Costa Rica #Recap – Part 1

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Costa Rica

Costa Rica

I’ve been a bit MIA the past two weeks, but that was because I was out of the country on a vacation to Costa Rica. I didn’t think ahead enough to plan any guest posts, but I figured recapping our adventures might make up for my absence. These posts might be long, but I’m hoping to share lots of photos too.

We headed to Costa Rica on Feb. 25. Our itinerary was all mapped out already through a company called Anywhere Costa Rica, minus the airline stuff. I’ll be recapping the trip in three separate posts, rather than one long one.

The first leg of our flight to Costa Rica was a short trip to Atlanta where we’d catch our connection to San Jose after a two-hour layover. Due to a rain/sleet storm in Atlanta with their unseasonably cold temperatures, we got delayed several hours. After boarding the plane, the pilot announced we’d all have to deboard so they could run a pressurization test. Thirty minutes later the plane had failed the test and the airline was off trying to find us another plane.

An available plane was located two gates down so we all headed there, rechecked in while our luggage was transferred and boarded the plane around 10:30. At this point, I had reached out to Anywhere Costa Rica so they could alert our hotel that we’d be late. Despite the weather, the flight started out pretty well but for some reason we ended up taking a path right into a pretty intense section of bad weather. Drink service was discontinued with haste by the crew, the pilot said it would be about 10 minutes, and I proceeded to brace myself against with the window and squeezed Gabe’s hand. I was terrified and the movie, Big Hero 6, was not at all a distraction. Let’s just say a few tears were shed and leave it at that.

Eventually the weather calmed down and we touched down in San Jose shortly after 1 a.m. After a bit of confusion at the pick-up zone, we grabbed a taxi to our first hotel, The Adventure Inn. Thankfully they were waiting for us and took us right to our room where we settled in for a few hours of sleep.

Breakfast was included. I opted for just some fresh fruit, while Gabe enjoyed what looked to be quite a delicious meal. We headed back to the room to pack up and meet our transfer bus to Arenal.

After a beautiful trip to Arenal, we arrived in La Fortuna and our hotel, La Pradera. It had beautiful views of the volcano and was only a 20 minute walk down to town. We stayed in a private bungalow, which was really cool. We saw lizards, a gecko and plenty of birds.

View of Arenal Volcano from our  bungalow.

View of Arenal Volcano from our bungalow.

Gabe outside our bungalow.

Gabe outside our bungalow.

We arrived around noon and had the rest of the day free. We killed about two hours hanging out by the pool, where I had the most delicious pina colada ever. The bartender cut up a fresh pineapple for it. Doesn’t get any better than that!

Our first afternoon we hung out by the pool for a bit and were joined briefly by this pretty moth.

Our first afternoon we hung out by the pool for a bit and were joined briefly by this pretty moth.

The rest of the afternoon we spent walking down to La Fortuna where we browsed some shops and checked out the town square. We decided to eat at a restaurant we passed on our walk down. I remembered I’d seen its 5-star Tripadvisor rating and thought that was a good sign. We weren’t disappointed.

We shared this plate for dinner. It was delicious!

We shared this plate for dinner. It was delicious!

We had a busy day the following day with three activities. First up was the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Tour. Our guide was very knowledgable and explained why certain plants grow the way they do, how animals and plants interact and even how different plants interact with one another and the environment. The bridges offered incredible views and you were often incredibly high up in the canopy. There was also a nice amount of hiking.

From the base area of our natural history hanging bridges tour.

From the base area of our natural history hanging bridges tour.

The bridges were quite large, but offered amazing views of the rainforest and the volcano.

The bridges were quite large, but offered amazing views of the rainforest and the volcano.

This waterfall went most of the way up the mountainside, but this was the only section you could clearly see.

This waterfall went most of the way up the mountainside, but this was the only section you could clearly see.

After returning to the hotel, we had lunch in the hotel restaurant and then waited to get picked up for our volcano hike and visit to the Baldi Hot Springs.

We had a small group for our hike, just the guide and another couple from the Chicago area. It was a short trek over to the national park, but we got our first taste of the bumpy roads we would encounter during the rest of our visit to Costa Rica.

Upon entering the park, the ranger told our guide about the snake you can see below. We all hopped out of the van to check it out. It was an eyelash pit viper, known for their scales above their eyes that make them look like they have eyelashes. It was a beautiful color. They’re apparently nocturnal, so my guess is he wasn’t too worried about us. They also only tend to bite humans if threatened or if they’ll get trampled on.

We saw an eyelash pit viper at the start our of volcano hike. It's one of the smallest poisonous snakes in Central America.

We saw an eyelash pit viper at the start our of volcano hike. It’s one of the smallest poisonous snakes in Central America.

During our hike we saw a variety of wild birds, a troupe of coatis, and some agoutis. We hiked through an area that was mostly regrowth from the last eruption. The top soil was only about two feet deep so we saw a number of felled trees due to their shallow root systems.

I got three good shots of this fella. He seemed keen on getting his photo taken.

I got three good shots of this fella. He seemed keen on getting his photo taken.

Our entire hike was about a 6k. We got to head out on old lava rock, which offered stunning views of Lake Arenal and the volcano. Some interesting facts about the volcano include that it’s actually rather young, only about 7,000 years old. It’s also active and it’s last major eruption was in the late 1960s, but it’s had smaller eruptions since then. That eruption killed about 67 people, but people have died in recent years illegally hiking the volcano due to rock slides and other such dangers.

Arenal Volcano is tucked up inside that storm cloud. It never ended up raining on us, but it made for some neat photos.

Arenal Volcano is tucked up inside that storm cloud. It never ended up raining on us, but it made for some neat photos.

The hot springs were really fun. There were numerous pools of all different temperatures. A lot of them had bars. My personal favorite had these great lounges in the water so you could just relax. Afterward we had dinner before catching our shuttle the short drive back to our hotel. It rained almost all night and it sounded incredible on the roof of our bungalow.

I feel like that was a really short summary of our first taste of Costa Rica. It was just the beginning, but it was a great first few days. There were plenty of more memories to make and I’ll share those with you next week in part 2!

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3 thoughts on “Costa Rica #Recap – Part 1

    • Thanks for checking them out! I definitely wouldn’t mind going back one day. We had such an amazing time! We couldn’t pick just one thing that was our favorite because it all was just a blast. There are so many places I want to see, but Costa Rica will definitely be on my list for return trips!

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