Monday was our final full day at the beach. Our day played out much the same as the one before it -- beach or pool; what to do first? I could get used to that being the most difficult decision I make everyday!
The house we rented on the Villa Estival property was about 100 yards away from Playa Pietra. It wasn't a private beach, but the main access road was off the beaten path so you'd need to be a local or have specific directions to find it. We loved the seclusion, and didn't mind sharing the beach with local Costa Ricans who kept to themselves for the most part. It seemed most people came to the beach around Noon, which was even better because we were there by 8:00am and looking to take refuge from the sun by lunchtime.
That morning, Andi made everyone breakfast in our kitchen -- eggs, toast and fruit -- and the five of us dined together on our patio with breathtaking views of the ocean in the distance. The pineapple in particular was so deliciously juicy there; I could've eaten a whole bowl of it every morning.
Andi and I decided to take the kids to the beach after breakfast, and Janie opted to stay back at the house and relax. It was so convenient to throw on our swimming suits, toss a beach bag over our shoulders and GO! Living on the beach is definitely a future dream of mine. We're all so happy there. Sand, sunshine and big smiles = so much fun!
Though I have to say, Tory isn't a big fan of the ocean. She enjoyed building sandcastles and searching for beach treasures, but she wouldn't go near the water. Andi wanted Tory to swim with him in the ocean so badly. He tried coaxing her into the water by drawing a line in the sand and encouraging her to meet him half-way, but she wanted nothing to do with his plan. These two are so are alike it's crazy sometimes! It was a stare-down, and neither one would give the other an inch. Tory's feet were firmly planted in the sand.
I can't say I blame her. I'm more of a sandcastle-girl myself.
Aden, on the other hand, loved the ocean. He ran straight toward the waves the minute his feet touched the sand. "Here comes 'nuther one!" he shouted as waves barreled toward him. "Big one!" he'd giggle when they'd knock him over. Aden had a blast, but it sure gave this mama a heart attack. My little thrill-seeker will be boogie boarding by Age Three, I just know it.
Around lunchtime, the four of us headed back to the house for lunch and rest time. Janie offered to stay back with Aden while Andi, Tory and I drove to nearby Playa Portrero for an afternoon date. I felt bad leaving Janie behind again but she insisted, and I have to admit it was fun spending some one-on-one time with Tory.
We went to a little beachside restaurant and watched the birds fish off the coast while Tory ate a plate of French fries as big as her head and Andi and I split an order of blackened tuna. It was seriously HOT outside. One-hundred and two degrees, to be exact. My feet were sweating in my flip-flops! Andi and Tory wanted to grab ice cream after lunch (it was his vacation promise, after all), but we wanted to get back to the house and into the pool as quickly as possible. The three of us stopped by a little convenience store across the street for ice cream, bottled water and some pantry staples before making our way back to Janie and Aden.
The pool at Villa Estival was really nice. There was a bigger pool typically filled with older kids, and a smaller kids pool perfect for Aden and Tory. With their puddle jumper life jackets on, the kids were able to play semi-independently while Janie, Andi and I sat on the pool step nearby. We'd eat snacks and drink cocktails ... and life seemed pretty darn great.
Andi said he wanted to take all of us out for a nice dinner on our last night in Costa Rica. He picked a beautiful restaurant inside a fancy hotel on the beach, not far from our house at Villa Estival. We arrived right at sunset and stood together on the beach watching the sun dip below the horizon. It was beautiful.
The hotel property was beautiful, too - so chill and trendy. Tory and Aden had fun swinging on the rope swing while Janie, Andi and I took turns playing with them and sharing a pitcher of sangria. We practically had the place to ourselves, but I suspect that might've been because we were dining at 6:00pm (as you do when you're traveling with little kids). Our server was adorably sweet when he repeated our order back to us in English, and then Spanish, so we could try to learn the language. We shared tuna tartare, beef sirloin and the fresh fish of the day. Best of all, we were home with the kids tucked snugly into their beds by 9:00pm.
Tuesday (Day 8) was our last morning of vacation. Andi and I took the kids to the beach again after breakfast, and then hit the pool for one last dip before we left our spot in paradise around 11:00am.
Our drive to the airport was a short 45 minutes long. Unfortunately, both Tory and Aden fell asleep in the car on the way there so I knew there was nearly a 0% chance they'd sleep on the plane. Tory was a good little traveler as always, but Aden was another story on the trip home. We carried both their car seats onto the plane to make them more comfortable but he screamed "I'm stuck!" most of the second half. Tres amusing. It made the end of vacation even more difficult to swallow.
We had a wonderful time in Costa Rica! There hasn't been a day since our trip I haven't wished we were back on its warm beaches enjoying one another's company. Until next time ...