This Costa Rican Life: Episode 1

by Andie Mitchell on February 21, 2012

It may or may not be fitting that

the perfect span of time for me to sit and write to you, all lengthy and Andie-like,

to tell you all about my Costa Rican life so far, is while in bed on the third day of illness after haphazardly drinking the local water.

Where to start.

For the past two and a half weeks, I’ve been living just off the shore of LOST. I’m in Punta Uva, a teeny tiny beach town near Puerto Viejo on the eastern coast of Costa Rica. It’s known to be a hot surfing spot. I pictured seven foot waves and people so athletically inclined that my arm muscles would make fun of themselves. That much was true.

It’s paradise.

Our house is set remotely on the beach, amidst coconut trees and all manner of wild leaf and bug. It’s the jungle. Almost to the point where I’d need a machete to hack my way through, were I not on a man made dirt path. Hot and humid, surrounded by the sounds of what must be twelve hundred live bug bands and the slapping tide of the ocean, I can’t help but feel that each and every minute here is an adventure. The greenery, the sand, the coral- they’re all untouched and happily unmanicured by my traveling standards. Those banana trees, though they look like they’re leaning toward the water for a postcard picture, they’re not. It’s just their natural bend. Puerto Viejo is thought to be quite touristy, but I’d say it’s fairly rustic and raw. I say that because:

1. My kitchen is outdoors, outside of my actual living space.

2. My kitchen is outdoors.

3. Mom, my kitchen is outdoors.

4. There is no air conditioning to be had, except inside the town pharmacy and the one ATM (an hour walk away)- and boy do I loiter there.

5. I walk fifteen minutes, at the very least, to arrive at the nearest market to buy water. Any and all drinkable water, that is.

6. Restaurants generally stop serving food after 8ish pm.

7. The internet, similar to my sense of direction, cannot be trusted nor relied upon.

And what amazes me most, other than the fact that life is a whole lot more active, is that I’m quite happy in this ultra-simplicity. On average, Camille and I walk 8 miles everyday. And by 8 I mean 9. And by 9 I mean ask my legs.

Everywhere that requires getting to or coming from- we walk. The other surfing beaches, the markets, the restaurants, bars, you name it, we grab a two liter of water and go. There is one main road that runs straight through all of the connecting towns. It sits just meters from the shore. On many occasions, Camille and I have rented bikes- 1970’s style ones with big swooping handlebars and baskets on the fronts- and ridden them all over. But mostly, we walk along the water to every destination. We’ve found that we can get almost anywhere in 4 miles (one way). And as long as we head home an hour before the sun is due to set (6pm), we’re golden.

For a diehard walker, a gal who already knew herself to be very active, this trip has made me feel like an ultra-marathoner. Badass, to put it lightly. I’ve never moved this much.  And even if I were to spend hours in the gym at home, I don’t know that I’d be so thoroughly exhausted, so completely worked out at the end of each and every day, as I am here. Because once we walk to one location, generally four miles away from our home, we’ll likely swim for hours, practice vinyasa yoga across from the beach, hike, or attempt a sport that I should not attempt. And this is all before trekking back home another four miles on the sand.

Part of me might call it blissful. But that could be the heat talking.

And at night, when the sun has set and the mosquitoes have RSVP’ed to a cocktail party on my legs, Camille and I go out dancing. And when I say ‘go out dancing’ I don’t even necessarily mean to a dance club. Often, it’s anywhere with loud music and enough space for Camille to twirl me. Not every night, but perhaps three out of the given seven? Because we are dancing fools. 

OK, intermission.

Be back soon with more :)

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracy February 21, 2012 at 5:39 am

Love this! So excited for you and a bit jealous!


The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh February 21, 2012 at 5:49 am

I’m so happy for you and moreso that you can function with no AC because this girl would be on the first prop plane to San Jose to the resorts! LOL


Lisa February 21, 2012 at 6:13 am

I’m torn between wanting to reread these posts to pretend I’m there, and forever banning you from my eyes out of jealousy. But you put pictures of guacamole on here, so I’ll keep you.


Jillian February 21, 2012 at 7:31 am

It sounds heavenly, bugs and all! Enjoy… what an incredible adventure.


Michelle in N. Cal February 21, 2012 at 7:44 am

So glad to see your post as I was thinking of you yesterday (and hoping all was well).

It all sounds like an amazing experience! And all that walking! My goodness!

Looking forward to Episode 2 …. feel better soon, chica! :-)


Melissa February 21, 2012 at 7:52 am

This sounds like such an incredible experience, Andie! (minus the illness) Living vicariously right now and wishing I were there . . .


Justin Huguet February 21, 2012 at 8:06 am

Dude! I LOVE that you’re LOVING Costa Rica! Outdoor kitchen sounds RAD-a-tat-tat and 1970′s beach cruiser bikes are the best. Emily and I just booked flights for a two month jaunt in South America. Stoked. Stoked. Stoked.


Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy February 21, 2012 at 8:16 am

Love the update, hope you’re feeling better soon!


Liz February 21, 2012 at 8:29 am

Oh my gosh Costa Rica looks and sounds AMAZING! What a fun and memorable adventure. What do you do for a living that you can take months off in the summer…because I think I need to change my career path! Ever since I got married in Jamaica I have had this undeniable urge to move to the Caribbean and will not rest easy until i find my way there!

I hope you feel better soon! Can’t wait to read more updates from Costa Rica :)


suki February 21, 2012 at 9:26 am

You can drink the tap water in Costa Rica… I really did love the A/C’d ATM! :)


Arenalgarden February 22, 2012 at 4:40 am

26 years and I’ve yet to see an area where the water would get you. The lettuce or cabbage was the culprit.


Juniper February 21, 2012 at 11:53 am

Oh wow I am so loving these Costa Rica details. My husband and I are planning on a big trip there for our 10th anniversary this year. It definitely is sounding more perfect a choice on our part with each of these posts! Yay!


Erica February 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Hi Andie! I was wondering how did you pick where you would travel and stay? I remember you saying that you spent quite a while researching, were there any sites that were particularly helpful while you were looking? Any information or tips you can share would be greatly appreciated!

Haha, ok enough questions for now. I hope you continue to have a wonderful time. Feel better soon!


Jennifer February 21, 2012 at 6:05 pm

What happened to Daniel? Is this trip supposed to help you get over a break-up? It is very out of the blue.


Damyon February 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm

The walking I could take but I don’t like the hot and humid. Especially with no cool respite. Then there are the mosquitoes …

What have you learned of yourself?


Kelly Jo February 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm

already can’t wait for the next chapter. Sounds absolutely dreamy.


Jamie February 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm

I’m so envious that you’re there right now!!! I went to Punta Uva a couple years ago when I graduated college and loved every minute of it. Have you tried their mango y agua yet??? And the coffee is what I miss most, and the food…I just loved it all!


johnny February 22, 2012 at 2:30 am

Love that you are having such a great time. Being sick from drinking the water kinda sucks but I’m sure you will be up and at um soon. I could use all the walking you’re getting!! :)


klh February 22, 2012 at 5:09 am

Such a fun time! Glad you are having a great time!

Katie :)


Katie February 22, 2012 at 6:06 am

I love reading these updates. I can feel your joy! Enjoy.

ps. I’m jealous!


Sara February 22, 2012 at 7:50 am

What an amazing time in your life! How I felt this morning rolling out of bed after my first meeting with my trainer makes me feel like a wuss :) Enjoy your time, be safe and soak up all the memories! Sounds like bliss!


Flo February 22, 2012 at 9:39 am

Hello there! I found your blog like 2 months ago and I love it, I listen to all your advice, tried your recipes and now you are at my country, is so nice to hear that you’re having a good time. I live in Heredia, but I travel a lot in my country, so if you have any questions just ask me I can happily recommend you beautiful places to while you’re here.


Megan (Braise The Roof) February 22, 2012 at 11:58 am

Wow, what an amazing way to exist. I say that from my practically hermetically sealed office, but still! You make it sound so romantic! Intestinal parasites and all. :)


LG February 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Ok, I admit it. I can’t help but wonder where the boyfriend is while you’re out of country.


Sarah February 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I had no problems with the water while I was there…. are you sure you didn’t eat something bad? Did you get your Typhoid shots before going? Good luck and get better soon!


Miss McBooty February 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I can’t wait to visit this paradise. My boyfriend and I are saving up for a vacation (hopefully) next year. This is our next stop though, whenever that may be! Enjoy little lady. Breathe in some sea air for me!


NikNik February 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Your joy is obvious in these posts! I hope you feel better soon.

And twirling is the best!!!!


Jules February 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Dear Lord do I envy you!
But in a good way… enjoy every fricken’ second!


Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) February 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm

What a great trip! PS. I tagged you in my latest post!!


anneliesz February 24, 2012 at 9:36 am

Ah Costa Rica. I completely appreciate that as you are working hard on your book you are also getting to partake in Pura Vida. What a magical time for you (minus the stomach bug but hey, it adds to the story). Enjoy!


Kristin Murdock February 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Feel better, Andie! So happy that you are finding nothing-but-bliss in your temporary home!


jess February 26, 2012 at 10:49 am

I hope you are feeling better!

The only time during our trek through Costa Rica that we stayed in a real hotel, i.e. one that had an actual working toilet and a private bathroom, was also the day that I got severe food poisoning, so I know how you feel. I loved that bathroom so much.

Hope you’re getting lots of writing done :)


Kalli February 26, 2012 at 10:54 am

Oh My Gosh. You are living my dream life! Thank you so much for being such a great writer. I love that I can visualize what that place looks like so easily. Keep writing things like this!! I LOVE your recipes and cooking… but this… this is amazing.


Caroline Musacchia February 26, 2012 at 9:51 pm

I’m so jealous!! This sounds amazing!

Congratulations – You’ve been given the Versatile Blogger award! Please visit my blog to learn more about it:


Karen Hampton February 27, 2012 at 5:18 am

Just discovered your blog from my sister’s blog. You are a delightful writer and I so enjoyed the entries I read. I definitely will be back. Good luck in all you do.


Been to costa rica 30 plus times March 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm

I don’t want to sound like the big loser but costa rica is rife with theives especially where you are. Costa rica is way over priced, 10 americans were killed there last year including one were you are. He was shot in the head. When you first get to costa rica you think you are in a great place but over time you will realize it is very very dark and life is cheap. I realized it when a taxi traver pulled a gun on me, when a tica on the side walk ran up to me grabbed my hand and bit a chunk of skin off my finger, when I saw a combo meal at the airport from burger king was $10, when i saw a life guard get shot dead in jaco. Europeans are always considered walking $$$ and you will pay with your life if you are unlucky. Just google around and you’ll find numerous gringo business owners that were killed, tourist raped and robbed. Costa rica sucks…I go there and to 1 town to surf and then I get the f out. btw I speak fluent spanish and besides the taxi experience ( i wasn’t robbed because I just jumped out)i never personally was a victim other than the ridiculous prices for hotels and food around. cheap can be found but often times you can’t avoid it.


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