Welcome to Ticavida!
Click HERE to see what else I’ve loved and learned about Costa Rica, and what I’ve had to adjust to. 🙂
To start with, I am a day late on this post. I had a bit of a stressful morning yesterday and it kind of put me in a foul mood the rest of the day. I was also a bit tired, so after moping around most of the day and a short nap I felt much better.
My mom and I scheduled a tour through Costa Rican Trails to go to Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Long story short, CRT told me to be at a meeting spot to get picked up at 7:30 a.m. Apparently the van came at 6:30 a.m. so we missed it and the lady on the phone tried to tell me they were probably not going to be able to refund our $200…yea, I was a little upset. We ended up rescheduling for two days later (which will be tomorrow) so let’s hope it all works out! I’ll let you know.
Enough of the bad mood nonsense, I want to get on to one of the most amazing things I have learned about Costa Rica and that is that there is SOOO much to do here! I don’t know how a person is able to pick where they go and what they do when visiting, because I would just want to do it ALL!
It really makes me appreciate that we have had an entire year here to experience almost everything this country has to offer.
Below are pictures of the places we have been and the things we have done over the past year. I will try and put them in order and give stats on each photo.
Christmas at Jaco Beach
1) Jaco Beach
Location: Pacific coast
Hostel: Hotel Kangaroo, $35 /night
Thoughts: It was pretty underwhelming. It was the first place I went after arriving in CR and I guess I expected beautiful white beaches. What I got was a brown beach with not a lot going on. Plus, there is a pretty high crime rate for this beach. I would not recommend it as a stop on your Costa Rican adventure.
2) Arenal Volcano
Location: Near an area called Guanacaste, north of San Jose
Hotel: Arenal Springs Resort, $165 / night
Activities: La Fortuna Waterfall, Ziplining, waterfall repelling (we did not do this, but our friends did and said it was amazing)
Thoughts: Arenal was amazing. It was the perfect romantic get-a-way. The resort has natural hot springs within the resort with a swim-up bar and is landscaped beautifully! Zip lining was a blast, and you can swim in a beautiful stream at the base of La Fortuna Waterfall. If you decide not to go to the beach, this is the place to go in Costa Rica!
La Fortuna Waterfall
White Water Rafting on El Rio Paquare 🙂 (First time going)
3) White Water Rafting
Location: Paquare River, near Limon (Caribbean coast)
Hotel: None, we took the day trip through Rios Tropicales, but there is an overnight option. Day trip is $100 / person and includes breakfast, lunch, transportation, and all your gear! Basically all-inclusive.
Activities: White water rafting. There is also zip lining if you choose the overnight trip.
Thoughts: This was my first time white water rafting, and I LOOOOVED it! We both actually love it so much that we did it twice! It probably helped that this river is one of the top 5 rafting rivers in the world! Worth every penny. I would suggest doing this to anyone who is out to have a great time and a grand adventure!
2nd time rafting through Rios Tropicales. Such a blast!
Location: Limon, Caribbean coast, North of Puerto Viejo
Hotel: Casa del Mango (a house we rented) $225 / night for 6 people, 4 rooms with their own bathroom
Activities: Snorkeling, beach time
Thoughts: Not a lot of great options to eat, but some great drink specials! We loved the place we stayed at, but one drawback was that it was a little over a mile from town which made it difficult to just “run into town” if you needed something. There weren’t cabs around to take us into town either due to the rural feel of the town. Also, the beaches were not the greatest, but it was still fun plating in the waves! The house we rented made up for a lot of the downfalls, though.
Snorkeling near Cahuita National Park
On the canals to Tortuguero
Location: Limon, Caribbean coast
Hotel: Miss Junie’s , included in the tour price through Fran and Modesto’s riverboat tours. The tour was great and we LOVED Modesto and Fran! Great people.
Activities: If you head to Tortuguero during nesting season (July-October) you can go on to the beach at night and watch them lay their eggs! By far one of the coolest experiences of my life!! Also, a boat ride through Tortuguero National Park where you can see wildlife like birds and monkeys.
Jesus Christ Lizard
Thoughts: The ride out to Tortuguero can be quite a tough one. From San Jose, it’s a 2 1/2 hour drive, then you get on a boat for 3 more hours. It is all water canals, no streets, so the only way around is via boats! Your butt is pretty sore by the end of the trip. Also, if you come here, make sure you eat at Wild Ginger! Overall it was a great trip. Totally worth it if you are into a more “wildlife”, non-fancy trip to Costa Rica.
We saw so many HUGE crocs on the boat ride through the canals!
6) Poas Volcano
Location: Alajuela, just north of San Jose
Hotel:None! You can take a day tour to here and La Paz Waterfall Gardens (day trip for both places plus meals and entrance fees from San Jose is around $100 / person)
Activities: Volcano and Lagoon
Thoughts: Excellent day trip. It is absolutely breathtaking here. Great if you have an extra day to ‘waste’ in San Jose.
My babe and I near the Lagoon
7) Manuel Antonio
Location: Pacific coast, past Jaco
Hotel: Hotel Flor Blanca (not to be confused with Flor Blanca Resort), $40 / night for both of us! It’s more like a hostel
Activities: Manuel Antonio National Park, great restaurants
Thoughts: $8 / person each way for the bus ride from San Jose to Manuel Antonio is totally worth it. There is also a great local bus system once you get there that will take you to the beach and entrance to the park for cheap! Going to the park is a must. Pack a lunch and bring some water because you will want to spend all day on these beautiful beaches!
white sand beaches
Titi Monkey! Peter took this pic.
All of our trips have been amazing. Like I said, I am just so thankful to be able to do all of the fun things we do!
We are going to Monte Verde Cloud Forest in about a week, and after that the only place we will have not gone is the Nicoya Peninsula (which I have heard is absolutely gorgeous!)
Hope there was some helpful advice in here! There is so much we are going to miss about this country, and these are just some of the reasons why. I never know there was so much to do in such a tiny country.
If you chose to visit Costa Rica make sure you do your research and know what kind of trip you want to have. Manuel Antonio vacations are geared more toward luxury and relaxation vacations, while more of an adventure vacation would include white water rafting and zip lining, and an eco-friendly vacation can be found in Tortuguero.
So many options, which one would you choose?
~Thanks for reading~