Costa Rica Adventure

Costa Rica Adventure anaheimer

Costa Rica, a Central American treasure, offers a paradise for travelers seeking both adventure and tranquility. Renowned for its lush rainforests, stunning beaches, and diverse wildlife, this vibrant country captivates every visitor with its unique experiences.

Costa Rica Collage

In November 2023, my wife and I spent nine blissful days exploring Costa Rica's natural wonders and engaging with its wonderful people. We quickly realized that nine days were hardly enough to fully appreciate the country's stunning nature, national parks, wildlife reserves, and commitment to eco-tourism.

The nation's dedication to conservation and sustainable tourism is apparent everywhere, from the misty cloud forests to the pristine coastlines, setting a commendable example for global environmental stewardship.

Tip: The tap water in Costa Rica is safe to drink, so carrying a refillable container can help reduce plastic waste.

Costa Rica's rich and diverse culture is shaped by a mix of indigenous, Spanish, and Afro-Caribbean influences.

This cultural tapestry is evident in the country's art, music, and cuisine. The locals, affectionately known as Ticos, are famous for their warm hospitality and the 'Pura Vida' philosophy, which promotes a stress-free and optimistic approach to life.

Adventure Awaits

For those seeking adventure, Costa Rica is a veritable playground. From zip-lining through the Monteverde Cloud Forest to surfing in Tamarindo, or exploring the volcanic landscapes of Arenal, the country offers a plethora of thrilling experiences.

A Journey Through Costa Rica

Monteverde - Selvatura Park Hanging Bridges Our journey through Costa Rica was a vibrant tapestry of experiences. It began in the bustling capital city of San Jose, where we immersed ourselves in the country's rich history and culture. We then ventured into the heart of the rainforest in La Fortuna and Arenal, captivated by the natural hot springs and the majestic Arenal Volcano.

In Monteverde, the mystical beauty of the cloud forest offered an unparalleled connection with nature. Our trip concluded on the sun-kissed shores of Tamarindo Diria Beach, an idyllic spot for relaxation and reflection.

Before delving into the details of this fantastic journey, I must mention our tour planner, Yuliana from Amazilia Travel, and the tour website They found the perfect local guide for us, who meticulously arranged every detail of our trek through Costa Rica, considering our budget and preferences.

Tip: You don't need to convert your dollars to Colons. During my entire trip, I used dollars for tips and my credit card for everything else.

The result was an unforgettable adventure filled with pleasant memories. 

San Jose: A City of Culture and History

San Jose Costa Rica - National MuseumOur exploration of Costa Rica began with an enthralling visit to San Jose, a city pulsating with culture and history. Often overlooked in favor of beaches and rainforests, San Jose revealed itself as a hidden gem of cultural richness and historical depth.

Tip: Embrace the 'Pura Vida' Lifestyle: Costa Rica is renowned for its 'Pura Vida' philosophy, which translates to 'pure life' or 'simple life.' Ticos use Pura Vida as a greeting.

Our journey in San Jose was a vibrant tapestry of cultural and historical experiences. We strolled down the lively Colón Promenade, a bustling avenue alive with street vendors, artisans, and musicians, leading us to the Central Market, a bustling center of local life and commerce. 

Ave Central (Colon) San Jose Costa Rica - by Cephas - WikimediaThe city streets, adorned with numerous statues, including the touching "Monumento al Campesino," told stories of Costa Rica's rich past and culture. 

The Jade Museum, highlighting the world's largest collection of pre-Columbian jade, offered a fascinating glimpse into the ancient societies of Costa Rica. 

The Metropolitan Cathedral is a stunning example of neoclassical architecture, beautifully merging art and faith. 

At the National Museum, located in the historic Bellavista Fortress, we delved into Costa Rica's history, from its pre-Columbian roots to its modern commitment to peace and conservation. 

Lastly, Parque La Sabana, the city's green lung, offered a serene retreat, reflecting the active, outdoor-oriented lifestyle of the locals.

For a more detailed account of our journey through the vibrant streets and hidden treasures of San Jose, follow this link.  

Road Trip from San Jose to La Fortuna 

San Jose Costa Rica - Cinchona Waterfall Embarking on the road from San Jose to La Fortuna, we were treated to a journey as enriching as the destination. This scenic drive through Costa Rica's lush landscapes and charming towns offered a blend of natural beauty, culinary delights, and serene retreats.

Our first stop was the delightful Fresas del Volcan Café for much-needed coffee and pastries. After a short rest and browsing the adjoining souvenir shop, we continued towards Cinchona Waterfall.

Tip: Prepare for Diverse Climates: You'll encounter many climates as you move from beaches to rainforests and mountains. Pack accordingly, and definitely bring rain gear! 

Costa Rica - Road to La Fortuna This hidden gem was a spectacular sight tucked away in the lush greenery. The thunderous sound of the water cascading down, and the misty ambiance created a magical experience. It was a reminder of Costa Rica's abundant natural wonders.

Our driver also stopped at Mirador Cinchona, a charming restaurant with stunning views and frequent hummingbird visitors. After admiring the views, we continued on the final leg of this journey.

As we neared La Fortuna, the imposing silhouette of Arenal Volcano began to dominate the landscape. The views of this iconic volcano were awe-inspiring. Its perfect conical shape against the backdrop of clear blue skies was a remarkable sight and a highlight of the trip.

La Fortuna: A Tapestry of Natural Wonders and Cultural Experiences

La Fortuna - Lomas del Volcan Hotel La Fortuna, nestled at the base of Arenal Volcano, is a place where nature's grandeur meets rich cultural experiences. Our time in this enchanting area was filled with adventures ranging from exploring local agriculture's intricacies to trekking through volcanic landscapes and unwinding in thermal waters.

During our three-day stay at La Fortuna, we learned about coffee and chocolate planting and processing. We even made our own chocolate bars. 

La Fortuna  - Arenal Volcano Hike We then went on a hike through the lava rocks at Arenal Volcano and admired the expansive views from a plateau. 

After the strenuous hike we relaxed at the Ecotermales Hot Springs which offered several soothing mineral-rich pools and satisfying buffet-style dinner. 

 The following day we went on a hike through Tenorio Volcano National Park with a thundering waterfall and sulfur bubbles. 

Read more about our La Fortuna adventures here.

From La Fortuna to Monteverde: A Journey to the Clouds

The next leg of Our Costa Rican adventure took us from the lush landscapes of La Fortuna to the Mystical cloud forests of Monteverde, a journey that was as diverse in experiences as it was in scenery.

A Multimodal Adventure

La Fortuna - Crossing lake Arenal The journey to Monteverde was an adventure in itself. It began with a bus ride, winding through the scenic routes that offered glimpses of Costa Rica's varied landscapes. 

The next phase was a tranquil crossing of Lake Arenal by boat, a journey that provided stunning views of the surrounding hills and the Arenal Volcano. 

The final leg of the trip was a shuttle ride, navigating the rugged and winding roads to Monteverde, a town nestled in the clouds.

Monteverde Cloud Forest: A Symphony of Nature and Adventure

In Monteverde we stayed at El Establo Hotel which was an adventure on its own. The hotel sat on many hills and was so large we needed a shuttle to get around between the rooms, restaurants, and reception areas. 

Monteverde - Selvatura Park Zipline The following day we went on an adventure at Selvatura Park in the cloud forest. We chose the GOLD PACK, which included hanging bridges and a canopy zip line adventure, complete with photos and videos.

Read more about our Monteverde adventure here

Important Tips

- In the cloud forest, expect daily afternoon rains. Dress in quick-dry clothes and bring a rain jacket.

- Bring padlocks for the lockers at Selvatura Park.

- Inquire about return shuttle times from Selvatura Park; the last ride during our visit was at 4 PM.

Shuttle Ride to Tamarindo Diria Beach: A Transition to Coastal Splendor

Leaving the misty heights of Monteverde, our journey continued towards the sun-kissed shores of Tamarindo. 

The shuttle ride from Monteverde to Tamarindo Diria Beach was a scenic transition from the cloud-covered forests to the sparkling coastline of Costa Rica.

Tamarindo Diria Beach 

Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort Our tour of Costa Rica was designed to end at beautiful Pacific beach to unwind and prepare for our return home. 

But once we reached this busy small beach town, we couldn’t just sit and relax. 

We first roamed the main street, browsed the shops, and had lunch. We then strolled along the beach and watched the sunset. 

Tamarindo Catamaran Sail Adventure The following day, which was our last full day in the country, we went on a Catamaran Sailing excursion.  

The tour included opportunities for snorkeling and kayaking, a lunch and a sunset sail. 

Read more about our Tamarindo Beach visit here.

Farewell to Costa Rica

Our time on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica was a harmonious mix of tranquil moments and thrilling adventures. From the serene mornings by the ocean to the lively days aboard the catamaran, every experience was a celebration of Costa Rica's stunning natural beauty and its vibrant spirit. This final chapter of our journey served as a perfect and unforgettable culmination to an extraordinary adventure.

As we journeyed towards Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia, we bid a heartfelt farewell to the enchanting land of Costa Rica. With memories etched in our hearts and a promise to ourselves, we vowed to return, eager for more adventures in this beautiful country.

What did I miss?

There are always more experiences and places to explore in such a diverse country. My nine days in Costa Rica were not nearly enough to explore everything. 

Here are a few that I will try to see in a future visit:

Tortuguero CR - by Rômulo Gama Ferreira - Wikimedia

  • Corcovado National Park: Known for its biodiversity, this park on the Osa Peninsula offers a chance to see rare wildlife, including tapirs and scarlet macaws, in their natural habitat.
  • Tortuguero National Park: Famous for its sea turtle nesting beaches, this remote area on the Caribbean coast is accessible only by boat or plane, offering a unique experience of Costa Rica's wildlife and natural beauty.
  • Manuel Antonio National Park: Combines pristine beaches with a rich rainforest filled with wildlife, including sloths and capuchin monkeys.
  • Cultural Experiences in the Central Valley: Explore towns like Sarchí, known for its hand-painted oxcarts, and Grecia, famous for its unique metal church, for deeper insights into Costa Rican culture and history.
  • Whitewater Rafting: Costa Rica is renowned for its excellent whitewater rafting opportunities, such as on the Pacuare River, which offers both thrilling rapids and stunning rainforest scenery.
  • Nicoya Peninsula: Known for its beautiful beaches and as a wellness retreat, offering a more laid-back, off-the-beaten-path beach experience compared to the more developed Pacific coast.
  • Indigenous Cultural Tours: Engage with the country's indigenous communities, such as the Bribri in the Talamanca Mountains, for a unique perspective on the country's heritage and traditions.

Do you have more to add? Please use the contact form to send your contributions or register to create your own content. 

La Fortuna, Costa Rica

La Fortuna, Costa Rica anaheimer

La Fortuna: Nature's Grandeur Meets Rich Culture

La_Fortuna_Town,_Arenal_Volcano   By Erick Hidalgo   WikimediaLa Fortuna, nestled at the base of Arenal Volcano, is where nature's grandeur meets rich cultural experiences. Our time in this enchanting area was filled with adventures, from exploring local agriculture to trekking through volcanic landscapes and unwinding in thermal waters.

Lomas del Volcan Hotel: A Serene Retreat

La Fortuna - Lomas del Volcan Hotel Nestled at the base of the majestic Arenal Volcano, our accommodation at Lomas del Volcan resort in La Fortuna was a haven of serenity. 

Surrounded by verdant trails and a dense tropical forest, the resort offered an oasis of calm, complete with a welcoming swimming pool and a soothing jacuzzi. 

The resort's location provided breathtaking vistas of the volcano and an intimate bond with nature. 

From the comfort of our porch, we relished meals and sipped drinks, all while marveling at the awe-inspiring sight of the volcano's cone.

We could have spent all three days just roaming the hotel grounds or relaxing on the porch, but we ended up spending more time on our three adventures.

Coffee and Chocolate Tour with Don Juan Tours

La Fortuna - cacao bean picking During our visit to La Fortuna, a standout experience was the Coffee and Chocolate Tour with Don Juan Tours. This engaging tour led us through verdant fields where coffee and cacao plants grew in harmony with tropical fruits like bananas, mangos, and coconuts.

The tour was enhanced by the delightful sightings of a sloth leisurely hanging from a tree and an iguana resting on a leaf, adding a touch of wildlife charm.

The first segment of the tour focused on cacao. We learned about the extensive process of fermenting, drying, and preparing cacao beans. The highlight was the hands-on experience of grinding cacao beans to create our own chocolate bars, blending both fun and learning.

In the second part of the tour, we delved into the world of coffee. We started by hand-picking coffee beans, followed by an insightful session on their processing and roasting to achieve assorted flavors and strengths.

La Fortuna - brewing coffee The culmination of this part was brewing coffee using the traditional Costa Rican method known as 'chorreador.' This method involves a simple yet effective technique where coffee grounds are placed in a cloth filter (usually cone-shaped) suspended over a cup or pot. Hot water is then poured over the grounds, allowing the coffee to drip slowly into the container below. 

Hiking Through Arenal Volcano's Lava Rocks

La Fortuna - Arenal Volcano Hike Our expedition through the lava fields of Arenal Volcano was an enthralling mix of physical challenge and geological discovery. Arenal, a notable stratovolcano, is distinguished by its impeccable conical shape and a history punctuated by significant eruptions, most notably the catastrophic event of 1968.

This eruption, a defining moment in the area's history, dramatically altered the landscape.

Our path took us through the remnants of this upheaval, where the once-devastated land now tells a story of resilience and transformation.

La Fortuna  - Arenal Volcano Hike The 1968 eruption, while destructive, reshaped the region, creating new topographies and ecosystems. It obliterated two villages, but in its aftermath, it also paved the way for a burgeoning tourism industry drawn by the allure of the volcano and its history.

The trail concluded at a vantage point offering sweeping views of the volcano's commanding cone, the tranquil lakes, and the sprawling valley below.

This hike was more than a physical endeavor; it was a journey through time, offering insights into the natural forces that shape our world.

The contrast between Arenal's once-violent past and its current state of dormancy since 2010 added a layer of intrigue and reflection to our adventure, highlighting the dynamic and ever-changing nature of our planet.

This exploration through Arenal's lava fields was not just a trek but a vivid lesson in the power of nature and its ability to both destroy and create, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape and the people who inhabit it.

Ecotermales Hot Springs: A Relaxing Sojourn

La Fortuna - Ecotermales Hot Springs After an exhilarating day of exploration, the Ecotermales Hot Springs emerged as a sanctuary of tranquility and rejuvenation. Nestled within the embrace of the rainforest, the series of thermal pools, each with its unique character, offered a therapeutic escape into nature's warm embrace.

As we settled into the soothing waters, the experience was elevated by the indulgence of sipping refreshing drinks. The contrast of the hot, mineral-rich water against the cool beverages created a sensory delight, enhancing our relaxation. The pools, arranged in a cascading sequence, allowed us to drift from one to another, each offering a different perspective of the surrounding lush foliage.

A particularly memorable moment was sitting under the cascading hot waterfalls. The natural force of the water provided a massage-like effect, particularly soothing for our shoulders and back. It was as if nature offered a healing touch, easing the tensions of our adventurous pursuits.

Adding to this serene experience was the occasional cool rain shower, typical of the rainforest climate. The sensation of warm water around us while being gently kissed by cool raindrops was uniquely invigorating. This natural interplay of elements encapsulated the essence of being in the heart of the rainforest.

As evening approached, the setting transformed under a starlit sky, creating a magical ambiance. This was complemented by a buffet dinner that offered a delightful array of local and international cuisine. Dining in such an enchanting environment, with the sounds of the forest and the gentle steam rising from the hot springs, was a memorable experience, blending culinary pleasure with the beauty of nature.

La Fortuna public hot springs - by Peter Nijenhuis - Flickr For those seeking a similar experience without being part of a tour, the region offers accessible natural hot springs.

Just beyond the Tabacon Hot Springs entrance, a short trail on the north side of the road leads adventurers to free, public thermal springs by the river.

This hidden gem provides a more rustic but equally enchanting experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the warm, mineral-rich waters while surrounded by the natural beauty of the Costa Rican rainforest.

If you decide to try the public hot springs, consider the following tips:

  • Parking: Ensure your vehicle is securely parked and all valuables are taken with you or hidden.
  • Footwear: Wear sturdy shoes for the walk, as the path can be uneven and slippery.
  • Timing: Consider visiting during off-peak hours to avoid crowds and enjoy a more serene experience.

Hiking at Tenorio Volcano National Park

La Fortuna - Tenorio Volcano National Park Our journey through Tenorio Volcano National Park was an adventure that wove through a tapestry of breathtaking natural wonders. The hike began on a well-trodden path, meandering through the lush rainforest, alive with the symphony of tropical birds and rustling leaves. The trail, while scenic, presented us with a series of challenges and rewards.

One of the most remarkable features of this hike was the descent to the park's famed waterfall, Rio Celeste Waterfall .

La Fortuna - Tenorio Volcano National Park Waterfall Here, a series of steep and narrow stairs carved into the hillside beckoned us downward. Each step offered a new angle of the surrounding forest, with glimpses of the river's vibrant turquoise waters below.

The descent, though physically demanding, was a thrilling journey through the heart of the rainforest, with the sound of the cascading waterfall growing louder and more enticing with each step.

Upon reaching the base, we were greeted by the awe-inspiring sight of the waterfall plunging into a serene turquoise pool.

The misty spray from the falls created a mystical atmosphere, and the cool, clear waters invited a moment of reflection and admiration.

The hike continued to an area renowned for its sulfuric bubbles, a testament to the park's geothermal activity.

La Fortuna Tenorio Volcano National Park - snakeHere, the river transformed into a bubbling, otherworldly spectacle, with the scent of sulfur subtly perfuming the air. This natural phenomenon was a vivid reminder of the volcanic forces that shaped this landscape.

Our encounter with the forest's inhabitants added an element of excitement to the hike.

The sighting of a thin green snake, expertly camouflaged against the foliage, was a thrilling reminder of the park's rich biodiversity.

The hike culminated with a culinary experience at Restaurant Tenory.

La Fortuna - Restaurant Tenory Here, we indulged in the traditional Costa Rican dish "casado." This hearty meal, whose name translates to "married man," offered a taste of local culture.

It typically featured a protein such as grilled fish or stewed beef, accompanied by staples like white rice, beans, and a fresh salad. 

Variations often included regional delights like fried plantains, avocado slices, or a fried egg, each adding their unique flavor to this quintessential Costa Rican dish.

This hike through Tenorio Volcano National Park was not just a physical journey but a voyage through the rich tapestry of Costa Rica's natural and cultural landscapes.

From the challenging descent to the waterfall to the culinary delights at the end, every moment was a testament to the country's diverse and vibrant spirit.

Farewell to La Fortuna

La Fortuna's blend of natural beauty and engaging activities was an unforgettable part of our Costa Rican adventure. Each experience, from educational tours to exhilarating hikes and soothing hot springs, added a unique flavor to our journey.

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde, Costa Rica anaheimer

Cloud Forest at Monteverde - by Velorian - WikimediaIn the heart of Costa Rica's majestic cloud forests, Monteverde stands as a captivating destination where adventure and tranquility coexist harmoniously. Known for its lush landscapes and rich biodiversity, this enchanting region offers a unique blend of experiences for both nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers.

Our journey in Monteverde was an exploration of this serene yet exhilarating locale, filled with new discoveries and unforgettable moments.

Monteverde - El Establo Hotel Our exploration was centered around the El Establo Hotel, a cozy haven that perfectly echoed the natural beauty of Monteverde.

Amidst the cool, misty climate of the cloud forest, the hotel provided a harmonious mix of comfort and natural splendor. From the breathtaking views from our room's porch to the array of activities available, our stay was a magical experience.

This article invites you to journey with us through Monteverde, from tranquil mornings at El Establo Hotel to the adrenaline-pumping adventures at Selvatura Park.

We share our experiences in this cloud-kissed paradise, offering insights and tips to enhance your visit to this extraordinary part of Costa Rica.

A Cozy Stay Amidst Nature at El Establo Hotel

Our stay at El Establo Hotel was a delightful immersion in nature. The room, designed to complement the cloud

forest's climate, featured a porch with stunning views of the verdant landscape.

Nights in Monteverde can be cool, given its mountainous location, so extra layers and blankets were essential for comfort.

The hotel's expansive grounds, spread across several hills, necessitated a shuttle for easy movement between rooms, restaurants, and reception areas.

Mornings welcomed us with sunshine, perfect for a stroll to the breakfast restaurant. On rainy evenings, we availed ourselves of the free shuttle to Restaurant Laggus, which offered a serene dining experience with panoramic views from its open-air balcony.

While El Establo Hotel proposed enticing activities like night canopy walks and zip-lining, our tight schedule meant we had to forgo these adventures.

Selvatura Park: An Adventure Haven

Monteverde - Selvatura Park Hanging Bridges A major highlight was our excursion to Selvatura Park, a center of adventure in the cloud forest. Opting for the GOLD PACK, we embarked on an adventure that included hanging bridges and a canopy zip line, complete with photos and videos to capture the thrill.

Ziplining Across the Cloud Forest

The zipline adventure, boasting Central America's longest line, was a rush ofMonteverde - Selvatura Park Zipline excitement. Despite the rain, which added a unique element, the professional guides ensured a safe and thrilling experience.

Zipping above the rain-drenched treetops offered a distinct perspective on the cloud forest's beauty. On one line, we experienced the thrill of zipping down together, an initially awkward but ultimately exhilarating moment.

We decided to skip the Tarzan swing due to back concerns.

Lunch Break at El Jardin

Post-ziplining, we took a relaxing break at "El Jardin" restaurant. The balcony provided a splendid view of the park as we savored our soup and salad, recharging for the next part of our adventure.

A Hike Amongst the Hanging Bridges

Monteverde - Selvatura Park Hanging Bridges The hike across the park's hanging bridges offered a serene contrast to the zipline's speed. Spanning lengths from 150 to 510 feet and heights from 36 to 180 feet above the forest floor, the bridge system was an engineering marvel.

Completing the circuit in about 1.5 hours, we were in a hurry to catch our return shuttle, but the trail can be enjoyed leisurely, allowing ample time to admire the stunning scenery.

The bridges provided breathtaking views of the dense forest and creeks, all shrouded in the cloud forest's mystical atmosphere.

Important Tips

  • In the cloud forest, afternoon rains are common. Wear quick-dry clothing and bring a rain jacket.
  • Bring padlocks for the lockers at Selvatura Park.
  • Check the return shuttle times from Selvatura Park; the last ride during our visit was at 4 PM.

Monteverde - El Establo Hotel SunsetFarewell to the Cloud Forest

Our adventure in Monteverde's cloud forest was a perfect amalgamation of serene natural beauty and exhilarating excitement.

From peaceful breakfasts with stunning views to adventurous escapades at Selvatura Park, every moment highlighted the diverse experiences that Costa Rica offers.

San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica anaheimer

San Jose: A City of Culture and History

Ave Central (Colon) San Jose Costa Rica - by Cephas - Wikimedia Our journey in Costa Rica took an exciting turn upon our arrival in San Jose, the vibrant capital city teeming with life and culture.

Often bypassed by travelers eager for beaches and rainforests, San Jose is a treasure trove of cultural experiences and historical insights.

Strolling Down the Colón Promenade

San Jose Costa Rica - Central MarketWe began exploring with a leisurely walk along the Colón Promenade, a bustling avenue pulsating with the rhythm of daily life.

Street vendors, local artisans, and musicians added color and vibrancy to the scene, leading us to the heart of San Jose's commerce – the Central Market.

This market, a labyrinth of over 200 shops, stalls, and small restaurants, offered an authentic glimpse into the Tico lifestyle, with its sensory overload of exotic fruits, handcrafted souvenirs, and local cuisine.

A City Adorned with Statues

San Jose Costa Rica - Monumento al Campesino As we wandered through the city, we were struck by the numerous statues adorning its streets.

These sculptures, ranging from historical figures to abstract art, narrated stories of Costa Rica's rich past and diverse culture.

Our favorite was the Statues of Poor Farmers, or "Monumento al Campesino," a powerful tribute to the agricultural roots and enduring spirit of Costa Rica, embodying the hard work, resilience, and simplicity of the rural lifestyle.

The Jade Museum: A Glimpse into Pre-Columbian Life

San Jose Costa Rica - Jade Museum A visit to the Jade Museum was a highlight in San Jose. Home to the world's largest collection of pre-Columbian jade artifacts, the museum provided a fascinating insight into the ancient societies of Costa Rica.

The intricately carved jade pieces were beautiful and a testament to the craftsmanship and beliefs of the early inhabitants.

The Metropolitan Cathedral: A Blend of Art and Faith

San Jose Costa Rica - Metropolitan Cathedral The Metropolitan Cathedral, with its neoclassical architecture and ornate interior, offered a serene escape from the city's hustle and bustle.

Its stained-glass windows and art pieces were visually stunning, narrating the religious history of Costa Rica.

Lunch Break

San Jose Costa Rica - Entre Nous creperie Our lunch at Entre Nous in San Jose was a delightful escape into a garden oasis.

This charming creperie, nestled amidst lush greenery, offered a tranquil setting for a leisurely meal. The menu featured a variety of savory and sweet crepes, each a blend of exquisite flavors and artful presentation. We indulged in a breakfast crepe and a Nutella crepe, and both were delicious. 

The atmosphere in Entre Nous was serene, with the garden's natural beauty enhancing our dining experience. The staff's attentive service and passion for their culinary offerings made our meal feel special and personalized. Overall, our lunch at Entre Nous was not just a culinary delight but a peaceful retreat in the heart of San Jose.

The National Museum and Its Butterfly Garden

San Jose Costa Rica - National Museum Nestled in the heart of San Jose, the National Museum of Costa Rica, occupying the historic Bellavista Fortress, is a vibrant chronicle of the nation's rich tapestry of history and cultural diversity.

This iconic building, originally a military barracks, has become a symbol of Costa Rica's commitment to peace and democracy, especially poignant since the abolition of its army in 1948.

Its walls, marked by the scars of bullets, stand as a silent yet powerful testament to the country's transformation from a bastion of military might to a sanctuary of culture and history.

As we meandered through the museum's diverse exhibits, we journeyed through the epochs of Costa Rica's past.

The narrative began with the indigenous peoples, whose intricate artifacts and customs laid the foundation of the nation's cultural heritage.

The story then unfolded to the era of Spanish conquest, a time of dramatic change and fusion of cultures, significantly shaping the country's identity.

The museum also delved into the pivotal moments of Costa Rica's path to sovereignty, highlighting its emancipation from Mexican rule and the subsequent establishment of an independent republic.

San Jose Costa Rica - National Museum This period was marked by significant political and social evolution, setting the stage for the modern Costa Rican ethos.

Furthermore, the exhibits did not shy away from the more turbulent chapters of Costa Rican history, including the brief but impactful civil unrest that preceded the historic decision to dissolve the military. This decision, a bold move in the context of global politics, underscored Costa Rica's dedication to peaceful resolution and progressive governance.

Highlights of the Museum

  • Pre-Columbian Artifacts: A stunning collection showcasing the life and artistry of indigenous populations before Spanish colonization.
  • Colonial History and Independence: Exhibits depicting the fusion of indigenous and European cultures and the journey towards Costa Rican independence.
  • Natural History and Biodiversity: Engaging displays highlighting Costa Rica's rich ecosystems, flora, and fauna, emphasizing the importance of conservation.
  • The Butterfly Garden: A tranquil enclosure featuring a variety of vibrant butterfly species, offering insights into their life cycles and habitats.

Parque La Sabana: San Jose's Urban Oasis

La Sabana Park Costa Rica - by Bogdan Migulski - Wikimedia Amid the city's vibrant energy, we found a peaceful retreat at Parque La Sabana, often called "the lungs of San Jose."

This expansive urban park, spanning over 72 hectares, is the largest and most beloved in San Jose.

As we strolled through its green landscapes, we observed families picnicking, children playing soccer, and joggers navigating the winding paths.

With its large pond, towering trees, and open fields, the park was a perfect snapshot of Costa Rican life – active, outdoors, and family-oriented.

Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica 

Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica  anaheimer

Following our exhilarating escapades in La Fortuna and Monteverde, we arrived on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, ready for some well-deserved relaxation at Tamarindo Beach.

Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort

Arrival at Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort Hotel

Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort Our arrival at the Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort Hotel signaled the start of our tropical paradise experience. The hotel's stunning architecture and lush environment were instantly welcoming. 

Although our room wasn't immediately available, we seized the opportunity to explore the vibrant streets of Tamarindo, a bustling beach town alive with locals, tourists, and an array of shops and restaurants. 

The street vendors, with their array of trinkets, were particularly delightful, though we noted the higher prices in this tourist-centric town.

Lunch at Patagonia Argentinian Grill & Restaurant

Lunch at the renowned Patagonia Argentinian Grill & Restaurant, locally known as La Patagonia, was a culinary delight. 

The restaurant's reputation for perfectly grilled meats and a warm ambiance was well-deserved. 

We indulged in their schnitzel, a breaded and pounded beef or chicken dish, reflecting the Italian influence in Argentinian cuisine. Both the beef and chicken versions were scrumptious.

Our Ocean View Room

Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort Back at the hotel, we were welcomed by our ocean-view room, which was beautifully appointed and offered a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. The tranquil atmosphere was enhanced by the soothing sounds of the waves and the gentle sea breeze. 

The Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort Hotel features several pools, each with its own unique design and ambiance, ranging from quiet relaxation areas to vibrant social spots, providing a refreshing retreat and ideal lounging opportunities.

A Relaxing Beach Walk

Our day ended with a leisurely walk along Tamarindo Beach. Known for its stunning sunsets and gentle waves, the beach was the perfect setting for an evening stroll, capturing the laid-back vibe and natural beauty of Costa Rica.

A Morning of Leisure

Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort After a rejuvenating swim in the hotel's pool the next morning, we embarked on a soothing walk along the beach. The tranquil atmosphere, accompanied by the rhythmic sound of the waves and the stunning coastline, offered a serene start to our day.

As we strolled along the sandy shores, the picturesque view of forested hills in the distance created a perfect natural backdrop, enhancing the beauty of the Pacific.

The beach was a hive of activity and relaxation. Along the way, we noticed several massage stations set up on the sand, where visitors indulged in relaxing treatments to the soothing sounds of the ocean. It was a tempting offer, but we chose to continue our walk, soaking in the vibrant beach scene.

As we meandered along the beach, we passed by major beach resorts, each boasting its unique charm. The area was dotted with inviting cafes and restaurants, offering a variety of cuisines and refreshments, perfect for beachgoers looking to satisfy their appetites or simply enjoy a drink with a view.

A notable sight on our walk was “Camping Paradise Point,” a more budget-friendly option for those wishing to enjoy Tamarindo's beauty. This laid-back spot contrasted with the more upscale resorts, offering a different, yet equally charming, way to experience the beach.

Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort The beach was also a popular spot for surfers. We watched as they skillfully navigated the waves, their silhouettes against the morning sun creating a dynamic and exhilarating scene. The surfers, both novices and experts, added an element of excitement and adventure to the peaceful beach setting.

Our beach walk in Tamarindo was not just a journey along the coast but an immersive experience in the diverse offerings of this beautiful Costa Rican paradise.

From the soothing massages and the rustic charm of camping spots to the thrilling sight of surfers riding the waves, every moment was a testament to the vibrant and varied character of Tamarindo Beach.

Catamaran Sailing with Panache

Tamarindo Catamaran Sail Adventure Our Costa Rican tour concluded with a relaxing beach stay before our return trip to California. However, we couldn't resist the opportunity for a catamaran sailing excursion with Panache.

The tour was exceptional, featuring an open bar, delicious snacks, lunch, and activities like snorkeling and kayaking near Ponta Zapotal Island. The beautiful islands provided a stunning backdrop for these activities.

A Party on the Pacific

Tamarindo Catamaran Sail Adventure The catamaran tour transformed into a lively party with great music and a joyful atmosphere as younger passengers danced and everyone enjoyed the blend of relaxation and celebration.

Sunset Views to Remember

The tour culminated with a breathtaking sunset view from the boat. Watching the sunset over the horizon, with the sky painted in vibrant colors, was a magical and unforgettable moment, highlighting the beauty of the Pacific Ocean.

Dinner on Main Street

Tamarindo Ay Caramba Mexican Restaurant Despite a late lunch on the catamaran, we were ready for a late dinner upon our return. We dined at Ay Caramba, located across the street from our hotel, which boasts “real Mexican food.” I enjoyed the nachos while my wife savored the quesadillas as we watched the night come alive on “C. Central.”

The End of a Great Journey

Our time on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica was a beautiful blend of tranquil moments and exciting adventures.

From serene mornings by the ocean to lively days on the catamaran, each experience celebrated the stunning natural beauty and vibrant spirit of Costa Rica. This final leg of our journey was a perfect and unforgettable conclusion to an extraordinary adventure.

As we headed towards Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia, we bid a heartfelt farewell to the enchanting land of Costa Rica.

We left with cherished memories and a promise to return, eager for more adventures in this beautiful country.