Pot Cookies and Teachers’ Pets

We spent last week in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

It’s a beautiful town. The beaches are incredible and stretch on and on. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes, juice bars and little shops to catch your attention. It’s also jam-packed with tourists unfortunately, but I expect that’s a natural side effect of its qualities. Oh, and the sunsets are amazing.

Sunset Tamarindo{a Tamarindo sunset}

I never mentioned this to you, but the last town we visited, Jacò, has many prostitutes. They’re not hard to find, even if you aren’t looking and are slightly oblivious. Even my naive sister would probably spot them. I tell you this not so you can plan a bachelor party there, but rather to provide context for Tamarindo – Jacò’s prevalent prostitutes are the equivalent of Tamarindo’s pot.

Which is how I nearly bought pot cookies.

I didn’t realize that pot was being sold left and right here. So when a friendly looking guy offered me hot cookies, I thought the chocolate chips would be nice and melty. I hesitated, but Abe kept walking without even considering them, so I took the credit and congratulated myself on my resolve to eat healthy.   Turns out he hadn’t said hot.  You probably guessed that already. Good thing Abe heard him right, or this story could have gotten way more inappropriate/hilariously interesting.

Pot cookies aside, we kept taking surfing lessons. We first had a crappy teacher who clearly had no desire to be teaching us. It was like: a wave for you, two waves for me, what a shame you couldn’t catch yours I caught mine just fine.

Surf Teacher By Himself

We changed teachers and were lucky to find Ariel at Neptuno Surf Shop [insert Little Mermaid joke here]. He was ridiculously talented,  took us to surf on incredible beaches like Playa Grande and Avellanas, and he embodied the Pura Vida lifestyle perfectly.

Come with me on a tangent of Costa Rican expressions. I already used the term Pura Vida in my last post and you might be familiar with it. It means something like “life is wonderful/enjoy it” – you can read more about it’s meaning here. Not only is it a term that Ticos (what costarricenses call themselves) use all the time, but it’s also an important part of the country’s culture.

Welcome back from the tangent! Now, here is where my frustrations began. I’m a pretty big nerd (hold on, that’s not the frustrating part). Teachers love me, and I love that they love me. So when my chill, long haired, incredibly skilled surf teacher didn’t even remotely like me… that perplexed me nearly as much as my surfing struggles.

It may be because I’m not good at surfing. I’m not a natural athlete (let’s not pretend you thought otherwise). Ariel said I needed to “become like water.” What does that even mean? He was disappointed when I didn’t get it, and you and I both know that disappointment is the worst.

But this story does have a happy ending (no thanks to Jacò’s prostitutes). I ended up learning to catch some waves by myself, and Abe got pretty great at surfing. I got a glorious farmer’s tan from my rash guard. And though I can’t say that Ariel learned to love me, he did like Abe well enough for the both of us.

Next stop: we went to La Fortuna to visit the Arenal Volcano and the La Fortuna Waterfall for the weekend.  But rather than tell you about these places, I’ll let you take a glimpse below.

Check out the video Abe made of our second week in Costa Rica. You can find a high res version here (click to open in a new tab, the video will be much higher quality) or view the low res version here:


Arenal Volcano{At the Arenal Volcano, some clouds unfortunately partially hiding the view}

We’ve now arrived in Buenos Aires – if you have any tips or want to meet up here, please let us know!

A Blind Bat on a Surfboard

We’re in Costa Rica! Pura Vida, mae!


We spend our first week here in Jacó, a beach town on the Pacific Ocean. Our home: The School of The World, a beautiful place filled with young people from all over the world.  Our time here has been filled with surfing, Spanish lessons (me), GoPro-ing (Abe), yoga (I did one class, but it sounds cool so I’ll mention it), wine, and awesome fruit.

So – let’s get to it then. Surfing.

First, you can’t really surf with contacts if you’re a beginner and not willing to lose a pair. So I was basically a blind bat on a surfboard. Which doesn’t sound very safe to me, but I’ll fast forward and let you know that I didn’t hurt anyone (except for myself) so you can breathe easy.

Surfing is tough! What a workout. Every day I was like:


Still, I did pretty well! Abe was better.  We both stood up on our boards (while in the water… obviously) during the first class, and improved (Abe) or stayed about the same (me) throughout the week. Any time I got up, it was “una fiesta en mi cabeza” (that’s what he said?).


The toughest part was paddling back out after surfing a wave. The waves just kept crashing on us. At least I gargled enough salt water to get over my cough from Switzerland.

Beyond surfing, we visited a bunch of beautiful places and beaches in the area, were stung by countless mosquitos and beach flies (no, really, my legs are like a disgusting ‘No Tresspassing’ land mine zone) and spoke a ton of Spanish. I’m getting much better!

I mentioned that Abe took a Go Pro class. Here is the amazing montage he made of our week here (I could be biased because I love him, but it’s the best video you’ll ever see). Even better than all my writing, this will really give you a feel of what our first week was like. The high res version is available here (it’s way better and will open a new window, so click the link to watch!), but I’ve added a low res version here just in case:


Hope you enjoyed reading about our first week in Costa Rica! We leave tomorrow and next up is Tamarindo. If you’ve been and have tips, please let us know in the comments below. Or just say hi, that’s cool too.