Grecia, Costa Rica – the book

EBOOK FINAL COVER

Have you ever wondered about the little coffee-farming town I live in, here in the Central Valley of Costa Rica? Well – wonder no more!  I’ve written a little guidebook to help you navigate around Grecia.

After living here for over 3 years, I discuss what you need to know if you are visiting Grecia – either on vacation, or even if you are thinking about living here one day. 

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Reserva Forestal Grecia – Bosque del Niño

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Reserva Forestal Grecia Bosque del Niño (Grecia Forest Reserve of the Children) is right here in Grecia.  It’s a nice little getaway from the city life.  When we were there – we were the only ones there!  

There’s a huge field for soccer or playing catch, and behind it is a large covered area with several picnic tables and grills.  The bathrooms are located behind the covered area.

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Los Chorros Waterfalls, Grecia, Costa Rica

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 Do you like waterfalls?  Well, they seem to be pretty plentiful here in Costa Rica.  Los Chorros is a little gem right outside of Grecia.  Easy to get to for a low-keyed and fun-filled day of natural beauty.

Los Chorros is about a 15 minute drive from Central Grecia, and just 30 minutes from the International Airport (SJO) in Alajuela.  It’s between the two small towns of Grecia and Tacares (see map at end of post).

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MASQ`SABOR – Mexican food in the heart of Grecia!

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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.

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Tamarindo Beach Trip

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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.

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Cachí Trip Part I – Visit to The Mike’s

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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!

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10 Reasons Why You Don’t Want To Move To Costa Rica

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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.

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Grecia to Alajuela Bus Trip

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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.

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We got hitched!

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We got hitched!

Yes – we got married. Again!! Greg and I celebrated 20 years of being married to each other by taking a little trip to Manuel Antonio and doing our own vow renewal. It was lovely, and perfect in every way.  More on the vow renewal in a bit…  Here’s a recap of our trip.

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Hiking for FUN

Greg & I had been wanting to get back to hiking ever since he got rid of his cold (he had lots of lingering coughing, so it had been WEEKS since we had last hiked together!). So we had planned on this morning, finally.

We were dressed and ready, water bottle chilling with ice in the freezer, when it start drizzling outside. Oh no. We’re transitioning out of rainy season right now, but we had some hard all-night rains just a couple of nights ago – so you never know – it could start pouring at any moment.  But we decided to go for it. Sun was out, with a few clouds, and it was still lightly misting, but we figured we wouldn’t melt.

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Costa Rica Chica – THE BOOK

THIS IS FINAL

Just a note to tell you guys my biggest news ever – MY BOOK IS PUBLISHED!

I would be totally honored if you bought a copy (just $3.95!) and read it.

<<– Just click on this cover picture (or HERE) to purchase!

What is it about?  Well, have you ever wanted to quit your job and “retire early”?  We did it!  My husband and I were fed up with the “more, more, more” mentality of North America,  and decided to quit our jobs, sell everything and move to Costa Rica with just 9 suitcases.  Why Costa Rica?  Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out exactly why – but overall we wanted to downsize and simplify our lives and get by on less money. 

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The Mysterious Spheres – Archaeological Site Finca 6

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When we were in Sierpe, Osa, a few weeks ago, we kept seeing these large stone spheres everywhere around the town and in fields. Here is one in the park ——–>>

Peter (friend, guide, Sierpe guru) had told us that there were several of these large spheres that were found here in Sierpe in the early 1900’s – one of two places in the whole world. Well, this sounded very interesting. How did they get here? People from a long long time ago? Space aliens from a galaxy far far away? Well, the answers were actually not too far away – we soon found out that they have a museum in Finca (farm) 6 – which is where the most recent spheres were found.

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My first hair cut in Costa Rica

After living in Costa Rica for over 14 months now, and having trimmed my hair twice myself (yikes!) –  it was time to get a professional hair cut.   My hair needed it and deserved it.  I dearly miss my hair dresser in Dallas – KYLE!!  But since I won’t be going back to the States till at least the Spring of next year, something needed to be done in the interim.

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GOING NATIVE! – in Sierpe, Osa, Costa Rica

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Sierpe is a teeny tiny town (population of 1200 or so) in the northern portion of the Osa Penisula, in the south pacific region of Costa Rica. Some tourists use Sierpe as their starting point for visiting Drake Bay and Corcovado National Park. It is very biologically lush with vegetation (think: jungle) and amazing wildlife (think: macaws, crocodiles). This was our first time to visit this part of the country, and I’m so thankful for super cool (taunis!) friends who let us tag along and showed us an amazing time.

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Battle of the Boxes – a RED wine review

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Due to popular demand, here is the boxed wine review for red wine (vino tinto)!

I got my hubby (a red wine connoisseur) to help with this one, here he is, in all his blind-folded glory:

Presenting – the Battle of the Red Boxes – Greggorio style:

PEÑASOL Vino Tinto Made in: Spain Cost (1 L box): c2,928 ($5.85) Alcohol: 12% Smell: “No smell. Maybe I’m stopped up or something? I don’t smell anything.” Taste: “Not really a taste to this. I must say I kind of like it though.”         UVITA Vino Tinto Made in: Argentina Cost (1 L box): c2,000 ($4.00) Alcohol: 12.2% Smell: “None. There’s no smell.” Taste: “I like it.” CLOS Cabernet Sauvignon Made in: Chile Cost (1 L box): c2,790 ($5.58) Alcohol: 12% Smell: “Doesn’t really smell like much. Maybe rotten grapes.” Taste: “Don’t like too much (makes a grimace), but it’s OK. Not very flavorful. Un-describable.”   DON SIMON Vino Tino Made in: Spain Alcohol: 11% Cost (1 L box): c1,500 ($3.00) Smell: “Now, this one has a good smell!” Taste: “Ew, has a bit of a bad after taste. But it’s ok, I could drink this.”

Greg’s conclusions:

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Battle of the Boxes – a boxed wine review

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Well, this is one thing I thought I’d never do. A BOXED wine tasting/review (and a blind tasting at that)! Oh how my life has changed… but in a good way (the way I always finish this sentence since moving to Costa Rica, because it’s true).

When we first moved here, well even BEFORE we moved here, we had entertained the idea of cutting out all wine, beer, liquor from our diet completely. One of the reasons we were moving to Costa Rica in the first place was to live a healthier life style, and with our new frugal budget in mind (after we had both quit our jobs), this just made sense. The day after we had moved to Costa Rica, we were in the grocery store – picking out items to start stocking our kitchen with. We found ourselves in the wine/liquor aisle (hey, the paper towel was in that aisle as well!), and Greg mentioned that we should buy some wine and celebrate making the move to Costa Rica!

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Life’s a beach!

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Last week we took a trip to the beach.  The far-away beach.  We went to the Guanacaste Region, Pacific Ocean, along the western coast of Costa Rica:

The best part was, our transportation there (one-way) cost only $8 (5 ½ hour trip)! We took the Pulmitan Bus, which is a step above the public bus, and only makes a few stops between San Jose and Playas del Coco, Guanacaste. The 5 ½ hour trip was broken up in the middle with a 20 minute rest stop. It was a lovely double decker bus, air conditioned, comfy seats and lots of leg room for Greg. It also had a shelf above us for storage items, plus they loaded up larger items (suitcases) below the bus before we left. We were on the top level, 2nd row, so were up high and had an excellent view.

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Yes, there are Malls in Costa Rica… Plaza Real Cariari

Yes, there are malls here in Costa Rica.  The Multiplaza in Escazu is supposedly the nicest, but I have not been there yet (it is the “Rodeo Drive” of Costa Rica) .

The other day, me and my love hopped on the bus and went to the Plaza Real Cariari (you can find their website here, and their Facebook page here).  I have been there before with my awesome friend Lucy, who showed me the way, but this was the first time for Greg.  He was pretty excited about it.

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Traditional Costa Rican way of living

The other night we visited a cozy little restaurant up on the San Miguel Ridge, one ridge over from where we live.  We went with our good friends Lucy (Justa) and Steve, who had been wanting to take us there for a while.  The place is called Mirador Brisas del Monte, and really the best thing about it is the gorgeous views you can see from anywhere you sit inside the soda.

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Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens

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When my Mom was here visiting, we did a day trip to Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens one day.  First thing in the morning, we headed out to Poas (got there about 9 am) – and WOW – it was a perfect morning!   Absolutely crystal clear sky – I mean, seriously – not ONE CLOUD in the sky.  I think Mom was our lucky charm.  Wilson, our driver/friend of Coati Tours said he’s been to Poas over 600 times, and the day with us was the MOST CLEAR, perfect-visibility-day he’s ever seen at Poas!

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