couples in costa rica

for christmas 2021, my parents gave each of their kids a trip with their spouse. mom & dad had joined a house-swap website and started trading time at their home in park city for time in amazing homes all over the world. they had two big houses booked for 2022 and invited the adults in the family to join them on “couples spiritual creation retreats” in costa rica in may and france in september. ian and i got to go to costa rica with my brothers noah and eli and their wives. it was such a fun, refreshing, inspiring week.

we flew to houston (where in the airport I found and loved this neon sign) and then onto san jose, costa rica. after staying the night in a wild airbnb by the airport, we hopped in a rental car and set off right away on a crazy drive through the rainforest!

ian is always a fan of the scenic route so we winded up and over mountains and past tapir crossing signs and through clouds. we drove down an incredibly steep grade to a tiny little village called san gerardo de dota. we happened upon a waterfall hike which turned out to be incredible and a perfect little introduction to the costa rica rainforest. we hiked to three different waterfalls and didn’t see a single other person on the trail. it was spectacular. it felt like we were completely wrapped up in green and the power of the water was electrifying.

we drove the rest of the way down to the coast, close to the house we were staying at, and met up with my brothers and their wives for a delicious lunch, our first taste of casado, which we fell in love with (it’s fish or chicken with rice, plantains, and beans).then we all went to a beach that we had heard was good for sloth-spotting. the one thing i really wanted to do in costa rica was see a sloth (they’re my favorite animal and i’m kind of weirdly obsessed with them). so fun to be on the beach with noah, kristi, eli, julie, baby simon, searching for sleeping sloths in the trees.

we found one!! can you spot it?

we were helped in our search by a tarzan-esque man whose profession was clearly helping gringos like us in our sloth-finding efforts. for a little money he climbed the tree barefoot with one of our phones to take some photos for us, ha.

I had to take a selfie with my new sloth friend! i was so thrilled to see a sloth in the wild!!

after a little more time enjoying the beach, we headed to the house! it was iiiincredible, with an infinity pool overlooking the jungle down to the ocean. so so fun to reunite with my parents there and make dinner together.

we went to costa rica in the rainy season and it definitely rained while we were there … a lot! we decided our first morning at the house to brave the weather and go hike to see nauyaca waterfall. we got really wet and quite muddy tromping through the rainforest, but it was a great adventure!

noah, eli, julie and i went for a swim in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall and it was super exhilarating.

can you spot another waterfall in this photo? ^^
we had lots of good, relaxing, reconnecting time at the house. my parents wanted the trip to be space for us as couples to reflect and renew, away from the stressors of our daily lives with kids and work and etc. reflect and renew we certainly did. we had some great times all together and some great times just one-on-one with our spouses. one night a chef came to the house and made us the most incredible meal, and then he played his guitar and serenaded us – it was pretty magical!

another morning (after we were delighted to not be in a deluge – no rain!!) we got out on the water with a fisherman noah had met and befriended on the beach. our intention was to catch fish on our excursion but we ended up only getting one little baby fish, haha. it was amazing to be out on the ocean (especially the part where we jumped in that luscious water for a swim!), but unfortunately ian got super seasick, poor guy.

meanwhile, back at home, our kids were with our new friends camdyn & ethan. they are an awesome newly-married couple and camdyn’s sister had worked with ian at byu. they did an amazing job with our kids while we were away. we loved getting photos of all the fun things they did with mo, gabe, auggie & evie. they went to gabriel’s preschool presentation and moses’s music class recital.

one afternoon back in costa rica, ian had to work, so i went with my brothers and their wives to this really cool beach called “the whale tail” (see the map screenshot below to see why!). it was so neat to be on the sand between two surfs, waves crashing on both sides of us. we found some climbable palm trees and animal wildlife on our walk back to the car after taking a swim.

and then stopped at the fruit stand on the way home – i loved the feast of colors and textures while picking out and buying some fruit and then the feast of taste later.

balcony views and a snap of mom & dad after they got drenched, stuck in a downpour while on a walk!

some photos from a walk around the house that ian and i took – can you believe these wildflowers?!

a photo of all of us on our last night together … love these people and that we got to share some spiritual creation and some fun times together.

on ian and my last morning (my brothers and their wives had headed home), we went with my mom & dad to a cool wildlife refuge full of rescued animals being rehabilitated to go back into the wild. we saw so many amazing creatures, my favorite being the toucans outside the refuge (truly wild).

one more beach stop … i’d come to really love those moody rainy-season costa rica skies!

and one more plate of casado, with my parents, this time at a restaurant at a hotel made out of a jet airplane…? so random but we had passed this plane-on-the-side-of-the-road a couple times and had to check it out!

we said goodbye to my mom and dad and – lucky us – got the house all to ourselves for one night and morning. it was pretty fun (with more rain). we went out for dinner but other than that spent our last bit of time in costa rica just enjoying this luxurious spot!

meanwhile, back in provo … the kids got to go to the paleontology museum and a big indoor playground and make rock candy and volcanoes and go bowling and make huge bubbles!

we made a couple stops on our way to the airport – at a hotel my brother recommended with incredible views and in the date groves that lined the highway for miles and miles.

and then we flew over ocean and islands back to the mountains!

what a week away!! it was awesome.


  1. Oh Charity, thank you so much for recording this! It brought back so many wonderful memories! So fun to see the kids at home too! Brilliant! Every picture is a treasure!


  2. Looks like you had a great holiday.

    Just curious, you said that your Mum & Dad gave each other this as a Christmas present but what about Josh?

    Even tho he’s single was he given this present?


    • Charity writes that her parents “invited the adults to join them.” Since Josh is an adult, I assume he’s invited!😊


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