Earthquakes, Killer Grasshoppers & Catamarans #CoffeeTalk

I’ve missed writing my daily Coffee Talk posts, but there simply hasn’t been time. Since I set foot on the ground in Costa Rica, I haven’t had a spare moment to write. Any spare time I’ve had, I’ve wanted to spend soaking up this wild and beautiful country… or catching up on sleep. Although admittedly, I’ve done very little of that.

Costa Rica is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Of course, with the exception of a day in Nassau on a cruise in 1990 and a walk over the border into Tijuana when I was in high school, I’ve never been out of the United States. So it’s no surprise this is different. But I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere so beautiful. The Maine coast might rival it — but in such an entirely different way, I really can’t compare.

Conchal-Beach

I’ll write some more specific posts in upcoming weeks about traveling to Costa Rica and our stay at The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal, but today I’m just eager to get my thoughts and experiences down before I forget anything.

I experienced an earthquake — so that’s one thing I can cross off my life list. Not that it was really on it, but I was inexplicably excited when I realized what had happened. It was about a 4 on the Richter scale so it was certainly nothing to be alarmed about, but I felt it. It was in the middle of the night and I felt the bed move. I thought it was odd, but I was too sleepy to be concerned. It wasn’t until we got to breakfast the next day and Danielle told me that she’d thought of me in the night when the earthquake happened that I put 2 and 2 together.

You see, before we got down here, there was news of an earthquake and I freaked out a bit. Danielle remembered that and couldn’t wait to get to breakfast and see if I’d felt it. Turns out these itty bitty ones are pretty common and nothing to be alarmed about.

While you will see photos of us hanging out on the beach and on a gorgeous catamaran (more about that in a minute) this is a retreat/conference for professional bloggers and we have had speakers and facilitated conversations every day. This is our outdoor meeting room. I mean . . . this is insane, right!!???? I can’t get over it.

ROAR14-Meeting-Room-in-Costa-Rica

I love the ladies I’m hanging out with. Being with so many smart, savvy women in one place energizes me.

ROAR14-lunch-buddies

We always say the best part of any blogging conference is the conversations that happen at mealtimes and on the way to and from the sessions and on the beach after the sessions are done for the day. Nadia and Andrea created this event to facilitate those kinds of discussions all day long every day. Even our conference sessions are more conversations than monologues.

Thankfully, they also worked time into our schedule to relax and enjoy our location. Both Andrea and Nadia are passionate about travel, so this location was selected specifically to give us all a travel experience worth sharing with our respective audiences.

roar-at-sunset

So in that vein, yesterday morning we met on the beach bright and early and hopped the Marlin del Rey Catamaran.

Marlin-del-Rey-Catamaran

They took us about an hour away, out into the Pacific Ocean, where we slid off the boat into the water and went snorkeling. I bypassed the snorkeling but I did spend some time in the water — much to my husband’s dismay. I’m not much of a water girl, but I wasn’t about to turn down this opportunity!!!!

ROAR14-on-the-Catamaran

Then as if the views couldn’t get any more magnificent, after our afternoon meetings ended, we took a shuttle up the mountain to The Club at Mar Vista for dinner and a sunset swim in the infinity pool overlooking Playa Flamingo.

infinity-pool-at-club-mar-vista

It was about the most stunning thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I took this picture as the sun set over the mountains. I am in awe at the wild, untouched beauty of this place. (Of course a glass of wine only improves the view . . . )

wine-at-sunset-at-club-mar-vista

It was dark by the time we got back to the resort last night. Melissa and I were pretty exhausted by the time we were stumbling up the steps to our villa.

This is where the killer grasshopper comes in.

I was behind her, about to start up the steps when I heard her shriek and jump back a few steps.

At first I thought there was a raccoon on our porch — wild animals are plentiful here — but it was a HUMONGOUS grasshopper.

I am talking as bit as my FOOT. And I have a big foot, folks.

Let me pause here and tell you something about me. I detest flying things. I am fine with spiders or snakes. But if it flies? Forgetaboutit. I hate birds, butterflies, moths and GRASSHOPPERS. Okay, so do grasshoppers not fly? Well, they jump and buzz around in much the same way. ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY’RE FIVE FEET LONG.

It kept jumping into the light on our steps which made a horrid buzzing sound, and then it would land on the step and sit there for a minute as if contemplating its next move. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Melissa and I were in the same boat. We were both terrified to get around this thing.

To make matters worse, the two Costa Rican employees who were walking by stopped to see what all the ruckus was about. They just stood there and watched us with a bemused expression on their faces, waiting to see what was going to happen next.

Meanwhile Melissa and I were alternatively shrieking and discussing how we were going to get to our room without this gigantic grasshopper flying up our skirts.

She took a deep breath and ran past it, up the steps. She made it none the worse for the wear.

Then it was all me.

“Okay! I’m going in!” I hollered to no one in particular.

Then I looked back over my shoulder at the resort employee and added, “Glad we could provide you with some entertainment tonight!” and with that I dashed up the steps, past the offending grasshopper and into our room, where Melissa and I collapsed into fits of laughter.

I think we laughed about that for about 30 minutes.

So that brings us to today. We have a few sessions this morning, and then we’re headed to Las Catalinas for an afternoon of swimming and dinner. It’s quite the understatement to say that I dread leaving this place. I’m definitely ready to be with my family, but I wish I’d arranged for them to join me here for a few more days.

Of course, in three weeks I’ll be headed to Turks & Caicos so I know that no one has any sympathy for my plight.

I can say this much, though. Costa Rica has given me the travel bug. We’ve never made travel a high priority for our family, but I’m ready to change that. I don’t want my kids to live to 42 without seeing another country. They are at the perfect age to start showing them the world, and I mean to do just that.

I’d love to hear from you . . . favorite place to visit . . . best vacation ever . . . location not to miss. Lay it on me. I’m making a list.

And be sure to follow my Instagram for more travel photos!!