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Costa Rica boasts natural beauty, gracious residents

By Staff | May 20, 2010

Lance Koprowski and his fiance Rachele embark on a trip to Costa Rica to visit with family and explore the country. Cashew fruit is edible right off of the tree, but the nut on top is poisonous unless roasted. Costa Rica features mountainous country and pristine beaches. A local artist’s work highlights the color and vibrancy in Costa Rica. A white-headed capuchin tries to rifle through Koprowski’s pockets at the beach. Monkeys are a regular site in Costa Rica.

(Editor’s note: Lance Koprowski is an artist with John Grey Painting on

Sanibel. His family owns a condo in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica. Koprowski shares

a recent tale of his time spent with his fiance Rachele in April.)

My fiance Rachele and I went to Costa Rica in April. We took a flight from

Fort Lauderdale straight to San Jose International Airport in Costa Rica. It

was a breeze; only a two-hour flight. Once we landed, our family picked us

up and we decided to take the long way to our family’s condo in Jaco Beach.

Our first Costa Rican experience was eating cashews. Yes, cashews. Few know

that cashews are actually the only nut grown on the outside of the plant.

More amazing is that the cashew nut is grown on a fruit, that is very

tasteful! It is a tad bitter, but very good. We continued on our drive,

eating cashew fruit, and looking over the mountainside at some of the most

beautiful beaches and sceneries I have ever seen. Jaco is a quaint town,

small in size but rather large in personality. Locals are very gracious and

patient with non-Spanish speaking visitors. We walked around quite a bit and

took a few cabs. On one walk, we saw wild horses bathing in the canal. They

were quite beautiful. My bride-to-be saw a painting by a local artist and,

not knowing, took a picture of it! When we got home from our vacation I made

a rendition of the painting for her to serve as a memory of our phenomenal

vacation. We visited the local restaurants that served us the most amazing

foods. We went to the local watering holes and met some really great people.

Wanting to get out and see the view up close and personal, we rented ATV’s

and took a tour into the mountains, bathed in a waterfall and met a little

white-faced monkey named "Nieto" (Spanish for grandchild). Our tour guide

took us onto Hermosa Beach where the beach is clean and the sand is dark.

Our last night we took a cab to Villa Caletas, a local resort. We sat

mountainside, witnessed a wedding, then watched the most amazing sunset as

we ate the best dishes Costa Rica has to offer (lobster and crab bisque,

beef medallion and shrimp, chicken and rice). We woke early the last morning

to watch the sunrise over the mountain tops. Jaco beach isn’t quite like

Hermosa, the sand is tar-like and filled with shells that hurt a little

while you walk. But the view was still absolutely amazing. We finished out

our trip by taking a bus back to San Jose, this time taking the newest

"short route", which took only about an hour. We walked around San Jose,

eating at the oldest hotel standing, The Hotel Costa Rica, and taking in the

local architecture. Our family picked us up, took us out to eat at a local

BBQ restaurant (go figure) and we went straight to bed, truly exhausted and

stuffed! Our flight home was as easy as the first. Customs was a breeze, the

flight was good and once we landed – although the trip was worth every

minute – we sighed a big relief to be back home.