Monday, March 16, 2009

Family Time in La Fortuna and Surfing at Playa Samara

This is Janet’s turn to blog:

In February, my teenage daughters spent two weeks with us exploring our world in La Paz and meeting our friends here. It was a special treat for me to share my Costa Rica life with them. We interspersed their trip with visits to some of our Costa Rica highlights: a day at the hot springs, a visit to La Fortuna, and surf time at Playa Samara.

It was wonderful seeing Madeleine and Lydia exploring La Paz with the local children, going for unexpectedly long likes, swimming in the river and sharing their slack line. We are amazed at how in two weeks they became comfortable in the language and culture of Costa Rica.

The girls came to Costa Rica determined to ride on a zipline. Our good friend Graciela made reservations for us at her family's famous Sky Tram and Sky Trek in La Fortuna ( in the shadow of Volcano Arenal. On the drive up to Sky Trek, we pulled off to take photos of the panoramic view of Lake Arenal. When we returned to the car, it wouldn’t start. This inconvenience became an opportunity for the girls to experience one of the true highlights of Costa Rica….the warmth and generosity of its people. We walked the final two hundred meters to the reception desk where the Sky Trek staff went out of their way to help us. While the girls rode the zip lines together, Sky Trek’s maintenance person did what we could to ascertain what was wrong with the car and help get it going. A local hotel owner at Sky Trek with her guests over heard my plight and stepped in to help. She offered us a ride back to La Fortuna with her guests and a room for the night at her comfortable Hotel Vista del Cerro ( By evening, her husband had helped tow our car back to the hotel, the hotel cook had given the car a once over by flashlight in the hotel parking lot and had pinpointed the problem before calling a local mechanic who came at night with his family to repair the car’s electric system. We left the next morning with a working automobile and many new friends.

Our days at Playa Samara were equally magical. The girls spent two days playing in the surf with our used surfboard. After many failed attempts to stand, the surf teachers at Surf Samara came to their rescue offering the use of a long, stable board for the day and some surf pointers ( The girls got up on the next try and were surfing like experts by the time we left the beach for home.

The final night was spent back in La Paz with our neighbors. We shared a feast. The Arias family contributed a chicken, rice dish and a tres leche that the girls helped make. We brought a salad and pasta with fresh vegetables for the most part from our shared garden. The evening ended with all the children piled on the beds giggling and playing. We will treasure this time together and everyone here will look forward to the chicatitasnext trip.