A “Life Changing” Costa Rica Vacation: Setting the Scene

It’s been over a month since I last put up a post. Where has the time gone? The cliché that time goes faster and faster every year as we age is all too true. In the interval, my husband and I have been from Petawawa to Ottawa to Vancouver to Costa Rica and back to Vancouver. No wonder posting has fallen by the wayside. I hope to make up for it in the weeks ahead.

Costa Rica was a new venture for us. For two weeks, we rented a charming apartment high on a hill, overlooking Tamarindo, on the northwest Pacific coast of the country. Tamarindo is located in the region of Guanacaste, about an hour and half drive southwest from Liberia, the home of Daniel Oduber International Airport. The coast is a plethora of bays and beaches which attract tourists and expats from all over the world. Inland, the high hills are covered with dry forest; the plateaus and valleys used for growing sugar and cattle ranching. This is Costa Rica’s “cowboy country.”

The apartment is owned by friends from the YMCA in Toronto who, three years ago, retired from their west end real estate business to take up residence for part of each year in Costa Rica. It has an expansive 180° view over the Playa Grande (beach) and the Playa Tamarindo, and the canopy of green over the town below and the nearby hillsides. It is a short walk on a dirt road down the hill to the paved main street of Tamarindo with its colourful jumble of shops, hotels, bars and restaurants, all hidden by the trees from our sight, in our aerie above. A thriving hotspot which attracts surfers from all over the world, Tamarindo apparently has a raucous night life. High above, we heard little of it.

Our apartment is located on the penthouse floor of a 17-unit pseudo-German-Spanish château called La Residence Colina. It is a massive four-storey white cement structure with a large wood roof with red tiles, and balconies across the facade. Beneath the balconies is a large undulating swimming pool, surrounded by a garden of tropical plants, some with bright coloured blooms. The pool and the garden, and the view from the balcony, are a constant refreshment to the eyes and the spirit.

Inside the apartment, there are two bedrooms, two baths, a large fully equipped kitchen and living room area and then the balcony which extends across the width of the apartment. The ceilings are high with hanging fans turning constantly under the massive wood roof. On the white walls, an artist had painted brightly coloured motifs of fish, flowers, plants and pots in exchange for her rent. There are wooden doors and windows, tiles on the floor, and wrought iron gates strategically placed to provide privacy for the individual units.

When the breezes are blowing, it is delightfully cool. When the breezes drop, it is very hot (33° Celsius), but we never thought to close the windows and doors so we could turn on the air-conditioning. Sometimes, great gusts of dry, dusty wind blow our furniture across the patio, or slam shut any shutters not locked open. Late afternoon, the western sun is so hot that it forces us to retreat indoors from the balcony.


I am going on at length about the apartment because we spent a lot of time there, most often on the balcony. That will be the subject of further posts.

As always, click on any photo above to see larger files in a carousel format.

back to top




  1. Pingback: Costa Rica #2: Adapting to the Heat | The Effervescent Bubble


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s