Costa Rica & Gallo Pinto

Traveling as a family to the rich coast.


Pura Vida!

Pure Life is in fact what they pride themselves on most over in Costa Rica. This sweet strip of land on the central coast, buffers up to both the Gulf of Mexico and the great Pacific. It's approachability, safety, geographical scale, surf and turtles are probably it's biggest tourist pulls. Or simply put- La Pura Vida.

It was May when we traveled as a family to Costa Rica. From LA, a flight to San Jose (the capitol of Costa Rica) is cheaper than most flights to our closer neighbor, Mexico. 

With only 8 days to vacation, we chose to go to the Manuel Antonio province. Specifically to a town called Quepos. A short and beautiful Island hopper plane gets you from San Jose to Quepos in 45 minutes. Manuel Antonio is a national park, and the mix of extensive wildlife and clean beaches are what attracted us to choosing Quepos as our home.

We decided to pick a place and stay put for our week stay with our 14 month old daughter. The regime of packing and unpacking should only be exercised so many times on a short vacation, in my opinion.

Tulemar is the private beach community that we called home. 

The walk down to the beach each day was accompanied by monkeys, giant iguanas, and sloth sightings. Having a clean beach with it's own source of kayaks, baby beach toys, and floatation was a huge plus for us. If we tired of the sand, then we spent the day at one of the pools in the community instead. All with an ocean view. We recommend the Villa Cielito house, where we stayed. The staff of Tulemar were incredibly accommodating to make this tropical treehouse safe and baby-proof.

Sunset from the Villa Cielito balcony.

For the coffee fix and great food we were looking for, Cafe Milagro was our favorite, and a 10 minute walk from our front door.  Quality ingredients, and only smiles from the staff as our restless toddler ran around, stealing stuffed monkeys and keychains  from the cafe's boutique. What parent can resist a restaurant that serves you food while the servers carry your baby around? I'll take two mojitos. Thanks.

Local day trips to Manuel Antonio state park where black sand beaches, and wild life amuse your senses. The reptile and butterfly park (also walking distance from our front door) kept our toddler curious and enthralled. 

As a Californian needing a recharge from the drought-ridden, succulent-clad terrain of our home turf, Costa Rica is the perfect tropical fuel.


Gallo Pinto (the Spotted Rooster)

This classic Costa Rican breakfast is abundant everywhere in the country and in a myriad of ways. Red beans, black beans, fried egg, or scrambled egg. First of all, grains and eggs are truly my preferred pairing any time and all the time. The toddler ate it for every meal and even my coffee-and-bread-ONLY-for-breakfast husband dug in.

(recipe adapted from Boulder Locavore) serves 4 to 6

  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1/c cup bean stock or ½ cup chicken stock if bean is not available
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • Sour cream, if desired as topping
  • 4-6 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  1. Fry onion and bell pepper in vegetable oil, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté a bit more.
  3. Pour in the beans and the stock, bring to a simmer.
  4. Avoid the mixture drying up.
  5. Add in the rice and stir thoroughly, gently.
  6. Don’t mash the beans!
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. In a separate pan, fry the eggs one at a time to desired liking (dot forget to season with salt and pepper!)
  9. Right before serving stir in the fresh cilantro and top with sour cream if desired