No Judgements on a Stormy Day

No cranky clouds could keep us off that boat!

On my first day of vacation in Costa Rica, visiting for the first time in the 15 months after I left the good life to follow my career dreams in Las Vegas, my friends had gotten the entire group together for a day on Lisa and Mau’s fishing boat at North Pacific Tours. It was all set up to be a perfect day… The weather, however, was not in a party mood. Nothing can stop this group though! We laughed during the entire wet, cold trip out to our favorite beach, Playa Juevos. Being with the old crew gave me a lot to think about – I have such amazing friends in Las Vegas, but we don’t have this same sort of light friendship, where we can laugh all day at nothing, and everyone feels themselves. Maybe it’s just that we’re all so busy there that we don’t get to spend the same amount of quality time together as I did during my year in Costa Rica, where I saw my friends literally every single day.

Pura vida: There’s nothing that Imperial or Flor de Cana can’t fix!




Some of us even wisely brought jackets. The rest of us wrapped up in towels and sarongs.

It warmed up for us when we landed on the beach and set up shop. Oh, how I miss the peace of having your own strip of beach for the day, no crowds, no one else but your own group of friends! With bare feet, we climbed up to the viewing spot on top of the hill, and watched the rushing water in the caves.

Katy, our resident daredevil, was the only one to brave the rushing cave water.

Our only visitor: a slick little pezote. He gladly took all of the chips we fed him — until he in an instant dove in for the whole bag and raced up the hill. I think we laughed about it for an hour.



Our very happy group: Ana, Andrea, Katy, me, Gustavo, Susie, Cheryl, Lisa. (Missing: Mau, our captain.)

The clouds cleared just enough on the way home for a stunning sunset, which we had a 360 degree view of, with nothing but ocean as far as we could see. This is Coco’s famous Monkey Head rock, which in this light really does look like the profile of a huge gorilla-type animal emerging from the sea. I miss that view!


Do you have a group of friends that really lets you be yourself? Does it hurt when you have to move away? I’m so grateful for the recent week I got to spend with my crew!


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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. What a fun outing! So nice to have a group of good friends all in one place. And I’d miss those sunsets too!:)

  2. It was a magical day!! I wish we had time for group activities in Vegas…

  3. That sounds like a lot of fun Abby, I’m glad you had such a great time and your pictures look beautiful! I miss central America and Flor de Caña. It’s probably the best rum in the world 🙂

  4. Looks like such a fun trip! It’s so nice to be in the company of friends who you can be completely yourself with 🙂 Love the pictures!

  5. Wow that really does look like a monkey head! What an aptly named island.
    It looks like a beautiful place to relax, even without the sunshine. I’m sure you get enough of that in Vegas anyways.
    The pezote is really cool looking. Kind of a racoon/anteater cross. Are they friendly?
    Glad you had a good time away.

  6. Pezotes are often too friendly — and they’re little devils!

  7. My best friends in MI are the only reason I ever return. Otherwise, I hate that state and have no good memories of it outside my times with them. They all live vastly different lives than I do and so it’s often difficult even when I do visit because they are about kids and offices and responsibilities I don’t have right now. However, when we’re laughing and crying together — there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

    SO glad you were able to return to Costa! I might finally get to visit myself this spring. CANNOT wait 🙂

  8. I’m going to be there in SEVEN DAYS. Yaaaaay.

    Also, that animal? WILD.

  9. Sooo jealous, Kristin!! Haha yes, there are so crazy animals in CR.

    Kirsten, let me know when you go. You’re going to love it!!

  10. That animal looked like some sort of badger crossed with a monkey! It can be hard going away from your friends for so long when you travel but I think that it is a lot easier to stay in touch now!

  11. That’s an excellent point!! It is very easy these days to remain close…

  12. These are the memories that last a lifetime. Good friends, good fun. Dont’ think I’ve ever seen a pezote before — cute little guy. I’ll also remember your advice about Imperial and Flor de Cana!

  13. I agree — I treasure these memories so much! And yes, you have to try Imperial in Costa Rica. The rum is up to you!!

  14. I now have friend like that scattered around the US…. and now that I’ve been traveling, all over the world 🙂

    So happy for you to have this experience during your vacation!

  15. Yes, the life of a nomad…

  16. costa rica was my all time BEST vacation! i had such a blast there. I guess Pura Vida helps for an amazing standard of living…

  17. Aww! These pictures make me miss Coco for sure. (Need a friend with a boat though! :P)

    I’m so lucky to have old friends that understand me.

  18. There is definitely something magical about living in and settling into the life here in Costa Rica. Despite the daily life being more of a struggle, I feel more settled in and peaceful than in any other place I’ve ever lived. I hope you take a longer vacation next time so we can meet up down here in our tiny little world!

  19. Awww… that’s really sweet. Your happiness jumps off of the page.

  20. I miss SO many of my friends from the US – really want to move back soon!

  21. wonderful photos, and glad that you were able to make a great day of it! And Flor de Caña is SO good. After trying it, it’s hard to drink any other rum now…

  22. Not much to say, but reading your post made me smile. Simple times, sweet friends. Sounds lovely. 🙂

  23. It’s really nice the type of friendship you have in Costa Rica, I have some friends with whom I can really not worry about saying anything that comes to my mind, it’s something precious and less common than we think..

  24. I’m glad the storm didn’t put a damper on your day. Please explain what a pezote is. I tried to google it without much luck. Fun times!

  25. Thank you, everyone. 🙂

    Laura, they are the weirdest creatures!

  26. Abby,
    You are lucky to have such great friends that you can visit again. That’s why traveling is so special. You get to meet great folks from all walks of life, different cultures….it truly enriches one’s life to be fortunate enough to come into contact and then develop strong relationships with them.

  27. That IS what makes traveling so special! I would have never thought that my tightest group of friends would be in a little town in Costa Rica!

  28. Awesome post darling! Love the sunset and the pezote!!! You look gorgeous in your pics.

  29. I also love both that sunset — and magical days like that. And the cute pezote. 🙂

  30. Oh, Abby. I love this post. I think the friends we meet on the road are very different than the friends we meet when stationary/living our “normal” lives. There is no anything that keeps you from being you when on the road. There are no back stories, no “who do you knows,” no nothing. It’s a beautiful thing. This post made me smile for you. 🙂

  31. I LOVE that sunset! Beautiful!

  32. Looks like so much fun and I love the idea of seeing friends everyday. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I miss a few really good friends in Canada, but we catch up with 2 hour conversations every couple of weeks.

  33. AWWW this is so wonderful! I’m jealous and it makes me miss all my peoples from around the world. I will hopefully reunite with two of my best travel ladies in Buenos Aires 2012 (for a wedding!).

  34. It’s really hard to be away from good friends. I’ve lived such a nomadic life that I often have to say good-bye knowing I may or may not get to see certain people again.

  35. Good friends, good times! Nice to have different groups of friends, isn’t it? Even better when they’re in different countries.

  36. I think all my group of friends allow me to be myself. If not, I bail quick. But the truly bonded friendships where we see and talk to each other daily is something I haven’t experienced since high school. I didn’t even feel that bond to my sorority sisters in college. Maybe someday I’ll find myself in a small jungle/beach country too where I can foster those kinds of friendships again. So envious of your reunion – looks fabulous!

  37. This looks like such a great day – definitely the disconnecting relaxation that you went for! And that pezote is cute.

  38. It was a great time I hope to relive it again soon!

  39. Keeping contact with friends is always a problem when you move around a lot. But from the pictures you all seem happy to be in touch.

  40. I can never predict who will keep in touch and who won’t — these girls are keepers, though!

  41. That pezote thing is so cute! Looks like you got a good reward for the rainy day with that gorgeous sunset! That’s great you guys all got together and had such a nice time.

  42. What a gorgeous sunset and ending to what sounds like a perfect day. I’m glad you enjoyed your break in Costa Rica!

  43. Looks beautiful and sounds like an excellent time. It can be so hard to relax at home, I think we all need to work on being Vacation Mode Happy more often.

  44. Man, that cute little Coati makes me miss Costa Rica something awful! I tell you what though, the rain there is no joke. I’ve never seen downpours like you get in the Costa Rican jungles. Will you be visiting other areas while you’re there?

  45. Katy is a daredevil! How cool!!!

    I’m blessed to have such amazing girlfriends in several different cities. I’m thankful that all of us make the effort to stay close no matter where we’re living.

    I wish you had that in Vegas, but appreciate how hectic life is there. I hope that changes for you in 2012 :).

  46. i LOVE Costa Rica! What a great place to go with friends. There is really something to do for every type of traveller. Sounds like you has a blast!

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