Costa Rica – Papagayo Peninsula


Costa Rica.  What can I say?  We had an absolute blast.  It was easily the best vacation we’ve ever been on together, and given the chance, we would love to go back.  It’s a wonderful place and if you ever have the chance to visit…do it!

I’ve split the trip into two parts, the first being our arrival in Costa Rica (we flew into Liberia) and stay at Papagayo Peninsula, which is located in Northwestern Costa Rica.  We had the privilege to experience the exceptional Four Seasons resort for five glorious days thanks to Jon and his being a rockstar at work.  Marcus and Millichap brokers gathered from all over the country for a week of getting spoiled, rewarded, wined and dined.  It was amazing.  The yearly trip is called The National Achievement Awards and they took such over the top great care of us.  Also, it was pretty special for me to watch Jon get acknowledged for his hard work and accomplishments.  CostaRica-33 CostaRica-61 CostaRica-60 The resort itself was unbelievable.  The property where the resort is located is so unique and so spectacular.  The staff was absurdly nice (which is a well known fact about Costa Rican people) and that truly is what made our stay at the resort as fabulous as it was.  CostaRica-58 CostaRica-57 CostaRica-56 CostaRica-59Most of the brokers were lucky enough to get their own private bungalow located in the hills and bluffs surrounding the property.  This made it necessary to take a chauffeured golf cart back and forth (boo hoo), but the beauty and views from the bungalows was way worth it.CostaRica-12 CostaRica-13 CostaRica-11 CostaRica-7 This is right off our balcony.  Monkeys.  Monkeys for everyone!CostaRica-8 CostaRica-9 CostaRica-10One of the great features since the resort is located on a peninsula is the access to the ocean on both sides, mere steps away from the several pools.  So spoiled.  
CostaRica-1 CostaRica-2 CostaRica-49 CostaRica-48CostaRica-47What?  You’re tired of the sand and need to cool off?  Walk up some stairs and take a dip.CostaRica-5 CostaRica-6 CostaRica-3 CostaRica-50 CostaRica-46 CostaRica-52 CostaRica-45 CostaRica-51

Enough of all that pesky rest and relaxation.

Let the activities drinking begin!

CostaRica-62 The first big evening event was the welcome reception on the beach.  There was dancing, tequila, great food all while listening to the ocean roll in right beside us.  It was a pretty clear picture of what the rest of the week would look like.  More food and drink than any group (even our large group) of brokers could possible consume.  Although we did try.


CostaRica-90CostaRica-63Just like the photo above, things got a little blurry after that.  : )CostaRica-14 The next morning there was a first time attendee reception/brunch where we hobnobbed with other newbies, took prom-esque photos and looked like we were standing in front of a green screen.   Weird.  CostaRica-65 CostaRica-66After we busted outta there we signed up for a tour of the beautiful golf course and it’s wildlife.  It ended up being the place where one of the strangest things of all time happened to me (I’ll explain in a minute).

CostaRica-22 CostaRica-18 CostaRica-16 CostaRica-15 CostaRica-17 CostaRica-21 Jon had the choice to golf while we were there, but he chose not to because he wanted to spend all of his time with me.   Awwwwwwwwww…………. : )  As a reward I caught him this monkey.  CostaRica-19

In case you were wondering, yes those are monkey nuts and yes we find them hilarious around here.CostaRica-20 CostaRica-25 CostaRica-26 CostaRica-24

So on this day this happened…

CostaRica-27…lend me your ears while I explain how INSANE that photo is.

Jon and I signed up last minute for a tour of the beautiful golf course, so last minute in fact that they almost didn’t let us do it.  We got the OK so we climbed into an empty resort van that was going to take us over and we began to pull away.  Suddenly (it’s very exciting) a couple comes running out of the hotel and jumps in the van to head over with us, for they too had signed up for the tour.  We get to chatting in the van, Jon asks if they’re with Marcus and Millichap and they sigh heavily and say no, but that it’s kind of frustrating being two of only 13 other people at the resort that aren’t with the company (there were 300 of us overwhelming a mere 15 others).  I totally get their frustration because we were an obnoxious partying group.  Anyway, we start talking about the Superbowl game that was taking place later that day and ask if they’re a fan of the teams.  The man says no, I say we aren’t either and that we’re actually Vikings fans.  The man exclaims that he is as well, being from Minnesota and all.  Jon and I are in shock that the people that hopped in our van just happen to be from Minnesota just like us(just. you. wait.)!  They explain that they currently live outside of the Twin Cities, but then the man explains that he’s from a very small town that we’ve never heard of.

Jon: Oh really?  Where?

Man: Trust me, you’ve never heard of it.

Jon: Just try her (referencing me) she knows a lot of small towns.

Man: Alright.  Well I’m from a small town called Ada.

Ali (after her head spun around three times):  SHUT UP!  (I think I almost slapped him out of shock) I’m from Ada!

Man: Haha very funny. (I think he called me a liar)

Ali: No, seriously you aren’t from Ada.  That’s not possible because I’M from Ada and I don’t know you and I know everybody from Ada.

Man:  I grew up there!  Name somebody you know.

Ali: Uhhh Dr. Kinkade?  Bob Kinkade?  Mindy Kinkade?

Man:  You know Mindy?

Ali:  Ummm yes only so much as she’s my mom.

Man:  What?  Mindy is your MOM?!  I went to high school with her.  I know your mom.  We both know your mom.  And your Dad, and your relatives, and everybody else you can possibly list.

This went on and on and on and nobody could believe it.  I couldn’t stop looking at Jon and saying can you f#$*ing believe this???  Pardon my french.

Let me drive this home for you (bewilderingly nobody is as stunned by this as we all were).

We are in a different country.   On the same days out of the entire year.  We are at a remote resort.  We are with 300 other people.  They happen to be TWO of the only FIFTEEN other people at this resort.  They jumped in OUR van that we almost didn’t get on, we get to talking only to find that they and I ALL grew up in a tiny tiny town in Northern Minnesota of 1,700 people and we met each other for the FIRST time in Costa Rica.

W. T. F.

It was easily the strangest thing to ever happen to me and I’m still in complete shock when I think about it.  We had a few rounds of drinks and necessary Ada gossip with them, saw them again for breakfast before they left, and it was such a great addition to an already great vacation.

So bizarre.  SUCH a small world.

CostaRica-67We wrapped up with our insane run in and proceeded with the evening, which happened to be Super Bowl Sunday!  CostaRica-28 CostaRica-29 The company threw another great party for everyone, Jon gambled (weird) and won some money, and we all had a blast…again.CostaRica-30 CostaRica-31 CostaRica-53 CostaRica-54 CostaRica-68 CostaRica-69 CostaRica-70 CostaRica-71 CostaRica-72 CostaRica-73Bright and early the following morning we headed out for our group activity of choice…we chose SURFING!!  This was our third time trying it out and it’s pretty safe to say that neither of us have progressed much in our skill level.  Still, surfing is so fun and a great workout.
CostaRica-35 We went with our little group of 20 or so M & M people to Tamarindo, a bohemian little beach town south of the resort, for a full day of fun in the sun.CostaRica-34 CostaRica-36 CostaRica-76 I’m actually not horrible at surfing.  I feel no shame in bragging just a little because it’s the ONE athletic activity that I’m better than Jon at.  Maybe just barely, but it counts.  Jon will tell you it’s because I was teachers pet with our instructor, my side of the story is that I was willing to ask for help…unlike some people.  CostaRica-75 CostaRica-74 A lot of people quit early, but he and I were out there all afternoon.  We had so much fun.CostaRica-77 It just wouldn’t be fair if I forgot to point out my incredible instructor and his great abs smile front and center.  CostaRica-37 CostaRica-38 CostaRica-39 CostaRica-40 CostaRica-41 CostaRica-42A little lunch on the beach and then back to the Four Seasons.

Oh…you think our day ends after surfing for 10 hours?


We had the big awards dinner that night.  Heels to stuff our swollen feet into, dresses to cover up our sunburn with, and yet more food and alcohol to consume.  Hey, somebody’s gotta do it.  CostaRica-78 We cleaned up pretty nicely (Jon’s face was a little rosy) and spent the evening listening to some great speeches and watching some deserving people get big fat awards.CostaRica-55 It was way more than I imagined it would be (production wise) and I was pretty proud of Jon for being part of such a great and successful company.

I wanted to make sure I took no attention away from him that night, so I went with a bright neon fluorescent pink flowing dress.  NICE and subtle.  CostaRica-79 If you can’t wear it in Costa Rica, than really where can you.CostaRica-81 CostaRica-82 CostaRica-80After all the hoopla, applauding, music and dancing we ended up a little tipsy on the beach with some friends and champagne to celebrate.  CostaRica-43 This next one is for my critics that say I only post flattering photos of myself…CostaRica-44


CostaRica-89 I didn’t feel like giving an intro for the above photo.  Just wanted shock and awe.  Hahahaha.

Yep.  That happened.

I’ll admit, when I found out we were expected to show up at a costume party (for which I’d been told people go ALL out – and I mean all out hire makeup artists, fly in costumes etc.) I was NOT happy.  That meant packing MORE stuff that seemed unnecessary, plus I don’t like dressing up, especially not by force.  Long story short, I made Jon dress like a fool and I slapped on some wings and antenna.  The night ended up being really fun, again – way way way over the top as far as overall production – and Jon got up on stage for having one of the best costumes.  It was cool.
CostaRica-83 CostaRica-84 CostaRica-85 CostaRica-86 CostaRica-87 CostaRica-88After a long night of partying, we prepared to say goodbye to new friends, everything being free, and the incredible resort.

We got as much sleep as we could, packed up our suitcases and loaded ourselves into our rental car for the next leg of our adventure.  Little did we know, the adventure had barely begun.


3 thoughts on “Costa Rica – Papagayo Peninsula

  1. Kathy Schutt

    Ali….this trip looks amazing. I cannot believe you ran into Dave and Tracey. How crazy is that? I think all of us Ada-people say to others that ask where we are from…”Oh it is a small town in northern Minnesota, by Fargo” and then when we follow that up with “Ada, MN”… seems like that person has heard of it or knows someone that lived there or something like that. It is a famous little town. Thanks for your post….I have been missing it. : )

  2. Julie

    Wow. I had a lot of things I wanted to tell/ask you and then I saw the Avatar costumes and now I don’t remember a lot of them.

    1. Is that a Prabal Gurung for Target shirt you have? It’s tots adorbs. Have you ever thought about starting a spin-off fashion blog?
    2. Critics say you only post flattering photos of yourself? Weird. It’s almost like it’s YOUR blog and you choose what photos go on it. I say you post whatever you want, Ali! Haters gonna hate.
    3. I like how organized your posts are. How long does it take to write one? Did you take notes while you were in Costa Rica? Maybe you should write a “behind the scenes” post, detailing the effort that goes into each one.

  3. Pingback: Costa Rica – Monteverde and Tabacon | Midwest Mountainess

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