The Bohorok Orangutan Centre at Bukit Lawang in Indonesia is one of the only places in the world where you can see orangutans in the wild.
Half a dozen orangutans were swinging in the trees around us when we snapped this photo. The rangers were feeding some of the orangutans on a feeding platorm a few feet away.
Bukit Lawang is a small village deep in Sumatra’s forest, packed with backpacker hostels and cafes. To get there, we took a ferry from Penang, Malaysia to Medan, Indonesia, and jumped on board a mini-bus to Bukittinggi. From Bukittinggi, we took a local bus on roads with potholes deep enough to lose a car.
Continue reading Travel Photo: Orangutan at Bukit Lawang Indonesia
You’d think renting a car in Tamarindo would be easy. There are probably a dozen car rental places in Tamarindo. Hertz. Dollar. Budget. Mapache. National. Alamo. Economy. Vamos. Toyota Car Rental. Poas Car Rental. PuraVida Car Rental. All this in a town in Costa Rica with fewer than 5,000 people during tourist season.
It’s just that all the cars are all rented to someone else. All the time.
We were in Tamarindo for month. After checking out some of the awesome things to do in Tamarindo, we called to pick up a 4×4 for a off-road roadtrip a couple of days in advance. Unforturnately, when we called to make a reservation for our Tamarindo car rental, not one of the car rental agencies had a little 4×4 for rent. Or even a car of any kind for rent. They told me to check back the next day. This went on for a couple of days, until voila, Hertz had a little Diahatsu 4×4 for us.
The moral of the story? When in Tamarindo, reserve your car well in advance. Not a bit deal for us, as we had plenty of time and a flexible schedule, but it may be a problem if you’re only in town for a week…
Continue reading The Elusive Tamarindo Car Rental
We stayed at Mango Condos for a month during our stay in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Overall, Mango was one of the cheaper Tamarindo condos we looked at renting. We were quite happy with the value that we got for the price, despite a couple of minor problems.
Price. We negotiated with the ever-patient owner, Julius, and got our two bed, one bath unit at Mango condo for a month, starting in mid-January, for $1,200 USD. When we went, the Tamarindo economy was still in a bit of a funk, but prices were starting to pick up again, so you might pay more.
Security. The condos have a secure, locked front entrance, with separate keys for each condo. There are three levels, with condos facing either the dusty front street or the big leafy trees in back. A troupe of howler monkeys traveled through trees in the back a couple of times, making for some great wildlife watching out back. Because the condo is about a three minute walk from the beach, none of the condos have ocean views.
Pool. The pool is nice but small, with a small kiddie pool and an attractive fountain. It’s great for a quick plunge, but not really big enough to hang out at all day. It’s in the center of a small courtyard, and out of the sun most of the day. The cafe tables by the courtyard are a great place to read the local paper or enjoy a drink…
Continue reading Pura Vida at Mango Condos Tamarindo
Tamarindo’s expensive, and the grocery stores are no exception. Once we got used to the sticker shock after coming from San Jose, we managed to find almost everything we needed at the local Tamarindo supermarkets.
Super 2001 – Our condo was about half a block away, so this was our default place to stock up on groceries. This is a very small supermarket (only about five isles, so about the size of a convenience store in Canada or the US).
The good. Considering the store is so small, they have a respectable selection of North American staples. There are some decent bakery items (including pizza) in the cases next to the cashiers. The wine selection was good.
The bad. Not cheap, but nothing is in Tamarindo. This is the smallest of the three main grocery stores in Tamarindo…
Continue reading Supermarkets in Tamarindo
Tamarindo has no shortage of great restaurants. It does, however, have a big shortage of cheap restaurants. With a month to spend in Tamarindo, and a family of four to feed, we didn’t want to spend a fortune on eating out. These are the best cheap eats that we found in Tamarindo on a budget.
Pizzeria La Baula
This place has me so Pavlovian-conditioned that just saying Pizzaria La Buala makes my mouth water. Pizzeria La Baula is a home run: Amazing pizzas with high quality ingredients and a comfortable, casual, attractive place to hang out.
If you’re craving anything other than pizza or salads…
Continue reading Searching For Cheap Restaurants In Tamarindo
Tamarindo is famous for its surf breaks, and almost equally famous for being a bit expensive and full of tourists. We spent a month in town enjoying the waves, and got a chance to track down some of the best cheap things to do in Tamarindo.
Boogie boarding on Playa Langosta. While Playa Tamarindo is the most famous beach in Guanacaste, Playa Langosta is just a short walk away. The waves at Playa Langosta are generally smaller, and better for families and newbie surfers. That said, we caught the waves at Langosta at high tide on a big swell day, and managed to smash a boogie board in two. Cost: One replacement cheap boogie board from Super Compro grocery, $10.
Zip lining at New Monkey Jungle Canopy Tours. Great from begining to end. New Monkey Jungle has seven zip lines and an awesome…
Continue reading Amazing Cheap Things To Do In Tamarindo
Costa Rica will always have a special place in our hearts. Some of our experiences were both transformative and surreal, like watching an endangered leatherback turtle lay her eggs on a moonlit beach at Playa Grande. Some of our times there were more carefree, like the amazing afternoons spent lounging by the pool and boogie boarding at the Langosta Beach Club. Some were simply exhilarating, like gliding down a zipline head first as your feet just barely clear the treetops. Some were also ominously relaxing, like swimming in a natural hot pool on the slopes of a still active volcano.
Even more profound and memorable, however, is that Costa Rica was the place where we first discovered Trits…
Continue reading Trits, or Why I Will Always Love Costa Rica
This winter we decided to make it a work season. We usually enjoy celebrating Canada’s coldest season simply by not being here. Hockey lovers, skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, cross country skiing lovers and all those other winter pastime people are pretty much crazy in our minds. Sure, if you’re stuck here anyway you should make the most of it and provided the weather is nice all of those can be quite enjoyable. We however, would much rather be just about anywhere else during the season of snowstorms, windchill warning days and “the greyness” as we like to call it.
Since we were trapped here for the winter and Micki’s contract was scheduled until May we decided that a short warm vacation was in order. We never knew how much of an adventure we’d have before we even got on the plane though…
Continue reading Kamloops to Waikiki, a Mini Adventure in the Making
Before our kids and even before he was my husband, Charles and I spent a year traveling in South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. We dove the Great Barrier Reef, saw ancient Angkor temples in Cambodia, and watched wild orangutans playing in the Sumatran jungle.
We came out of that with a commitment: We weren’t going to live a conventional life. It was travel for us; the open road and all that it offers. We were going to be digital nomads.
We made a plan: travel every winter, and come back to Canada in the summers to earn some money, enjoy the sun, and visit family.
And then we had children…
Continue reading Children And a Life of Travel
As much as Charles and I would like to go whipping about the globe at a moment’s notice, the reality of it is a bit different. Exactly two kids, a cat and a house full of stuff different.
The kids? Easy. They come with us. The cat? A eight hour drive and he’s rolling in catnip on Grandma’s floor.
But, our stuff is a bigger problem. What on earth do we do with all our stuff when we’re on an extended trip? We’ve got some great tips for long term travel storage that have worked for us in the past.
Continue reading Long Term Travel Storage: What We Do With Our Stuff While We’re Gone