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A Villa Vacation on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast—Page 2

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The next morning, after a jog around the golf course and past Los Sueños Marriott on the beautiful paved pathways, it was onto our next adventure, the Río Tarcoles Crocodile Tour.crocodile Costa Rica Several operators take boats along this river, famous for having the highest concentration of enormous crocodiles in Costa Rica. And there they were, lazily sunning themselves on either shore, as flocks of egrets and other birds flapped by. The guide had names for all of them. "This skinny white one here, this is Paris Hilton," he smiled. A 16–foot monster one of our guides fearlessly fed entire raw chickens by hand (and allowed us to pet after his great bulk seemed satiated) was quite aptly called Osama bin Laden. "And that fat old alpha male," the guide continued, pointing to another truly enormous croc, "he is called Fidel Castro."

Amused to see the enemies of America so well represented, I had to ask: "Do you have one named Hugo Chavez?"

"Of course," the guide chuckled. "He is a small one with a very big mouth."

Following Mark and Michael's recommendation, after our excursion we opted for an inexpensive lunch in the scruffy–but–festive beach town of Jacó, 5km and a world away from Los Sueños. Poseidon's, an unassuming restaurant just off the main drag, served up outstanding casados, the Costa Rican national dish; the word literally means "married" and refers to what a wife should serve her man for the large midday meal (less applicable, of course, as more women join the work force), usually rice, beans, two or three deli–style salads, and your choice of meat, chicken or fish. Ours were excellent and oh so enjoyable, as we counted tattoos and dreadlocks on the surfers and backpackers cruising by.

Our personal driver picked us up, and was off to our next activity, Horse Tours Jacó, where delightful British expat and expert horsewoman Lucasta Rogers guided us on some serious soft adventure. Our large, healthy steeds, clearly accustomed to inexperienced riders like ourselves, calmly carried us across rivers and mountains till we finally arrived at an untouched and beautiful beach. There, fresh pineapple was served atop a banana leaf as we relaxed in wonder at this gentle crescent of pearl gray sand hidden away in the jungle. We agreed that it was the loveliest beach we'd ever seen.

villa pool Costa RicaThe last night in our delightful condominium was spent primarily on our fine private porch, contemplating the sea, the sunset, and the myriad boats bobbing up and down in the bay. A quick dip in the pool and soak in the heated Jacuzzi was made all the more delicious by a light tropical rain that obscured the moon oh so slightly. A few bats flitted by and we made our way back indoors for a truly perfect sleep.

My friend had to return at the airport quite early, easily done from this convenient resort community, and so sadly we hadn't enough time to say goodbye to our wonderful hosts. After a few early morning snapshots of the sun glinting off Los Sueños delightful flowers and vistas, our driver arrived and we were off to San José. And we are still reminiscing about that perfect weekend in paradise.

Story and photos by Paige R. Penland