Friday, May 29, 2009

A beautiful beach wedding (aka: our whirlwind weekend in Guanacaste)

Last Saturday, our family breezed off on a long drive to Playa Real, a beach in Guanacaste (on the west coast of Costa Rica), to attend the wedding of our friends Norbell and Amalia.

Along the way we saw plenty of animals in and on the side of the road: cows, horses, dogs, pigs… it’s always like Wild Kingdom around here! Thankfully the traffic wasn’t too awful and we were able to stop for lunch at El Rinconcito de Doña Elda—a nice, open-air restaurant we’ve eaten at before with yummy food and (importantly—ha!) clean bathrooms.

We stayed at Bahia de los Pirates (Pirate’s Bay), about 10 kilometers down a gravel road, well off the beaten path. The bay got its name from the legend that Captain Morgan had a hideout in one of the islands right across from the beach. While I knew Morgan spent time in Central America, I thought he was strictly a Caribbean sailor … so who knows?

Our villa was near the top of the hill and we loved the views of the bay and the trees and birds. At one point a bright yellow bird (a tanager, I think) flew by and was absolutely brilliant.

It was so hot when we arrived, we quickly changed into swimsuits and spent a couple of hours at the pool with some friends until we had to shower and change for the wedding. (Notably, we left the pool before the groom, who was still in his swim trunks and bare-chested about an hour before the wedding was to start. Things are pretty laid back in this part of the country. ¡Pura vida, Norbell!)

Just around sunset, the beautiful bride and her handsome groom got married on the beach in a lovely ceremony. They couldn’t have picked a more appropriate setting, since Norbell is a surf addict and the couple has a house nearby.

The wedding was very nice (though still hot—whew!) and we had a lot of fun at the reception in the hotel restaurant. The food was good and the music was too. Lauren could barely keep her eyes open once the clock struck 9pm, so we took her back to the villa that we were sharing with our friends Carlos and Julie. Erin wasn’t ready to go and Julie—a very sweet Irish amiga—asked to keep our girl there for more dancing with the promise to have her back to us by 10:00. Erin was tickled to stay and headed up to the dance floor while Dan and I went to collapse in the A/C and get our little one to bed.

The beach was calling on Sunday morning and we headed out around 6:45 before the sun got high and the air grew too hot to enjoy a walk. We went south over some rough terrain and soft sand as we peered into tide pools, watched crabs scurry across the rocks, admired sea urchins hanging out in their watery holes, and watched for birds and lizards (saw both!). Eventually the girls started to wear out and we had breakfast and left for the four-hour return trip to the valley. We hated to leave so soon, but we knew it was best to beat the rain that was destined to fall on the Central Valley in the afternoon. (Thankfully we weren’t in it too long.)

Lastly, I would be remiss in not mentioning the beautiful shell sculpture we received as a remembrance of the wedding. Norbell’s mom made this amazing little portal (nativity scene) from shells found at the beach in Guanacaste. I’m contemplating carrying this to Wisconsin on the plane this summer and leaving it at my parents’ house because I’m so afraid it could break next year in the move. It’s too special and beautiful to risk having it damaged, and it reminds me of our friends and their wedding day—I love it!

¡Pura boda!


Secondary Roads said...

It was back in '73 that my wife, two sons and I spent a weekend at a beach resort in Guanacaste Prov. It was great! We had a wonderful time with Costa Rican friends.
-- Chuck

Jill said...

I am glad you had a good time. That pool looks so good right about now. I love the pics you took!

Justine said...

Ooh, a sunset wedding. How wonderful! And that pool looked amazing! Love the picture of Lauren on the driftwood.

Justine :o )