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Costa Rica: The Highlights

Posted by on December 27, 2013
Rainforests in Costa Rica

The view of Turrialba Volcano from my hike in La Marta Rainforest.

One word: Amazing.

My one-week visit to Costa Rica was that in every way. Amazing! With every turn in the road, meal we ate, new activity we tried, and information we learned about the country, amazing was the only way we could describe it.

It’s been a while since a country has won me over so quickly. Just 2 days of being on Costa Rican soil I was Skyping with Tristan and proclaiming that I’d found the next place we would live in. A big proclamation indeed.

Ok, I realize I need to rewind here a bit before my giddy inner 12-year old brain farts all over the page in an incoherent mess.

At the beginning of December, myself and my travel blogging amiga Cristina traveled down to Costa Rica as part of the Tourism Board’s ‘Happiness Campaign’. The intent was simple, find happiness in Costa Rica. But even before departing I knew this would be an easy feat.

Having long been on my radar as a destination I really wanted to visit, Costa Rica far exceeded my expectations of adventure and ecotourism. This is a country that prides itself on its sustainability, its natural attractions, its adventure activities, and the warmth and friendliness of its people. You’d be hard press NOT to find happiness in this country.

Our itinerary was filled with adventure; horseback riding through the rainforest, white-water rafting down one of the best rivers in the world for the sport, tree-climbing (?!), and of course zip lining in the country where it was invented. We stayed in places that grew their own produce, operated on limited electricity, and were built with recycled wood and renewable resources.

I learned so much about the country, rainforests, and sustainability from our incredible local guide Hector, and every day was filled with highlights and new experiences for me. The ultimate highlight of the trip though was salsa dancing on our final night at a local bar. All those zumba classes were finally getting a spin in the real world! And not only did I manage to keep up with everyone in the bar, I even got to dance with a super talented 10-year old boy! Under-age questions aside, it was the perfect way to cap an amazing week in the country.

Throughout the week in Costa Rica, I shared images on my Instagram account and created daily recaps of our experiences. Over the next little while I’ll be sharing some videos and posts here about my experiences and why this country should be on your ‘must-see’ lists. But for now, here are the highlights from our brief but amazing time in the country:

 

Day-1-Highlights Clockwise from top-left: The view of Turrialba and Lake Angostura, street food for dinner in La Suiza, getting up close with the horses before a morning of horseback riding, and picking up the local brew ‘Imperial’ for about $1.20 a bottle at a local grocery store.

 

Day-2-HighlightsClockwise from top-left: Huevos Rancheros for breakfast, a hike through La Marta Rainforest, final night at the exquisite Casa Turire, and the exotic looking flowers at the hotel.

 

Adventure activites in Costa RicaClockwise from top-left: driving east through central Costa Rica, getting ready to whitewater raft the Pacuare River, a palm tree on the Caribbean coast, and still smiling after rafting 18 miles of Class 2-4 rapids.

 

Horseback Riding in Costa RicaClockwise from top-left: relaxing and checking out the view from the terrace of our hut, a typical meal at Selva Bananito Lodge, horseback riding through the rainforest, and checking out some interesting fungus in the jungle.

 

Tree climbing, parrotsClockwise from top-left: tree climbing early in the morning, spotting Red Lord Parrots, a Caribbean influenced mixed seafood dish, and arriving at our final accommodation; Hacienda Pozo Azul where we are sleeping in tents in the forest!

 

Zip lining in Costa RicaClockwise from top-left: one final sleep at our rustic abode at Pozo Azul, spotting the Black Mandible Tucan, zip lining for the first time, and getting an up close encounter at the butterfly garden.

 

What to do in Costa RicaClockwise from top left: Cristina and I take one final photo with Angel Waterfall in the background, our local guide Hector (who was incredible the entire week) has fun with the large foliage, one final meal of olla de carne, and flying home more inspired than when I arrived.

 

Have you been to Costa Rica before? What were some of your highlights??

 

 

  • Karin Erica

    Looks like an amazing trip! My 12 year old brother just got invited to go there on a school trip and I think he’ll have a lot of fun if his trip is anything like yours!

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      Oh he’s going to have a fantastic time! I wish I got to go to Costa Rica on my school trips :) Lucky guy!

  • MikesRoadTrip

    Never been, but have wanted to. Great plcs…sounds like you had a wonderful time.

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      It really was wonderful from start to finish. It’s now put all of Central America on my must-travel to do list!

  • http://www.thetravolution.com/ Cristina

    What an incredible trip! For a bunch of babbling writers like ourselves we really were caught speechless so many times! Amazing seems to sum it up well, for the most part. I found myself taking so many photos and then realizing I wasn’t satisfied with the shot – unfortunately trying to capture it is not the same as what you visually experience with the naked eye. Costa Rica was that kind of place for me. But everyone needs to go!! :)

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      I think that tends to be the “problem” whenever I travel, I just can’t capture it as great as I see it. But it’s still amazing none the less. Thank you for being such a great travel partner!

  • Lori B

    Ooh, that butterfly! Amazing! Sounds like a great trip–I look forward to getting there one day soon.