Category: Slider

Finding the Hidden

Finding the Hidden

This week has been full of many adventures. My life is incredible.

This girl from my TEFL school was looking for hours to complete her practicum hours. I invited her to my school to observe or tutor a few of my students. She spent Monday and Tuesday at school with me learning the ropes.

I had off school Wednesday so we decided to go on an hike to a spectacular waterfall with some of my other friends.

We rented a Toyota Yaris that got upgraded to an SUV for free since the Yaris wasn’t available. (due to an accident). I am so glad this happened because we needed it to get to the waterfall.

This waterfall is about 30 minutes away from Liberia. Other than that, I can’t tell you how to get there. My friend’s boyfriend was our guide. There is no way I could find my way back to the waterfall.

We hiked about 10 minutes to the first swimming hole. The water was a little blue due to the sulfur in the water. We striped down to our bathing suits and jumped into the water! It was incredible. Cold, but refreshing. Nina was with us and she almost jumped off the ledge after me.

We swam for about 15 minutes before continuing on the hike. The hike got a bit more treacherous after that. We had to climb our way through caves that had bats. We trekked through different small rivers. I don’t have the words to describe the hike was. At certain points, we had to pass Nina across a river or up a huge boulder. At one point, she ran up a huge boulder alone and couldn’t get down.

We saw monkeys, a racoon looking animal, bats, and these beautiful blue dragonflies.

There was another place to jump into the pool of water about halfway between the waterfall and the beginning of the hike. It was a higher jump and a bit more scary for me. I made it though. Once in the water, it was refreshing, risp, and a sight to see. We were below these huge rocks. The only way out was to climb down, around, and up again. I had to crawl through a tight space.

We hiked some more, finally reaching the entrance to the waterfall. The pool of water leading to the waterfall was a celeste blue color. It was surrounded by rocks. The current was coming towards us so my friend’s boyfriend swam ahead and used a rope to pull us through the current. All I could do was stand in awe once I enter the cave where the waterfall was. It was loud and perfect for swimming.

Nina was not very happy. She doesn’t like to be in water if she can’t touch the bottom. She scratched my back up really bad. She was trying to swim the other direction which made it very hard to get anything done. When we were pulled by the rope she stood on my back.

The hike back was quicker as we didn’t stop to take photos as often.

After the hike, we headed home. I got to my house and there was a wild fire about 100 feet from my house. We called the fire department and they showed up right away. They contained the fire by cutting down brush and creating more fire close to my house. After that burned, they used water and a leaf blower to keep the fire from reaching my house.

It was a bit stressful. I had seen wildfires in the area many times. It has never been this close to my house. Pretty surreal.

If you ever travel to another country, make friends with locals. Go see the secluded spots and test your strength. Do what scares you, and make the most of life. Seeing places like this are a once in a lifetime opportunity that can change your life. Go and find the hidden, within yourself by pushing yourself to do new things.

Life in Costa Rica

Life in Costa Rica

Easter is a huge deal here in Costa Rica. So much so most of the government shuts down for a week. As a teacher, I had off for two weeks. It was a great two weeks. I got a lot of stuff done for the website, went on a mini vacation with friends, and got my CR driver’s license. It was two weeks full of adventure and growth.

Getting a CR License

Getting my driver’s license was probably the easiest thing I have done with the Costa Rican government. (getting things done here is hard, keep reading). Since I had my US driver’s license, I didn’t need to take any tests. I simply went to the office with my paperwork and got my new license. It was easy for the most part.

First, I had my US driver’s license translated into English with the local official translator. I did this ahead of time so all I had to do was pick it up and pay for it. ($20)

Second, I had to get a medical health check done. I did this directly across the street from the Cosevi (driver’s license building). As soon as they opened, I walked in. She asked me for all my personal information and any health issues current and past. The doctor gave me a quick eye exam, a reflex test (you know the one where they hit your knee with the little hammer), listened to my breathing and asked me a few mental questions. This was the most interesting part. The doctor asked me to repeat 3 words: casa, manzana, and gato. Then I needed to spell the word “Mundo” backward. Lastly, I needed to repeat the same 3 words again: casa, manzana, and gato. I almost forgot the words!! I paid around 27.000 colones for the exam.

Lastly, I took the medical report, translated driver’s license, my Costa Rican credula work permit card, and my original driver’s license to Cosevi. They looked over all my stuff, put it in the system, and took my photo. I walked out of the building with my CR license in hand.

No craziness, no returning, and no issues. Simple, straightforward, and done!

Motorcycle Impound

Before I met Jonathan, he lost the plate to his motorcycle. We tried to get a new one a few months back, and they told us he needed a paper from a lawyer. Since we were in Liberia (an hour away by motorcycle), we tried to get a lawyer there to do the document for us. All the lawyers in Liberia wanted over $50. The lawyer in Brasilito close to our house wanted $25. We decided to wait. Since I was getting my driver’s license in Liberia, we got the paper from the lawyer so we could get it all done and over with. That ended up a nightmare.

We got my License and were headed to get the new plate for his motorcycle when the traffic police stopped us. Jonathan had the paper from the lawyer and a sticker on the back with the correct plate number. His plates were up to date, he just didn’t have the plate. The police took the motorcycle and gave us a ticket. He pleaded with them to let us keep it. They didn’t care. We got the new plates, got on the bus and headed home.

We tried to pay the ticket three days later. The system wouldn’t allow us to do it because it was a Saturday. Monday morning Jonathan went to Liberia to pay the fine and get the motorcycle. They told him since it was Semana Santa they couldn’t release the bike as there was no one there to do it, but allowed him to pay the fine. They also told him that they are charging him 4.000 colones (about $7) a day for the bike being in storage.

Fast forward to this past a week later, he goes back to Liberia and they tell him they don’t know where the bike is and he needs to make an appointment online.

We thought “okay cool, let’s make the appointment, pay the storage fee, and listo.”

NOPE!!

I was UNABLE to make the appointment because the motorcycle ISN’T IN THE SYSTEM. I tried for three days and kept getting the same error.

We called our lawyer to see if they could help. They could for $20, but Jonathan wanted to go in person one last time.

He goes this morning and FINALLY, he was ABLE to get the motorcycle. But before paying 70.000 colones which is $116.

SO a word of advice…. Don’t get your car or motorcycle taken away by the police in Costa Rica. It is a pain to get out of impound.

Mini Vacation

I wanted to go to Limon, on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. It was too expensive for my budget to do it alone so I asked a friend and her three friends. Since most of the inexpensive places were unavailable or didn’t allow pets, we decided to go to the Osa Peninsula, which is south near the Panama border.

I found this amazing little hostel in the jungle. It was $11 a night. We rented a little Toyota Corolla from Alamo for $37 a person (we split the total cost 5 ways) and off we went. It is about an 8-hour drive including stops for food and gas from Liberia. We had no plans or expectations, other than to have a good time.

Nina came with us which was such an amazing experience. She was overwhelmed a little bit since it was all new for her. Nina had never been in a car for that long and never experienced the jungle as we did.

After the long drive, we arrived at our hostel. It was pretty much a camping experience. The toilet was a bucket with a manmade wooden box around it to sit on. After we went to the bathroom we had to put sawdust on it to keep the smell down.

The rooms had bunk beds in them with a nice mosquito net around them. The “walls” were made of green see-through material (see photos). The only place with light and electricity was the kitchen so we had to use flashlights once it got dark. We had banana trees and other green and beautiful plants all around us. Just past the bathrooms, was a river that was great for swimming in.

Nina had plenty of room to explore and run. She was in heaven. Since there was no fence she free access to the whole place. At night, I put a headlamp around her neck so I could find her easily.

The first day we went grocery, found dinner, reserved a tour for the next day and relaxed in the kitchen playing cards. We didn’t have much time to do anything else as we arrived there mid-afternoon and it gets dark around 5:30 pm.

We wanted to go into Corcovado National Park to an amazing waterfall I read about online. We found out four things. One we need a guide to enter the park and since it was Semana Santa we couldn’t do so. Second, a guide was around $75- $90 a person. Third, the waterfall I wanted to go to was closed to the public as it was used for drug purposes a while back. And lastly, Nina can’t enter the National Parks here in Costa Rica. Which means she would be in her cage for most of the day. (Not good for her)

Since Corcovado Park was not going to happen, we decided to do a kayak tour to see bioluminescence in the evening and hike the river by our hostel in the morning. The kayak tour was $35 a person for 3 hours and the river hike was free.

The river hike was a sight to see. We simply directly walked the river. Nina was able to come with us. She absolutely LOVED IT! The hike led to a small waterfall off to the side. Not huge and you couldn’t swim at the bottom, but it was worth it to see. Once you walked a little past the waterfall there were pools of water perfect for relaxing and swimming.

Nina was such a protector because every person we passed, she barked. We met some gold miners as that river has some gold. She didn’t go far and she came back every time I called her name. We did this for most of the morning and afternoon. By the time, we needed to leave for the kayak tour, Nina was knocked out. She slept the entire time we were gone.

The kayak tour was worth it. We weren’t sure if we would see the bioluminescence because of the full moon. When the moon is full, it’s too bright to see the lights in the water. Bioluminescence is plankton in the water that glows when moved. We got lucky that the thunderstorm had such dark clouds that covered the moonlight. They were like stars in the ocean. It is a must see!

On our last full day, we went to a beach called, Playa Pan Dulce and another waterfall. That was an adventure for sure, we got lost. The man said the waterfall was to the right after the second bridge. We walked over the bridge and kept walking looking for the right to turn. We walked this HUGE MOUNTAIN!! I was so slow and Nina was right by my side the entire time, barking at anyone that passed.

Finally, we decided we had enough and asked a taxi that was driving by. We passed the turn a long time ago. We turned around and spent some time on the beach first. Nina and I were exhausted so we skipped the waterfall for a nap in the car. The others went to the waterfall.

I was able to hang out with some amazing woman. Nina got exercise and showed me how perfect of a dog she is for me. We all got to see a beautiful, lush, and tranquil place.

Website Work and Taxes

I had my first coaching call with Evan. He is such an amazing coach. In one session, I learned so many new things. I learned my post to the Death Row inmate is at the top of the second page on google. I know how to look at my website privately without messing with the stats. We got a game plan for the theme. Did some small changes to help my google legitimacy better.

I am working on two different items to sell on the blog. I am super excited to share them with you when they are ready! I have been putting good energy into making them happen!

Since I am still technically a resident of Maryland and I am still a citizen of the US, I need to pay taxes if I make over $12,000. I made $12,220 last year. SOOOO…. I paid $21 to the US government and a whopping $552 to the state of Maryland!!!! It is ridiculous. And there is no way out of it until I become a permanent resident of Costa Rica. Then I will qualify to an exception.

There are only 4 ways to become a permanent resident of Costa Rica .

  1. Marry a Tico or someone with a residency here
  2. Have a baby
  3. Own a business
  4. Buy land or a house that is worth over $150k

None of those options work for me so I will be paying taxes to the US government every year.

Life in Costa Rica is fascinating, ever-changing, and beautiful. It is stressful and crazy, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I am in love. Would you want to live in a place like Costa Rica?