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Short Stories

Costa Rica
by Dick Belding

Costa Rica is a Central American country bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The country is a lush tropical forest with a considerable amount of precipitation on the east coast and less on the Pacific “west” side. Our trip was to the central Pacific coast near the town of Jaco, to the resort of Los Suenos. Los Suenos is a well-planned and beautifully landscaped resort and marina complete with all of the new and modern conveniences.

For the last six years my brother David has invited me to join him at his condo located in the beautiful resort of Los Suenos. During those six years he has bombarded me with pictures that he has taken. As I prepared to visit Costa Rica the best thing I did was go to the book store and see what they had on the country. I picked up Frommer’s Costa Rica 2006. It absolutely covers everything you need to know. Also you can go to “The Tico Times” on line home page. It is the English version of the local newspaper.

As we (myself and two good friends) embarked on our journey to the beautiful country of Costa Rica, our trip began from Las Vegas, Nevada to the capital city of San Jose, Costa Rica. After 6 hours of flying and a 2½ hour layover in Houston, we were met at the modern San Jose airport by our personal tour guide Alfonso Chaves Asofeifa (Fonzi). From the San Jose airport we began descending the mountain heading towards the Pacific Ocean, and during this time we became well acquainted with our driver. Little did we know Fonzi would become a very important part of us having just a wonderful time.

We spent the first day relaxing and getting familiar with the area. The next three days we were fortunate enough to be invited to observe in the 2006 Los Suenos signature bill fishing tournament. It was a two-phase tournament with the first leg held in January and the second leg in March. The tournament had 55 teams and 385 participants with a total of 2,044 billfish caught in six days of the tournament.

There were 1980 sailfish and 64 marlins caught in the most successful series to date. After just three years the Los Suenos series has become one of the most sought after tournaments in the world of billfishing.

For the next 10 days our schedule was jammed with action packed adventures and beautiful scenery. A trip to Manuel Antonio State Park is a must! There we saw three different kinds of monkeys, three toed sloths, toucans, and various types of jungle habitat. Canopy tours should also be on your agenda. During a canopy tour, you are in a safety harness and you slide from tree to tree on metal cables strung high above the jungle floor. Talk about an adrenaline rush with the most spectacular ocean views. Wow!

We found the native food to be very good, and reasonably priced. They have many kinds of tropical fruit to offer, but I found the Costa Rican pineapple to be the best I have ever tasted. The people of Costa Rica are very American friendly and never once did I feel threatened or out of place. In Costa Rica they have a phrase that is used often, “Pura Vida” which translated literally means pure life. After spending a little time there enjoying the great food, friendly people and beautiful scenery, I understand where the phrase “Pura Vida” came from.

Costa Rica has many more places of interest such as the volcanoes, the crocodile man tour (which I highly recommend), coffee fields, and chartered fishing trips that compare to anywhere in the world. The day we took a chartered fishing trip, there were six anglers and we all got multiple turns reeling in the fish of a lifetime. They also have horseback rides through the jungle, surfing, boogie boarding, and let’s not forget the most beautiful sunsets I have ever experienced. Costa Rica was one of the best times in my life and I am looking forward to my next adventure there.

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