It’s been said variety is the spice of life and I must agree.
There’s time for exciting vacations and time to be quiet. Last Christmas, I celebrated the season with 3,600 other passengers on a Western Caribbean cruise. This year, I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the homey La Terraza Guest House in Grecia, Costa Rica. And I must say I enjoyed every moment of it. Oh, what a difference a year makes.
I arrived at La Terraza in early afternoon and was greeted by the ever-friendly owner, Jeanetta Owens. Her outgoing personality and wit makes you feel immediately at home. I was handed keys to the La Vista room, which overlooks lush foliage and a rushing river. I didn’t have much time to take in the quiet beauty, as plans were already made for all the guests to enjoy a 2 p.m. Christmas feast at the Galleria Restaurant in the center of town.
The Galleria Restaurant caters to both the local and foreign community. Unlike most local restaurants, their portions are definitely North American. I decided to select the “Christmas Special,” consisting of roast pork, Costa Rican sweet potatoes, a salad with carrots, raisins, pineapple and lettuce and Navidad cake and ice cream. My feasting companions were Jeanetta’s staff, a couple living in China and a spry woman from Maryland wintering at La Terraza in one of the apartments. Their meals of steak, pasta and shrimp were equally as plentiful and tasty. If you’re in Grecia, a visit to the Galleria is recommended.
Returning to La Terraza, the desserts flowed as Jeanetta offered everyone chocolate cake, pecan pie, Christmas cake or peach cobbler. We sat around the terrace table getting to know each other, sharing travel experiences and learning a bit about Chinese herbs and lifestyle. Roy, an American businessman, and Sunny, his Chinese wife, split their time among China, Oregon and Costa Rica, so they had plenty to share. Thrown in was a little politics, wisdom and advice on life in general. Later, I enjoyed a little private time on my balcony, listening to the river and the sound of neighboring families celebrating the day.
The next morning, Chris, Jeanetta’s head housekeeper and a No. 1 cook, prepared a bountiful breakfast for everyone. Among swaying trees, beautiful flowers, the sight and sounds of birds singing and lively conversation, breakfast passed into lunch and five hours of sitting in the same place, just enjoying the banter. My third day, I was lulled into absolute relaxation with an in-room massage by Alfredo. He introduced me to a new massage technique that took me from his table to the bed for an involuntary four-hour nap. This nirvana only cost $40 for an hour treatment.
La Terraza Guest House is located 35 minutes from San Jose International Airport. It is situated in the San Roque barrio that is alive with traditional Costa Rica life. It’s also an agriculturally rich area where sugar cane and coffee can be spotted from the property. But once inside the gates, you find yourself in a little oasis alive with tropical life and beauty. There are two apartments and two guest rooms, with plans to add two more rooms in the near future.
Don’t worry about being bored. Jeanetta can arrange a variety of tours to places such as Poas Volcano, the beach, attractions in and around San Jose or overnight trips to the Caribbean side of the country. Other services include mani/pedicures, massages, laundry service, special meals and possibly Spanish lessons. For more information on La Terraza Guest House, visit www.laterrazab-b.com.
Rose Alston is a certified travel counselor and master cruise counselor. She owns a business in Fairfield and can be reached at [email protected]