Nestled deep in tropical Centro America, bordered by Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the South, lies the exquisite country of Costa Rica, which meaningfully translates to "Rich Coast". The unofficial national slogan Pura Vida or Pure Life embodies the nature of its gorgeous landscape and kind-hearted people to a tee. A funky little Pacific surf town with a wide stretching volcanic black sand beach called Jacó (pronounced haco, rhymes with taco) is where we spent most of our days, outsmarting the waves, exploring the shores, and hunting down the shaved ice cart.
The ocean defies expectations - swells are fierce yet the temperature is incredibly warm; swimming (and our water sport of choice: boogie boarding) is an adrenaline rush and a comfort at the same time. Flanked by intense lime green palm trees and beachfront bars, dotted with rocks and driftwood; daily beach walks lend treasures abound, while venturing to the outer edges leads to hiking through strong current inlets and around fascinating volcanic rock formations. Colorful iguanas and lizards also make an appearance at the beach!
The main strip or downtown Jacó, just a block off the beach, is a mecca of kitschy tourist huts meets laid back surf shops, along with fantastic restaurants and plenty of tour-guide agencies at your disposal. Downtown at night makes no apologies (prostitution is legal, and someone will inevitably offer to sell you drugs), yes, Jacó has a well deserved reputation as a party town. Don't mistake that for lack of charm, as common sense will dictate, that type of scene isn't hard to avoid despite its presence. Oh and speaking of nighttime, the sunsets are incredible.The food in Jacó was always delicious and incredibly inexpensive, from the eclectic must-visit Taco Bar, to authentic lunches at Soda Jaco Rustico, to dinners at Tsunami Sushi and Mono Verde, every type of restaurant stands to impress. We even had a traditional Thanksgiving feast at Lemon Zest. Fish is abundant and fresh caught - from Corvina (Sea Bass) and Dorado (Mahi Mahi) to Atun (Tuna), you will find ceviche offered on almost every menu, along with hearty grilled or fried entree portions. The country offers a wealth of tropical fruits - impeccably ripe and juicy mangoes, pineapple and bananas were the best I've ever eaten. Starfruit is also common, mostly as a drink garnish! Guacamole was prepared with large, ripe aguacate (avocado) at our condo on a regular basis, usually consumed alongside an Imperial or five, the official beer of Costa Rica.
As to be expected, lots more on the adventures and restaurants to come!