“Pure life”, or “Enjoy the good life”, either definition explains the local phrase. It works as either a greeting, or a parting phrase, and can be sprinkled liberally around your conversations, much as Uff da, works in Minnesota. It must be accompanied with a smile, which isn’t difficult since you’re wishing such good fortune on people when you say it.
Riu Guanacaste in Costa Rica offers a wonderful experience, starting from the minute you enter their open air lobby and register for your stay. The resort is beautiful, decorated with fascinating local arts. This is a driftwood planter, and the greenery grows from small burlap sacks tucked into nooks and crannies.
|Ocean view standard room|
We were thrilled to be able to take our eleven-year-old granddaughter with us, and our room faced the ocean, visible past the beautiful grounds. We had two beds, a large closet and chest of drawers, a modern bathroom, and most importantly, air-conditioning. The bathroom included a bath, and two sinks in front of a long mirror. Tucked in the closet was a programmable safe, large enough for passports and a really small lap-top. A mini refrigerator was stocked with mixers for the four large bottles of alcohol suspended above it. I wish I could tell you what kind they were, but we are not drinkers. Except for the Imperial beer in the fridge, we didn’t drink in the room. But for those who do, there’s an ice machine on every level.
|Angie was one of our favorites!|
The staff are professional, very helpful, and extremely pleasant. Whether you are enjoying stretching exercises on the beach, playing water volleyball, getting a lesson in scuba diving in the pool, touring the kitchens, enjoying a beverage at any of the bars, winning at Bingo, or eating your fill at any of the eating facilities, the staff of the Riu Guanacaste make your experience enjoyable.
|Roxana Herrera Aroya with my wife.|
We were particularly fond of the main buffet which provided fresh fruit, and a wide variety of delicious local dishes. The cheese bar called me, while my wife enjoyed the fresh fruit more. Our granddaughter explored the ever changing dessert table after every dinner. If you’re lucky, you’ll be placed in Roxana Herrera Aroya’s area, and be served by a pleasant young man named Christian.
|My granddaughter and me|
One night my granddaughter and I broke from tradition and tried the Japanese restaurant. Also served buffet style, we enjoyed delicious sushi and a Peking duck. The noodles were delicious, as were the delicate desserts. I especially enjoyed the delicate flavor of the mandarin orange ice.
Let’s face it, it’s fun to dress up, and from five o’clock on through the night you’ll find almost everyone has donned their long shopped for, and finally found, resort wear. The unmarried and looking crowd show off their finery by walking along the main path down to the beach, hanging out at the open air bar, or by crossing the street to attend the casino or discotheque (opens at 11p.m.)
|Kid time on the main stage|
Every night there is entertainment on the main stage, beginning with a segment of games, songs and dances where kids participate and compete. This is followed by another half hour of American, Canadian, or Central American songs performed by local talent.
|Performing Rolling in the Deep|
|Go, Greased Lightning, go!|
From around 8p.m. until 10ish, a different show is performed each night of the week, and is repeated throughout the season. This year we were treated to a magical night of a tribute to Michael Jackson, and an exciting version of Grease.The dancers are very professional, and they get the crowd going. By the time they got to ‘Greased Lightning’ the audience was singing right along.
|Snorkling, a first!|
If you take the tours (for which you pay extra) you might find yourself zip-lining, or soaking in volcanic mud baths, or traveling up and down the river in search of wild animals. A wealth of opportunities are available. I, at the age of 57 and being significantly overweight, enjoyed my very first snorkling experience. Paddle a canoe, or ride a ski-do. Ride a horse along the beach, and listen to the Howler monkeys in the trees.
And the animals! Oh the animals of Costa Rica are magnifico. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing photos of some I was lucky enough to capture on film. Pura Vida, until then.