Chapter 33 in Costa Rica

I decided earlier this year to celebrate my birthday in Liberia, Costa Rica. Why Costa Rica? Honestly, because it was on my bucket list, but also flights to Jamaica were to expensive, lol. I have never been to Central America, so I said why not. I have heard about the locals being nice, volcanic sand, and the monkeys living in the trees. I just wanted to experience something different. I wasn’t looking for a turn up atmosphere, just somewhere to relax with my best friend. A place to clear my head and reflect on chapter 32 of my life and how I want chapter 33 to be different.

Self -Care is the best care

After researching, I decided on Planet Hollywood Resort. Planet Hollywood Resort is one of the newest resorts in the Blue Diamond Resort chain. It is a family resort, with stunning interiors,vibrant vibes, fresh food, and more activities than I can imagine. I have a love for newer resorts. Not to say that resorts that have been around for a while are bad. But, I love how newer resorts are taking on the modern, Scandinavian and minimalist designs. Can you tell I have an interior design degree? LOL. 

The start of my trip was rocky. My flight was supposed to leave at 7:30am, but due to maintenance issue the plane was delayed. Note: If you ever experience a delay that could possibly cause you to miss your connection, do not go to the gate agent. Simply call the airline and see what options you have to back up your flight. Back up your flight means to put another flight in your itinerary in case you do make your connection. This is not always possible, but it’s an option. As a former airline employee, it is pure hell working a delayed or cancelled flight. You can not think straight with people constantly speaking to you nasty and demeaning you as if you caused the delay or cancellation. When you call the airline those employees are not under the same pressure, they are calm and able to see all of your options.

After a three hour delay, and missing my connection because there are only two flights to Costa Rica a day, I finally got on the plane to Miami. Once we arrived in Miami we headed to the rebooking desk for American Airlines and was given a hotel room at Element Hotel, food vouchers, sandwiches and snacks to take with us. We waited for the shuttle and headed to our hotel.

I have a thing for “boutique” hotels. One, because they are not as crowded. Two, they offer different amenities. The Element Hotel is in Marriot/SPG chain of hotel. It is one of their newer hotels in the chain. The Element was prefect for our one night stay. Their rooms are fit for a family or extended stay purposes. Offering spacious rooms, full kitchen, and large bathroom with walk in showers. There was a restaurant and bar on site, along with business center, gym, and pool. It was awesome.

Since we were in Miami we decided to go to one of my favorite restaurant, Yard Bird. Yard Bird is an upscale southern farm to table restaurant. The food is amazing there. I have never had anything that wasn’t good there. Also, it is away from the tourist area. THANK GOD! After dinner we headed back to rest up for the next day. Yes, we were acting old because who comes to Miami and not party?

Next day, we departed for Liberia. Liberia airport did an amazing job with customs. Toronto could take some tips from them. The process was seamless and our driver was outside to take us to the resort. On our way to the resort, I noticed how much of Liberia was farmland. Our driver told us Liberia harvest sugar, rice, and raise beef cattle. I am used to seeing fatty cattle here in the USA, but these cows were white and very slim for beef cattle. Our driver also tried to teach us Spanish on the way to the resort, LOL. Let’s just say I need to go back and take Spanish 1 & 2. I can speak enough to get by, but I am not fluent at all.

Our driver spotted monkeys and pulled over. There were a bunch of monkeys in the trees. From the granddaddy to the baby. It was cool seeing them, but they were literally everywhere. It was cool to see monkeys in their natural habitat instead behind a cage or wall

Monkeys

Monos in Spanish for male monkey

Monas in Spanish for female monkey

I knew Costa Rica was mountainous, but man. It seem like we went to the top of the mountain and halfway down and then bam there is the resort. I didn’t realize the resort was carved out the side of a mountain.  When we arrived the staff made us feel like royalty. Opening the doors, photoshoot on the red carpet, everyone clapping for you, and then serving us with their signature drink “Purple Haze.” The check in process was seamless and we were taken to our room. 

Our room was gorgeous. Stone accent walls, modern design with warm wood accents, sliding doors for privacy and a huge vanity for makeup. The walk in shower with rain shower head was to die for. THE VIEW WAS AMAZING (yes, I am shouting). The mountains and the ocean looked like a page out of travel magazine. We took our time exploring the resorts and making ourselves familiar with the location of everything. We went back to lobby to see what all the Star Class status encompass.

We were given Star Class service during our stay. Star Class is an upgraded experience. You have a private area (The Green Room) where you can make reservations for the restaurant, schedule tours and excursions, and also have snacks and drinks. There is a star class pool, bar, and cabanas. I learned that there is another level in the star class upgrade which includes concierge services, private tours, and access to other areas of the resort

Planet Hollywood has a total of seven restaurants on site with cuisines from all over the world. Guy Fieri even has his own burger joint on site. We decided on hibachi the first night which was really good. Due to the rain, the party on the beach was cancelled, but they made up for it by throwing a silent party in the lobby of the hotel. There were two djs and ladies doing face/body painting. The djs were really good, playing music from all genres from rock to soca to hip hop. I really appreciated the diversity. Seeing everyone having a good time and not being separated by differences was beautiful. Just pure fun.

We scheduled a massage for the next morning because it was my birthday so we headed back early to get some rest. The next morning we ate breakfast at the buffet and my friend was very intrigued by passionfruit and wanted to try it. I told her I would try it with her, BUT that was a no go for me. When she stuck her fork into the passion fruit, and the pulled the slimy seeds out I gagged. I have serious texture issues and that looked like snot dripping from a 2 year old’s nose. I couldn’t do it, but my friend took one for the team. Her reaction said it all, LOL. It was not good. We headed to the spa afterwards.

The spa is stunning. The staff is very helpful and nice. Sometimes you never know how much you need to relax until you do. I needed that massage. I need time to just not think or move. I totally surrender to the moment. Afterwards we tried the steam rooms, hot tubs, and pools available to you after your spa services are finished.

For lunch we tried Guy’s Burger Joint and its was so freaking good. Juicy burgers, and fresh fries is exactly what was needed. We decided to layout in the cabana by the pool because the weather was on and off rain. Kind of like Florida daily rains. We played connect4 and had several drinks. After the beach dried a little and we headed there. That was the first time I seen volcanic sand. It was black and smooth. Nothing like any beach I have ever been to. I had a mini photo shoot on the beach for my birthday.

Later that night, we tried the Italian restaurant which was good. I was sleepy so I left after dinner. Little did I know I had a surprise cake coming. The staff literally chase me down to serve me the birthday cake and sing happy birthday. I really appreciated it and it made my night.

It was time to leave and I looked out from our room and Thanked God. I thanked God for allowing me to live the life I live. For letting me see another year of life. For keeping me, my family, and friends safe. For providing all my needs and wants. For bringing my smile back and helping me find myself again. When you are constantly on the go, creating content, being a mom, wife, and enterapurer, sometimes you get lost in everything. You forget who you are at the core. The trip was time to relax, unwind, and take time for myself. I answered no emails or calls. I spoke with who I wanted to and I was okay with that. If I learned anything from this trip it was that its okay to take time for you. 

Costa Rica was beautiful. The people were awesome. The vibe was everything. I will definitely return.

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​Meals and Miles was created by Monique and Leon Tillman. This site was developed to share our trips, food, and tips with the world.  We want people to see and know that you do not have to be rich to travel and eat well. We hope to inspire individuals and couples to try new adventures and foods. Seek adventures you never thought of and live on the wild side while enjoying each other. LIVE A LITTLE MORE, EXPAND YOUR BOUNDARIES AND HAVE BLAST! ​ The idea for Meals and Miles came one summer evening in July of 2014, while riding in the car to Washington D.C.  Monique always wanted to start a blog, but never knew what to blog about. We were laughing at some of the adjectives our friends use to describe us and our love for traveling. So we thought, "Why not show others how to have fun with their spouse? Why not blog about our trips? Why not show people the things we do?" We thought of names for our site the whole weekend. And during one of our random laugh sessions, as Leon was talking crazy, meals and miles came up and it stuck! ​ We have traveled to a total of 31 of 50 states, 11 Island, and 5 countries! ​ On this site we will post our trips, photos, and reviews for various destinations, restaurants, and accommodations. Please leave vacation reviews and comments in the designated areas.  Now owner, Monique Tillman is an official Independent Travel Agent with InteleTravel.com. She can book anything from hotel accommodations, airline tickets, vacation packages, car rental, tours, excursion, etc. Although Meals and Miles is our brand, trips will be booked under Monique Tillman as an Independent Agent for Inteletravel. Meals and Miles site will promote vacation deals, but please be clear ALL vacations will be booked under Monique Tillman as Independent Agent with Inteletravel.com.

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