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Hello...Anyone There? New Mexico Part 1

While I didn't intend to take a 4 month break from blogging, whoops! Tonight I just got the urge to write, and to write for me and no one else. I write a lot for work on other sites, and I type a lot for Aaron, and so some days (i.e. most) I just don't want to open a laptop one more time. 

But I feel the need to document this trip because my memory isn't what it used to be. What am I even saying, I have never had a good memory! 

This year Aaron decided a few months ago that he wanted to plan our anniversary trip. 18 years! So I said go for it! One trip I didn't need to plan? That's my idea of heaven. 

He told me the day before we left that I would need to pack for both 35 degree weather and 75 degree weather. Three nights, and activities ranging from hikes to water to relaxation. Oooookkk.

We got to the airport and he wouldn't budge, had my passport and my boarding pass and even through TSA check point I was clueless where we were headed. My one clue was we were west of the Mississippi River and since geography is not my strength, that's pretty much the worst clue you could ever give me. 

We got to the gate and it said Denver, Colorado! So we were going to Colorado! And I've never been to Colorado. The first photo is of us on the plane with me thinking we were going to Colorado lol. I was stoked. We landed, walked out the gate and headed to, not the exit? Where in the world could we be walking? But since of the aforementioned geography issues I have, I just followed my man and kept silent. We arrived at a second gate and I realized we were about to board another plane! To....New Mexico! Which you already knew because of the title of this post. Check out the size of the second plane we took! Ai yi yi. 

We landed in Santa Fe and I was now more excited than ever. You see about a year ago I was looking at where to go for our 17th year anniversary and I checked out flights to Taos and told Aaron how expensive they were, and we would just have to scrap that idea. I didn't really think about it again. So you can imagine my delight to find out we were headed to New Mexico. 

Is that not the cutest airport you've ever seen?! We grabbed our rental car, which he also had planned and we were off to destination #1. He had planned each night and meals and activities, and I was on a strict need to know basis. 

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We checked into this little B&B where he had a vase of fresh flowers waiting for me. If I had to rank our three evenings, this hotel was probably #3, it was a little older, I thought it was adorable with the fireplace, but it could've used some upgrades. Aaron wasn't impressed, but honestly I was prepping myself for camping, so this was stellar! The breakfast was amazing the next morning however. Green chile stew to die for. After we checked in we walked into the plaza of town and just explored. We ate at this amazing restaurant called The Shed and we found ourselves our first pieces of turquoise. 

The next day after breakfast we packed up the car and did a little souvenir shopping in town for the kids and headed north. Again, I had no idea where we were going but I was beyond happy to be road tripping with Aaron. We stopped for lunch at Orlando's which was so good! We got to Taos and walked around a bit before heading to that night's accommodations. Which you will have to wait to find out all about in Part 2....

Costa Rica - Dreams Las Mareas

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Finally sharing some photos from where we stayed in Costa Rica and answering some questions about the hotel that I've been asked. Since my whole family was traveling, we were 11 in total and the ages ranged from 4-65! We decided to stay in an all-inclusive hotel in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica just south of the Nicaraguan border. We chose this because we were traveling in the rainy season and this province is the driest of the country. We enjoyed sporadic rain while we were there. Never lasting more than 30 or so minutes, and probably 3-4 times over 10 days total. So not rainy at all if you asked us. Not sure how it was in different parts of the country. All of the photos in this post were taken at the hotel or at the beach/bay of the hotel. 

We decided to stay put for the entire trip and just schedule day trips off the resort and it was a great call. And it is motivation for us to return and explore different areas we never saw! We stayed at the Dreams Las Mareas Resort. I have heard this is the nicest of the Dreams resorts, so I am not too helpful on how it compares to their other locations, but I can say it was a lovely stay and a beautiful resort. 

The resort had gorgeous pools, 6 restaurants, kids club, trampoline, on the beach, beautiful rooms, fabulous food, excellent spa. It was a definite win. The only suggestion I have if you are traveling with a large group like we did, be sure to communicate clearly with the concierge if you are planning to eat together. It seemed the restaurants were not used to catering to large families so it took a few days for them to figure out we were going to be eating, all 11 of us, together every dinner. And we expected them to put tables together or allow us to wait until they could seat us together. Once they figured that out, it was smooth sailing. It still is crazy to us that the mini bar and all you could want to eat and drink is included. And you can bet my kids eat their weight in food. 

The spa was beautiful and we took the kids on our final afternoon to enjoy all the mineral pools. The gym was decent, not huge but it was air conditioned and had the equipment we needed to do a quick run and some free weights. The food was really really good. I don't think we had a bad meal once. And with all the choices of restaurants, you never got tired of any menu. 

With the beach right there, we would check out boogie boards, snorkeling gear, kayaks and paddle boards almost daily. Greta was stung once by a jelly fish but it was not too eventful, her brothers did offer to pee on it for her. No thanks.

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I often compare the lushness of Costa Rica to Kauai. Although we were told in the winter months it is not green at all, which was hard to imagine. 

The few times the sky opened up and it rained, it didn't affect what we were doing too much. Can you see just how much it was raining in this photo?!

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Technically we were there during the off season, so I can't say how crowded it is during peak times, but we didn't have much issue finding umbrellas and pool lounge chairs. Some of us would eat pool side and some would head to a restaurant on the days we stayed put at the resort. 

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Outside our hotel rooms you just walked a handful of steps, and there was a pool. The kids would be in that pool until the very last second where they had to hop in the shower before dinner. And the pool connected to their cousins and grandparents pool.

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And the slide you guys, the slide! Needless to say they could be found here most of the afternoon. 

If I didn't answer your question feel free to email me or ask in the comments, happy to answer and help. Costa Rica, we will return! And hopefully I can get my act together now that the kids are in school, and blog some of our fun adventures while we were there.