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The sun rose early and punctured through the looming thunder clouds washing away the night’s downpour as scampering crabs, dogs and early morning beach combers scattered along the dark black beach sand. Deep trails connected the shoreline with freshly dug holes full of sea turtle eggs and the sound of crashing waves echoed against the bordering jungle. Brightly colored macaws acknowledged the day with overhead shrieks and a giant rainbow touched ground at the base of our hotel extending Costa Rica’s pura vida greeting.

Playa Hermosa, comfortably located 1 mile South of the hustling nightclubs and souvenir shops of Jaco, stretches a handful of miles along one of the most consistent surf breaks in the world. Cabinas Las Olas Hotel was our home base situated directly in the middle of this world class stretch of fast and hollow beach breaks with balcony views overlooking the surf and a restaurant on the sand.

A well behaved pack of local dogs ran free on the beach as if they were in the wild with the only trace of domestication hinted in their thin collars and loyal stares into the surf awaiting their owner’s return. When not chasing crabs, staring into the ocean or spreading affection amongst the hotel’s guests, they napped in holes carefully dug in the sand.

Though we arrived during the middle of the rainy season, our adventure in Costa Rica was scattered with both rain and sun, but never dipping below a comfortably warm temperature. Heavy downpours upon tin roofs harmonized with the crashing waves at nights and mid day showers danced within the day’s spotlight.

The ocean in its many states memorized each day. Low tide invited long walks and thundering waves crashed only yards away. High tide groomed the waves into manageable hollow perfection and enticed the local surf crowd to emerge from the surrounding neighborhoods. Whether peaks with workable shoulders or sandy closeouts, the ocean provided a timeless stage monopolizing much of the day.

Directly behind the ocean was the very alive and green jungle animated with wildlife, waterfalls and plant growth. The sounds of nature lured while the moist jungle floor crawled with insects. White faced monkeys swung with shenanigans and the thick canopy provided a natural umbrella. Zip-lining excursions sent us down mountain sides and the Manuel Antonio National Park guided us through damp trails and along majestic coastlines.

The ocean, the jungle and the ‘tico lifestyle is slow and relaxing, but the hustling streets, clubs and souvenir shops of Jaco just up the road dug into our pockets during the day and laced up our dancing shoes at night.

A home cooked breakfast and freshly mixed fruit smoothly off the Cabinas Las Olas menu cleared the fog after even the wildest night in Jaco. Locals and visitors congregated amongst the restaurant tables as all waited for the tide to fill in. Yogis stretched upon the deck and ashes from distant bonfires remained warm.

A visit to Costa Rica, specifically the Playa Hermosa community, offers an escape from your everyday routine. Pura Vida, the Costa Rican motto for a  pure life, lives strong and reminds daily that a life of simplicity in tune with nature and beauty is all the paradise you will ever need.

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