Nicole in New York
Pura Vida!

I’ve been working for almost 2 years now and finally went on my first legit getaway. After the half-marathon, I definitely needed one. Back in November, my boyfriend and I bought a Groupon Getaway to Costa Rica. After many annoying months trying to plan and book the trip, we were finally on our way!

Costa Rica was absolutely incredible. The people there live by the saying, “Pura Vida,” which means “Pure Life.” Pure it was. There isn’t a military, there are very few finished roads, definitely no skyscrapers or fast-paced living. Everything is calm and carefree. It’s the perfect vacation environment.

All week long, my boyfriend and I relaxed, ate amazing fresh fruit and fish, enjoyed the gorgeous environment, and lived la pura vida. I’ll let some of the pictures we captured do most of the talking - sometimes words just don’t do it justice. 

We landed around 12:30pm (Costa Rican time), and one of the first things we noticed were these monster fans cooling off the airport - very well named if I do say so. 

It was about a 3 1/2 hour drive over to our hotel, Hotel Paraiso by Arenal Volcano. Even the drive was amazing - beautiful trees, flowers, rainbows over Arenal Lake, and incredible views. We had this cute little lodge with a porch looking straight at the volcano. 

We woke up early the next morning to go canyoneering. Basically, we hiked all along a stream surrounded by rain forests. Whenever we reached a waterfall, we repelled down. There were 4 waterfalls. The first was only about 40 feet, the second about 150, the third was only 30 or so, and the last one was 250 feet! I was pretty scared, but it was amazing. Here are some pics from the experience.

We got back to the hotel and just relaxed by the pool with some delicious cocktails and then ventured over to the hot springs. Check out how beautiful everything was:

(Poolside)

(Hot Springs)

The next day we went white water rafting. So much fun! 

Half way through, all the guides sliced up some watermelon and pineapple. They flipped over a raft and used it as a table to showcase the deliciously juicy spread. Yum!

Our last day in Arenal, we went ziplining! Like canyoneering, I was pretty terrified, but soaring over and through the trees was a blast. 

Right after ziplining, we jumped in a van and took a 4 hour drive over to Playa Samara, a beach on the Pacific Coast. After all the adventures, we needed some time to just relax. We spent three days just laying on the beach, swimming in the calm, warm ocean, eating casados (a traditional Costa Rican dish of rice and beans), and sipping mai tais. I can’t imagine anything better than this:

If you’re looking for an amazing getaway, Costa Rica is the place to be. We met so many people that went on vacation there and never left! Not gunna lie, I was definitely thinking about an early retirement! 

Now I’m back to the hustle and bustle of New York. Life certainly is amazing here, too, but whenever I start to get stressed out or overwhelmed I’m going to remember to relax and try to live la pura vida!