March in Chicago. While most of the country seems to be enjoying some spring-like weather, the City of Big Shoulders is still getting flurries every few days. Ugh. To avoid all of that, we headed down to Costa Rica for some real-life Vitamin D last week. It was our second visit in two years and I started writing this whole long post debating the merits of the east coast versus the west coast and Puerto Viejo versus Tamarindo and then it was getting really long and I was getting impatient because I wanted to share some photos with you because I love them so much and my impatience prodded me to shelve the epic Costa Rican coast showdown and just post some damn photos. Whew, that was a long sentence.

We touched down in Liberia, Costa Rica around two in the afternoon. At this point, we had been awake for more than thirty hours if you don’t count the three hour nap we took before departing our apartment for O’Hare at 4am. Fairly exhausted but with that certain travel adrenaline you feel in a new place, we passed through customs and met our taxi driver for the ride to Tamarindo, a small town about an hour from the airport. After a quick stop at the grocery store, he dropped us at Casa Cook, home sweet home for the next few days.

That hammock? That beach? Oh, yeah, those were in our front yard. Casa Cook is a tiny, boutique-like hotel with four rooms: two stand-alone cabinas, a studio apartment and a casita off the pool. We dropped our bags in one of the stand-alone cabinas, grabbed a few cold beers and beach towels and went right into the water. 4pm and it was still over ninety-degrees. My kind of town, ya know?

Let me tell you this: no one was on the beach. For the whole trip. No one.

OK, that’s exaggerating. When you’re used to the over-crowded beaches of St. Thomas, a dozen people on a humongous beach feels like no one. I was shocked– this is high season, after all. On each of our beach visits we were at least 100 yards away from anyone else. I like people and all but this kind of private relaxation was amazing.

I think we went to bed around eight or so that first night. Woke up to monkeys in our trees and took a nice walk down the beach for Bloody Marys and vodka tonics.

We took the street way back.  Lots of little restaurants and shops, bars and hostels.

The majority of our trip was spent on the beach with Walter Mosely for me, iPod for he, taking long walks and grilling.

There was lots to see no matter where we were; even on a simple walk back from the grocery. The swimsuit choices, por ejemplo.

The one excursion we took involved crocodiles, hand feeding monkeys (or rather, having them take bananas out of our closed fists), petting a calf and even letting it gnaw on our fingers (totally weird), and lots of practicing Spanish.

Is that not the cutest little animal ever? Come on. You know it is.

Overall: A++.  This was truly one of the best vacations we have ever taken. And guess what? I want to go back in June!

See all of our pics on Flickr.

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70 responses to “tamarindo!

  1. I love seeing these pictures. I’m moving to Costa Rica later this summer and will be living very near Tamarindo. It IS such a wonderful place that you can’t help but want to re-visit numerous times and eventually try to move it there. Enjoy!

  2. Would love to be there right about now. Looks so relaxing. Great pics. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Yip, that was a long sentence in your first paragraph…but I could feel the debate raging in your head as you wrote it and the passion for the topic, so it was totally appropriate!

    Great post — beautiful pix. Can’t wait to see the longer treatise! 🙂

  4. You sound like you had an awesome trip. Apparently my parents took me to Costa Rica when I was a kid, but I don’t remember a single thing about it. Maybe I should go there this vacation….
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
    Ashley, aka TheEverydayMuser

  5. Those are nice pictures. I like the muted color effect you have on all of them. Gives the pictures an old feel, they are fifteen years old and you scanned them to digitize them.

  6. Wow, that looks like the perfect little private vacation. I surely don’t think I’d mind the heat/humidity as much here if I had the beach as my front (or back) yard. Sigh. I can’t wait till June when I’m back ‘home’ at the beach in Bali! Great photos and sounds like you had a great get-away!

  7. I recently spent 2 months in Costa Rica and I’m absolutely in love with the country, the people, the landscape… Tamarindo is so much fun! It wasn’t crowded when I went, either. Just perfect. It looks like you had a wonderful time!

  8. Nice place to go. I live in the Chicago burbs wish I could have gotten away! Congrats on being FP!

  9. I went to Tamarindo in January. I loved the town and learning how to surf. I actually went for a wedding so we stayed at el daria and got to watch the reception on a catamaran(sp?).. anyways loved revisiting the place in your pictures, and I hope you were able to try the famous drink at Witch’s Rock. 😉

  10. Those sun dresses are as adorable as the Chango..

  11. i absolutely love ur dress in the first pic!!!!

  12. We’re going to Tamarindo in May! I like that according to your pictures Costa Rica appears to have an authentic feel and not over crowded with tourists!

  13. I loved your post. It was so timely for me as I’m thinking about going to Costa Rica next week to refresh my batteries after living in Chile, moving back to the US in a rush and now feeling stuck in the tundra. I’m going to take this as a sign 🙂

  14. Green Diana + mojitos good combination!

  15. wow,
    Nice way of putting pictures and sharing experience.

  16. This reminds me of a place I go in Mazatlan Mexico. Beach restaurants and bars and plenty of wide open almost private beaches. I’ll have to give Costa Rica a try. Great pics.

  17. Eyy , love the pictures, theree are so many beautiful
    places in the world, and i love when you can capture
    them in photos . love the tattoo too .

  18. Great post and pictures. Congrats on the freshly presses. Well deserved.

  19. I too am feeling the long winter here in NYC and have always wanted to take a trip down to Costa Rica. I loved this post and actually found myself in a daydream looking at your photos… as if you had taken me there. Thank you for sharing!

  20. I live in Costa Rica and seeing your photos brought a new perspective to Tamarindo to me – like when I saw it the first few times almost 10 years ago! Thanks for sharing, so glad you had a great time.

    Pura vida!

  21. The pictures are amazing. Did you use a special tint?

  22. So crazy to see this on Freshly Pressed today. I am working on a piece of fiction, and yesterday in my writing, my narrator decided to follow someone to Tamarindo. An encouraging coincidence! Hope you make it back in June…I am shooting for October. Thanks for posting.

  23. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica from 2006 to late 2008, working on community economic development projects, and although I never visited Tamarindo (it looks nice – gotta love deserted beaches), I HAVE to recommend Puerto Viejo (and Playa Bonita in Limon Centro)! The Caribbean vibe and culture there is unmatched anywhere else in Costa Rica in my opinion. And just in case, I didn’t spend 2 years hanging out on the beach – I spent it in a small poor mountain town living with cockroaches, scorpions, tarantulas, very poor transportation, frequent power outages, rice and beans every day, and various tropical health ailments. But I’d do it all over again! Thanks for the pics!

  24. seems like a beautiful place. I’ve never been but I have a friend who is from Costa Rica. Beautiful pics!

  25. I also live in Northern IL and I can’t blame you for wanting to take off somewhere sunny for a while. Our time for nice weather is comming, someday. 🙂

  26. I would go to Costa Rica if I was trapped in Northern Illinois as well! Thanks for sharing your trip, and congrats on your Pressage!


  27. some of your photos looks a bit of ’70s.. it’s so cool.
    did the crocodile asked for more steak? haha i hope not.. but it’s an awesome shot. 🙂

  28. hey just a couple of things,
    super enjoyed your blog, like your ideas/vision and design acumen
    clean uncluttered, your bro in law’s prints on the wall look great, like his work is very talented, hope you put them back on the wall somewhere, I looked on his website but couldn’t see them. his apt looks pretty cool, hope he placed well in the comp it was over before I could vote. the paper gun I am curious about constructed detailed well done is it supposed to be symbolic/statement oriented I’m from canada we aren’t too gun oriented here tha’ts why I ask although we are in afghanland
    your shots of your trip are cool did you Pshop them with an action… lomo? nice tinting or is it another program you are using ….? first 4 are greatness …that little camera is not digital did you do it on film good job on the blog check mine out bookmarked yours

  29. Good decision to just focus on the photos. Looks like you had a fantastic time.

  30. i absolutely love ur dress in the first pic!!!!

  31. It makes so happy to see people so in love with Costa Rica 🙂 My country really is beautiful. Pura vida!

  32. I can totally relate to that inner struggle you had going on initially with wanting to finish the epic post vs just spitting it out and getting the photos out there for everyone to enjoy. This was good encouragement for me and I’ll remember it. You made the right choice…..for us, we get to see the pictures now rather than later. Thanks!

  33. Soooo so beautiful! Oh how I miss travelling.

  34. Awesome pictures! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  35. I loved the cute monkey………….. 🙂

  36. I love it! Makes me long for home – Dominica! I could also use a break from this Chicago weather! The pics are beautiful.

  37. these are some amazing pics

  38. Abiud mike kombe

    why is Abiud not joined to free masonry

  39. see my blog too..

  40. i really like your green camera in the pic?
    what make is it? xxx

  41. Nice pictures and nice picture taker!

  42. I love the photo with the tattoo. Looks like a wild country.

  43. Looks like you had a fantastic time.

  44. Beautiful place isnt’ it? I would so love to be there right now. Who wouldn’t?

  45. I live south of Chicago and understand your need for warmth and green. The pictures were wonderful and it looks like you had a great time.

  46. I LOVE all of your photos! I love to travel and I want to go to Puerto Rico one day, soon. I would love to see all these interesting things in person and would love to brush up my Spanish since it’s been a while since I’ve used it. & the empty beach just sounds amazing!

  47. Great post! such a beautiful place. I like the tonality of the pictures, very cool

  48. Great pictures! The alligator would have scared the pants off me 🙂

  49. Great photos – Looks like they tell a great story!


  50. Love, love, love the photos. When I first started looking at them, it was like looking at a barrio in the Philippines. I had to read the post properly and not simply enjoy the photographs. Wonderful! It kind of made me feel like I went on a mini-break! 🙂

  51. You have an amazing talent with a camera! These photos leave me speechless; they are all so beautiful. My favorite picture is definitely the hammock because it makes me feel like I am there and about to take an awesome nap on that hammock! Love it.

  52. I adore the design of your blog’s name. It inspired me to redesign the background of mine.

  53. Thank you for all of the comments! I’m so excited to have been Fresh Pressed!

  54. Thank you for your blog, this is very useful to me. Because I was new in the world of bloggers so please guidance yes.

  55. So crazy to see this on Freshly Pressed today. I am working on a piece of fiction, and yesterday in my writing, my narrator decided to follow someone to Tamarindo. An encouraging coincidence! Hope you make it back in June…I am shooting for October. Thanks for posting.

  56. Hello! I used Photoshop to mess with them a bit. I am still learning how to use my camera, but PS makes up for a lot of my ignorance. 🙂

  57. too am feeling the long winter here in NYC and have always wanted to take a trip down to Costa Rica. I loved this post and actually found myself in a daydream looking at your photos… as if you had taken me there. Thank you for sharing!

  58. glennmcgrath2007

    I’m really thankful to you for these magnificent pictures I love these kind of stuff specially when it belong to my favorite place playa tamarindo

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