Just back from Costa Rica and it was AMAZING. It was my first time to the country and it was beautiful. I got to attend a yoga retreat led by nOMad, which was great, b/c everything was planned out. Here are some of the highlights from the trip:
Welcome to the Jungle!
The Osa Peninsula is a remote part of Costa Rica – right in the middle of the jungle – complete with monkeys, all types of birds, pumas and even jaguars! To get there, I took a tiny 10 seater plane from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez (on Sansa Air).
I took a taxi 30 minutes from the "airport" on a VERY bumpy road to Osa Clandestina – what a beautiful spot!! My room literally felt like I was staying in a tree house.
All of our meals were prepared for us, by such a wonderful staff. The food was SO good – simple and local. The fresh fruit in the morning (pineapple, mangoes and papayas), was some of the best I’ve ever had. Plus the Costa Rican coffee - yum!!
Our host, Michael, took very good care of us the entire trip! There were smaller “casitas” on the property where some of the other guest stayed. The property also has the most beautiful pool right in the middle of the jungle. All of our yoga classes were on a platform overlooking the trees (and butterflies, monkeys and a baby hawk that practiced with us daily ? ).
Yoga and Movement
We had daily yoga practice every morning and experienced a movement class in the evenings, which was a beautiful way to move our bodies and find a connection between movement and stillness. Both were such a great way to clear my mind and stay present to really fully enjoy the entire experience.
Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world for surfing. Unfortunately, the day we were there, it was super flat! Not many “olas” (waves) at the Playa Pan Dulce, but we still had a fun time enjoying the warm water and paddling around in the water. It was just beautiful to be in the water and enjoy the scenery and sounds of the Osa Peninsula. I was able to catch a few small waves, which made me happy!
Waterfalls – “Only Opportunity”
We took a couple of hikes to two different waterfalls. So beautiful and the best experience to swim in a waterfall. As our guide, Julio, said “This is your only opportunity!” Such a great motto and one I want to take on whenever I travel from now on!
We also went horseback riding through the jungle. We saw the most gorgeous views of the coast from high up. Such beautiful scenery and interesting flowers and plants we encountered along the way. A wonderful experience to connect with nature.
Meeting new friends
Part of having a “zest for life” is meeting new people and learning about their experiences. It was so great to meet some wonderful women on this trip. We really connected and had such a fun time together – which included a dance party and a dip in the pool (with or without bathing suits ? ) on the last night. I love meeting and connecting with new people and these ladies were just the best!
I absolutely loved my time in the Osa Peninsula and am looking forward to my next trip back! As they say in Costa Rica, Pura Vida!!
Over the past couple of years I’ve become “quite the hiking enthusiast” as my Mom says 😊 So many people travel to go hiking in the Hudson Valley and I’m SO lucky to live in the Hudson Valley and have amazing mountains out my back door. Hiking is such a great way to clear my mind and relieve stress. As soon as I get to the top of the mountain, I feel amazing. I’m a big fan of a strenuous hike that gets your heart pumping that has a big view as a payoff. Rock scrambles are my favorite – such an adrenaline rush!
I recently got to check out Bonticou Crag, which is an amazing rock scramble hike in Mohonk Preserve in New Paltz. It was one that I had wanted to try for a while and when I had a day off and a couple of my friends were planning a trip – I jumped at the chance. WHAT A HIKE! The rock scramble was short, but awesome. It was tough in certain spots and just awe inspiring when you were at the bottom looking up at all the rock formations – seriously took my breath away. I’m not too bad with heights, but there were a couple of times that made me a bit dizzy!
We also checked out the Table Rocks, which is about a 2 mile detour off the trail, but totally worth it too. They were large slanted rock formations with splits down the middle – such a cool thing to see. This one definitely challenged my fear of heights. At one point we jumped over one of the “cracks” (with a serious drop down) and I was fine going one way, but almost couldn’t make it back! The outreached hand of my friend helped me jump over it (thanks, Karen!!)!
Highly recommend a trip there if you plan to be in the Hudson Valley and want a to check out one of the best hikes.
Here are my top 5 hikes in the Hudson Valley that I’ve done so far:
A quick, steep hike to the ruins of an old casino with gorgeous views of the Hudson River and the quaint city of Beacon with the Catskills in the background. Hike up another mile to the fire tower to get a glimpse of NYC on a clear day. This is definitely one of the best hikes in the Hudson Valley in my opinion!
Another amazing hike in the Hudson Valley - I love this quick hike with one of my favorite views – looking down on the Bear Mountain Bridge. I usually go up the blue trail, which is up the face of the mountain. It’s a bit of a scramble and then I head down the white trail. This is a really great hike for sunset too – that was the first time I hiked it and it was gorgeous.
Another great hike with a gorgeous view – you see Anthony’s Nose across the river and the Bear Mountain Bridge. This one is great for sunrise if you’re a morning person – I’m definitely not, but trying to do more morning hikes – so great to accomplish something to start the day! There's a bit of a rock scramble at the top of this trail too - and it's one of the best in the Hudson Valley in my opinion (probably after Breakneck).
Breakneck is one of the most famous hikes in the Hudson Valley – it’s estimated that 100,000 people climb the mountain each year! I like to do this one during the week when there are less crowds. It’s an awesome rock scramble with great views of the Hudson River. It’s a relatively short hike, but strenuous to start – definitely a must if you like rock scrambles!
This was my first Catskills high peak and it’s such a great hike. I did it at night so we could catch the sunset and came down in the dark, which was so much fun. You also get to hike part of Devil’s Path, which is challenging, but awesome. The views from the 2 peaks are outstanding and if you can get a sunset, it’s magical!
And now I’m adding Bonticou Crag to the list 😊 ! I’m hoping to add to this list as I explore more.
What are some of your favorite hikes in the Hudson Valley? Any that I must try??
Tags: Hiking; Hiking the Hudson Valley, Top hikes in the Hudson Valley, Best hikes in the Hudson Valley.
Three (out of four) of my siblings live in Los Angeles. I typically visit a couple of times a year. I’m lucky enough to get out there for work usually once a year and I always tack on an extra weekend to spend time with them. The first time I went out to visit them was soon after I had 3 kids in 3 years (!!), so I was definitely ready to let loose! We were celebrating my sister’s birthday and a few of my cousins joined us for the trip too. We had a blast and I definitely took advantage of being childless for the few days I was there! They ended up nicknaming me “LA Meghan” and the moniker has stuck!
It’s always an adventure when I’m there. This time revolved a lot around food. We got to go to Majordomo, David Chang’s restaurant. I’m slightly obsessed with David Chang and the best meal of my life was at Momofuku Ko in 2008. As soon as I knew I was going to be in LA, I booked a reservation when they opened up 30 days before. It was AH-mazing. The space was super cool. The service was fantastic and the food was seriously SO good. I started with a “cobbler” cocktail which was made with scotch, smoked short-rib fat, apricot and oloroso sherry. It came in a copper julep cup and was delish!
It was great going with 4 people because we got to try a lot of dishes – and none of them disappointed! We started with the Bing with Pork Neck & Spicy Pineapple, then we had the stuffed peppers, which are one of their most popular dishes and definitely a crowd pleaser.
Next we had the marinated mushrooms, which were so good – super clean and bright flavors.
The next dish was my absolute favorite – macaroni & chickpea with black truffle. This dish was so good – no cheese at all, but it was the creamiest, yummiest pasta ever.
We also had the Black Cod, which was also amazing – I wish I could eat it every night! Then we had the roasted duck crispy rice – yum! Loved the crispy bits of rice – they mixed it all at the table.
We finished out the meal with the amazing boneless chuck shortrib, which was topped with melted raclette right at the table. We literally had other tables gawking to see what it was.
We somehow had enough room to try dessert and I was SO glad we did! We got the passionfruit dessert, which had meringue on top and it seriously just hit the spot! Such a perfect way to end the meal. If you’re in LA anytime soon, I’d say it’s a must!!
We also checked out Milkbar while I was there. Tried the famous cereal milk ice cream and the crack pie – both were delicious! The space was super cute too – lots of pink (my fave!). They had a class going on when we were there, which I’d love to try next time – maybe learn how to make crack pie on my own? That might be a dangerous thing!!
Anyway – all in it was a fantastic trip to LA. I got to spend a few days with my family and then attended my company's sales kickoff event for a few days at the Beverly Hilton. Ended the trip with an awards gala on the same stage that they have the Golden Globes, so that was pretty cool! LA Meghan had a pretty great trip and can’t wait for the next one!!!