How the most beautiful Halloween crabs stole my sleep

Abby Tegnelia Cheryl Grant

Relaxing with my friend Cheryl after re-adjusting to sleeping in the jungle.

On a previous trip to Costa Rica, I first laid eyes on a beautiful purple and orange type of crab (nicknamed the Halloween crab) and took the photo below of it in shallow ocean water. I thought it was the most people sea creature I had ever seen! On this trip? Well, I could still see its beauty, but when they descended on my vacation home by the dozens, my view did change a bit! It all started our first night in our Costa Rican paradise on the dense jungle beaches of Santa Teresa. My friends ever so politely recommended I stay in a certain bedroom downstairs. It wasn’t until later that they told me there was a bat in one of the upstairs bedrooms.

Did I mention that the house was open-air? In the jungle?

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The Jungle Beaches of Santa Teresa

Santa TeresaMy favorite part about the beaches of Costa Rica is how in some parts, the jungle ends abruptly, opening up to pristine beach. I love the feeling of walking through dense trees and following a narrow trail in the humid air that eventually opens up to the ocean. When my three friends and I arrived at this slice of Costa Rican paradise in Santa Teresa, we threw down our sarongs and ran into the water. It felt like you could swim out for miles and still touch the floor. The jungle/surf combo makes the beaches quieter than what I was used to growing up near the coast in the States. That and the fact that there is virtually no one else on them!

Costa Rican Paradise

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

After a fun few days in Panama City, staying at the posh Trump Ocean Club, I made my way to Costa Rica, where I lived for one blissful year. Before spending some time in my old hometown of Coco, I headed to Santa Teresa, in the Nicoya Peninsula, with a few friends. Despite a few critters, I slept like a baby. It was my own Costa Rican paradise! The jungle was dense, the smell humid. It was a dream come true.

More to come — it’s a jungle out there!

Don’t wait for my upcoming posts! Check out my partner in crime down in Costa Rica, Mrs. Sasu, who loves to make fun of my city girl ways! The Sasu Post.

Locals’ gem: Contadora Island, Panama

Our time was limited in Panama City, so we didn’t have time to make it out to Bocas del Toro or any of the other islands that Panama is famous for. But we still wanted to see some beach! We were planning on a day trip to Taboga, but after chatting up a local businessman at the bar of our hotel, the stunning Trump Ocean Club, we changed our plans to Contadora Island. There were very few tourists on the early-morning ferry, which proved to be quite an experience! Supplies are very expensive on the island, so families walked out onto the docks with carts of groceries, toilet paper and rum. We wished we had a few days to relax in paradise!

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Fun things to do in Panama City

Leora Hasas and Abby TegneliaThere are so many fun things to do in Panama City, so we knew we shouldn’t go it alone. We asked the drivers outside of Trump Panama, the gorgeous hotel we were staying in. At first, we got excited — they said they’d be happy to take us around for $30! Luckily, Leora clarified. They meant $30… an hour. We walked down the street and asked the bored yellow cab driver who was parked on the corner. He got stressed out when we said $30 for three hours, but he easily agreed to $40. Deal! We were so excited to tour the town — first stop — the Canal of course!

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Bliss in the city: Panama City Trump Ocean Club

Trump Ocean ClubMy first venture to Panama City was nothing but surprises for me, right down to the emerging food scene that was so much fun to explore. I say everything was a surprise, but really it wasn’t… As I had no idea to expect in the first place! But if I did, I would have never in a million years imagined something as luxe as the Panama City Trump Ocean Club, which opened at the end of 2011. It came highly recommended from friends in Costa Rica, so I jumped at the opportunity to stay there. I’m so glad I did! My mini-vacation before my “good life” stay in my former homeland of Costa Rica was a blast.

I mean, look at this POOL!

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