Pura Vida – Eleven days in Costa Rica

Pura vida – The pure life.  Traveling in Costa Rica is an adventure that provides some of the most amazing sights and experiences. Five years ago I had the amazing opportunity to help chaperone a group of 22 teens on an 11 day youth group trip.  I am SO excited to be planning another trip to this fabulous country so I thought I’d dig up some old photos to share some highlights of that trip.

After a 3 hour layover in Colombia, we arrived in the capital city San Jose.  We stayed one night in this populated city then took a coach to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.  We boarded canoes with small motors and were guided up river, against the current, to an indian village near the border of Panama.  We stayed for a few days with no electricity, open huts with mosquitos nets and ladies who cooked our food over fires.  Our service activity was to plant trees, and help with reforestation of the rain forest. We met some locals and our kids played a soccer game; the natives won even though some of them did not have any shoes.


Our next stop was a beautiful beach on the Carribean Sea.  I had such fun watching these kids interact with each other.

Caribbean Sea

We stopped one afternoon at Don Juan’s Organic Farm for a tour and a delicious lunch.



We hiked to La Fortuna waterfalls and up a path to Arenal Volcano.  We all (even me) participated in 8 extremely long and scary legs of a ziplining course through the rainforest.


Arenal Volcano

Finally, our coach bus took us to the other side of Costa Rica and we spent a few days in the laid back surf town of Tamarindo.


Pacific Ocean


Howler monkeys

I had chaperoned this trip because my youngest son was only 14 years old at the time and I thought I should be there with him.  Really I just wanted to go! I am so glad that I did.  When I told Mike about the quiet little beach town, he was interested.  We looked into the idea of moving there after retiring and considered it quite seriously.  Well, things change and we don’t always have as much time in our lives as we think we do.  Due to the change in my life, I now try to live life more fully and I do not plan on waiting for that some day. As Buddha says “The trouble is, you think you have time”.




59 comments on “Pura Vida – Eleven days in Costa Rica”
  1. Liz says:

    So beautiful! Never realized you were so well travelled!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks Liz. I love to travel!!

  2. Addie says:

    Interesting adventure with your young son, a lifetime memory with awesome photos. You keep on exploring…good for you.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks Addie.

  3. nrhatch says:

    Have a great time on your repeat visit!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thank you. It should be awesome!

  4. Gelli says:

    I enjoyed reading this. It feels like I was there, too!

  5. generationtrygirl says:

    Grief is hard, but its great that you are doing amazing things and embracing life with your son!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thank you so much.

  6. realmofvibes says:

    My husband has visited Costa Rica. I have that on my to-go list in addition to zip-lining! 🙂 Looks like you had fun.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      thanks for reading. It was a lot of fun but the zip lining was sure scary, very high.

  7. Kaylee Marie says:

    Costa Rica has been one of my favorite destinations. The zip-lining was incredible! I’ve never done anything like that before I went to CR. What a thrill! Loved your photos and your story…brought back great memories.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks. I’m glad it brought back fun memories

  8. Danielle says:

    That looks amazing! What an experience to have with your son! I am so sorry for loss, and I hope your 2nd trip is just as amazing!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thank you. It was a wonderful trip.

  9. Fantastic pictures, looks like a great time. I hope your return visit isn’t too bittersweet!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks – I’m planning to enjoy myself and spend some time writing.

  10. thecla11 says:

    What a fun experience! Great pictures!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thank you for reading. It was a great experience.

  11. homekeethome says:

    Wow, what an incredible experience! I’ve always wanted to try zip line but I’m a bit too afraid of heights.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for reading. Zip lining was a lot of fun!

  12. We are going to Costa Rica in a few months! This post made me even more excited for our trip!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      You will love it. Have fun!

  13. Wow this looks amazing!!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Costa Rica is beautiful.

  14. Beautiful! I’m hoping to make it here and several other places someday.. Thanks for sharing!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for reading. It is a great place to visit.

  15. Love the photos, especially the monkeys! I really want to see Costa Rica someday.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thank you! The monkeys are so cute.

  16. what a wonderful trip. I am sure it is something you and your son will remember forever. I have heard that this is a lovely place to live as well. My uncle had looked into moving there at one point.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for reading. Living anywhere near the sea would be awesome!

  17. Payastyle says:

    Always wanted to go to Costa Rica, now I wanted even more! I love the idea of cutting yourself from your phone and all electronics and just truly enjoy the time!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for reading. Yes – it is so hard to disconnect but well worth it!

  18. It’s great that you had such a fun time on your trip! I’m sorry about your husband though, and him not being there to experience going back with you.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks. I will bring him in my heart, thanks for thinking of that.

  19. What a great post. Thoroughly enjoyed reading. Thanks for sharing..I so want to go to Costa Rica.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks. You should definitely try to visit someday. It’s a beautiful place.

  20. I hope to visit one day, its a very popular destination where money goes a long way for Americans.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Yes. And it is a beautiful country as well.

  21. Jacqui S says:

    The pictures are amazing! Looks like you had a great time. I’ve never been to Costa Rica, but hear it’s a wonderful place. Will have to add it to my list!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      thanks for reading. It was a really great time.

  22. Oh wow it looks amazing. Your photos are beautiful

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for you nice comment.

  23. Sarah Bailey says:

    Their water and land forms were so staggering and I can’t help but stare at the waterfall, sunset and volcano. Hope I can go there someday.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thank you for reading. The country is really beautiful!

  24. Megan says:

    I’ve heard so many WONDERFUL things about Costa Rica. It’s definitely on my bucket list of places to travel and your pictures look so breathtaking!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thank you. I hope you do get to visit it someday.

  25. I can see why you jumped at the opportunity to chaperone this trip as it looks like it was awesome. I’m sure all the kids had the time of their lives. What kind of animals are those after the zip lining?

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for reading. They are called Coati. Like raccoons.

  26. Innana says:

    I LOVE Costa Rica! My Hubby and I went over there for our late Honeymoon back in 2014 and absolutely fell in love. I cannot wait to go back!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      I hope you get to go back soon! I am so excited to go back.

  27. It’s a very rewarding trip and I’m sure you had so much fun. It a lovely learning experience as well.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Yes – thanks for reading. We had a great time.

  28. Angela Milnes says:

    Great place! if you want to know what living a peaceful, simple, uncluttered life with a deep appreciation for nature, family and friends, just come to Costa Rica and experience it yourself! ¡PURA VIDA!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Yes – I love that. The uncluttered life.

  29. bennymakachi says:

    Traveling is good for the soul. These pictures are beautiful and take me to Costa Rica even though I’m so far away! I hope you enjoy your trip this time even more! 😊

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thank you! I am really looking forward to it.

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