Costa Rica House Sitting Photography travel Wildlife

A Glimpse of Our Life in Puntarenas, Costa Rica

View of the front of the house. Lovely road surface.

As we settle into our day to day lives here in Puntarenas there are some things we have had to wrap our heads around. The people we are house sitting for did an outstanding job of informing us of what to expect and certainly never sugar coated any aspect of living here. However for us newbies to Central American living, some things still have to be experienced to truly be understood.

The first thing I have to mention is the heat. Holy smokes! We have spent time in some beautifully hot areas and I thought I had an understanding of heat, not so. At this time of year (May) it seems to average around 33C (91F) with the humidex saying it feels like around 45C (113F). As the home we are staying in does not have air conditioning let us say the overhead fans have truly become vital to us. As well, getting out and exercising in this heat presents it’s own challenges. It has been wonderfully enlightening for me to learn that you cannot always just power through some things, because the heat can kill you if you don’t respect it. Backing off and adjusting my exercises has worked wonders and I am learning to appreciate the warmth. However, who is kidding who, cooking in this heat sucks.

We have the privilege of looking after Odie while we are here. He is a wonderfully clever dog who obviously has some Terrier in him as he does love to bark. I have really enjoyed bonding with him and am reminded of all the reasons why people choose to own dogs.

Odie keeping an eye on things from inside our gate.
Odie keeping an eye on things from inside our gate.

Of course I am also reminded of some of the down sides. Did I mention the barking? Though I have to admit I am very impressed with how well Odie has come to listen when told to come, he is one smart dog. And like a lot of dogs, not a huge fan of bath day. However he is very patient as I search him for ticks and remove them. Another new experience for me.

Wash day for Odie.
Wash day for Odie.

And mentioning ticks brings me to our next new experience. This does not for a second mean Karen and I are not more than familiar with bugs. We do come from Alberta and we have yet to visit a place where the bugs are worse than the mosquitos, horseflys and wasps of Alberta. The bugs here are just new and different to us. For pure shock value my first encounter with a scorpion leads the way for me. First thing in the morning I go to slide the coffee maker forward to pour in the water and a 7cm (2.5inch) long scorpion scurried across the kitchen counter.Unfortunately I do not have a photo of him because after I finished dealing with it, it was not very photogenic. My favourite, not, are the June Bugs. You do not see them for days on end, then, with a bit of moisture it seems you are invaded, come sun down.

One of the numerous June Bugs. For perspective the ribbon is 1 inch wide.
One of the numerous June Bugs. For perspective the ribbon is 1 inch wide.
After I helped it off the ribbon.
After I helped it off the ribbon.

I found the best description of them on this Outward Bound web site, http://outwardboundcostarica.org/2010/tis-the-season-to-hear-bugs-hit-the-wall/ . On the nights when they appear we batten down all doors and windows and still end up dealing with a couple of dozen in the house. The only real entertaining part is when they fly into the ceiling fans. Unless you’re eating dinner under the fan at the time, then, not so funny.

Another bug we just get used to.
Another bug we just get used to.

Some of the other wildlife we have gotten used to is the ants and the toads. When we were first told we had to keep Odie’s food surrounded by water to keep the ants away I kind of laughed. Until I mistakenly let the water evaporate too much and found the food bowl being invaded by a steady stream of ants. Lesson learned. Really the ants are no problem once you understand that keeping things clean is the key, then, no ants. The toads in the dogs water bowl was one I had to see to believe. But sure enough, once the lights go out, out come the toads for a swim. The larger of the two I saw was the size of my fist. Makes you jump the first time you see them, then they kind of become part of the experience.

Toad had waited patiently while Odie finished his food.
Toad had waited patiently while Odie finished his food.

The other household guest it took a few days to get used to are the geckos. They are fairly numerous and as it turns out, quite noisy. Their “call” for lack of a better description is kind of different, but in a way reassuring. At least they eat the right things.

A friendly guest on the kitchen wall.
A friendly guest on the kitchen wall.

The other local guests are a bit more mundane. There is a cat that spends a lot of time under the car in our courtyard. I know, doesn’t say much for Odie, but it is harmless enough.

This fellow spends a lot of time in our front courtyard.
This fellow spends a lot of time in our front courtyard.

And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the cows. Usually they are a couple of blocks away, but occasionally they choose to come over and help with the grass in the lot across the roadway. Until the young cowboy comes to get them.

One of a herd helping keep the grass down in front of the house.
One of a herd helping keep the grass down in front of the house.
Young cowboy gathering his herd across the street.
Young cowboy gathering his herd across the street.

All of these critters make up the overall experience here. And really none of them are an issue. Karen and I are looking forward to exploring the larger neighbourhood in the coming weeks.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

3 comments on “A Glimpse of Our Life in Puntarenas, Costa Rica

  1. wicked experience. awesome house colors ! the ceiling fan bug carnage must be like a sprinkle of crunchy sunflower seeds. oh yes with a high protein source ! hahaha enjoy !

  2. As usual, an excellent blogging of your everyday life. I don’t know how you handle the creepy crawlers. Great photos too! Thanks! Stay cool and safe please.

  3. Lawrence shaw

    Let’s see more of the house your sitting.

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