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Welcome to our blog! We are a husband & wife photography team based in Madison, Wisconsin who document weddings & anniversaries for joyful couples who believe in marriage. This blog is a journal about real love stories, marriage & our own adventures along the way! We are so glad you're here — please stay awhile!

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La Pura Vida | Personal Post | La Fortuna, Monteverde, + Playa Guiones Costa Rica.

February 17, 2016

Our trip to Costa Rica is one I’m still processing. We experienced so much over the ten days we were gone, + personally, it was a trip that challenged me emotionally + physically (in a hard but good way!) + helped me to learn more about the person that I am. We had a lot of time to rest + I think that our time away allowed me to really stop + journal + think about the things I’ve been sharing a bit recently with you guys about dealing with personal stress + anxiety in my life! It was SO GOOD for me to have this time … God always knows what we need + when we need it. I’m so thankful for that!! Like I mentioned, I’m still processing some of those things, so that will be a later, more thought out blog post ; ) hehe!! 

Aside from that (a bit of a deep start, eh!?) : ), I’m going to share about the trip through the pictures because that will simply be the easiest!! One of my favorite things about Costa Rica was it’s diversity — it is such a beautiful country with so many different types of landscapes that are all equally breathtaking!! We visited three major parts of Costa Rica, so I will also split the post into three sections!

1. La Fortuna

La Fortuna was the first stop on our backpacking journey! It is located in north-central Costa Rica + most famously known for it’s volcano, Arenal. The volcano is currently dormant, but a majestic sight indeed! A picture of something so grand can only show so much … it is truly an unbelievable location. I hope I never forget coming around the bend on the highway as we were first getting into La Fortuna — the rain had just stopped + the sun came out from the clouds as the volcano + expansive lake in front of it came into view. Since we were on the bus, I couldn’t get a picture, but it was a scene SO breathtaking!!!

This is the view of the volcano from our hostel. We were so close!

Out exploring our first day! Caleb + his brother, James : )

HUGE leaves + a volcano peeking through in the background!!!

Cows roaming everywhere … and such gorgeous countryside! I don’t know why I was so obsessed with all the cows, the boys kept telling me that we have tons of them here in Wisconsin! For some reason, they were cuter in Costa Rica ; )

On the second day, we took a little shuttle to go visit the Celeste River. On the way, our driver, Miguel, insisted on stopping as we passed pineapple farm after pineapple farm — he wanted to buy us a fresh pineapple to try. It was SO good!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

We also stopped to see Arbol de la Paz (“Tree of Peace”) which is the oldest (400 years!) + biggest tree in Costa Rica!! 

Hiking to the waterfall! Do you see that color?!

Everything is SO lush + green! I have never really been in a rainforest-type setting like this before + it was AMAZING!!

I’m posting some iPhone pics, too, so bear with the quality!! : ) 

Such a magical place! The water appears to be this teal blue color because of the minerals in it. These minerals act as mini prisms + because of their size + shape, the color they reflect when sunlight hits them is this bright blue color! The water itself is actually just clear!

So this is actually where two rivers meet before the waterfall + the famous “Rio Celeste” is formed. Because of their coming together (something with the properties of the water … who knows, I can’t pretend to be a scientist! Ha!), the special minerals that reflect the blue color are formed here!! It’s pretty cool to see them come together!!

In the bottom left photo you can see the bubbles in the river that are the result of a natural hot spring. This area is famous for its hot springs!

On the way home, we saw this little countryside cottage + I decided that if we ever move to Costa Rica, we’re going to live here!!!!

Day two … oh, day two is one that I will NEVER forget! Hiking to the top of a smaller volcano next to the bigger volcano. Views on the way up …

… and then we climbed so high that we were IN the clouds.

THEN, we got to the jungle. And we climbed vertically for two more HOURS!!! This was seriously the most physically difficult thing I have EVER done in my life! Muddy inclines, using tree roots for leverage … pure EXHAUSTION!! Ahhhhhhh. At the top, there was a lake you could swim in inside the crater of the volcano!

At least on the way down I got to see these cuties!!!

Into town for dinner after a long day!! I loved this little park in the center of La Fortuna!

And on the last night in La Fortuna, we were blessed with an AMAZING sunset!!

2. Monteverde

The second portion of our trip was spent in the region known as Monteverde, just south of where we previously stayed in La Fortuna. This part of Costa Rica is also higher up in the mountains with lots of lush rainforests + stunning views! While we were there, we experienced some crazy strong winds, however, that didn’t hold us back from exploring what the area had to offer!! 

My favorite part from our time in Monteverde was, by far, the ziplining! I cannot put into words what it was like to be by yourself, “flying” of sorts 200 meters above the tree tops. It quite literally takes your breath away. Hands down, one of the most amazing experiences of my life so far!! If you ever have the chance to do this in Costa Rica, you should!! We ziplined with the company 100% Aventura  + we loved it! They have the famous “Superman” zipline which is the longest (over a mile) + highest zipline in all of Central America!!

All of the pics from this portion of our trip were taken with the iPhone since we couldn’t really bring our camera with!!

Caleb coming in from the Superman zipline!!

At the end of all the ziplines, you get to the “Tarzan Swing” … basically, you “step” off the ledge at the end of this bridge + swing above the jungle. I still cannot believe I did this!!! What a RUSH!!!!! Right before I stepped off, I asked the guys if anyone had ever died doing this + they both just looked at me. Then they opened the door + told me to go! YIKES! I’m alive!! HA!

James coming down on the swing!!!

And a video to prove I did it!!!! P.S. Turn down your microphone before you watch!!! ; )

A few more snaps from our time in Monteverde!!

3. Playa Guiones, Nosara

Our final destination was … the BEACH!! Ahhh, I can’t even hide that this was my favorite stop of our whole trip!! Most of you know by now that I LOVE the water + just come alive when I’m around it! Give me warm sun, sand between my toes, + ocean waves?! I’m in Heaven!!! : ) 

We stayed in a small surf town on the beach called Nosara. This town was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced … people who live here LIVE + BREATH surfing. It’s their lifeblood, I swear!! It was super cool to experience this for a couple of days … and I won’t lie, it definitely made me want to learn how to surf!!! Our hostel was 200 yards from the ocean + we spent every day there. It was the perfect ending before coming home to freezing Wisconsin winter temps!!

From this …

… to this at night!!! SO GORGEOUS!!!

On Valentine’s Day, Caleb + I splurged by gifting each other an ATV rental for the day to get around the area we were in!! We were able to do a lot more exploring because of this, which was super fun!!

This is a spot up the coast where the lake + river meet the ocean!!

At night, everyone would head to the beach to watch the sunset!

There were so many colors as the sun went down!! I was truly in awe … it isn’t often we get to see something so vast + majestic : )

On the last day, the three of us went out to dinner at the famous La Luna Restaurant in Nosara! The food was absolutely incredible … Moroccan/Mediterranean flair!! And the best pina colada I’ve ever had in my life!!

And great décor to top it all off!!!

Taking it all in on the last day ….

And of course I had to snap a photo of this awesome car nestled in the palms that we passed on the way home!!

Lastly, a huge thanks to these two guys for an amazing trip!! I love you both!!!

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