New Year came and went and we slowly meandered into 2016. For the first week of January, we rode the wave of our wedding high. We spend our days relaxing on the beach, hanging out with our friends and family, and enjoying waking up in the mornings without the wedding stress hanging over our heads.

Fun and games on Playa del Coco with our awesome friends

Fun and games on Playa del Coco with our awesome friends

When the majority of our guests departed, we took a spontaneous trip to Nicaragua’s San Juan del Sur. It was our first visit to Nicaragua, but one that certainly left a great impression. Having now seen how cheap Nicaragua was, we definitely plan on discovering more of this budget-friendly destination this year.

Max & Oksana overlooking San Juan del Sur. Nicaragua

Overlooking San Juan del Sur

After spending another week back at the house, catching up on work and enjoying our daily sunset swims, we found ourselves faced with a tough decision. Should we stay or should we go? Our 2016 travel plans had us going to Panama’s Bocas del Toro at the end of January for our first honeymoon, but something was holding us back. We kept postponing the trip, finding excuse after excuse for why we need to hang around Costa Rica for a few more days. A few more days turned into a few weeks and we never did manage to say goodbye to Costa Rica.

Playa Samara, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Playa Samara, Guanacaste

Instead, we spent January exploring the beautiful beaches in Guanacaste. We took a trip down to Samara, a little beach town known for its laid-back vibe, and Nosara, a surfing/yoga haven with a unique expat community. Call it our first honeymoon, a romantic getaway, or simply time alone, but after many weeks surrounded by friends and family, we needed some time for just us.

Countries Visited

Costa Rica, Nicaragua

Cities/Towns Visited

Costa Rica: Playa Avellanas, Playa Negra, Samara, Nosara

Nicaragua: San Juan del Sur

Playa Pelada, Nosara Costa Rica

Playa Pelada at sunset, Nosara

Distance Traveled

500 kms

Modes of Transportation

Car, taxi, scooter

Max in taxi in Nicaragua

En route to san Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Photos Taken


Money Spent

When staying at Max’s mom’s house in Costa Rica, our expenses are always minimal, but traveling around Guanacaste province in January in addition to spending a few days in Nicaragua made January a bit more expensive than December was. We stayed under our $100/day budget in Nicaragua, but struggled to do the same while traveling around Costa Rica. Perhaps it was because we felt like splurging a little during our so-called honeymoon getaway, or perhaps it was just a matter of traveling in high season and booking last minute.

Our total for the month of January added up to $1,200.

Hotel Colono Beach in Playa del Cocos. Guanacaste. Costa Rica

Hotel Colono Beach in Playa del Cocos. It was reasonably priced but still well over our budget.

Travel Highlights

The highlight of this month was our trip to Samara/Nosara. While we did really like Nicaragua and the good times we had with our friends beach hopping in San Juan del Sur, we really needed some time to ourselves to relish in the memories of our wedding, to set some goals (or intentions, as we like to call them) for the year ahead, and just hang out and enjoy each others company. We treated ourselves to good food, nice accommodation with … wait for it…HOT showers, and a enjoyed our work free nights in a beautiful jungle setting.

…and Low Lights

This month we learned how much we value one of the most basic human needs – fresh water! Due to the drought in Guanacaste water shortages in the region have been the low light of many travelers and we couldn’t escape them either. We somehow managed to put on a wedding without any water issues, but a few weeks into month, the well at our house ran dry and we were stuck with no fresh water for solid 5 days. It was incredibly frustrating (have you ever tried doing dishes with water from a bottle?)!

Favourite Eats

Our favourite meal this month was at a small beach side restaurant in Samara called Lo Que Hay. With a Mexican inspired menu, great cocktails, a fun vibe and great ocean views, it was a perfect spot for not one but 2 great dinners in Samara.

Calamari stuffed with chorriso at Lo Que Hay Restaurant in Samara. Costa Rica

Calamari stuffed with chorriso at Lo Que Hay Restaurant in Samara

Next Month

If you sign up for our newsletter, you already know that despite our wishes we had to say goodbye to Costa Rica and make our way to US for a few meetings and family commitments. We’ll be here until mid Feb and then we’ll be back for more fun in the sun in Costa Rica!

Where did you travel in January 2016?