I know you're like, Ooh, Costa Rica. I know a lot of people have gone to Costa Rica.

Jen: Yeah.

John: That's like as exotic as we can do.

Jen: Exactly.

John: But we're we are drinking wine as we do on this podcast. And how do you say the name of this one?

Jen: Shalum ... a little less of what you're doing.

John: We're doing a Chardonnay, it's from Oregon Portland.

Jen: Yes, it is.

John: Did we go here?

Jen: We did go here.

John: Okay.

Jen: I know, I happened to see it at the store and I was like, yes.

John: If you, are wondering, are we ever going to do an actual like winery podcasts?

Jen: We will.

John: Hopefully from the winery.Just like a mess the whole time

Jen: Yes, I have big plans for different... because we've been to a lots of different wineries, not just in Northern California, but other places too. So we will have those. So keep listening.

John: But let's get to Costa Rica,Puerta Vida.

Jen: Puerta Vida.

John: Puerta Vida.

Jen: Nope. I don't think that's right.

John: Puerta Vida.

Jen: Per Vita. I was looking it up on a map, Costa Rica, because I wanted to see like the region that we were staying in and you know what, it kind of looks like a seahorse.

John: I am not aware of that.

Jen: I don't know. I don't know if anyone else feels that way, but I saw a seahorse head and like a little ...

John: Costa Rica in Spanish means The Seahorse. So that would make complete sense.

Jen: Thats it.

Both: No, no.

John: Like rich coasters [mumbling03:05] by the way, we never even say what Puerta Vida means. You just jumped in with the sea horse conversation.

Jen: I don't know.

John: It means like live life, everyone says it there.

Jen: Yes, everyone does there.

John: Constantly, it's like how we always do the fist bump, they always say Puerta Vida.

Jen: Yep.

John: So, we we've been to Costa Rica twice.

Jen: We have been there twice.

John: But the same region each time. Yeah.

Jen: We have not ventured out of Guanacaste

John: We are creatures of habit.

Jen: Yeah. It wasn't planned that way. It just kind of happened. The first trip was okay. Both trips were planned pretty intoxicated.

John: We had a few on both times.

Jen: I hope that you guys are sensing a theme to us booking trips. But yeah, the first time that we booked it was actually with a big group of friends. And then the second time was just with another couple at a charity gala.

John: We went to the Ronald McDonald house gala. And it's a funny thing when we get there, we think we're rich because we have a great uncle named American express. And man, can we spend.

Jen: Oh my gosh. I think that our table, wasn't just us, other people at our table too. But I think that our table was like the second or third highest bidding table of the night. And that the first is like these crazy rich oil guys, they are always there every year.

John: We came in second to the crazy rich oil people. That's what happened that year. We're still paying off the second trip to Costa Rica.

Jen: And you kwnow what,I thought I was going to die the next day.

John: Yeah, you did not look good. You were fine the night of your bidding high, but the next day you were riding low.

Jen: Yes, very low.

John: So let's start with the first trip we did, which was with our our friends. We went with a group of friends to an all-inclusive resort.

Jen: Yes.

John: It was the Hilton Papagayo.

Jen: Yes. And that was super fun. But unfortunately that resort is, it's not called the Hilton Papagayo anymore.

John: Are we talking about a resort that's closed? Were a travel podcast..

Jen: It's not closed. I know it's not... it's still there. I can't remember the name of the new one now...

John: We did some Googling and we can't figure out which one it is. It's in the Gulf of the Papagayo.

Jen: Yes.

John: And it's right across from The Four Seasons. You can see the Four Seasons and how nice that one is. From we're going to call it the Hilton Papagayo.

Jen: Yeah.

John: The whole time.

Jen: Okay. But the Hilton was still really nice.

John: It was really nice.

Jen: It's big,it was a big resort.

John: TripAdvisor gave it four and a half out of five stars. So I mean, the resort's still there. There are a lot of bugs when you go to Costa Rica. Much like when I talked about Alaska, it's the same thing.

Jen: So many bugs. And just like random, like animals.

John: There was like cats who just roam around and try to get your food.

Jen: Alot of like big iguanas. That always freaked me out.

John: The iguanas were... it was the cats because the cats were fearless. I mean, they would come right up there and lick your leg, it was strange.

Jen: No. And then, there was also monkeys.

John: Aww yeah which is cool.

Jen: But tons of mosquitoes,

John: We're told to bring 100% DEET. So that's like insect spray plus cancer.

Jen: Oh yeah, it'll give you cancer for sure.

John: We sprayed it everywhere.

Jen: We did.

John: But, you know what a fun fact about the trip. We we did conceive our son on that trip and that was with a hundred percent DEET everywhere.

Jen: Yep, and he's fine.

John: Yeah, he's got a Twitch, but he seems to be doing okay.

Jen: Oh my gosh.

John: While we were there on the all inclusive, we did a bunch of adventures. So we did this zip line, slash horseback riding ,slash spa day.

Jen: Yeah. That was really fun.

John: You got into like an unmarked van and they drove you...

Jen: You know how much I love that.

John: I know , you thought that you were going to get taken.

Jen: Yes.

John: And we went to, I think it's the Tenorio volcano.

Jen: Yeah. I was so pretty. It was kind of a far drive.

John: Yeah.You whats weird when we go on these trips. I hate doing the drives because I don't want to be in a car for two hours. I want to be there. And so that was kind of a bummer, I guess, but it was cool because we got on these horses and we rode into the forest, which by the way is like Jurassic park. That's exactly what it looks like. And then we zip line through the trees with monkeys, like swinging, as you zip line.

Jen: And it's like legit for us because at one point, they actually had the guide ziplining ahead of us. And at one point they actually had to radio and say hey, don't send anybody because they were getting a snake off of the platform. Do you remember that?

John: There was a snake.

Jen: Yeah.

John: A big snake.

Jen: Yes.

John: And we're just in the jungle mining our own business.

Jen: Yep, and I think we saw monkeys from like afar when we did that. That was fun.

John: And then after the zip lining, we went to the spa. I think it was at the volcano national park and at the spa, they had this water slide and we were able to climb up with these tubes and go down this water slide through the forest. And I kept thinking snakes can swim.

Jen: Oh, my gosh. I'm glad that I didn't think that I wouldn't have done that.

John: And then after we went down the water side a few times, they let us rub ourselves in like volcanic mud.

Jen: Yeah.

John: It was fun.

Jen: Like you rubbed the volcanic mud all over. You let it like sit and then you got into the hot Springs. Remember there was hot Springs there.

John: Oh thats right Yeah, it was good for the skin.

Jen: And then they served lunch and it was like a really nice all day taste of Costa Rica.

John: Yeah, it was. I think if you're going to go to Costa Rica, you have to do the zip lining.

Jen: You have to.

John: It's what they're known for.

Jen: Now that I've done zip lining though.

John: You're done?

Jen: I'm kind of done, but it was cool.

John: Yeah, another adventure we went on this trip was deep sea fishing

Jen: I did not do that.

John: I did it.

Jen: I went to the spa and let me tell you ladies, the spa was awesome.

John: Did you get a massage there on the beach?

Jen: I got many massages that trip actually.

John: Must be nice I got none, but we went deep sea fishing, you get up early. That's just part of deep sea fishing. You get on a boat. And again, it takes an hour to go wherever you want to go. But we caught a bunch of Barracuda, which you can eat. In fact we ate one of the Barracuda like sashimi style on the boat.

Jen: Thats kind of cool

John: And that was a blast. And then we caught a Marlin, but you have to, you throw those back.

Jen: Okay. So you didn't hurt it cause you took a picture with it.

John: You pick it up and everyone holds it and everyone gets a group photo with it. And then you just toss it back in the water and then it'll get caught tomorrow. Same thing over again. Yeah, but I mean, it's exhausting. They like strap you in to this chair.

Jen: Yeah.

John: And you fight these fish.

Jen: You guys were having fun. You were having beers.

John: Oh so many beers, I think that was part... I was so exhausted and I was like, why am I so tired wrestling this tiny little fish? Cause the barracudas, they're not that big. I think it was the booze. I'm pretty sure it was, but we were able to bring back the barracudas and then we brought them to the resort. So make sure if you do deep sea fishing, ask your resort a head of time and they cooked us a meal

Jen: And it was so good. Like the chef cause it's all inclusive. Right? So it's like a set menu at different places. And he like made us this special dish with the fish and it was awesome.

John: It was great. At least our claiming it was the fish we brought in, whatever it was, the emperor's new clothes, we believe them and we loved it.

Jen: And all-inclusive was great with friends.

John: Yeah, it was a blast.

Jen: Yes.

John: What'd you do... are you more all-inclusive or are you more the other hotels?

Jen: I think it just depends on what kind of trip you're looking for. Like with friends, I thought all-inclusive was perfect, but for just you and I, I don't know.

Both: We don't need it as much.

John: We're not going to sit there at the bar as I dunno. All right. The other trip we did was the Palms Costa Ricam, this was on Flamingo beach five out of five on TripAdvisor.

Jen: It's so nice.

John: This is the one we bought at the gala where it was an auction.

Jen: Yes.

John: It's fancy.

Jen: It is so fancy. It's only like 34 separate bungalows, basically in this like horseshoe. And then in between the horseshoe is like two pools. One is an infinity pool and then it's every. Every one of those bungalows has an ocean view.

John: Yeah.

Jen: And they're their own houses and they have full kitchens, beautiful bathrooms

John: Concierge onsite.

Jen: Yes.

John: Now, since it's more of a residence though, There wasn't really a... was there a restaurant? No,

Jen: We could get, you could order breakfast and they had lunch, but I don't really there wasn't dinner really. You could do like a special dinner. We never did a special dinner, but they'll do like a special dinner, like on the beach or something, but really like we had groceries brought in, which was kind of cool.

Like I just planned out like K for breakfast, we're going to want eggs. And there was a lady that...again, it was so nice because they had the concierge, they told me ahead of time Hey, if you want these homemade bagels, there was a lady that they knew that would make homemade bagels. And so she brought bagels for us.

John: Those groceries were expensive though. They weren't cheap.

Jen: Well, no.

John: I mean, it would've been cheaper if we would've just went to a grocery store and did it all.

Jen: Well, we also did go to a grocery store.

John: We did terrible planning.

Jen: I know we brought groceries in, but then we did stop at a grocery store just to pick up[laughing12:41]

John: I don't love that.

Jen: You don't like that?

John: No, it's my same problem with Airbnb's. I guess I'm on vacation I want to go to a restaurant. I don't want to eat every meal sitting on the couch in my residence, watching CNN headline news. And that's what we did.

Jen: Yeah. But there was a restaurant right next door.

John: Jimmy, Bob. Oh no. Oh yeah. Not Jimmy Buffett's

Both: Coco Loco.

John: Think I have a shirt from there.

Jen: And, they had four different kinds of seviche . I think I ate all four kinds of every single day. Yeah, we literally ate there for lunch and dinner. I think every night, except for one where you could walk into town, there was like a tiny little town and they had two or three restaurants there.

Both: We did pizza.

John: Crazy drivers like that. Yeah. You also drank a Coco Loco, which is what was it? Is it rum?

Jen: Oh, it was in the coconut in the Coke.

John: You drink one everyday.

Jen: Well, I'm on vacation and coconut's like good for your skin and stuff.

John: Your skin had never looked so good. One of the things we did when we were going this time was we rented a private catamaran with the other couple.

Jen: Oh my goodnes,. This was so fun. I want to do this on every trip.

John: Yeah. No, we're still paying off this catamaran

Jen: Whatever.

John: Because it's really cool just to be on a catamaran out on the water, you see the dolphins, they did snorkeling along the way. And then they even picked up some, I think like a lobster that we were going to have a seviche.

Jen: Yep. He got a lobster, but he also like we were on private little snorkeling adventure. We stopped at two different places to snorkel and it's like places that he grew up going to. So like he knows where to find the stuff that you brought up, like a Blowfish remember? Tigerfish...

John: He was going into the crave, but like the caves [crosstalk14:39]

Jen: Oh yeah he was crazy. He was doing like free, like he didn't have a snorkel or anything

John: We sat at the top with like fun noodles and just put our heads. And the kick, kick, kick, like that's all we did.

Jen: And he made us like this beautiful lunch spread. That was so good. Oh, and we had rum punch.

John: Yeah. Yeah. You did

Jen: We had rum punch on that catamaran and it was tasty.

John: If you have never been to our Instagram page. There's a photo of Jen dancing with rum punch.

Jen: Oh my gosh.

John: On the deck of the catamaran.

Jen: Living my best life.

John: You would have never left.

Jen: In the sunset in Costa Rica, just, yeah.

John: Yeah, the other adventure we went on to was a town I've always wanted to go to called Tamarindo, it's a surfing town. And that's where if you've heard a witch's rock or Ali's point, these are big surfing places in Costa Rica. And you can go there as a, someone who has surfed before or someone who's never been surfing.

Jen: Yeah, they had a lot of like surf schools there.

John: Everywhere,and the whole town was either a surf shops, surf schools or tiny little trinkets that you can...that's all it is. In fact, we had a friend go and he learned to surf while he was there. I grew up surfing, but it's been a lot of years. So I rented a foam board and just went out and the waves are right. It wasn't deep or anything.

Jen: It's like actually the perfect spot to learn.

John: And then you can also rent some chairs on the beach.

Jen: That's where I was.

John: And then they have people with coolers walking around, giving you drinks.

Jen: That's where I bought my booze.

John: The best surf shop in Tamarindo is called Kelly's surf shop; that's like the one that's known. So if you're going, you got to go there and get yourself a t-shirt. I bought one, but it doesn't fit

Jen: Did you buy it too big or too small.

John: I didn't do a good job on this trip. The Coco Loco, the restaurant we went to...

Jen: IT's like an extra, extra large...

John: It's like a dress on me. And then the Kelly surf shop one, the belly...

Jen: Did you get like a extra small.

John: Its a belly shirt, Yeah. It shows off like half my mid drift.

Jen: That sounds about right.

John: So I don't wear that one as much, but it's definitely worth going to. To me, I would pick the, all inclusive over the palms. It was just more fun.

Jen: Yeah.

John: I think I would, yeah.

Jen: Okay.

John: The two big drinks in Costa Rica are Imperial beer.

Jen: Yes.

John: Which is everywhere. It's like Budweiser here, but there's no Coorslite competing with it. It's just Imperial beer or a Cacique , which tastes like vodka.

Jen: Does it, I feel like it's like it in between a vodka and a tequila, which sounds weird.

John: Its Like what everyone does shots over there.

Jen: Everyone does shots.

John: So you'll see Cacique there. You can also do Costa Rica cheap or expensive.

Jen: Yes.

John: There's so many different ways to do it,there's hostels. If you're like into that kind of travel in Tamarindo. Where you can just stay for 20 bucks a night. It's really cheap.

Jen: Oh, wow.

John: Yeah.

Jen: I bet there's a lot of bugs there.

John: Yeah, but if you bring a 100% DEET, you'll kill everything, lizards ,monkeys. It doesn't matter. We were talking about how we wanted to end up podcasts with three questions each time.

Jen: Yes.

John: And so the first question is, would you go again? So Costa Rica as a whole, would you go again?

Jen: No.

John: Why not?

Jen: Well, for starters, we've been there twice.

John: Yeah.

Jen: I mean, maybe I would go back if we went to a different region just to see something else, but yes, beautiful. But when I think of like the beach, I want I want something different.

John: You want Cabo?

Jen: No.

John: You want Hawaii?

Jen: I want Hawaii. I want the Caribbean. I want clear water.

John: Okay. I'do it again. I would love to know what places look like outside of Guanacaste.

Jen: Yes.

John: We've done it, I'd like to see something else. Question number two. What would you do differently? Is there anything you would change with the trip this from LA too. I mean, we did it two different times, so it did change it a lot.

Jen: I know we did,

John: I would make sure that we would have excursions on the second time around. We didn't really plan anything. And then we were scrambling each day. I do a better job planning. Yeah,

Jen: I know, I always think that I don't want to excursions and then...

Both: Then you get bored.

John: And you want to see something off resorts. I think that would be my thing. What would you do the same?

Jen: I mean, I liked the palms. I loved everything about it. I loved having like my own house on the beach and the beach was so perfect and we took long walks.

And so I liked that.

John: Yeah, yeah, you enjoyed every morning we got up and we walked the beach with coffee and that was like perfect. Saw some sea snakes along the way. Just like animals from the tide dropping back down, which was cool. I would do the all inclusive again.

Jen: Okay.

John: It couldn't be more different. Yeah.

Jen: That's okay.

John: Hey you know, we always ask people to give us reviews and we got a bunch of five stars, so thank you. And thank you for the kind words like this text from Kairos. He says, love this podcast, John and Jen's cheerful banter is infectious and definitely keeps you engaged. I absolutely love the Cabo episode. And I agree that Flora farms is a must

Jen: Episode.

John: TikiRLarson says, love it. Their energy is everything. John and Jen have a natural chemistry and their podcast truly flows. I love how realistic they are, especially as it pertained to Disney because I've been so invested in Disney. But haven't had a chance to go yet. We've got nice words.

Jen: Nice. I love it.

John: So if you don't mind, please give us a five star review, five.

Jen: Five only five.

John: Yeah ,don't do four.

Jen: No.

John: Don't bring our average down.

Jen: Don't do it.

John: And if you haven't followed us yet on Instagram, do that as well. Our Instagram handle is ....

Both: Ours savings starts tomorrow.

John: Is that going to get old?

Jen: Nope.

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