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We spent five days in Costa Rica with Roger's best friend from school and his wife, who just happens to be one of the very best friends I've ever had. Katy and I decided to whisk our guys away on the surprise of a lifetime to celebrate the successful completion of three years of school and the start of externship rotations!

When we first got to our hotel, the first thing we did was head down to the pool for snacks, swimming, and karaoke! Rog and Hans sang a hilarious rendition of "La Camisa Negra." There was a swim-up bar, and the bartender served incredibly strong drinks.

We spent two mornings and one evening at the beach. The sand was beautifully dark and the water was amazingly warm. And salty. So salty. One of the nights, the poolside bar had dancing, and I got to learn how to merengue from a native Costa Rican. Rog is hopeful this means that I will dance bachata with him at the next Puerto Rican family wedding ;)

Our last full day was our busiest. We left in the morning to go on a river cruise in Palo Verde National Park. We saw crocodiles, bats, white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, iguanas, and a white ibis. It was incredible to see these animals so up close and in their own habitat. The white-faced monkeys were a group favorite, as they were so curious about us. They got pretty close to our boat and they had the most perfect little faces. Our tour guide said it was a really large group of monkeys; apparently they usually don't travel in groups that big. "Grande, grande, grande," he kept repeating. I loved this little side trip because we got to eat at a small local restaurant and see more of the country.

One evening we had dinner at the fancier restaurant at our hotel which led to lots of wine and endless laughter. Another evening we watched the sunset on the beach and seized the photographic opportunities it offered.

The morning we left, Rog and Hans surprised Katy and me with hour-long massages. I'd never had a massage before, and I wasn't sure I would like it because I'm so ticklish, but it was really nice and I loved that Rog wanted to pamper me a little on our last morning :)

The hotel we stayed in was a resort, but it wasn't Americanized. Many of the other guests were Costa Rican or Central American, so it was fun and enlightening to be more immersed in their culture. I was so grateful that Rog grew up speaking Spanish, because it made it easier on us and the people we interacted with. I actually haven't heard him speak Spanish a lot, so it was fun to see him communicate in another language.

It was truly the trip of a lifetime with friends that will last a lifetime.


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