I am back on the blogging kick after many weeks away from my computer while caring for my sick puppy on my days off… after my small hiatus from writing I think I’ll head south, with the cold coming in everyone has to be thinking the same thing right? I need a warm vacation.
Costa Rica is pretty much my dream vacation country because it encompasses my need for a beach and my need to be constantly entertained. This post is slightly different than the others in that it is about an entire country so I will break it down by where I’ve been.
Arenal: I lava hangin’ in Costa Rica
Let’s start from the top. Arenal is in the north of Costa Rica and is known for it’s active volcano! Arenal, while the only place I visited not on the beach has more than enough to do. As for where to stay, all of the hotels seemed beautiful, I stayed at the Royal Corin, with a view of the volcano, swim up bar and luxe feel it was a no brainer.
While in Arenal I have two top suggestions for activities:
- The hanging bridge park is in the jungle, it is incredibly breathtaking, not too physically straining and the wild life is the best part… if you’re into that sort of thing. Get a tour guide, they are so friendly, knowledgeable and it is their job to spot all of the interesting facets trust me you will miss 80% of this with no guide, I can not recommend anywhere.com more, they have so many options and will help to personalize your trip.
- The second would be La Fortuna waterfall. Now I must warn you that it has almost 500 steps down to the waterfall, and then, yes, back up. I may or may not have had to crawl up to our hotel room the next day… Either way the stairs are worth it and I’m pretty sure that means you can have some extra plantains, which brings me to food.
The cuisine in Costa Rica is farm to table, fresh and it simply does not make you feel like sh*t after eating it. Simple dishes with fresh chicken and fish, rice and beans and plantains. Please go to Cafe Macadamia because it is the most adorable cafe I have yet to patron.
Arenal is also well known for their natural hot springs, so after all of your heavy activities go take a warm dip to relax.
Guanacaste: Beach please
When in Guanacaste I spent a lot of my time on the beach, and for good reason:
We stayed at the Riu, it is all inclusive which was worth what we paid, the food was good, the location was better. The hotel is directly on the beach and there are tons of things to do in the area, or you can hang at the hotel and drink, lay by the huge pool you know the all inclusive drill. Horseback riding on the beach, snorkeling, you name it, you can do it.
Jaco: Jaco it to me
Jaco, also on the beach, is one of the Costa Rica destinations with a larger night life. The town has a strip of restaurants and bars, but you go back to your hotel and lay by the beach, talk about best of both worlds. Like Guanacaste there was no shortage of day time activites like ATVing through the jungle and swimming in waterfalls. The crowd in Jaco seemed to be younger and it was a more lively portion of my trip. I stayed at the Best Western all inclusive and it was in a great location, directly on the beach, had plenty of bars (important) and the staff was wonderful.
Also, do yourself a favor and eat at tacobar, you can sit on swings, drink alcoholic milkshakes AND eat tacos all at the same time.
Manuel Antonio: MAN UEL love this place
Now I would be lying if I did not tell you I convinced my friends to go to Costa Rica for the first time because I am so in love with sloths, and THIS seemed to be the best place to spot them. UGH I want to move here. Now THIS place is exploding with adventurous things to do. Beaches, jungle, waterfalls, catamarans I MEANNN come onnn.
I stayed at the Falls Resort, I loved this hotel hard. It was tucked in the middle of the jungle, the staff was incredible, the rooms made you want to live there, and the bartender made blended drinks that could easily replace a meal, but not in the slimfast kind of way, in the “I am enjoying these so much I forgot I was supposed to eat” kind of way. The Falls was a quick drive or 20 minute walk down to the beach and was surrounded by restaurants, other hotels and an awesome aerial yoga studio (Holis Wellness Center). One of the restaurants was made out of an old plane, and they were all fantastic and set directly in the jungle.
Manuel Antonio National Park is something I would not miss. Not only are there an abundance of animals cough*sloths*cough, but inside of the park is a beach that dreams are made of. You can get pretty up close in personal with the animals, pro tip: beware of the white faced monkeys who try to steal your stuff, one of the little guys jumped on top of my head and tried to steal my sunglasses. Below is a picture of him directly after me yelling at him.
I also absolutely loved ATVing through the jungle, swimming in waterfalls, oh and water fall repelling, because that is something that you can casually sign up to do in Manuel Antonio.
To end the trip we went on a catamaran trip, with open bar (duh) and jumped on and off the boat and snorkeled. I felt like I was on the real housewives, except with a lot of strangers and not a bunch of mean middle aged woman BONUS.
Costa Rica summarized: SO much room for activities. Ocean, jungle, and sloths (did we just become best friends? YEP)