2021 Travel Recommendations – Costa Rica

A few years ago, my best friend Terri and I set off on a week-long adventure to Costa Rica. Neither of us had been to Central America before but going to the tropics had been on our bucket list for a while. We had booked a guided tour with Costa Rican Vacations, and they took care of all lodging, transportation, and excursions each day. Our first resort (Arenal Springs) was located in the city of La Fortuna and our room had a gorgeous view of the Arenal Volcano!

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We loved how green everything was on the resort, the gorgeous flowers and plants that we would never find back home and the FOOD! I was ready for fresh seafood, and I was not disappointed! The ceviche I had there was such a treat – perfectly marinated in citrus and so fresh! The culinary options in Costa Rica will please even the pickiest of foodies and there are plentiful delicious cocktails topped with fresh fruit and good local beers (cervezas) as well!

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After we passed out from our food comas and got some rest, we set out to enjoy some whitewater rafting on the Balsa River which had Class 2 and 3 rapids. What a rush! Our raft was full of girls who I think all ended up with a crush on our river guide. Gotta watch out for those charming Costa Rican men!

In La Fortuna, we also enjoyed rappelling down some waterfalls and getting to zipline upside down. Desafio was the company we used for rafting and rapelling – highly recommend them! Suffice it to say, I faced my fear of heights on this trip and learned to go by the local motto, “pura vida” which means, the simple life, or “it’s all good”.

Terri and I loved the laid back vibe and how friendly and genuine all the local people were. Interesting fact – Costa Rica abolished its military in 1948 and is one of the few countries that does not maintain an army.

The next stop on the trip was Manuel Antonio, which meant we would be right on the beach! Our second resort was just as beautiful, but the property had incredibly steep hills to the point where we had our very own driver who would take us from our room to the restaurant or to the rest of the town. We felt pretty special having a chauffeur who would arrive within a few minutes of us calling! What a life!

Here we saw our first iguanas by the pool, tried sea kayaking (complete with awkward flips into the waves) and learned that monkeys like to try to sneak into your room if you leave the balcony door open!

Toward the end of our time, we visited a local historic spot called El Avion, which is housed in an old airplane. You can hang out, have a few cervezas, and explore the plane – even sit in the cockpit! It’s definitely a must-see if you’re in the Manuel Antonio area!

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All in all, I’d go back to Costa Rica in a heartbeat. It’s the perfect spot for a trip with friends or family, with plenty of options for adventure, relaxation time, amazing food, nature exploration, fruity drinks galore, plenty of exotic wildlife, and best of all, right now it’s fairly cheap for direct flights to Costa Rica from the US (under $400 in my area) and one of the few countries open to Americans right now.

Have you been to Costa Rica? I love that it has such varied scenery – volcanos, lush rainforests, and beautiful beaches!

Let me know if you have any questions that I can help you with!

Thanks for reading!

Emily

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