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San Jose Area, San Isidro Area
to go to San Jose we had to fly from Belize City to Miami – layover for hours – go through Customs twice as we
then flew onto San Jose. There were no flights directly from Belize City. While waiting in Miami we overheard the announcement
that the flight had oversold. Vouchers for $500.00 were being given including meals and accommodations. People would be booked
on the morning flight. Everyone wanted to go to Costa Rica so we waited a very long time while the announcements continued
unabated. Finally some travelers gave in!
Our three hour flight encountered major
turbulence and the plane kept tilting. Jim snoozed right through it all while I thought of my ‘final words and wishes.’
We waited for
hours in the Customs line in San Jose with all of the other passengers (who seemed to all arrive at the same time) and we
thought no one would travel during Thanksgiving week! We finally pulled up at our hotel, Hotel Brittania, around midnight.
What a lovely place with a spacious room, rich woods and thick wool carpeting (and a large bathtub with very hot water –
From San Jose
we bussed to San Ysidro (in style – very comfortable and assigned seats) to one of the highest points in Costa Rica (around 10-11000 feet).
reaching for our luggage below the bus, a taxi driver approached us. We ‘assumed’ he had one of the red taxis
we’d heard about. Nope. There weren’t any left in view so we climbed into his dilapidated truck with an open air
area in the back. He wrapped our cases in plastic and then we three crammed into the front cab. He agreed to wait for Jim
while he ran into the grocery store and to charge what we thought was a reasonable amount to take us about 40 minutes away
to our La Vida Natural (200 acre organic farm).
Our ride took more than an hour as we
sputtered along bouncing along the pot-holed dirt roads. A long line of traffic formed behind us and then rain poured down
(fortunately our luggage had been covered).
We finally found an iron gate in front
of the blue house and the combination worked to get in. We looped all around the property until we found our home for the
next few days, “Pura Vista” (pure view). We stayed in a cabin resembling Swiss Family Robinson’s tree house
with an outdoor kitchen and dining room all on an oversized balcony with large cushiony chairs, a sofa and a hammock with
a waterfall gushing in the background. Looking the other direction we could see the rain forest and the ocean in the distance.
Plopping into the hammock, I felt as if Mother Nature had her arms firmly around me.
jungle home had two bedrooms all in cedar wood and an outhouse of sorts – a walkway to an outdoor (semi-covered) rock
formed shower and a separate area with a sink (outside) and a composting toilet.
Our hosts were Steve and Beth and their teenage sons Buddy and Spencer. This family had chosen to leave the
New York City life to pursue their dream of living on an organic farm in Costa Rica
(as they had become smitten with the place on a vacation). They have several homes which they rent on their property either
as a vacation rental or long-term. They took us on a tour of their farm and we sampled leaves, vegetables and fruit - even
flowers (what an organic feast). We then sat with them under one of the palapas on their property to chat for hours while
the boys served us smoothies. Steve and Beth provided a tour of their home with an outdoor living room and kitchen. Instead
of television they look out over the rain forest and toward the ocean with the splendor of many brilliant sunsets.
teaches yoga and has her own yoga studio on the property. Imagine practicing yoga with open air jungle mountain views while
breathing in the fresh and fragrant air. She home schools her boys along with a couple of girls in the neighborhood. She did
what she could to make it more interesting for them. Raging teenage hormones must not be so easy to deal with.
also has a background as a professional dancer. Her husband Steve is not into dancing as he prefers to tinker in his woodshop.
No problema por Beth….once a week she has a local 18 year old dance partner pick her up on his motorcycle to take
her into the main town for dance class. She’s the same age as me so I really admire her chutzpah. What a way to LIVE.
One of the main reasons we stayed here is one of my San Diego friend’s Sandra planned to be visiting her
daughter, Amy, who lives down the street (well, a rigorous hike away we shall say). We spent an entire day with Sandra and
Amy…and it felt like a blend of playing at Disneyland and being at an Ashram in India. What
a playful yet deeply moving experience communing with nature – with a real Earth Mother, Amy, and her extraordinary
Mother, Sandra, who kept up with us as we hiked through virgin jungle lands (in grasses knee deep for a time).
led us through dense vegetation – a jungle unclipped in many areas; raw earth; overgrowth; up and down steep, slippery
slopes; in silence we heard the leaves fall while the earth cushioned them; branches broke; crickets, grasshoppers and frogs
melodies intertwined; birds with shrill songs filtered through; they fluttered, hovered, soared and perched. Insects buzzed,
jumped, crawled, animals awoke – the Howler Monkeys screeched; the snakes slithered by (though fortunately we did not
see them); and in this RAW land – Amy sleeps every night under her Palapa (with no sides). She is the first woman I
have ever met who lives simply and simply lives.
Amy guided us through her organic gardens
educating us along the way and allowed us to sample from all that was there. She took out her machete and carved up a coconut
drink for us to sip and chopped down some Palmetto branches so we could enjoy the delicate heart of palm. We ate plenty of
leaves, nuts, berries, fruits and flowers to the point of being full. I had never realized such a natural gourmet feast existed
in the wild.
Amy tends to her garden with her hired assistant – daily.
She devotes herself to her land and it in turn provides her sustenance (along with many others who buy her products at the
weekly market). Amy moved here from a professional job in New York City to wear her true skin –
for an Earth Mother is who she is. She lives her dream each day as she awakens, salutes the dawn with her yoga practice, and
then cultivates her garden. She has so much to teach us about being true to what really matters.
Our Journey to Nouyaka Falls
We hiked up and down steep grades along
the dirt roads passing people out in their yards and porches while waving to them; watched school kids chase one another in
front of their large one room brightly painted school house; and observed children of all ages on the soccer field running
in different directions (some in uniform and many not). Soccer here seems to be akin to a Spiritual ritual – for as
a Tican wouldn’t dare miss a day of Sunday mass – he/she wouldn’t think about missing a day of soccer practice.
walked by Tican homes often small yet colorful; with doors and windows open; a man asleep hanging over an outdoor couch; cattle
grazing; horses lazing; expansive views in each direction; and clumps of trees in the jungle so close that they all seem attached
to one another – like mirrors of the people here.
took us on a well-marked trail which then turned into much overgrowth through deep jungle terrain and muddy slosh along many
root systems. We did our best to brace ourselves much of the way. After about 1.5 hours we reached the base of the Nouyaka Falls…then we could only gasp. !Que Linda! Every muddy step
then mattered as we’d journeyed to a pilgrimmage place on a maiden voyage – what a discovery. These falls delighted
all of our senses and brought out a deep tribal communing feeling – where we felt at one with all of nature.
Ahead of us were the cascading Nouyaka Falls plummeting down many levels
into a creek with massive boulders. In minutes we both glided into the crystalline waters (sans clothes). And within moments
we were out of the chilling waters too -- as the waters originate from the high elevation rainforest (BRR)…. In this
brief time I felt as if I’d been anointed for my life’s mission…as clear as the waters themselves - purified,
released, into this beauty which surrounded us while lightness enveloped my spirit.
heard a message in the roaring flow of the waters. They gushed unfettered, freely moving, without effort and did
not question where to go – with pure confidence –the waters moved to and fro. They flowed like life
itself – when I can remember to allow this. Much to learn here! (We spent the entire day in this very spot – ah
for this is PURA VIDA).