Adventuring Through Chronic Pain Part 2

As promised, the adventure continues with this post. I originally intended on getting to it a few days ago, but the amount of schoolwork I have for the MACP program I have entered, combined with work, has left me a little shorter of time than I’m used. But that’s besides the point. I spent 10 days in Costa Rica, and I’ve only written to day 4. So here it is…

IMG_2360Just soaking up a waterfall.

Day 5: ATV-ing in Manuel Antonio. So to start off, I actually woke up that morning with some back pain. I honestly think it was from the insane driving I had to do the day before. I asked the hotel staff to find me someone for a massage for my birthday (Day 6) mostly because I wanted to not be in pain. At any rate, I woke up on Day 5 and waited for the tour bus to pick us up and take us to the ATV site. Talk about an off-road experience. After zipping around the lot for practice, we headed out on what ended up being a private tour because my friend and I were the only people crazy enough to get up so early. Mud puddles, creaks, and little rivers in the countryside, surrounded by palm tree forests, and through little towns. It was a blast. We ended up at a waterfall, where we got to swim for about half an hour or so. We had pineapple as a snack and the tour guide pointed out a snake and a frog to us. Then we ATV-ed back to the property and had a delicious traditional Costa Rican lunch. That afternoon we headed to the beach for some fun in the sun. The ocean water was the perfect temperature and I always find salt water to be therapeutic for my body. Only drawback was I could feel myself getting a burn despite the fact that I kept lathering sunscreen on. The sun is HOT that close to the equator. After drinks on the beach, we headed into town for more drinks at a bar with a great patio for watching the sunset, and then to a really awesome restaurant for a really awesome dinner (shrimp bruschetta is da bomb). Wakeup: 5:00am. Bedtime: 9:00pm


Day 6: BIRTHDAY! Yes, I celebrated my 34th birthday in Costa Rica. Started off the day on a catamaran that headed out onto the beach for snorkelling. I did wake up with a mad sunburn so I did my best to make sure that wasn’t repeated. On the down side, I felt very seasick on the catamaran, but I actually think that was due to consuming too much alcohol the night before. I did enjoy snorkelling though! We got to see a few cool schools of fish, and a pod of dolphins. We also had lunch on the catamaran, though I wish I had felt okay enough to eat more of it. In the afternoon I headed out to get my massage. An American expat who was a physical therapist in the States was my massage therapist for the day. He was great and used a lotion made of coconut oil and fresh aloe vera he cut himself so that I could have a massage without my burn affecting it. Drawback of the day was that after my massage as I was driving back to the hotel, I got in a little car accident. Head on. The other driver lost control and went into my lane on a blind corner, while speeding. Luckily no one was hurt. I had the local chapter for the car rental company make sure our car was okay and made the report. Got through that nonsense (my anxiety was on overload) and picked up my friend who had a birthday gift waiting for me! Then we headed down into Quepos for 2 for 1 drinks and another delicious meal. After that we walked across to the cafe across from our hotel for vegan chocolate mousse (my new fave) and an amazing concert by a local artist (who ended up singing me happy birthday, and we exchanged contact info with). Wakeup: 5:00am. Bedtime: 10:30pm.

Amazing concert by Chris Arias.

Day 7: Jungle to Jungle. We spent our last morning in Manuel Antonio, wandering around the National Park. Capuchin monkeys literally were right above our heads, close enough to touch! The hike itself was low key, with mostly paved trails (totally different from Monteverde). After that we headed off to Drake Bay in the Osa Peninsula. The drive seemed normal until we met up with the owners of the ecolodge we were staying at. They lead the way on our 2 1/2 hour trip deep into the jungle. No pavement. A few river crossings (one by ferry, one with just our 4×4). Once we got there, Hidden Paradise Lodge, really ended up being paradise. We chilled out at the lodge for awhile, and then went down into town for dinner, with a beautiful view as we watched a thunder storm roll in toward us. In the evening, we sat on our little porch, just watching the rain. Wakeup: 5:30am. Bedtime: 9:30pm.

GYyUUp4YRGiiFSQDp4QGGQHidden Paradise.

Day 8: Corcovado National Park. It’s a real trek to get there but completely worth. From Drake Bay, the town a 15-minute car ride from the lodge we were staying out, it’s another hour boat ride to get to the entrance of the park. We saw some dolphins on the way (different from dolphins we saw snorkelling). Then a guide lead us through the jungle. Again the hike wasn’t very intense but it was very cool. We saw 4 different types of monkeys, tapirs, packerays, tons of birds, a sleeping three-toed sloth, and so much more! We stopped half way to take an hour for lunch at the ranger station, yet another amazing meal. After the hour boat ride back to Drake Bay, we wandered the beach for a bit before heading back to our ecolodge for dinner and a relaxing evening just enjoying being in the middle of the jungle. Wakeup: 5:30am. Bedtime: 10:00pm.

GPWdJsy2SsuVKRdmjibncgWe’re pretty sure we were actually in Jurassic Park. Isla Nublar? Isla Sorna? Is that you?

Day 9: Reconnect with New Friends. After breakfast we left on our 2 1/2 hour drive out of the jungle. And then of course it’s another couple of hours back to San Jose. We did a pit stop in Quepos to meet up with our new musician friend for a few drinks. A great part of travel is the people you meet! After that we finished our drive back to San Jose, got in late and had dinner at the hotel before falling into bed. Wakeup: 5:30am. Bedtime: 10:00pm

MviqWkpQRrqZJApRXVJI9AWe made a new friend.

Day 10: Goodbye Costa Rica. We lounged by the pool for half an hour before heading to the airport for our long flight home. My friend and I both decided that we definitely need to come back to Costa Rica because there is still so much left to see. Wakeup: 7:00am.

EIm72UFiQ+Ci33X4mD9nqgAt Drake Bay. Definitely one of the best trips I’ve been on.

Still to come, posts on sleep issues, humidity, pain, and food. The joys of traveling with chronic illness!