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A Look Back at Costa Rica

Lauren Blacker

It's been less than one month since Ryan and I were living it up in Costa Rica, however it feels like it's been decades.  

Our lives changed from the moment we stepped foot in CR, and I will forever be grateful for our experience.

Out of all the moments we had in Costa Rica, there are several that stand out in my mind the most.

Let me take you through my most memorable experiences in CR - I hope you enjoy!


Ryan and I are Engaged!!!

You may have already heard, but Ryan and I are engaged!

It happened during one of our last days in Costa Rica, when we were sitting on our rocking chairs on the front porch overlooking the jungle/beach landscape.

The waves were crashing, the air was warm with a little breeze and life was pretty much perfect. Until it got even more perfect.

I won't bore you with details considering this is a fishing website but you understand how the story goes 🙂

Apparently Ryan had been thinking of proposing earlier in the trip...

Ryan would end up catching a big roosterfish but I think the hook through his finger and the excitement of the moment got in the way of his proposal plan.

With little time remaining in the trip he surprised me on our front porch and I said yes!​

The rock pictured above was painted by our good friends which we had met while in Costa Rica. For us this was the most wonderful and thoughtful gift!  

The rock now sits perfectly on our bureau for us to look at every day.

Our First Day in CR

From the moment we entered Costa Rica there was beauty everywhere.

I remember looking down at the vast green mountains, palm fields, jungle, rainforest and Pacific coast as we made our way into the country.

That sight was something I will never ever forget.

Upon arrival we hopped in a taxi boat, and were taken on an unexpected tour through the mangroves.  

However when we arrived at the final boat dock it was getting dark, and our ride to our "jungle house" wasn't there, and our happiness started to dwindle a little.  

There we stood, exhausted, dirty, hungry and confused as to which way to go. 

We decided (based on Google Earth research which we did ahead of time) that taking a left was our best bet.  Not far down the road we met Jonathon, our first new friend, and he offered to give us a much needed ride.

Sitting in our house that first night we were surrounded by complete darkness, hearing only the sounds of the jungle around us, and terrified that we would be eaten by a monkey or some other unknown creature.  

I remember thinking that we should really get something for dinner, but there was no way we were stepping foot out of that house, so instead we ate our leftover trail mix and a granola bar that I had packed for the plane ride.

When we tried to go to sleep, the noises only got louder from outside our window, and two terrified northerners just laid there in horror, trying to sleep with little success. 

When we woke up the first morning however and set foot on our beach, taking in the huge expanse of the new world we were now living in - now that was memorable.  

We were completely out of our comfort zone from minute one, but the journey we had in learning how to navigate our way through this place was such a fun experience.

The Jungle & Waterfall Hike

We started our hike at a local Soda, owned by friends of our guide.  The whole deal was that as part of the trip, we were served an authentic Costa Rican lunch for when we returned from the hike.  We had our choice of chicken and rice or shrimp and rice, and were told either one would not dissapoint.  

They weren't kidding.

Since I love food so much, we will start with the end of the trip that has to do with the food.

First, we were offered an "appetizer" of fresh ceviche.  As you might already know, I live and die for ceviche.​  This was to die for, so delicious.

After the ceviche, we were given our food.  I ordered the chicken and Ryan ordered the shrimp.  Both were so full of flavor and delicious - I ate my entire plate clean.

We were so full from the food, exhausted and happy from our trek into the jungle and so, so dirty.  

So now let me explain the adventure of getting dirty in order to find a waterfall straight out of the books of paradise!

The trek into the jungle started with a walk through the red clay and palm fields.  There we found a wild horse that they use to naturally fertilize the soil, instead of using chemicals.  That's not so cute but the horse was adorable.  He walked right up to me and loved the attention!​

Then we descended into the jungle.  The trail took us almost vertically down a slick and muddy trail, where at times we had to rappel down using ropes and prayers.

The jungle is just as you would imagine - humid, damp, dark and very, very green.  From the tree tops we could see a family of capuchin monkeys coming to check us out and twice saw poison dart frogs, none of which bothered us at all.

When we finally reached the canopy floor, we walked up a narrow river with slippery rocks on each side, meandering our way up the river.  We could hear the sound of water falling but nothing was in sight, until we rounded a corner and found something I just can't quite describe.  

It was like a scene out of the movie "Beaches."  

There was a pool of water to swim in and huge rocks carved out from thousands of years of erosion and pounding water to create a great wall around us.​

Ryan video taped the entire trek to the waterfall, and you can check it out by clicking play below...​

Horseback Riding with Raul

One of the things I really wanted to do while I was down here was to ride a horse through the jungle and on the beach.  It's something I've never done before, but thankfully we met Raul at our local hangout and that's exactly what he does!

We planned for him to pick us up at the house at 6:30am, thinking we would all drive in his car.  

But he doesn't have a car, he has a motorbike.

So there I was, never wanting to ever get on one of those things for all the days of my life, but having little choice in the matter.  He brought two of his friends to help us get there and off we went, zooming down the dirt road, with no helmet and no instruction as to where to hold on.  

Zipping around potholes, flying past big fields of horses and scaring great big groups of birds into flight from the tall grasses.

It was actually quite amazing, and I survived.

The horseback ride itself was wonderful and Raul was the best tour guide.  

He took us through the mountains, down through the palm oil plantations, through the jungle and out to the beach.  

During this trip my dream of seeing a sloth in the wild finally came true. 

Raul spotted him in an almond tree and so for my first time ever I got to see a real live sloth...on horseback of all places!  

Photographing the Fish

Watching Ryan pull absolute giants out of the ocean was so fun for me.  

Not only did I get to watch Ryan live out one of his dreams, but I also got to take some photos of really cool fish.

The roosterfish was of course my favorite, but the colors and shapes of some of the others were quite beautiful as well.  

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  1. Lauren,
    I saw a thread on StripersOnline about people having trouble traveling with fishing gear. Seems that TSA would not let them bring reels with fishing line or lures with the hooks attached. The line and the hooks were seen as possible weapons. Did you and Ryan have any trouble during your flights?

  2. Hi Lauren – awesome post! I wish I could write that well. It sounds like the trip of a lifetime – one that both of you will remember forever. As fun as it sounds, I don’t think I could handle the heat, humidity and mosquitoes….I really can’t stand CT in the summer because of the humidity. Am looking forward to more posts!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it Dave! I could have definitely did without the mosquitoes but the trip itself was amazing. Funny story, in the middle of writing that, we had gone out one night and I was literally attacked by mosquitoes and came home so mad I just couldn’t not talk about it! haha now i look back on it and I think I’d rather have that than frozen toes now!

  3. Hey Lauren, congratulations on your engagement to Ryan. As we say in the fishing world, you are a real “keeper” and I wish you both the best. Please keep spinning long lines and great tales!

    1. Thank you so much Steve!

  4. Lauren
    Thanks for sharing the wonderful trip with us and we look forward to seeing many more adventures unfold over the years to come.
    All our best,
    Richard and Kathleen

    1. Thanks Richard! It’s been so fun trying to find the next adventure!

  5. So glad you guys went on this adventure. You and Lauren have a wonderful spirit. All good things in your future.

    1. Thanks so much for reading!

  6. Lauren & Ryan,

    What a beautiful way to share your experience. I enjoyed all the stories and pictures as you gave us an up close and personal look at your time in CR.


    1. Thanks Ron, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Thanks for sharing. I glad you all stayed safe. PTL!
    What part of CR did you stay?

    1. We were in the Golfo Dulce, which is on the southwestern side of CR near Panama. A bit far from the tourist areas but absolutely perfect!

  8. She’s lovely, she is a talented chef, she puts up with (and maybe enjoys fishing?) and she is a great writer. Wow, Ryan. The motto on the sign at our Cape house is “Making Memories.” Mary and I have been doing it for 45 years and you two are off to a fantastic start

    1. Thanks so much Mark! We have a sign on our door too, saying that a fisherman lives here with the catch of his life!


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