I’m still nostalgic over my trip to beautiful Costa Rica. Since then, I’ve had a few people asking me about details about what I did, and where I stayed so I figured I’ll do a round up here to make it easier on everyone ☺.
WHERE WE STAYED (in order of day):
Double Tree Hilton (San Jose)
Hotel Presidente (San Jose)
Volcano Lodge (Arenal)
Note: One place to avoid if you’re going to Arenal is Arenal Paraiso Resort & Spa. We kept coming back to our room to find animal droppings on our bed, so we had to shift over to Volcano Lodge really late at night.
Parador Resort & Spa (Punta Quepos/Manuel Antonio)
*This was by far our favorite hotel – beautiful heated pools, scenery, spa, and gym.
Club del Mar (Playa Jaco/Jaco Beach)
WHAT I PACKED:
Pack plenty of comfy workout clothes (I depended on leggings), sneakers (or water shoes) for rafting, and canyoning, and extra bathing suits. By the end, every single thing I brought was drenched. There was almost no day where we didn’t get wet, either from activities, or from light rainfall.
Moroccanoil serum (travel size)
Dove travel size body wash
Sunscreen (I brought Neutrogena’s and L’Occitane’s Jenipapo Oil with SPF 15 for all over just because it smells amazing)
Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Waterproof mascara
Tarte Skinny SmolderEyes Waterproof Eye Liner
Becca Beach Tint (for lips and cheeks)
Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Fix Makeup
WHAT WE DID:
Day 1 and 2
Visited the Doka estate to learn about how they pick and process coffee.
Went to the active Poás Volcano which was probably one of the most beautiful natural beauties I’ve ever seen.
From there, we went on another hike to La Paz Waterfalls Garden.
White Water Rafting on the Pacuare River with Rios Tropicales. I’ve never rafted before, but this three-hour journey was one of the most crazy and memorable things we did.
The river is a Class III-IV, which makes it pretty rough but the guides were excellent and took care of everyone (and yes some rafts flipped over – you have to be prepared for anything on the river!). When you have moments of calm, the scenery is breathtaking, and there’s even a part between canyons you can jump off the raft and swim.
Canyoning tour, hike in Arenal National Park, and an all night soak in hot springs in the Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort.
Canyoning was another fun trip for us. We were strapped into a harness and started from the top of a waterfall where we were taught to repel off the rocks and then led through a trail that consisted of unexpected submersion and what they jokingly called a Costa Rican tsunami:
We changed the pace for the hike where we learned about the most famous Arenal Volcano, and were finally led straight to Tabacon’s hot springs. This was such a treat after all our hikes and rafting from the day before (which we were thoroughly sore from). The spa uses water that’s naturally heated from the Arenal volcano. It’s the most relaxing experience ever, plus they have a full buffet waiting for you after you’re done swimming.
Private transfer to Manuel Antonio, a beautiful beach town. I should note here that of all the physically demanding things we did, nothing got to me except this 5 hour car ride of winding roads and mountains. I almost got really car sick half way there, I had to switch places with the guy in front just because I was getting so dizzy. But anyway – the good part is we were greeted with cool watermelon juices and warm face towels right when we got to Parador Hotel. We had the day off to enjoy the pools at the resort. The second day we took a hike at the Manuel Antonio rainforest, where we got to spy on sloths, snakes, monkeys, lizards, and toucans. We ended the hike at a beach where we were able to rest and lay out for a little while.
This was supposed to be our day off, but my friend Fatima and I visited the tour desk at the hotel and booked ziplining and horse back riding through the jungle. The horse back riding trail ended at the most beautiful waterfall where you can swim if you want (realistically there’s not a lot of space to swim, although the water is shallow enough if you want to try).
Day 7 and 8
Jaco beach. This was supposed to be another beach day for us, but Jaco is more of a surfer’s beach. The water was at low tide when we got there, and it’s mostly dark sand and rocks. Here Fatima booked surfing lessons and I rented a boogie board for the day.
WHAT WE ATE
Most of our meals were included with the tour and we ate a lot of rice and beans, eggs, potatoes, and fresh fruits (pineapples, guavas, and watermelon), which I surprisingly never got sick of.
Fatima and I started a bad habit of having cake and tea every night at Parador too…
I also have been really recommending the tour company who put our itinerary and accommodations together so last minute for us – Lars at CRS Tours was amazing and on call whenever I needed him while I was there too. If you want to book your tour through them (at a very reasonable price), email him at [email protected] (our Adrenaline & Relaxation package inluded bilingual guides, a SIM card for your phone, and plenty of meals).
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