Tuesday, February 19, 2008

“In Good Hands”
Liz and Suzy's Jungle-Fusion

If you can, GO! Pura Suerte is a special place in the lush beauty of Costa Rica.

Our arrival at Pura Suerte was delayed nearly 24 hours due to the fact that (embarrassingly so) we got lost in the city of San Jose for oh, roughly, 3.5 hours. We had the bad luck to be detoured by construction and when it became dark we were still in the confines of the city with no foreseeable way out. We decided to call Drennan - - who by the way is one cool cat - - he told us to flag down a cab and give the driver the cell phone we rented (great idea). Next thing we knew, we were following the cab driver to an inexpensive hotel that Drennan knew of where we would stay for the night. From then on, we were in good hands for the rest of our trip. Keen to this new idea of following a cab, we found another nice driver the following morning who kindly led us out of the city to the autopista headed towards Pura Suerte. It was a scenic drive, especially once we reached the two lane part that climbs and descends the mountain. We encountered Sodas (snack huts on the roadside), a cute puppy, and a boy who wanted a ride. (We said no.) ps – Drennan being so cool came as no surprise given that his brother, Ryan - - a friend of Liz’s, - - is also quite cool! (Thank you, Ryan, for telling Liz about the farm and our having the smarts to go!).

Once we reached the town of San Isidro we called Drennan, who luckily happened to be having lunch in town. So we finally met and joined him and his neighbor, Andy, for lunch at a little café. We then followed him the rest of the way to the farm, carving our way on dirt roads through the misty rain. Sue amused herself by taking pictures of Drennan’s truck disappearing into the fog. Liz drove along, ready to use the 4-wheel-drive if necessary.

Finally, we reached our destination. It was beautiful! We were immediately taken in by the peaceful atmosphere and the way the buildings settled naturally into the mountain, almost as if they had grown up out of the soil. Our open-air cabin, the octagonal stretch, was spacious and comfortable with its entrance framed by a canopy of plants and flowers. We had a very inviting hammock and even a loft! We also met Drennan’s dogs, Mana and Sadie, who are just about the cutest two dogs ever! We both have good dog karma and so the dogs became our best buddies. If you are lucky, they will escort you to and from your cabin just like they did for us. (This is especially comforting at night, when you are strolling along with just a flashlight.) They are a real treat, like bookends for this amazing place. The farm in visually stunning and filled with scenery one can only hope to see in their lifetime. Nature at it’s finest.

Also, if you are lucky, you will meet Mudflapp, AKA Jason, who has been a volunteer on the farm for three months so far. He’s easy-going and way cool and he really made us feel at home. Liz spent an afternoon working with him in the garden and couldn’t have been happier. Of course, with dirty hands and fingernails in desperate need of a scrubbing, she was grateful to have a refreshing shower in our mosaic-tiled shower. Right on! : )

The restaurant was undergoing some renovation work (it’s awesome!) so our meals were at the main house, which is also equipped with essentials such as a hammock and a porch looking out into the rain forest. It is quite hypnotic and ultra serene. Drennan and his lovely girlfriend, Pamela, fed us well. We had pasta and meatballs, freshly sautéed vegetables, salad, lentils, rice and beans, pesto and grilled cheese sandwiches (Not all at once, though.) Thanks to Mudflapp, we had Bon-Bons and galletas (cookies) for dessert. The food was delicious and the company equally as lovely. We had fresh fruit and coffee in the mornings while sitting on the porch - - it was heaven!

There is a large waterfall nearby that we hiked to with a nice couple, Cory and Caitlin, who were visiting from Seattle. Mana escorted us all down the hill to the brilliant, stunning waterfall. Mind you, it had been drizzling from the start and then it had really begun to rain hard, so we all knew that the trek up would be no easy venture. Still, we postponed our worries and Sue swam in the pool under the falls while Liz hung out with Mana, seeking cover from the rain under a rock overhang, and then we all practiced our technique of skipping rocks. Mana, our little champ, led us back up the trail. We crawled through the ankle-deep mud, sometimes on all fours, hoping we didn’t lose our footing and slide back down. We took our soaked selves and Mana back to the main house where Drennan gave us some much-needed beer and a hot lunch. We were filthy and wet but totally exhilarated. It was fun!

The next day, Drennan and Mudflapp gave us the official tour. Even after two days on the farm we were shocked at how huge it really was. We walked all over and the guys pointed out various plants and flowers and even a toocan. Drennan showed us the future sites for the outdoor amphitheater and the yoga deck. Mudflapp cut chunks of sugarcane for us to chew on. We walked up to the brand new second floor of the restaurant and took in the incredible view. The clouds that had been clinging to the mountain peaks cleared away and we could see all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

We were overwhelmed by the serenity of Pura Suerte. Pure Luck? Pure peace, pure nature, pure beauty. Whatever you call it, we were very refreshed by our experience. Morning coffee on the porch with just the jungle for company. A nap in the hammock. Two awesome dogs to play with and be our escorts. (We loved them!) Great food and great people. Incredible.

We were sad to leave Pura Suerte behind, but eventually it was time to move on and we headed to the coast. We had lunch in Dominical, which is very cool beach town and then we took off down the bumpy road to Quepos. Sue did the canopy zip-line tour in Manuel Antonio National Park (wheee!) while Liz relaxed at the beach. Of course we had a good time there, but it was definitely a shock to be plunged into that touristy atmosphere after our stay at Pura Suerte. One day was plenty for us and we drove back to San Jose along a different route than the one we took out of San Jose. The road hugged the ocean for the first half of our trip and later wound up and down a mountain. It’s a gorgeous country and we really enjoyed our time on the road.

Our days at Pura Suerte were precious and relaxing. I tell you, after less than a day on the farm we were talking about when we would be able to return. You have to see this place for yourself. To reiterate, Pura Suerte and Costa Rica are special. Go! You will find yourself in good hands.

We can’t fit them all in the blog, so if you want to see additional photos of Pura Suerte, check out the “Costa Rica” set on Sue’s Flickr page: Click Here

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