Rebecca Watkins Photography
Where fine art meets wedding photography.


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Pura Vida! Costa Rica

I am the type of person to be constantly wishing I was on the beach somewhere with a good book. Back in February, Mike (the boyfriend) and I had the chance to spend a week out in Javilla, Costa Rica at the Hotel Laguna Mar. I just wanted to show everyone some of the photos from our week in paradise! I'll be doing a dedicated blog post on Laguna Mar later on.(Many of these photos were taken on the iPhone. I did have my DSLR with me, but it was too bulky to bring everywhere.)

Back in November, Mike and I went to the Luke’s Wings Homecoming Gala out at Terminal A of Reagan International Airport. (Note: Please check out Luke's Wings, they're an amazing organization that helps families of wounded service members visit their loved ones while they're in the hospital or in rehabilitation.) While we were there we entered a couple of silent auctions and a raffle for airfare and a hotel stay in Costa Rica. I tend to be fairly unlucky with raffles or drawings, so I considered buying the tickets to be a donation rather than a chance to win. Mike felt the exact same way and didn't count on us actually winning. Toward the end of the night, they finally began drawing the winning numbers and I had all of our tickets lined up, and they began calling out the numbers. They matched up with the VERY last ticket in Mike's set. I was shocked. I hesitated and was absolutely silent while I double and triple checked. When I finally spoke, I think my exact words to Mike were, "We ****ing won!" I then started giggling like I was 5 years old and half ran (in high heels) to the front to claim our prize.

After months of planning and coordinating with the airlines and the hotel, everything was set. We left Febuary 1st for our Costa Rican adventure. Here was the original plan: 2/1/13- Leave out of BWI at 7AM Have a layover in Ft. Lauderdale Arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica at 12:30. Arrive at the Alta Hotel outside of San Jose and spend the night there. 2/2/13- Leave San Jose via Nature Air at 9:45 AM Arrive in Punta Islita at 10:30AM Get a ride from Punta Islita to our hotel in Javilla Hang out there until 2/8.

Snow and ice on our plane at BWI before sunrise:

What actually happened. 2/1/13- Supposed to leave out of BWI at 7AM, but because of technical difficulties, we didn't leave until 10AM. Miss our connecting flight in Ft. Lauderdale and have an 11 hour layover and try to sleep on benches in the terminal. Our connecting flight leaves 45 minutes late. Arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica at 2:30AM (3:30 AM EST). Arrive at the Alta Hotel 3:30AM 2/2/13- Leave San Jose via Nature Air at 9:45 AM Arrive in Punta Islita at 10:30AM Get a ride from Punta Islita to our hotel in Javilla Hung out there until 2/8.

We unfortunately didn't hang out in the San Jose area as long as we planned on. We were super bummed because even at 3:30AM Hotel Alta seemed like an amazing place to stay.

Ft. Lauderdale Airport: Mike trying to sleep: More attempted nap time at Ft. Lauderdale: Us looking super exhausted right before our flight out of Ft Lauderdale: Hotel Alta in the morning: View from our room at Alta in the morning:

Our trip on Nature Air on 2/2 actually went pretty smoothly-- especially compared to the day before. The plane out to Punta Islita was TINY! This is the view of the interior and we were sitting in the LAST ROW:

Take off was a bit scary and part of the flight felt like a roller coaster ride, but we saw some incredible views of Costa Rica:

Once we were settled in at the Hotel Laguna Mar, we primarily hung out at Playa San Miguel and the estuary. You could sit out on the beach for HOURS and only see a couple of people.

Here is a 360 view of Playa San Miguel and the estuary:

More photos are after the jump:

The hotel ended up having a Superbowl party and many of the local ex-pats attended. Since the broadcast was in Spanish, the announcers would slip up fairly often when there was a touchdown and start yelling "GOOOAAALLLLLL!!!"

The view of Javilla from our suite:

Our last night in Javilla, I made it a point to stay on the beach to watch the sunset over the Pacific.

Waiting at the extensive Punta Islita airport to get back to San Jose:

Now, I wish I could tell you that the way home was less dramatic than the way out. It wasn't. Delays in San Jose made us miss our connection in Ft. Lauderdale. At Ft. Lauderdale airport, Mike and I sprinted from one end of the airport to the other to buy last minute tickets back home on the last flight out (on a different carrier).

The entire trip was absolutely worth it, and the travel drama just added to the adventure. Mike and I had an absolutely phenomenal time, and we've already started talking about going back.

Pura Vida!