Hi guys! I know it’s only August, but fall is right around the corner, and I wanted to share with you this easy-peasy hot cocoa mix recipe. After it’s made, you just add boiling water to a few tablespoons of the mix, and stir it up! I love this for when I don’t have any milk in the house and it’s chilly out (it’s currently Rainy Season in Costa Rica, and we’ve had our handful of cold days already). Warms me right up.
If you are Facebook or Instagram friends with me, you’ve seen me post pictures from Johnny’s Masq’Sabor Restaurant before. It’s now time to dig a little deeper.Meet Johnny Lara, owner and operator. You’ll see him any time you visit Masq`Sabor, he’s always on site 6 days a week (see hours at bottom of post). He is a hard worker, smart business man, and passionate about his food – 3 things you absolutely need to be successful in the restaurant business.
Masq`Sabor, which literally means “more than flavor,” has been open for almost a year now (September 12th will their 1st anniversary). Johnny has whipped this little restaurant into a lovely place to sit with friends or by yourself, and have a bite to eat and drink. He also has free Wi Fi, so bring your laptop or phone along and hang out for a while. His place is clean with bright colors on the walls, and windows that look out onto the street. A couple of fans keep it cool and the air well circulated.
So you’re coming to Costa Rica – either for a vacation, or (get back Jack) to MOVE here.
You want to know about the sun and the bugs.
Well, I’m here to tell you – the sun is pretty potent in Costa Rica.
We are only 10 degrees North of the Equator, after all, my friends!
You know what that means. The sun will be more intense here in Costa Rica,
no matter what you are used to in the States.
Have you heard of Tamarindo? It’s in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, the west coast / Pacific Ocean. We were there last week for an awesome little “vacation”! We had an opportunity to pet sit for friends in exchange for a stay at their beautiful home – right in the heart of this quaint little beach town. Even though we aren’t super fit or tan and didn’t walk around with surf boards everywhere – we still fit in – because pretty much the whole town is tourists. Everyone speaks English. Everyone takes the American dollar. Playa Tamarindo (the beach) is known for surfing, and the town itself is sprinkled with good restaurants and lots of touristy shops. We traveled there by bus, which worked out great.
Last week we traveled from Grecia to Tamarindo by bus. We heard from our friends about this direct bus from San Jose to Tamarindo called “Empresa Alfaro“.
Empresa’s station in San Jose is in the Coca Cola area, just one block from the Grecia Bus Station:
To Tamarindo there are two departure times: 11:30 which we took, that goes through Liberia first, and 3:30 with goes “straight” to Tamarindo. We wanted to get there as early in the day as possible, so we took the 11:30 (note: these prices are out of date):
Look at this lovely couple holding their cedula (residency) cards!
Unfortunately this couple is NOT us, but our pals Irina & Jim. They applied for their residency in December, 2012 and it took 18 months for them to get their cards. I’m very happy for them.
You’re probably wondering where we are in our residency process? Well, it pains me to tell you – that we just aren’t quite there yet. Actually it’s fine. Some people get residency really quickly, others not so… It is what it is, right? Pura vida.
Wow, you guys! Today is our 2-year-anniversary of landing in Costa Rica! Here’s us on Jun 17th, 2013 in Dallas before heading to the airport with all of our earthly belongings:
In a lot of ways these 2 years have gone by swiftly, but when I think about all we have done, it DOES seem like we’ve been here a while… here’s our “2 years” at a glance:
Well, I’ve finally recuperated from our States Tour. Jet Lag, Travel Hangover… whatever you want to call it. It took my 5 days to get back to my Pura Vida routine. And that’s ok. In our 3 weeks in the States, we were in all 4 time zones, 8 different states, flew a total of 8 flights, did a 3-day drive of 2100 miles, and stayed up past our bed time every night. And I wouldn’t trade any of it. Best part? Spending quality time with our Mom’s and siblings and nieces and nephews. Oh and eating a darn good burger every now and then.
Well, we did it. We flew Spirit airlines, for the first time ever. And we survived.
There are a lot of negative posts out there about Spirit, and yes – I perused them all months ahead of our scheduled trip. And they definitely made me hesitate. I was ready to forget about Spirit and go with an airline that I was familiar with (American), which had a direct flight from Costa Rica to Dallas, and we had done several times with no hiccups. But I soon discovered a pattern in the dis-Spirited comments about Spirit – it seemed that mainly people were complaining about hidden and extra charges that they knew nothing about.
Greg and I do not dance… at all. But we were told about this dancing place by a couple of people, and definitely wanted to check it out (or at least I did) – just to people watch and have a good time. So, we went on Sunday with our friends Beverly & Ed.
What a blast! The place is locally referred to as “La Piscina” (meaning “the pool” – which is next to it and has been empty for years). It was almost all Ticos (we were 4 of the 5 Gringos there), it was outdoors but covered, a live band, all Latin music, smiles everywhere. The band was really good – both music and singing wise. There was a huge space for dancing in front of the band, and then tons of tables beyond the dance floor.
First of all, if you missed Part I of our Cachí trip to visit The Mike’s, click here.
Now – the best part of our trip (well, besides our cool friends, of course):
FOOD, FOOD, FOOD.
As I may have mentioned yesterday, Mike is super talented in the kitchen. While we were there, I got to play Sous Chef, which was really a blast. I seriously look up to him – he’s been cooking forever and it seems like everything he makes looks mouth watering-ly amazing. And whenever I have a question, I turn to him and he always has answers or suggestions for me.
We just got back from an incredible 3-day trip to Cachí, Costa Rica. Cachí is part of the Orosi Valley and is close to Cartago (which used to be the capital of Costa Rica), and is on the southeastern side of San José.
I feel like I say this a lot, but it’s true – we have some really cool friends. Marti & Clint, friends who live here in Grecia, wanted to check out the Orosí Valley, and our friends “The Mike’s” (Mike & Michael) who live in Cachí, had been asking us to come visit. So we coordinated our trips and it worked out perfectly!
So…. you’re having dinner guests over in an hour, and you discover that you don’t have any napkins in the house! Horror of horrors. But wait – you DO have paper towels.
Well, this happens a lot to me here in Costa Rica because we just don’t buy napkins. Paper towel is fine for all of our needs. And of course we buy the cheapest paper towel we can, because we live on a pretty frugal budget. Although we did have to start paying a bit more for a little bit nicer brand, as the cheapest one was very hard to tear off the roll without shredding, and if it got the least bit wet, it totally disintegrated.
I keep seeing articles that say Costa Rica is one of the happiest countries to live in. And while that can be true for some, I wanted to point out various reasons why someone may not want to move here.
1. You don’t want to move to Costa Rica if… you really like the four seasons.
Well, there IS a “Four Seasons” hotel in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, but there is definitely not four seasons of the year here (it should really be called the “Two Seasons Hotel”). No changing of the leaves. No crisp season when the snow melts and it’s that “light jacket” weather. No snow or ice or sleet or slush.
This bus trip is SOOO easy, I feel almost foolish that I haven’t done it before! I tagged along with my pal Debbie (who is also car-less and knows the bus system well).
Purpose for our trip? Well, to go to Pequeño Mundo, of course! Pequeño Mundo is a like a dollar store on steroids. It’s a big warehouse, filled with lots of great deals (ok, most are more than $1, but still). Anything from kitchenware to clothes to candles to to food to lawn equipment and light bulbs. I love Pequeño Mundo, but have only driven there with friends before. I wanted to know how to get there on my own via the bus.
Well, since I can’t really write a review on Amazon for my hubby’s book, that would look kinda weird (and subjective)… I’ll do a blog post instead!
Greg is now an author, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. When he first came up with the idea to write a guidebook on tips for visiting or living in Costa Rica, I thought it was a great idea. Once he started writing it, I soon discovered it was a better and better idea. This was THE BOOK we were always looking for before we moved here, but could never find!
A hot-sauce taste testing! Something you might be very interested in if you live here (or are visiting), as Costa Rican food tends to be more on the bland side. Luckily, hot sauce goes with gallo pinto very nicely.
DISCLAIMER: These hot sauces were all taste-tested by Mr. Greg Seymour, who has a very high tolerance for spiciness. When I taste a hot sauce that sets my mouth on fire and my eyes-a-watering, Greg tastes it and says “Huh? Where’s the fire? This isn’t hot at all!” So – you have been warned. These hot sauces are spicy – even the mildest one shown here is pretty spicy – for me, at least. There are SEVERAL other hot sauces available here in Costa Rica, this is just a small sampling of some of the spicier ones.
The other day we had the opportunity to visit a new dentist in Guachipelin, Escazú, Costa Rica. I had an appointment for a teeth cleaning, and Greg was scheduled for a cleaning and a teeth whitening. I’m not too easily impressed these days, but Dr. Oriana González impressed me.
Here is Dr. González (in white) with her assistant:
While having coffee the other week, we had an interesting conversation with our friend Wilson (who grew up here) and a Tico gentlemen sitting next to us (whom we didn’t know, but everyone is so friendly here, he just jumped in the conversation too). I’m always asking questions and wanting to understand things. So, this is what I found out for a little bit of Costa Rican history.