Hola from Quepos! Fittingly, my life briefly flashed before my eyes when I boarded this plane for a 15 minute flight with NatureAir from San Jose to Quepos. I found myself asking if this reactionary adventure to my first semester in law school was really worth it… eh, I decided it was! 
I was very apprehensive about this flight leading up to it, but it turned out to be a fun experience and a much smoother ride than I expected. There was hardly any turbulence! Just to be extra careful (haha), I sat directly behind the pilot, so I could just follow him out of the plane in case anything bad happened. However, 15 scenic and uneventful minutes later, we arrived at the Quepos airport (pictured below).

After paying a $3 “exit fee” to leave the airport (ugh!), I took a bus into the village to find my accommodation. I was the only English speaker on the bus so I got to practice even more with my driver and seat mate. After arriving at Hostel Plinio, I immediately changed into my bathing suit, went for a long swim, and napped on a lounge chair. All recent memories of the law library’s fluorescent lighting and dusty bookshelves faded away, replaced by recent good memories and the peace and beauty of the present moment. Pura Vida! 

After settling into my room (essentially a screened-in porch that feels like a treehouse), I walked 1 km into Quepos to buy some new sunglasses (mine did not survive the trip.. RIP!) for only 3,000 colones (about $6). I then set off to hike to Playa Mancha, a hidden beach the receptionist had told me about. Unfortunately, I got a bit lost along the way. “Hola! Donde es la playa?” (Playa=beach in Spanish) I asked a few friendly locals I encountered along the way. They tried their best to help me, but I ultimately decided to turn around and head back toward Plinio. As there were no signs (it is a hidden beach after all) and I was all alone in a fairly remote area, I was beginning to think perhaps this hidden beach just wasn’t in my plan. I did see a lot of monkeys along the trail, which was fun! Earlier, I had stopped at a roadside restaurant along the way to ask for directions, so I stopped here along the way back to show some business to the nice and hospitable owner. I had some very delicious and fresh ceviche, and an Imperial (Costa Rica’s national beer). 

The next day included a visit to the Manuel Antonio Park, and I finally found la playa! I visited with the receptionist from my hostel (she moved here from Ireland 3 years ago and hasn’t left yet), her cousins visiting from England, and another solo traveler from Colombia. Our guide was Marvin, a native who could spot the most obscure and camouflaged animals in the trees with his superhuman eyesight. He’d then train his mini-“telescope” to let us mere mortals view the animals, too, while he told us interesting facts about the flora and fauna.

I never thought bats were cute… until Costa Rica
3- toed sloth. Known for being lazy, they are actually pretty efficient. They can latch onto high branches for days at a time, safe from the grasp of predators, without expending any energy. They only come down once/week to use the bathroom, so I guess we caught this guy at a bad time…
Gladiator frog
This guy (a congo monkey) is my favorite. His face says it all. Pura Vida!

After our animal-spotting trek, I split off to go for a long swim in the Pacific. I floated and swam in the ocean for a very long time and got lost in my own thoughts.
My little spot en la playa ❤️

The ocean here has no sharks, jellyfish, or riptide (according to Marvin)… how much more perfect could this country get!? After swimming, I dried off and met a family from Jacksonville, Fl, who had set up their towels nearby. While chatting, a raccoon ran up and grabbed this family’s food! Fortunately, they left all other belongings alone. After this excitement and wonderful chat, I set off hiking to Playa Gemalas, swam some more there, then hiked to the “Lost Port.” Feeling pretty exhausted at this point, I bought a fresh coconut for lunch (they hack the top off with a knife and stick a straw in for the fresh juice) and took the bus back to Quepos, where I read and chilled by the pool the rest of the day. 
I like it here so much I’ve decided to stay an extra day!