Month: September 2016

Adventures In Costa Rica: Where My Travel Obsession Began

Adventures In Costa Rica: Where My Travel Obsession Began

In 2007, I went to Costa Rica with two friends.  We were there for nine days and packed a whole lot into each day!

On the first day, we had a shuttle pick us up from the airport.  They were waiting for another group as well.  After waiting for hours, they never showed up, so we missed our chance to go to Arenal Parque Nacional – the National Park with the volcano and the hot springs.  Oh well, now I have a reason to go back. (Who wants to come?)

We stopped at this little mom-and-pop restaurant.  They served us authentic Costa Rican food – chicken, pork, or fish with beans and rice and an egg cooked over easy.  When our food came, it felt like they were serving us at their house!  The food was excellent.  The three of us decided to take turns paying for meals.  When I went to the counter to pay for the meal, the lady told me, “That’ll be $11.”

I told her, “No, I’m paying for all three of us.”

She said, “Yes, that will be $11.”

Ok, sounds good to me.

The hotel was gorgeous.  The buildings looked like cabins. There was a hot tub that had a perfect view of the volcano. (The clouds were covering the volcano that day.)


La Fortuna (the city where the volcano is) is such a beautiful place.  Hopefully I can go back some time and have that view with clear skies.

Another day, we went ziplining.  It was very high up, and one of my friends is terrified of heights!  I was terrified of dropping my camera, so I didn’t get any pictures. It was awesome to see the rainforest from that high up!

We also went whitewater rafting, sort of.  The water level was very low, so it was more like floating down the river.  It was still lots of fun.  We stopped in the middle of the trip and jumped off of a bridge.  Halfway down the river, the guide had everyone get out of the boat.  He dragged it on land, flipped it over, and started cutting fresh fruit for us to snack on. What a treat!

One of my favorites is rappelling down waterfalls.  I saw it on TV when I was a teenager and thought it was the coolest thing ever. I think Costa Rica is the only place where you can do this.  If you know of another place, please let me know in the comments or email me.


We spent some of our last days in Playa Tamarindo. We had a surfing lessons from a guy that didn’t speak any English.  It was awesome!


This is us after the lesson. Not bad for our first time surfing. Our other friend wasn’t able to stand up on the surf board.

After surfing, I got really heat sick and ended up on a “sailboat” that turned out to be a booze cruise.  That was the only mistake I made all week, which is very good for a 9 day trip.

It seemed like most people spoke English, except in the more rural areas.  Luckily I’m fluent in Spanish.  That came in handy.  I remember seeing a lot of restaurants that attempted to make American food.  They were overpriced and the food definitely didn’t resemble anything from home.  I met this local guy at a shop and started chatting with him.  I asked him what are the best places to eat.  He said there were a bunch of places down the street.  We tried out the one he recommended.  The food was amazing and very cheap.  It was so good, we went back to that same restaurant for several more meals.  The next day, we discovered that they give free samples at lunch.  And their idea of “samples” are a full serving of rice pudding.  Or a full appetizer.  I’m so glad I found out where the locals eat.

This trip to Costa Rica was the most adventure-packed trip I’ve ever been on.  The idea to go to Costa Rica came from a former classmate. He invited me to go on his trip, which was already planned out.  We lost touch before the trip.  I still really wanted to go, so I planned my own trip to Costa Rica.  On the flight down, we ran into him at the airport.  He was talking about how drunk he was going to get, and wanted lay on the beach all week.  I’m so glad I went on my trip instead.



Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me!

Today, I celebrated my birthday!  What better way than to start documenting my travel adventures.

First, I’d like to explain my home page photo.  As part of the World Domination Summit, I led a whitewater rafting trip on the White Salmon River in Washington State.  It was so much fun!

The night before, I rented a 12 passenger van.  This thing was a beast!


The first thing the rental car manager said was, “We are closing now.  That means people are going to start coming in and dropping off their vehicles.  If you’re not ready to head out just yet, you can go ahead and parallel park it on the street.”

What?? Parallel park this thing???  But I did it!

I picked everyone up in the morning and we headed off to White Salmon. When we got there, we were warned that the water was ice cold, but we will be given wetsuits.  I still thought we were making a big mistake and we were all going to freeze.  Oh well.  No turning back now.

And I’m so glad the water temperature didn’t scare us away!  This was hands down the best whitewater rafting trip I’ve ever been on. There were plenty of class IV rapids.  There was a 14 foot drop that we couldn’t make.  We got out of the raft, climbed up onto the bank, and hiked on slippery, uneven rocks for what seemed like miles.  I was sure I was going to face plant or fall into the river. Meanwhile, the guide let our empty rafts float down the waterfall.  When we finally got to the end of the hike, they told us we could either jump off of the cliff and into the water or walk down the hill and climb in. Hell yeah, I wanted to jump off of the cliff!!  It did not disappoint!  It was worth the ice-cold water at the bottom.  When we got to the very end, we had a choice of going over a 10 foot waterfall (Class V rapids), or getting out of the raft like we did at the 14 foot drop.  When they asked us what we wanted to do, without hesitation we all said “waterfall!!” in unison.  They said it’s the highest waterfall you can raft over in the country, and second highest in the world!  (The highest is in New Zealand, and it’s 15 ft.  I’ll have to make note of that so I can find that river when I visit!)

By the time we got off the river, we were starving! We got a tip from a local about a nearby restaurant.  It had a really cool outdoor deck with an amazing view of Mt. Hood!  And the food was great!

Sharing travel stories at lunch after a great morning on the river.  From left to right: Marianne, Chris from Get Busy Livin’, Janne from Seize Your Moments, and (standing up) Andrea from Synergise Training.

We started the long journey back to Portland.  But we weren’t done adventuring yet!  On the way home, we stopped at Multnomah Falls.  It’s a must-see!  Stunning waterfall.  And it’s on the way to many Columbia River Gorge hikes.


I’ve always wanted to go whitewater rafting for my birthday.  But nobody is ever available because my birthday falls on Labor Day Weekend, and people usually have other plans.  Well, this year I went a month early.  That’s close enough for me.

Click here to see the full Whitewater Rafting Album