It's been two weeks since I returned from Costa Rica and I think I have (almost) recovered. When we landed, the flight attendant said, "Welcome to Costa Rica. We hope you return in one piece." Wow. That was cryptic. Whatever could she mean? Well, we were about to find out.
First, I will start off by saying that Costa Rica is stunningly amazing and beautiful. The food is delicious, the people so friendly and the animals are spectacular. We had high octane adventures every day, including surf lessons, horseback riding to a rocky waterfall where some of us (not me) jumped off of four-story slippery rocks into the vast unknown of the natural pool at the base, an off road Jeep tour into a tropical rainforest, zip lining, and crossing a crazy high skinny rope bridge like Indiana Jones (twice!). We saw four kinds of monkeys, sloths, poison dart frogs, etc. and woke up in our villa every morning to the sound of howler monkeys, while watching large toucans fly right by us. Our villa sat up in the jungle, with a view of the Pacific ocean. It was incredibly magical.
But here is what else happened:
1) All of us got sunburned. It doesn't matter how much sunscreen you wear, you will burn. Even in the shade. Do not test this.
2) We all got bitten, scratched, and bruised. The bugs are super hero strong there. And did you see that list of adventures? The scratches and bruises were inevitable.
3) I ended up throwing up from heat exhaustion from a tour to a nature preserve. They provided lunch and water but not enough and we were there at the hottest time of year, with humidity to match.
4) On the same tour, when it was time to board our boat (no docks, so we had to wade in and jump aboard), a wave came in and the boat crashed into my shin, knocking me under and creating an immediate bloody bump on my leg the size of a baseball. My daughter, already on the boat, screamed and started to cry because it looked like I had broken my leg. Once they hoisted me back on, we had a two hour bumpy ride back to shore through the ocean and mangroves, while I shivered icily from shock and dehydration.
5) Also on the same tour, a bullet ant (feels like a gunshot wound if it bites you) got into my shirt. I was pretty sure I got it out, but around lunchtime, my right breast started hurting. By the time we finally reached our villa that evening, after having to stop on the side of the road for me to dry heave, my breast was solid and hard as a rock. It was extremely painful and also had a spreading red rash. Awesome.
6) I went on antibiotics that my doctor from home emailed details about, hoping it would help. My husband had to drive to a couple of different towns because the little pharmacies were mostly closed due to Holy Week. No doctor required and no real information. They just handed my husband pills and charged him $15. Once I arrived home, my doctor upped those antibiotics and sent me for an ultrasound. They have no idea if it was a bite, an infection, or something else. All we know is that strong antibiotics helped. Phew.
7) From that point on, most of us in the villa had some form of intestinal distress, which ended, well, about yesterday. It's still questionable, actually.
Despite all these adventures and misadventures, I highly recommend the place. We were completely off the grid and immersed in a different life. Sure, it was inconvenient and scary at times (like when our guide on that fateful tour told us to stay behind his tall-rubber-booted self to avoid an extremely venomous snake that would kill us within a short period of time and we were much further away from a hospital than was needed to survive...Again, awesome), but I wouldn't trade the overall experience for anything.
Of course, now we understand the flight attendant.