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We tried to order a mojito but there was no mint, we were told. We asked if they could make a naranjita, but there was no rum.  A margarita? Nope, no tequila.

“What could you make?” Brian asked.

“We can make a caipirinha,” our waiter said confidently.

It had been a big day. We’d ridden a ferry across one of the largest lakes in all of Central America, Lago Colcibolca, to Ometepe, the island throned with not one, but two volcanos.

We’d wandered the beach

Walked nearby trails

Even found monkeys

And we’d watched the sun set

Dinner was Creole fish and sirloin steaks and pastas, all were fine but unremarkable.

But the caipirinhas? We were fortunate the lodge was out of everything else. The caipirinha became Brian’s cocktail of choice the remainder of the trip. Hailing from Brazil, caipirinhas are made from cachaca, a spirit made from fermented and distilled sugar cane juice, and lime and sugar. If you don’t mind your cocktails strong, you’ll find it especially refreshing in the tropics.

Caipirinha

2 oz. cachaca

4 small key limes

2 tsp. sugar

Cut limes into wedges and place in an old fashioned glass. Sprinkle sugar over wedges and muddle the flavors together. Fill glass with ice and pour in cachaca. Mix well.

Find more travel and food stories at Wanderfood Wednesday!

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Twelve years ago this week, Brian and I went to Costa Rica.

We were midway through figuring out how to make the dream a truth and we were craving a research trip. We found a piece of paradise at Bosque del Cabo.

Located in the southwest corner of the country, in the rainforest of the Osa Penninsula where land meets the sea, Bosque del Cabo confirmed how sweet it is to live in the midst of nature.

Macaw parrots and toucans sailed through the sky above us. Howler monkeys woke us at dawn with their dinosaur-like bellows. When our luggage failed to arrive with us, we swam in the ocean in the nude—we had the beach completely to ourselves! We shared dinners with well-seasoned travelers from around the world. We drank water from a stream when we found ourselves thirsty while exploring after a campesino showed us how he drank from the stream (without even a visit from Montezuma’s revenge!). We examined the hydropower system in the river, decided cool water showers are lovely in late afternoon, bought freshly dried peppercorns from the owner’s son, and relished the romanticism of using oil lanterns in the evening.

Here is where we showered.

And here is where we relaxed.

We watched the sun set over the ocean and later, stars fill the night sky.

When it came time to go, this dirt landing strip is where we hopped on a plane to our next destination. This was the kind of flying of which I’d dreamed. Our pilot simply laughed when we told him that I too, was a pilot.

I hoped a fuel sample would be taken after refueling to ensure there was no contamination.

 

We then traveled to another part of Costa Rica and sorely regretted leaving Bosque del Cabo. But we enjoyed a visit to a nature reserve where two orphaned baby monkeys had taken up residence. This little guy took a liking to me and wouldn’t leave my arm until we peeled him off when it was time to go.

Our guide joked with us, “What does he know that we don’t?”

Nine months later, our daughter was born. Maybe the monkey did know something we didn’t.

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