Posted on Jan 12th, 2011 by Allison (Costa Rica, Family/Friends, Travel)

On Day 4 of my visit to Costa Rica, I enjoyed something most vacationers will never experience: The hospitality of a Costa Rican family in their own home.

But first, church.

I attended LDS church services for the first time in many, many years because Brandon wanted me to meet some of the wonderful friends they’ve made in Costa Rica. As a former mormon, I avoid these like the plague – but (other than the heat) this one wasn’t bad.

Every one was so very friendly, and everything was in Spanish (of which I understand very, very little) so I didn’t get irritated with whatever was being preached or testified about (it was a fast and testimony meeting).

It was fun to see that they had decorated their ‘chapel’ with a Christmas tree and garland. And I enjoyed singing the hymns – which is probably the ONLY thing I could ever say I miss about church.

Speaking of Christmas – there are nativity scenes EVERYWHERE. It’s mid-January now and no one seems in a hurry at all to remove their decorations. I’ve seen them on roofs, in parks, in hotels, restaurants – everywhere. I’m wishing now I’d started photographing them all – I could have a post devoted just to Costa Rican nativity scenes.

OK, now for the real fun.

After church we drove an hour to the beautiful area of Atenas, where the Bustillos family welcomed us into their home.

Each week, after church, the two families take turns hosting each other for lunch. This week was the Bustillos turn.

Along the way we saw this waterfall.

Brandon and Kincho are very similar – both in build and in their goofy personalities. They are two peas in a pod and have become dearest friends. Kincho said to me, “Brandon es mi hermano!” (Brandon is my brother).

Kincho proudly took us around the yard – showing us fruit trees, dogs and the absolutely HUGE leaf cutter ants marching in a row. They can devour a small tree within a day or so.

Kincho speaks about as much English as I do Spanish – but we’re able to communicate with gestures and expressions – and with the help of our bilingual counterparts. His wife, Maggie, and their darling girls Jimena and Sigrid both speak some English. And Brandon and family all speak Spanish.

I’d like to add here that Jimena is about the most photogenic person I’ve ever met. I have taken dozens of photos of her and she looks beautiful in every one of them!

Not a single bad photo in the bunch.

Anyway, the girls played on the computers and with the dogs while I took photos – and Brandon, Jennifer, Kincho and Maggie visited and prepared food in the kitchen. And no chauvinism in this house – Kincho jumps right in and helps with dishes and food preparation, child care and anything else that needs attending to.

Maggie is an excellent cook. Dinner was delicious – a traditional Costa Rican meal of arroz con pollo – (chicken with rice). Also a delicious salad of spinach, cucumber and the juice of lemon. So refreshing!

After dinner, we all hopped in Kincho’s Landrover so he could give us a tour of the area. Atenas is really beautiful.

Kincho taught us the local way of greeting each other – basically with a low voiced “hup” (rhymes with pup, cut off abruptly at the end) while raising a hand up. As we drove around town with the windows down, we took turns greeting people walking on the street to see if they’d respond in kind – and nearly every one of them did. A very friendly country.

We stopped and looked at land for sale.

We saw some cows (cattle are abundant in Costa Rica)

We picked and ate oranges right off the tree.

After our drive, we went back to Bustillos for grilled cheese sandwiches and cooled off with an ice cream treat. And stopped in Maggie’s parents home for a visit. They live on the same property – about 20 feet away. Very sweet family.

Costa Rica is a beautiful country. But it’s the people here that really shine.

P.S. It’s so hard to pick which photos to include in my blog, so I’m working on a slide show so you can see more of the scenery and people – so check back soon!

(8) Comments   


Ashley Rae on January 12th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

The Bustillos family seems very sweet. I’m excited to meet them! And I can see how Brandon and Kincho are very similar. I’m sure it will be sad for both families when they move 🙁


Kristin on January 12th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

What a great experience this is. It would be so much more interesting and rewarding, I think, to get to know the people and see more than what your average tourist does. Wish I were there!

Michelle on January 12th, 2011 at 3:44 pm

What fun you are having! Your pictures and descriptions are wonderful especially this one “I avoid them like the plague” lol.

Brandon on January 12th, 2011 at 5:52 pm

That was such a fun day! It’s always a fun day when we’re with the Bustillos. Such a great family. I really enjoyed seeing other parts of Atenas I’ve never seen before, too. Thanks for taking so many wonderful pictures!

Jennifer Pearce on January 12th, 2011 at 6:25 pm

We always have so much fun with the Bustillos. I am so glad we could meet them and become friends. I’m so glad you could meet them too and spend some time with them while you are here.

craigthegrey on January 12th, 2011 at 8:37 pm

my new favorite way to attend a church service: “in Spanish …. so I didn’t get irritated with whatever was being preached or testified about.” I really think you’re on to something there….

Aunt Kathy on January 13th, 2011 at 2:04 am

I like Craig’s comment.

craig on January 13th, 2011 at 8:40 am

Craig likes Craig’s comment too. Looks like you’re having a great time!

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