Daydream of the Week: Nicaragua’s San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur NicaraguaI’m not sure if it’s the heavy news going on the US that reminds me of September 11th, or the fact that I’ll be blissfully on vacation in Central America by this time next week, but I was flipping through photos and was drawn to this one. I love how this stranger is zoning out while gazing in the distance after a long day in the sun. I, too, daydream, although I don’t always have such beautiful surroundings to get me going. This is my kind of beach: chill, relaxing, and not too crowded or fancy. San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua was always a fun escape from my small town of Coco, right over the border. I have a “busy”  ten days planned for this upcoming trip to Costa Rica, an itinerary packed with fishing, lazy afternoons in the sun, visiting with friends, and drinking beer at cheap bars on the beach. I can’t wait!

Cheers to the good life…

Daydream of the week: Panama City

Panama CityWe just had a little (two-day) cold front in Las Vegas, and I happen to run across this gloomy cityscape shot of Panama City. I found it a weird little Central American town, a fairly big city with plenty of import, thanks to the Canal, and a Singapore-esque way of building distinct skyscrapers like the corkscrew one you can see here, a little left of center. It also had a strange expat culture I hadn’t seen before. (Think tons of solo business travelers — and the people they choose to hang out with while on the road.) There was tons of culture and fun  things to do, and an emerging food scene that offered an impressive array of Spanish, seafood and Latin American specialties. My friend and I stayed at the stunning Panama City Trump Ocean Club, which we couldn’t have enjoyed more, from the infinity pool and over-the-top brunch scene, to the incredible service. (One tip: Walk across the street for a normal cab. The cars they have waiting in the driveway are not only overpriced; the drivers for the most part were just plain rude. In fact, we met the most amazing driver who ended up taking us around town until our departure — he literally drove us to the airport at 3:30 am when we left!) Panama City is usually used as a gateway to the country’s stunning islands. And please, still head to the islands!

I know I’m as much of a city girl as I am a lover of the tropics, always feeling the push/pull between the fast life and the slow lane. But there really are such amazing parts to both!

Daydream of the week: a stroke of fire over the sea

Costa Rica

Simpler times in Costa Rica.

I know, I know… Every traveler has a million travel sunset photos, each one prettier than the last. But if you’ve read my recent post on my current bout of workaholism, you’ll understand why I needed this shot from Costa Rica today. When I lived there, struggling to start a new life for myself, kickstarting a little company from my one-bedroom house, I was so jealous of my friends who hadn’t lost their jobs in the recession and dove into debt like I did. I gradually pulled myself out by living cheaply in Central America and toiling away with a friend of mine on our little news agency — and then I went back to work, as editor-in-chief of Vegas magazine. This post-recession world is different, isn’t it? Either you’re unemployed — or you’re doing the work of 18 people. I was in the former category for almost two years, the first one hell, the second one bliss, and now I am in the latter.

One day at a time… It’s a jungle out there, and you never know what’s coming up next!

A dear friend of mine started an awesome Sunset Sunday map, so every sunset addict can get a proper fix. I dare you to go check it out — I’m warning you, you might get stuck there for awhile!

My Imperfect Paradise in Costa Rica

Coco Costa RicaI love this photo taken outside of Claudio y Gloria in Coco, where I lived in Costa Rica for one year. It is a yummy little breakfast spot right on the beach, peaceful and low-key. It is absolutely impossible to be stressed out while digging into a breakfast sandwich or casado here as the waves lap ashore. What I love about this photo is that it is a realistic depiction of a place that was my own personal paradise. Yes, the grass isn’t the greenest, and there are brown patches. Some people hear the word “paradise” and think only of the most turquoise waters, white sand, and a perfect, perfect world. I loved Coco because I was myself there, down to the last imperfection. I never judged Coco, and it never judged me, patches and all.

Tuning out in Costa Rica: Santa Teresa

Along the main drag of Santa Teresa.

During my last trip to Costa Rica, three girlfriends and I took a little getaway. It’s about time I introduce you to Santa Teresa! The hippy-dippy little beach town is stretched out along one long main road on the Nicoya Peninsula, near Mal Pais, south of Nosara and Playa Guiones, my favorite surf/beach area. We stayed in a rental home outside of town, which some might find isolating but was just the escape we were looking for. Aside from a comical Halloween crab invasion every evening at sundown, the empty jungle beaches were the idyllic slice of Costa Rican paradise I have come to love about the coasts of Costa Rica.

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Cleansing Waters of Santa Teresa

Santa TeresaOne of my favorite parts of going to the beach is watching and listening to the waves go in and out. Let me guess — I’m not the only one who feels this way! During my recent trip to Costa Rica, three girlfriends and I drove from Coco to Santa Teresa, where we actually stayed quite a ways out of town, which is long and stretched out as it is. This move had both pluses and minuses. Let’s start with the one major negative: a crab invasion. But that was a small price to pay for the Costa Rican paradise we got to retreat to, and the deserted jungle beaches with no one else on them for miles. The water was active when we were there, with quite a current. But it was also swirling and beautiful, with ever-changing neutral colors that beckoned us out into the ocean. For a desert girl from Las Vegas, nothing is more cleansing than the ocean waters of a deserted beach!