Happy Birthday, Sierra! (Linda)

Yesterday my lovely firstborn child turned 12. Very hard to believe. I stayed up late the night before her birthday doing a watercolor painting for her card and writing her a poem. Cassidy also did a lovely watercolor card for her of a beach sunset.

On the morning of Sierra’s birthday we had to go get our COVID tests, as having a negative test is now required to board any international flight bound for the U.S. It was kind of a pain to get the appointments, but everything went smoothly once we arrived at Hospital Metropolitano in Quepos. We had to wait for quite a while to get the actual nose swab (ouch), but the girls did great, with some help from Rufus the stuffie. The best news is that we have already received our negative results — PHEW! Now I just need to figure out how to upload them to the United website.

During the day yesterday I attempted to use up some of our remaining staple ingredients by making homemade chocolate chip cookies. It turned out to be quite a science experiment, since our house has no measuring cups, no measuring spoons, no mixer, and a very confusing oven that I have not quite mastered. Let’s just say the cookies were the most unusual chocolate cookies I have ever made, but not bad for those who really actually prefer to eat cookie dough (e.g. crisp on top, raw on the bottom)!

The rest of Sierra’s birthday was spent – as most days – in online school. Bleh. But after school we went down to Playa Dominicalito for a lovely sunset.

We then drove into Dominical for sushi – Sierra’s favorite! – at Sushi Domincal. The sushi was pretty good, but it took FOREVER. Alas. We played many rounds of Hearts while waiting. We then rushed back for ice cream sundaes at home, which Sierra prefers to cake. The rush was because I had scheduled an 8pm surprise Zoom bday call for Sierra with some of her school friends, which was so special. Boy do we miss seeing everyone in person, but I know it meant a lot to her to see everyone on the screen. THANK YOU, FRIENDS!

This morning we went to Playa Linda and were pleasantly surprised at the excellent swimming and surfing conditions. I am going to miss morning beach swims so much, I am trying not to think about it!

View from Playa Linda looking South
Palm tree backdrop at Playa Linda

Cataratas Nauyaca (Linda)

On Sunday we got up early to drive to Cataratas Nauyaca (the Nauyaca Waterfalls). There are two entry points for the falls, and we drove to the more remote one that is a longer drive (about 45 minutes), but a shorter hike in. I’m so glad we did, as it was a gorgeous drive, and it was also less crowded on our ‘side’ of the waterfall – the Nauyaca Waterfall Nature Park.

We started hiking by about 8am, and most of the hike was actually along a narrow, hilly dirt road that wound through farmland and eventually entered the rainforest.

We arrived first at the Upper Falls, and I think we were the first ones there. It was pretty spectacular.

Sierra and Cassidy at the Upper Falls

But the view from the Lower Falls was even better, as you could see both waterfalls, and there was a lovely deep green pool to swim in.

Cassidy looking at the Upper and Lower Falls (for scale, see the two people standing on the middle right?)

We were so hot the water felt amazing!

Sierra, me and Cassidy taking a plunge below the Lower Falls

The entire hike back was uphill, and the sun was definitely hotter than on the way down. We stopped about halfway up for a break at this spot.

We survived thanks to mentos, orange tic tacs, and playing the categories game. When we got back to the parking lot, we spent some time lounging at the lovely restaurant there and drinking jugos naturales. What a spot! If it had been a bit later we would have stayed for lunch.

From the restaurant you could see Diamante Falls on the opposite side of the canyon.

View of Diamante Falls

After the waterfall hike we drove to Parque Reptilandia, a pretty impressive place that has snakes, turtles, crocodiles, and a few frogs (I finally got to see a poison dart frog) — some native to Costa Rica, but many others that are not. They even had a Komodo Dragon! I’m not a big fan of snakes, but Cassidy took quite a few photos for her friend Elizabeth, who aspires to be a herpatologist. I can’t include them here or my mother would stop subscribing to this blog šŸ™‚