I'm just a girl trying to have a cup of coffee all around the world. This is a blog about travel, expat life and our adventures living an international lifestyle, with two kids and a dog.

Andrea Fellman of Wanderlust Living Travel Blog

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Posts by Category: Hudson

Adventure September 24, 2015 posted by

Hudson’s 9th Birthday at Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

Llanos de Cortez Waterall Costa Rica Wanderlust Living

Llanos De Cortez Waterfall

Birthday parties in Costa Rica usually consist of a pool or the beach, there’s not a whole lot of options for Birthday celebrations, but the kids have just as much fun (and sometimes more) regardless.

Birthday’s don’t have to be a big deal and since shopping is tough here, gifts are small or a hand made card will do just fine. We all prefer that anyways, for most of us we shed all that “stuff” before we moved to Costa Rica, so accumulating more of it is certainly not our goal. Birthdays here are definitely not about the gifts, its just about the kids getting together to have some fun to celebrate their friend and make them feel special.

For Hudson’s 9th Birthday I was racking my brain trying to come up with something we could do besides a pool party at our house. We seem to have pool parties all the time and it didn’t feel special or anything different from our typical Saturday. I also knew that boys only last so long in the pool and I imagined dripping wet boys running all over the house wanting to play on ipads or the Xbox, and I wasn’t exactly excited about that scene. I wanted them to DO something.

So…. we took all the 4th grade boys in Hudson’s class to the Llanos de Cortez waterfall! I had been there once before on a Mom’s weekend getaway, but Harris and the kids had never been, so I thought it would be something different and fun!

The Llanos de Cortez waterfall is just 30 minutes south of Liberia in the town of Bagaces, right off the Pan American Highway. It took us about 1 1/2 to get their from our house at the beach. We hired a shuttle to take the 12 boys and we followed behind with a few other parents – we asked a few dads to come along for extra supervision.

Llanos de Cortez Waterfall Costa Rica

Llanos de Cortez Waterfall Tips

Once you arrive at the dirt road you will be stopped and asked to make a donation to visit the waterfall, this money goes to the local school in Bagaces, so please make a nice donation. Then you will park your car and there will be a man to “help” you park – simply give him a small tip. Do not leave any valuables in your car.

The climb down to the Llanos de Cotez waterfall is a short hike but rocky and a little steep. All of us navigated down in nothing but flip flops, so it is not difficult just be careful with younger children.

There is a nice lake below the waterfall to swim and you can even climb up on the rocks just below the waterfall and jump off. It is not high but just be careful of the slippery rocks and be sure someone has checked the area that you are jumping into.

ON the weekends there is usually someone selling water, soda, snacks, and even grilling meat on a stick! However, you should probably pack a backpack with water and snacks.

To the left of the waterfall there is a very shallow river, and if you cross it there is a path that takes you up to the very top of the waterfall. Then what we discovered was another little watering hole.  It is hard to describe how to get to this secret little oasis, but if you venture straight on what sort of looks like a path (careful of barbwire) you’ll come to wonderful hidden pool.

While I was at the waterfall the girls came back to tell me about what the dads and boys discovered and that they were jumping from the cliff. I immediately grabbed my camera and told them to take me there! I realize the first thought that should have crossed my mind was if it was safe, but truth be told –  I thought of pictures first, then safety. But there were three dads in the water and they made sure it was deep enough for them to jump.

I am sure the other parents will love seeing these photos….

Llanos Cortez Waterfall Hugh

Llanos Cortez Waterall John


Llanos Cortez Waterfall Otis

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Llanos Cortez Waterfall watering hole

Llanos Cortez Waterfall Hudsons Birthday Boys

Hudson’s 9th Birthday at Llanos de Cortez Waterfall
Costa Rica May 11, 2014 posted by

First time stand up paddleboarding in Costa Rica

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One of the first things the kids were excited to try in Costa Rica was stand up paddleboarding (SUP).  Our friend Javier, who is an official Costa Rica tour guide brought the boards and paddles to Playa Conchal and helped me and the kids learn how to stand up paddleboard. Playa Conchal is one of our favorite beaches in Costa Rica and on this particular afternoon we got rained on, but when it rains it’s a warm rain and actually very refreshing. You can see in the photos that the clouds were moving in on us, but we got plenty of paddleboarding in before the rain started.

Harris had already gone out a few times with Javier so he was a pro by now. Hudson was six and McKenna was eight years old last year when they tried this for the first time and they both got up with no problem.  Stand up paddleboarding is not very hard, it’s just a lot about balance. It works your leg muscles and core, but also the arms get a nice work out too from paddleing and steering the board in the direction you want to go. The kids didn’t go out very far since they can only paddle so long.  I think the most fun for them was coming into the shore and riding the wave which pushes them fast and then they either jump off or fall off.

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This is Javier and you can find him at LovingCostaRica.com.  He does tours all around Guanacaste and can help arrange activities, tours, transportation or provide you with some general travel information and guidance.

Playa Conchal, July 2013

 

 

First time stand up paddleboarding in Costa Rica
Costa Rica May 6, 2014 posted by

Saturday sailing, snorkeling and jumping!

Last Saturday we took our friend Sam who is visiting us out on a Catamaran, one of our favorite things to do here in Costa Rica.  There are a few Catamaran boat options in our area but we like the Marlin Del Rey that leaves out of Tamarindo.  The owner of the Marlin Del Rey is a parent at our kids school so he gives us a nice discounted rate.  But not only that, they have a great staff and a really great boat.

We take the sunset snorkel tour that leaves at 1:30pm and brings you back in around 6:00pm.  You spend about an hour getting out to a snorkeling spot and then about an hour and a half snorkeling and eating a light lunch, it’s all you can drink too! They provide all the snorkel equipment, life jackets and noodles. Depending on the time of year you can see sea turtles and dolphins in the water.

Usually my kids just jump off the back of the boat, which is a low platform close to the water, but this time they jumped from the front of the boat which is about a 8 foot drop.  I am sure my mom will not appreciate any of these pictures.  I didn’t capture a ton of photos, because I was too busy jumping too!

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Saturday sailing, snorkeling and jumping!
Family February 17, 2014 posted by

Hudson’s 7th Birthday Party

Leave it to me to put up pictures of Hudson’s 7th Birthday Party 6 months later. #PuraVida

Unfortunately, blogging about living in Costa Rica has not been a top priority. You can follow me on Instagram for daily updates, but here on the blog I’m on what looks to be a six month delay. It’s tough when you blog for a living and spend your life online 24/7, the weekends are for un-plugging and spending time actually enjoying life in Costa Rica. You know, the reason we moved here. It’s like the baker who never eats a cupcake. I’m a professional blogger who doesn’t want to blog. However, I don’t have a problem taking a million photos, so perhaps this should just be a photo blog and call it a day.

Hudson turned 7 last September and we had a pool party for him and invited some their new friends from their new school up to celebrate.  All of them happen to be expats from either the States or Canada, so except for the gorgeous backdrop this party looks like it could have been taken just about anywhere in the United States. Oh, and the homemade Birthday cakes, that wouldn’t have happened in the States, I would have bought cupcakes form our favorite cupcake shop in Pasadena. Thank goodness that the Betty Crocker cake-in-box is international. McKenna and her friend Ella helped me make the cakes and decorate them, which was kind of fun. This was the first time I made a homemade Birthday cake for one of my kids. I can now check that off the awesome mom list. It was a bit of a house warming party too, as it was our first time having a bunch of people up to our new house and make good use of our incredible pool.

Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 11 Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 43 Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 29 Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 32 Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 36 Jake and Kerry Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 79 Taylor and McKenna Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 37 Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 38 Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 40 Back Row:  Ellie, McKenna, Nina, Henry, Ella, Mackenzie, Ella Front Row:  Hudson, Caleb, Kate, Florian, Jake, Zoe. Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 03 Kate, Nina, Hudson Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 45 Cari Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 49 Homeade Birthday Cake! Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 51 Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 53 Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 54 Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 59 Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 63 Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 68 Jack passed out in the middle of the party. Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 76 Harris & Randy Hudsons 7th Birthday Party - 82 Nina, McKenna and Taylor.

Hudson’s  7th Birthday Party
Costa Rica November 4, 2013 posted by

Celebrating Halloween in Costa Rica

Celebrating Halloween in Costa Rica was a little different then back home in Pasadena but we still and a lot of fun.  I had just recently gone back to the states and so while I was there I went on a Halloween shopping spree and brought back an entire suitcase filled with nothing but Halloween goodies for the schools party and our costumes.  I even bought our dogs little costumes!  The original plan was to go as a family of vampires, but I ended up just wearing a festive spider mask.

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Since there aren’t any large neighborhoods here and all the kids live pretty spread out the kids went trick or treating at their school.  After trick-or-treating the school had a fun party with a haunted house, games and a scary bake sale.  Harris and I helped in the photo / craft booth all night, snapping pictures of all the kids and families dressed up in costume.

Just like in the states the kids ran around collecting candy and bouncing around on a sugar high.  I did miss  our regular chili and potluck get together with friends back in the states and the seeing all the pumpkins and falling leaves this year.

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Celebrating Halloween in Costa Rica
Family September 5, 2013 posted by

Hudson’s 7th Birthday

Today is Hudson’s 7th Birthday and the first birthday we are celebrating here in Costa Rica!  It was strange to not have to feel like running to Target and picking up a bunch of gifts for him, I felt a little bad not wrapping up something to give him today.  So I made this fun virtual Birthday card for him late last night.  He is always making crazy faces and these were taken on the beach while I was trying to practice with my Canon camera.  This gift to him of crazy faces sums up our Hudson man perfectly.  He is always in such a great mood , positive and has such a happy spirit.

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I wanted him to take something to school to share with his classmates and normally I would have just bought some store bought cupcakes but you can’t really find those readily available here…so I did the best I could with some pre-made Betty Crocker cookie mix. I was a little nervous on how these things were going to turn out, but they turned out great!

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The only thing Hudson wanted to do on his birthday was take his dog and new best friend to school with him.  Not sure his teacher would appreciate that, but I did let Jack ride in the car on the way to school.

This Saturday we are having a Birthday party for Hudson to really celebrate.  We invited all 5 of his classmates and McKenna invited 3 of her friends.  We also thought of this as an opportunity to have a little house warming party by inviting the parents and siblings and make it a family party. We’re excited to host our first party in Costa Rica!

Feliz Cumpleaños Hudson!

Hudson’s 7th Birthday
Costa Rica August 31, 2013 posted by

Horseback riding on Playa Conchal, Costa Rica

We had some friends come down to Costa Rica this summer, The Lantz’s.  Harris knows Michael Lantz from the internet marketer circle and they’ve done some business together.  The Lantz’s have five beautiful children (yes 5), our kids had never met before but became fast friends and were asking for a sleepover the first night we met!

One of the activities McKenna had been asking to do since we arrived in Costa Rica was to go horseback riding, so on our last day with the Lantz’s we all saddled up!  Well, the women and children did.  The Dads were not to into it so they stayed back with one of littlest of Lantz’s. You will find many places in Costa Rica to horseback ride, but we grabbed our horses and guide at Playa Conchal, which is by far one my favorite beaches. You will hear me talk about this beach a lot.  The Lantz’s were staying at one of the vacation rentals/condo’s on the Westin, Playa Conchal property so we were able to easily access the beach through the Beach Club.  Where we spent a lot of time hanging out with the Lantz’s this summer.

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All of our horses had names but the only one I can remember was McKenna’s, because it was the spanish word for ponytail, Coleta. Which was so perfect for her.  So all seven of us mounted up and while we waited to leave my horse started to pee, the kids all thought that was hilarious.

Our little ride took about an hour and we made a simple loop rode on a tree covered trail where we spotted two monkeys, on the sandy beach of Conchal and then down a long road.  We were in two packs and then McKenna’s horse brought up the rear, her horse was last for most of the ride, which was a bummer because I wanted to ride near her.  I brought my camera and tried to get pictures of everyone but was sometimes difficult on a moving horse.

I think the kids had fun and riding horses on the beach is nice, but it always seems a little to calm for me.  It cost $25 for each of us to ride for 1 hour.  Even though this was not the most exciting thing we have done, I was glad we did it with our new friends.  It will be a memory for all of us and summed up our time with the Lantz’s beautifully.

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Horseback riding on Playa Conchal, Costa Rica
Costa Rica August 31, 2013 posted by

Brasilito, Costa Rica

One of the main towns we drive through every day to get the kids to and from school is Brasilito, which is a traditional beachside town in Costa Rica that is home to many locals. The main square has many local restaurants called “sodas” serving the typical Costa Rican dishes like Arroz con Pollo and Cosados. This is also the place you’ll also find some souvenir shops, catch the local bus or grab a taxi. You’ll also find fruit for sale on the side of the road, which is totally safe to buy and eat. Locals will set up small stands to sell Mamon Chino, Sandia {watermelon) and Aguacate (avocado).

Mamon Chino’s are are an ugly looking round fruit that is pink or red in color with black or green hairy fur, but inside is a sweet grape like fruit that is super yummy!  Never judge a fruit by it’s cover;)  And Costa Rica has some of the biggest avocados I’ve ever seen in my life!

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Brasilito also has a a little skate park for kids.

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Don Brasalitos is a local favorite but when you enter you’ll instantly feel the American bar type atmosphere, thanks to the Harley Davidson t-shirts hanging on the wall and the 80’s rock music videos playing on the big screens. It’s a motorcycle type bar across from the beach. It has a large room with plenty of seating and a huge bar, there is also a mini casino (machines) if you want to try your Costa Rican luck. They serve traditional Costa Rican food, typical bar food and have nice happy hour specials.

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Brasilito beach is also the way to Playa Conchal, a tricky beach to get to. You have to literally drive on Brasilito beach to get to Playa Conchal.  This is confusing for many. If you drive to the end of the main road in Brasilito towards the beach you will go left and drive down onto the beach.  It will feel odd, but you’ll see other tire tracks. Keep going until you hit a wooded area and then through the woods a bit and then you are there!

Brasalitto is a true local town, and it sits in the middle of some of the best beaches in Costa Rica. It is completely safe during the day but can get a little sketchy late at night.

Brasilito, Costa Rica
Family August 5, 2013 posted by

First Day of School in Costa Rica

August 5th 2013:  First Day of school in Costa Rica.

Today was the first day of school in Costa Rica, I was super excited, Harris was pretty calm as usual, McKenna was a little nervous and Hudson was his same silly self.  It was really like any other typical first day of school, The uniforms were brand new and crisp, the backpacks were packed with fresh school supplies and I was trying to capture a perfect first day of school picture.  The only difference was, we were in Costa Rica and the kids were going to arrive in style in Harris’s new bad ass Jeep.

Our kids will be going to Country Day School Guanacaste, an international private school for grades K -12.  We toured the school a year ago when we were here and fell in love with the campus and it seemed to be a great place for our kids to make an easy transition.  There are a lot of expats in this area so the school has a mix of  Americans, Canadians, and Costa Rican children as well as some families from Europe.  One of our main goals for moving to Costa Rica is so our children will become bilingual and about half of their day will be taught in Spanish.  This was also probably the biggest concern that our children had, was learning Spanish.  They were excited to start school but learning another language was totally new to them, so I can understand their nervousness.

Hudson only has six kids in his class and McKenna’s class was a mix of 3rd & 4th grade so she had 16 in her class.  This was a temporary situation until they could find a 4th grade teacher.  Both teachers were American but spoke fluent Spanish.

We dropped them off with no real worries, they were in a safe place and we believed this would be such a great experience for them.  I mean, how badly could this screw them up…?  Of course, as a parent it’s natural for you to want your children to like school and make friends easily but since our kids have traveled and moved around a bit, we knew they would probably adapt well.  But there is always that little fear of the unknown and what if they are miserable and hate it here!??

I’m happy to report that they had a great first day and came home saying they made friends, loved their teachers and liked their new school.  In fact, the third day was a half day and Hudson was so upset when we came to pick them up, he said “I don;t want to go home yet!” and McKenna ran up to us asking if she could have a playdate with one of the girls in her class!  So I think it is safe to say, they’ll be just fine.

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First Day of School in Costa Rica
Costa Rica July 29, 2013 posted by

Playing around on Sugar Beach in Costa Rica

While exploring the beaches of Costa Rica, I just had to hit up Playa Azucar or Sugar Beach. In my mind I imagined the sand to be as white as snow and literally look like granules of sugar, but sadly this was not the case. Every beach in Costa Rica is different and even though this did not exactly match what I had conjured up in my mind it was still a beach worth seeing.

This beach is not far from where we live and once you hit the paved road and start to climb up,  the drive is stunning. This beach is just before the well known and luxurious Las Catalinas and if you are not paying attention you might miss the turn.  This beach can only be accessed through the entrance to Hotel Sugar Beach so when you see that sign you turn in.  I missed it.  So if you get to Las Catalinas you have gone too far. The restaurant and beach are open to the public so when driving in, you just tell them at the gate that you are going to the beach or the restaurant.  We brought our friend Jake with us that day, who also helped navigate.

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Sugar beach is very rocky, the rockiest beach I’ve seen so far. The kids liked walking on the rocks and watching the little pools fill up with water when the waves came in. Hudson loved this beach because once you got past the rocks the bottom was very flat and even. The waves would break further out and then the water would fill up the shallow area just before the rocks, like a giant bathtub.

I’d recommend this beach for older kids that might like the rocks and exploring, but it’s not ideal for toddlers. This beach is not a great body surfing beach but the scenery is beautiful and definitely a more private beach. Hotel Sugar Beach is steps from the sand and looks really cute, has a restaurant and a small but beautiful pool surrounded by lush green trees. The pool is for hotel guests only, we asked;)


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 I absolutely love this last picture.

 

 

Playing around on Sugar Beach in Costa Rica