October 18, 2016

A Letter Home

Here are excerpts from a letter that the previous owner wrote to their family after living at Villa La Macha:

“Life in Costa Rica is wonderful “Pura Vida,” (pure life) as they say in these parts. It is truly magical here—the people, the landscape, the wildlife, the skies. We are falling in love with the place.

The most spectacular aspects of our new home are the ocean, its beaches and the surrounding fauna and flora. The best-known spots are the enchanting Manuel Antonio National Park and beach, but the whole area is a rich outdoor paradise full of secret hideouts and environmental and animal surprises. The nearby town of Quepos is a unique blend of small, third world village and sophisticated tourist destination due to the proximity to the National Park.

Slowly, we are falling into a great, natural rhythm. Partly this is because of the children’s internal clocks, but mostly because the mornings are so splendid here. We typically awake at the crack of dawn as the sun rises to watch the skies light up and the ocean come into view. We normally retire to bed only a few hours after the spectacular sunset disappears and the ocean view in front of us fades into the louder and louder sounds of the surf. We eat healthily and lightly, but indulge in luscious tropical fruits all the time. Besides applying ourselves to our respective work projects and running errands in town, we get out for runs, nature walks, boat rides, beach strolls and swims practically every day.

This is a singularly marvelous place to reflect and work. The views from my desk are majestic: to the left, 130 degrees of deep blue Pacific Ocean and a small, volcanic rock island covered with trees, in front, the dramatic shoreline of Isla Damas on the foreground and the long splendid Talamanca mountain range in the background. Leaves in every shade of green artistically arranged at eight different heights surround me and are dotted with fuscia amapolas (hibiscus), orange llamabosques (literally wood callers), dawn-pink campanas de angel (angel bells), lavender flores de volcan (volcano flowers), and an occasional wild bird-of-paradise or heliconia.

Butterflies in complex patterns of orange, black, red and yellow distract me from time to time as they hop among the various shades of green. The surf of the water provides lulling music and the breezes keep everything fresh. The final touches are the melodic twitters and flashes of color from the crimson red and jet-black sangretoros (literally bleeding bulls), the cadmium yellow monjitos, the emerald green picaflores (hummingbirds known here as flower pickers), the coffee- colored aguios and some eight other varieties of birds around our house.

Our daughter, for her part, has landed in a giant playground. She has learned to swim with her wings on and is a happy duck in and out of the pool and beach all day. She basks in the environment and cherishes the wildlife here. Not in the least bit squeamish, she admires the vast array of insects and mammals we see as much as the resplendent birds and exotic flowers. One-inch kelly green crickets, black and yellow spotted crickets, six-inch brown langostas (crickets known locally as lobsters), orange beetles, five-inch bugs that pass for twigs and move as if scurried along by the wind, butterflies whose wings are replicas of small leaves, with veins and all, are ever-present company. (After reading about Gus the firefly for some time, she even saw a few of them lighting up the sky in front of the window in our living room).

Camouflaged frogs reflecting the color they rest on visit with our daughter, Sonia in the outdoor shower and hot-tub during the day, and their cousins come for a swim in the outdoor pool at night. The cusuco (local, nine-banded armadillo) who lives in the bush in front of us came to visit while Sonia was taking a nap, but no doubt will come again to see her another day when she is awake. She has already met the neighborhood machapos (large local raccoons) and pisotes who make the nocturnal searching for prized munchies. To cap it off, she saw a whole famiiy of mono titis (squirrel monkeys), some ten or so, and was beside herself with excitement. When the rains come, and the trees fill with fruit, more monkeys will come and become reguiar callers.

Last, and littlest, but not least, baby Jasper is flourishing as a curious little boy, alert and up for hours at a stretch He has fully assimilated the paradise he is growing up in and the continuous sounds of the ocean breeze, birds, frogs and insects are second nature to him.

We are truly delighted to be here, and recognize what a special experience it is for our whole family. For now, we just try to make the most of every splendid day here.”