“Witness and stand back from nature. That is the first step to the soul’s freedom.” – Sri Aurobindo
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine setting off into the afternoon sun horseback along a remote beach in the heart of the Osa Peninsula. The ocean air gently caresses your face while you slowly ride along the beach. Only the sound of the waves splashing against the shore and the rustle of the monkeys playing in the trees remind you that you are truly in a magical place where jungle meets the sea. The beauty surrounds you and touches your soul with purity and ease. For that moment in time, you feel truly alive and free.
Then, the roar of the howler monkeys make you open your eyes and smile. Your horse senses your excitement and begins to trot. You give your horse a gentle squeeze, and you are off, galloping as the wind whips your hair, your camera rocks back and forth against your chest and you let out a loud, exuberant scream. Ah so this is what it is like to feel 16 again, young, happy, pure and free.
We set off around four o’clock down the steep gravel road that leads to Playa San Jocesito. The air was thick with humidity, blanketing my sunscreen arms with a thin layer of heat. It had been a long time since I had last rode a horse which seemed funny to me since I grew up loving horses so much and being an avid rider.
I was filled with an energy and playfulness that I hadn’t felt in years. Was it being on a horse that made me feel so joyous? Or was it the fact that after an entire week in Costa Rica, I finally would get to go for a swim in the ocean and watch the sun set at the beach? I couldn’t stop smiling.
At the bottom of the road, we arrived at the entrance to the beach. Except for a couple of cars, there was no one else there. It seemed surreal to have such a beautiful place all to ourselves. But given the isolation and remoteness of the beach, few people came.
It would take us an hour to reach a special cove along the beach that was known for its swimming. There are no roads to this beach and the only way you can reach it is on horse, on foot or by boat.
While we rode along the shore, some of our group embraced in lively conversation while I remained quiet, deep in thought. I grew up riding horses and spent several summers going to a sleep-away horseback riding camp that felt worlds away from my home. At the camp, we were each assigned our own horse to care for and ride the entire week. I started going when I was nine and went every summer until I was 13. I loved it and especially enjoyed the feeling of responsibility and pride at having a horse to call my own if only for a week. When I hit puberty and was no longer that wide-eyed little girl, my passions changed. I no longer rode horses.
Along the beach, I relished the feeling of riding with no trail, no single file line and no rules. When it came time to run I embraced it, letting go of all my inhibitions as my horse raced effortlessly into the horizon. I was aghast by the liberating feeling that swept over me. I was young once again, with pigtails and free.
When we reached the cove, we got off our horses, tied them up and got ready for a swim. Slightly off the beach, a group of monkeys were quite excited about our arrival and decided to put on a little show. We watched for a few moments but the lure of the water didn’t keep us long. It was time to dive in and swim like a fish.
The water felt absolutely amazing. It was perfect — warm, calm and silky soft. I floated, I swam and when I couldn’t stand it any longer, I grabbed my camera to take a few shots of the beach from the water. It was too beautiful to resist.
And too beautiful not to capture it and share in this short video.
We swam and played in the water for a little over an hour. I could have stayed longer, but the sun was beginning to set and before long it would be pitch black. It was time to get back on our horses and head back.
As the sun began to dip below the horizon, the sky light up in a magical display of colors. Pinks, yellows, oranges, purples and blues. It was a wonderful gift.
I was mesmerized by the beauty around me. My heart was glowing with joy. Then suddenly, I got the urge to run. I loosened the reigns, clicked twice and let go. Off we went racing into the sunset, at breakneck speed, and a smile across my face from ear to ear. I had felt so incredibly alive and free. A feeling I hadn’t felt in years.
“Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.” – unknown
In that moment, I felt my soul surrender and release.
It was pitch black by the time we got back to the Bella Vista Ecolodge. I was salty, sweaty and bitten up by bugs. As I jumped into the icy cold shower and washed my hair, I smiled. It was another day in paradise. Pura Vida!
Heaven on earth!
Yes it is!
Thank you for sharing your joy!!
Thank you for reading my post! 🙂
Thank you Sally! Means a lot…:)
Good quote: “Witness and stand back from nature. That is the first step to the soul’s freedom.”
Thank you. I love quotes as a way to open my posts. 🙂
I’ve really loved your Costa Rica series and to think all of this happened in just 1 week!! Very jealous, hoping to get there one day.
I also totally get your giddiness. I too recently had a day where I was so blown away and excited I kept making a funny little high-pitched ‘wheeee’ noise because I just couldn’t contain my emotions.
Thank you so much! I felt like I’ve gone a little over the top in my posts but the week was so special. Not many trips are like this so I have really wanted to share it. Yes that giddiness is fun. My family and I are actually heading back to CR Friday. It is our first big trip with the kids and we are going to the north. I can’t wait for them to see and experience it. 🙂
I really can’t imagine a more beautiful, relaxing vacation. This series has been delightful Nicole!
So glad you have enjoyed it LuAnn! This trip really meant a lot to me. It was very special.
Fabulous shots! 🙂
Thank you Amy!
Costa Rica is such a wonderful country, Nicole. Lovely photos and video share. 🙂
Thank you Sylvia!
What a special time and what a special place. I can feel your joy. The opening paragraphs are fantastic. Mt favourite photos are the first two taken from the water. beautiful.
Oh thank you so much Alison! 🙂
This is truly something else. I’ve never been on a horse, and yet could envision it so clearly. That photo from the horseback with his head visible gives great perspective. It’s as if my dog grew suddenly and could carry me. 🙂 A most excellent piece!
Thank you so much! Some of my photos were blurring when the horse started running! I had to hold on tight! Glad you enjoyed the post and the photos. Never too late to try horseback riding! It is a freeing feeling 🙂
Grossartige Bilder einer fantastischen Natur und Landschaft…
Herzlichen Dank fürs zeigen. 🙂 Ernst
Thank you so much!
i read today’s ppost and sort of smiled regarind your morning after pain! when i read this post, i remembered riding for hours over a mountain with a group of locals… we stopped every so often to rest, and when i got off the horse, my knees and shins screamed, as did i. they laughed…
so when i read today’s post regarding your lifelong battle, my next thought was, ‘she HAS to see doc tangri, who is in samara… he is magic, and i can tell you more via email if you’d like.. tzeebra at yahoo.com .. he fixed my displaced shoulder in about two minutes, where the conven methods worked for about two weeks… if he is in the country, it would be worth a detour – or to see if he could come to you….
here’s a great interview, and his website has new videos that make a lot of sense regarding wellness..
feel free to put this in moderation, or leave it for others if you are able to see him!
Oh thank you Lisa! You are so kind to think of me! I will see how our plans go. I had acupuncture today and am feeling amazing. I tend to hold a lot of my stress in my neck too. I always feel better and in less pain when I’m traveling!
a dip in those thermal waters near arenal will be helpful!
Just got home and we had a tremendous adventure. Loved it so much Lisa! I didn’t get to the thermal pools as I had to choose between that and a hike. However, I did swim a lot and enjoyed the rivers and pools. Amazing time. Can’t wait to start sharing the adventure! 🙂 Oh the stories!
What an absolutely enchanting post and such a magical experience Nicole. Your beautiful words and images always transport me. xo
Oh thank you dear Miriam!