Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Costa Rican Charm: Guest Post from The Jungle Princess

This post comes to us from our friend Abby Tegnelia who writes the blog, The Jungle Princess. Abby spent a year between jobs exploring and writing about Costa Rica, our featured destination for The AE Nomad Summer Sweeps. She continues to blog about her life in Las Vegas as the Editor of Vegas Magazine. Here is her advice on what to see in Costa Rica.

Abby in Costa Rica

I am on email, Twitter and Skype all day long, keeping in touch with friends from all over the world, many whom I’ve met and some who I haven’t. Just this week I received my favorite type of email: from someone planning a move to Costa Rica, the slow-paced tropical little country I called home for one year. This particular traveler will be making her way all the way from India.

Another beautiful sunset in Costa Rica.

Even on my busiest days, I’ll always find time to write someone like her back, encouraging time in the land of pura vida, which means “pura life” in Spanish but can be translated to mean anything from “good morning” to “let’s put that off until tomorrow.” In Costa Rica, time really does seem to stand still. Getting out into the surfing towns and fishing villages, you can stroll along dirt roads, watching in awe as monkeys play in the trees or a flock of bright green toucans fly overhead. The sunsets are stunning, the cold beer cheap. Nothing is planned in advance, so the anxiety of my over-planned life in the United States melted away.

Monkeys are everywhere!

Everything is simple there; even the food consists mostly of fish, chicken, rice and beans. But the fish is on the oven rack was caught that day (the children fight over the eye balls!), and visitors to Costa Rica rave about its famous gallo pinto, black beans and rice.

Surfing towns like Guiones and Playa Grande revolve around the waves, forecasts spread among the locals and visitors like a game of telephone. Even those uninterested in hitting the waves can bask in the sun all day, watching the athletes at work, and hit the super-chill bars at night.

I spent a year in Costa Rica, unwinding. But no matter your time frame, the Central American country has so much to offer. From the volcanoes and hot springs of Arenal and the animal-packed hikes on the east coast, to the cloud forests of Monteverde and the quiet life of Coco, where I called home, Costa Rica can be truly life-changing. Slowing down and checking in with nature create the most centering, refreshing trip, the reason I think so many travelers fall in love with the country. I’m dying to hear who will be the next of my friends, virtual or otherwise, to head down there to experience the joy of this charming tropical country.

Enter HERE to win your chance to explore Costa Rica. You'll visit Finca Bellavista, Manuel Antonio and San Jose + enjoy 2 $250 AE gift cards. Sweeps ends May 25.