Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Pura Vida! Costa Rica!
I just returned from 8 days in Costa Rica. What a country! The people were incredibly friendly, fun and happy to have us bopping around. It was such a unique experience. We spoke as much Spanish as we could and tried our hardest to understand what was said back! We found ourselves eating at delicious local restaurants that were nothing but cement slabs covered by tin!
We started out with a 3 hour car ride (driven by our favorite private driver Luis Chinchilla!) up and down some windy mountain roads. The drive was action-packed with car sickness and spectacular views. They didn't seem all that spectacular while I was getting sick out the window, but now that I look back, the drive was quite beautiful. Our first stop was at a small family-run hotel/cabin type place called "Arenal Green" in a town called La Fortuna de San Carlos @ the base of the Arenal Volcano-the cabins were amazing, cute, clean and personal. We really felt it was an intimate and special place. The owner dropped us off at the hot springs (EcoThermales) for some relaxation followed by a big meal at the hot springs restaurant. The springs were heated naturally by the volcano so it was like sitting in a hot tub minus the gross chemicals!
For the next 2 days we spent our time in the Arenal National Park at the Observatory Lodge, hiking, relaxing and gazing at the active volcano. You could actually SEE lava at night when the clouds were cooperating! We had our last meal at a place called "El Novillo" a local Costa Rican steakhouse. We had steaks the size of our heads for next to nothing. What a wonderful place.
Back in the car with Luis after 3 days at the volcano! Only 5 hours to the beach... I took the front seat and chatted w/ Luis the whole way. My poor boyfriend slept in the backseat and tried to avoid getting sick for 5 hours. I had a BLAST looking at the sites and enjoying the views. Mike did not have such a blast but he lived. We arrived at around 2pm at Manuel Antonio, a touristy area on the Pacific Coast.
We stayed in Manuel Antonio for 5 days. We enjoyed ziplining, hiking, looking at monkeys and eating at great places. Aside from Mike getting a stomach bug and our car sickness, we had no problems. We stayed at a great little place called the Cabinas Espadilla about 500 yards from the beach! The food was great, the atmosphere was laid back and the colors were breathtaking!
This trip was too short. I can't wait to return to Costa Rica to explore more! Definitely visit this place!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by Christina J at 9:00 AM