Tank Tops Flip Flops edition no. 80
3 Hot Swedish Girls
You know how you meet people and you just like them right off the bat? That’s how it was with Jim and Jane. They are from Sweden and came to paradise to spend 3 months checking it out, looking at property with me. These are two of the coolest people you have ever met, and we hit it off instantly. Their plan is to spend the winter months here in Costa Rica and go back to Europe for the summers. I think there is only something like 82 days of sunshine there anyway, and months of walking around in the dark with a flashlight and moon clothing, so it doesn’t take a whole lot of convincing once they got here, that this is where they want to be.
“Michael, my daughter and her best friend are coming for a couple weeks to visit. Maybe we can all spend a few days together and do some touring” Jane told me. It was at this exact second, that the little devil dude appeared on my shoulder. YES! YES! DEFINITELY! FOR SURE! He immediately took control. “Cancel all appointments; close the office; clear the calendar!” You see, I am surely not the smartest guy in the world, but I am definitely NOT stupid. If I can spend some time hanging out with 3 hot Swedish Chicks, SIGN ME UP! Eleonor now lives in San Francisco and Linn lives in Norrkoping Sweden, and when I met these fine young ladies, it was like I was thrown into a Swiss Miss advertisement; hot chocolate please. Trust me when I tell you, these are two very good looking women, just like Mom.
I decided I would take them on one of my all-time favorite adventures, and it just so happened that the Costa Rican Independence Day was the day we chose. September 15, 1821, Costa Rica declared its Independence from Spain, and it has been a shining example of democracy ever since. It is one of the most stable and prosperous nations in all of Latin America and is also known for its progressive environmental policies, being the only country to meet all five criteria established to measure sustainability. It is identified as the greenest nation in the world and the Costa Rican government announced plans to become the first carbon neutral country by 2021. They abolished their army in 1949, becoming the first of only a few sovereign nations without one and it was also voted the happiest country on the planet; on days like Independence Day you can absolutely see why.
My house faces east so every morning I have a view of 3 volcanoes; Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles and Tenorio; and on a perfectly clear day I can see all the way north to Orosi and all the way south to Arenal. It doesn’t suck. Located all over these icons are some of the most incredible scenery, nature reserves, National Parks, hiking trails, roaring rivers, waterfalls and Eco tour destinations; just 75 – 90 minutes away. We set out first thing in the morning with a plan to stop in Liberia for breakfast at my favorite little Tico restaurant, El Bramadero. Now if you haven’t been to the capital of Guanacaste lately, you will be completely blown away. The government has started construction on a new 4 lane freeway, to replace the old and slow 2 lane winding Pan American Highway 1. As you come to the famous Burger King / McDonalds intersection you are immediately taken back by the size of this thing, as a monstrous overpass has been built, where a little stop light used to be; Man it is great seeing progress!!!!
3 Hot Swedish Girls at the Lookout.
As we zigged and zagged our way through the construction I decided to detour through downtown Liberia, by the Central Park and Catholic Church, so I could show my friends the city. At 7:30 in the morning, the streets were already lined with thousands of residents, securing their spot for the big National Parade that would last all day, and I had to slowly ease my way through as the crowds parted like the Red Sea. Everyone was very polite and smiled and waved as we gently pushed our way through. Entire schools were gathered, along with their marching bands, and dozens of floats were being assembled in anticipation of the big celebration. Every single citizen had on their red, white and blue traditional outfits, and little kids were all holding flags, proud to be a Tico. Almost all buildings had a huge pole secured to their facade, flags proudly waving and hundreds of banners were displayed hanging from trees and roof tops. Every single business was closed to show their respect and pride, as this little paradise is one of the only true Democracies south of Texas. Costa Rica is FREE!!!
We headed north out of town and almost immediately, the hustle and bustle of the city faded away. That is what I really love about this place. It has all the first world stuff you need, like shopping, restaurants and hospitals, yet 95% of this country looks just like it did when Costa Rica declared its Independence. We made our way through rolling farm land and cattle ranches, sugar cane and melon fields, and turned off Highway 1 and headed up towards Rincon de la Vieja. As we slowly gained altitude, the scenery changed; becoming lusher; as we worked our way towards the National Park. Creeks and streams were everywhere, along with massive Guanacaste trees and thousands of plants and fauna. Within minutes, we found ourselves at a lookout point, and took a small break for a photo op. I learned a long time ago, I am substantially better looking when I stand next to beautiful women, which is why you always see hotties in my photos; I am one of the sharper knives in the drawer obviously. I would much rather hang with a gaggle of gals or a bundle of babes, than not. On a side note, I ran into a client of mine later in the week on a Catamaran trip, while floating with these same ladies. He had recently purchased a property from me and I asked him if he would write a testimonial for my website, as many of my clients have been so kind to do. He started it with, “Mike likes to hang with Hot Swedish Babes…..”LOL.
We continued climbing and came to an adorable little pueblo called Canas Dulces, which is a perfect example of your typical Costa Rican town. Quaint little homes dotted the neighborhood, all meticulously maintained. Every yard is blooming with lots of fresh flowers, rustic wood fences with traditional Spanish Colonial tiles and colors. The streets were lined with hundreds of families, sacks of food, coolers of beer; horses tied to fences, live music playing, little kids in cowboy hats, all ready to start the celebration of 194 years of Independence. Even the police officers and firemen were set up in their lawn chairs ready for the show. It is truly a sight to see. God Bless Costa Rica!!!!
We continued to climb, and the pavement disappeared. Although it was now a small, curvy dirt road, it was very easy to drive on, as obviously it is graded on a regular basis. Over rickety bridges, and rolling past gigantic boulders, we tumbled along; over one crest of a hill and down in to the next, you could see nothing but Mother Nature in every single direction. The trees got bigger; cattle and horses were grazing around every bend; the creeks more abundant; and we stopped to take some photos. It was at this moment, that you noticed how loud the silence was, as nothing could be heard but the chatter of birds and parrots partying in the trees; they must have known it was Costa Rica’s birthday too. Even though the family had no idea where I was taking them, the energy was buzzing as you felt like you might see our destination coming from miles away.
We came to a fork in the road, and directly in front of us was a big sign that said BUENA VISTA. “Are we here yet dad?” a comment came from the peanut gallery. I have a surprise for you, I told them. We are going to make a pit stop first, before we continue on. They had been bragging the entire way, about how they had NO FEAR, and would try anything once, so I wanted to put them to the test. You see BUENA VISTA resort is another Eco Tour Destination, with all the usual attractions. But what makes this place so special, is they have one of the hairiest and scariest water slides I have ever been on. It is called the Jungle Slide. There was a natural river on the finca that whips and dips down the mountain, and right through the middle of their property. They concreted a small section of it, and turned it into a natural death slide, that will make the bravest person howl with adrenaline.
You have to hike up 420 meters, through some of the largest trees you have ever seen. They are Banyon trees, hundreds of feet tall, creating a dark canopy where you cannot even see the sun. At the top of the hill is a launching pad, where there is a large holding tank, with a concrete half tube coming out the bottom. The speed is so strong, and the force of the water so great, that they encourage women to wear a rubber diaper for protection, if they happen to be wearing a bikini. You put on an inner tube and climb into the slide, as they drop a trap door down over the exit hole of the pool. As you sit in this cup, expecting the surge, you can hear the river filling up in the container behind you. It is almost like you are waiting to be shot out of cannon, because you know that the higher the volume of water gets behind you, the greater the force will be as it takes you down the Highway to Hell.
Before you can blink, the door is thrust open and this mammoth wall of spring water explodes out the hole. You are instantly sent flying down the slide, going zero to 60 like a Ferrari!!! The entire ride lasts only about 40 seconds but it is truly one of the biggest rushes of your life. Anyone who says they weren’t a little scared is a liar. The tube twists and turns, sometimes at 30 or 40 degree embankments, and you are sucked around the corners like a Formula One driver. Swooshing like a pendulum back and forth from one side to the other it takes every stomach muscle you have to stay laying on your back, feet crossed and pointed forward; you fear you will physically fly out of the tube and catapult through the air like a missile; DON’T stick your elbows out. YEOOOOWWWWW!!! YAHOOOOOOO!!! AYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!! The screams can be heard for miles through the forest. There is one section, about half way through the ride, where you bank around a corner and hit a small dip. It causes everyone to completely lose their composure and at this very moment, you start to wonder why the hell you got on this thing in the first place. Atheists start praying!! Grown men have been known to cry!! It is AWESOME!!
Finally after what seems like an eternity of fear, you enter a dark enclosed tube, where for a few seconds you have no idea where you are or what is going to happen. KABLAM! You shoot out of the portal and into a massive swimming pool where you are instantly engulfed in cold river water, clearing out your nose, eyes and ears, and you realize how valuable that girdle is for the gals. RIDE OVER!!! You jump up, ready to do it again. Everyone is waiting for you, high fives are exchanged and up the path we went for another shot. The Swedish girls proved to be fearless; I was very impressed.
We got back in my truck and continued up the mountain another 10 minutes, where we finally came to our destination; BORINQUEN MOUNTAIN RESORT AND SPA. This is my favorite place in Costa Rica. The hotel was created in 1999 with the sole purpose of unlocking the exceptional beauty of Rincon de la Vieja countryside. When you arrive through the gates, you feel like you are stepping into a world apart, as there is a charming hamlet scattered at the foothill of the mountain. The hotel has these beautiful private villas and bungalows, where I have spent more than a couple nights in my many years of living in paradise. There is a world class spa too. The property is hundreds of acres, with miles of gorgeous hiking trails; rivers and waterfalls; with breathtaking views. We were only here for the one day adventure pass; more fun than you can pack into 8 hours for only $85.
The moment you arrive, they immediately welcome you with a cold mango smoothie, served by the friendliest staff you have ever met. I love the fresh fruit in paradise. They take your lunch order right away, which seems odd at first, but will make a whole lot of sense a few hours later. A giant military like vehicle pulls up to the front and we all climb in, and it starts its trek up and out of the resort, and over to the horse stables at the foot of the volcano.
We are greeted by a wonderful man named Alejandro, who is the picture perfect example of a Cowboy. One by one he helped us all get on our horses, being sure to tell us a little story about each one and of course their name. Well, you guessed it; they saved the best for last; me. My horses name was Mandy and she had a real attitude problem. Alejandro told me that she didn’t like other horses, and was prone to biting and pushing, and I should make sure to keep her away from the rest of the gang. In other words, she was a real witch, and I wondered where she parked her broom (I seem to be attracted to women like this for some unknown reason LOL).
The trot up to the volcano will take your breath away. For approximately 45 minutes you are speechless as Costa Rica’s mountain range can be seen in every direction. Words will not do it justice, I promise you; you MUST check this out for yourself. Of course, they tell you that the horses know exactly where they are going, and that you really only have to hold on for the ride. But between my horses chomping at the side of everyone else’s; Jim’s horse stopping for lunch and a drink at a nearby stream; and the girl’s horses galloping up the mountain like the Calvary, we had a hilarious trek, finally coming to a stop at the top of the Canopy Tour / Zip Line section of the day. Now the fun really begins!
We were met by another 8 tourists who had arrived from the RIU Hotel. As is standard at these gigs, they start by having a 10 minute instruction class where they go over the technique of loading and unloading onto the cable, slowing down and braking, and what to do if you get stuck on the middle of the line. One woman was especially nervous about finding herself all alone and hanging in space, but the crew assured her they would come to her rescue if it happened. “Don’t worry” I yelled out “they have a tow truck that will pull you to safety.” As is usual, my foot was in my mouth. I didn’t really mean it in a bad way, I was just trying to make a joke, but it turns out the woman was quite large, and her husband wasn’t overly thrilled with my analogy. Needless to say, they didn’t ask for my business card at the end of the day. They won’t be moving to paradise anytime soon.
I have been on over 20 different zip lines, all over this country. And in my humble opinion, this is one of the best. There are 12 HIGH adrenaline platforms that shoot back and forth across a huge gorge, where you can see a spectacular waterfall as you sail through the air like a bird. Dangling at over 200 feet above the river and obtaining unbelievable speeds, you careen over the tree tops like a jet; the high pitch squeal of the trolley echoing off the canyon walls; it is a ride of a lifetime; and you can see all the way to Nicaragua at certain locations along the way. At one of the platforms, a rider made a comment that they were having a hard time braking and stopping. “Pull don’t squeeze” was the response from the guide. Men have been saying that for centuries I thought to myself, but decided not to eat my boot a second time in half an hour.
The guides that run these lines are first class. At all times our safety was the number one priority and our enjoyment was number two. They took photos and videos, made even the most nervous rider at ease and allowed anyone that wanted to try one of the staple positions the opportunity. Everyone took advantage of it; enjoying the Super Man, Wonder Woman and even hanging upside down while rocking down the line. Have no fear; the Swedes are here. I never get tired of this stuff. It is amazing to me how many people don’t really enjoy life. What is wrong with them?
The last line drops you right at the entrance to the restaurant, and literally lunch was served within 5 minutes of cleaning up. Now you understand why they take your order right when you arrive. Nothing is worse than sitting around for 30 minutes waiting on food, when you are exhausted and starving after exerting so much energy. We enjoyed a tremendous lunch of grilled Sea Bass with vegetables and rice, a bowl of hot soup, a plate of salad and even a desert. All of this included with the price. I am telling you this is a serious bargain. With our bellies full and a couple cold Pilsens on top, I was ready for some RNR, and the thermal springs, hot pools, volcanic mud and natural sauna are what make this place so famous.
You see it is located right at the bottom of the volcano, and she produces mineral rich waters and mud pools, and there are areas where the steam is literally forced out of cracks in the ground. They have built these really rustic saunas directly over the vents, and you sit in them as you would at your local health club. The difference is the steam is not man made with rock and hot water, but all natural and the curative properties are incredible for your skin and wellbeing. We soaked for a good 15 minutes, allowing our tired muscles a much needed break after 2 hours of hard work. You can also see the mud boiling in the ground, at up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. They scoop this stuff out with big wood buckets, and allow it to cool so you can apply it to your body. This becomes a pretty wild affair as everyone starts flinging and slinging, sloshing and slopping, and of course I offered to lather up the gals. Did you think I wouldn’t? What is sexier than 3 hot Swedish Gals covered in mud? Another incredible photo op of course. The mud is known for removing all the toxins from your body (and I have a bundle of those), is fantastic for your skin and hair, and just feels great. Go ahead, make fun of me; I am a guy who is into body care. I also own a little dog and I dress her up in bows and bandanas, so what does that tell ya?
After half an hour or so, you shower off the crust, and waddle on over to the hot spring fed pools; they have hot, Holy Cow hot and freezing fricken cold. As you bounce from one bath to the next, you are completely rejuvenated; I am telling you, there is some seriousness to this holistic health stuff; TRY IT. As is always the case, I find myself being asked questions about real estate, by other visitors to the pools. It seems everyone is disenchanted with the direction of the USA and Canada, as these three ladies were so quick to let us know and they all have some serious desire to get out sooner rather than later. I always ask people, “What is taking you so long?”
The resort, of course, has a massive party pool, complete with water fall and rocks, and my most favorite location on earth: the swim up bar. It is one of those bad habits that are good, good, good. We finished our adventure, playing tourist in the pool, sucking back some cold cocktails, enjoying life in paradise. It doesn’t get much better than this people. Oh by the way, the Swedish family can drink too.
We loaded our stuff back into the truck and headed home to Playas del Coco. We wanted to get there before dark, so they could enjoy another sunset on the beach, something that obviously they don’t get many of in Scandinavia. We made it just in time, and enjoyed an amazing lobster dinner on the sand; a perfect ending to a phenomenal day. I have been fortunate to have met quite a few Swedes in my life, and they are all some of the friendliest, warmest and enjoyable people on this planet. I can add 4 more to that list, 3 of them Smoking Hot (no disrespect Jim LOL.) Skynda dig tillbaka mina vänner. Hurry back my friends.
Come on down baby!!!!
P.S. September 15 also happens to be the birthday of my beloved little Millie Dolores. She has been the light of my life and has brought me more joy than I could ever have imagined when I spotted her with a Santa Claus sweater on, 11 years ago. I love you my little princess. Thanks for being such an amazing part of my life. You know, I am not the lovey dovey type, but I don’t have a heart of chrome either.