Pura Vida 2016!

I had no interest on traveling to Costa Rica, I just did it. It was the most memorable experience I ever had, I traveled alone but I was in a tour group with Gate1travel where I met amazing individuals. We were like a family for one week, our tour Manager Ricardo was very informative and hilarious, our bus driver Jose made sure we were safe driving a brand new air condition bus through the beautiful country of Costa Rica ranging from hills, farms, and even rain forest. The people in Costa Rica are very friendly and welcoming most can speak English, some understood but couldn’t translate which was a great opportunity to use my spanish. I went end of March beginning of April and the weather was perfect sunshine everyday and no rainy days. They use and accept U.S. dollars but you will get change back in Colones.

I started my trip in the country capital of San Jose, where we did a site seeing tour, and adventure off North to village called Sarchi  where we had small refreshments and opportunity to purchase hand crafted word art work. We than arrived to our first hotel in La Fortuna, CR called Arenal which is near by Arenal Volcano. It was small cabin that was situation on a hillside, at night you need a flash flight to get around because its dark!! The hotel offers free wifi but only the in the hotel lobby. If you are a smoker, smoking is not allowed on property and you must walk off property near the highway. My Cabin had an amazing view of Arenal Volcano, lushness of the flora and trees. While I was taking a shower I had a lizard in the shower! I didn’t mind it at all, really made me feel like I was in a rain forest. The hotel offered free breakfast, after breakfast I saw my first sloth! Hanging high up in the tree eating its own breakfast every leaf it could grab. This day we did the Cano Negro Boat tour before the tour, we stop in small town where my Ricardo the tour manager said we were going to meet his family, funny guy that he is! The surprise was Iguanas! They were everywhere and he would just pick them up and feed them. The boat tour saw a lot of wild birds, caiman alligators and even bats that were blended in the tree. That night we had a relaxing evening with dinner included at EcoTermales Hot Springs thats when I felt I was on a vacation. The warm water, the nature in the background with howling monkeys it was relaxing at the very top where the water came down like a waterfall massaging my shoulders and back.

Next day we traveled to Monteverde saw a lot of the country side even windmills. Stop and hiked to see the Arenal Volcano, the hike itself was great to chat with my fellow group. Unfortunalty that day there was a cloud on the top of Arenal so I couldn’t get a good picture.  The bus was traveling up this dirt road on a steep mountain where I thought I was going to die, cause it felt like we were going no where. We now have arrived Santa Elena small triangular town, where El Establo hotel which was own by a Quaker Family a 150 acre resort.  We were welcomed to a drink when we first arrived and had to take a shuttle to our rooms cause this mountain was STEEP! Buildings all over this mountain. View from my room I saw an AMAZING sunset I will never forget! Way out in the distance from the mountains you can see the Pacific ocean. At night you must! have the door from the balcony shut cause the lights from your room attract bugs! My room didn’t have wifi. Next day was suppose to be the highlight of the trip to Zip Line across the canopy of the rainforest. I experienced my first sickness diarrhea! I debated to just stay at the hotel and skip out but I was given medication from a fellow group mate.

Now on to the exciting adventure! Selvatura Park where we zip lined, saw thousands of humming birds even had one land on my finger! There was 16 zip line sections if I remember correctly, each one had its own experience, towards the end you had the opportunity to to the Tarzan jump and do the superman on the last line which was the highest and longest. Superman is where you lay on your stomach and just FLY! Than we did the hanging bridges tour where you a literaly on top of the rain forest canopy!

After Selvatura park we had a coffee/chocolate tour where lunch was included at Don Juans . To be honest I don’t drink coffee and I was still feeling sick from diarrhea I just wanted to be at the hotel and rest. This experience was not really memorable.

Today we separate from rest of the tour group who had a longer stay than I did, it was time to say good bye to amazing people I had a good time with and exchange numbers and email address. We get in a seperate shuttle on our way back to San Jose, we stop at a bus stop, the sun is blaring and it is HOT! We stayed for about half and hour and had a chance to stop at the beach at Puntarenas! Experienced my first volcanic beach with black sand. Now back in San Jose, adventure off into the city centre look at local vendors and entertainers.

Next Day I leave my heart and memorable experience behind and fly back to the United States on a two leg trip from San Jose to Miami, though US Customs than off to Las Vegas. I still keep in contact with some folks on this trip and I want to go back and experience more what Costa Rica has to offer!

Costa Rica Youtube Video

Arenal Paraiso Hotel

El Establo Hotel

Eco Termales HotSprings

Thunder Bird Falls Trails, Chugach State Park

ThunderBird Falls trail is a 2 mile roundtrip hike views of tall green trees and moss in some places, with platforms to take pictures. One of the trails is where you can view the waterfall from a distance, another part of the trail is this steep downgrade that takes you along the river where you can see defrost of all the snow and mud. The Grand prize is being able to get so close to the waterfall and feel the temperature drop with mist. From Anchorage its 31 miles North on AK-1 highway.  ThunderbirdFall Trail Guide

BranchesCousn and I thunderbird FallsME at Waterfalls

Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

During my trip in Alaska we drove 4 hours south from Anchorage to Homer, seeing the beautiful scenery  of the Kenai Peninsula to where we had to visit this famous bar called Salty Dawg. Salty Dawg is a cabin that was built in 1897 on the Homer Split, it was many things such as a post office, rail road station and a grocery store.  As years past many visitors including myself left their mark by leaving a dollar bill inside the bar. Keep in mind that it’s a cash only bar, I was told if I make it here that its a must to buy a shirt. They had variety of merchandise from shirts, hoodies and beanies. The Homer Odyssey dollar bill

Salty Dawg Saloon Official site



We stayed at the end of the Homer Split at Lands End Resort. From our room we had a small balcony that gave us post card views of the Kachemak Bay and breath-taking mountain views that still had snow on them. From the resort you can walk to the beach cross over rocks before you get the sand. You view a lot of fishing vessels, birds and if your lucky enough spot a whale in the distance. The hotel had an indoor spa and restaurant The Chart Room where I had the Alaskan King Crab leg that was almost has big as my arm. Resort was extremely clean and staff was friendly.

Lands End Resort Official Website

Points of Interest 

Homer Split has various of shops and restuarnts and sign up for outdoor activities from fishing, siteseeing, renting kayaks and many more outdoor activties. Homer is known as “The Halibut Fishing Capital of the World” which has a small harbor filled with fishing boats including one thats well known if you have watched Deadliest Catch narrated by Mike Rowe. The Time Bandit owned by the Hillstrand Brothers. Harbor Bar and Grill sells tshirts of the Time Bandit. I was lucky enough to spot an Otter who was just sunbathing in the water.