Costa Rica Journals

Active Adventure in Costa Rica

A September 1999 trip to Costa Rica by Hey, Jude

Raccoon At Villa Casa Blanca Photo, Costa Rica, Central America More Photos
Quote: Costa Rica is the perfect vacation destination if you like variety and adventure! In a week's time, we spent time at the beach and in the mountains, went SCUBA diving and white water rafting, saw our first active volcano, stayed in charming inns, and ate wonderful local food.

Active Adventure in Costa Rica

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Quote:
Every day in Costa Rica offered surprises and memorable happenings. Here are my favorites: - Listening to the chorus of resident parrots at our hotel in Playa del Coco. It sounded like a rowdy cocktail party! - Watching as a raccoon raided the hotel porch to finish off the rest of the bird food. - Meeting the country's snake expert who had recently been featured on National Geographic Explorer. - My head finally coming out of the water after being flushed through a rapid on the Pacuare River. - Sleeping in a Gilligan's Island-style hut on the banks of the Pacuare. - Flying through the tree canopy on a zip line. - Eating at the local open-air re...Read More

Villa Casa Blanca

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Raccoon At Villa Casa Blanca Photo, Costa Rica, Central America
Quote:
This charming inn was the highlight of our visit to Playa del Coco. The lobby and rooms are decorated with local wood and Spanish tiles which make it feel very luxurious. The room was nicely decorated, and although not huge, was of ample size for us to spread out our wet SCUBA clothes. The grounds are truly gorgeous. Parrots on the veranda are beautiful as well as entertaining. (Susie was particularly friendly and decided to help my husband by attempting to remove a mole from his neck!) The pool is more for show than for swimming, but it''s there if you need to cool off. Breakfast was delicious and included the requisite rice and beans as well as pancakes, eggs, bacon, and fruit. Beer and soft ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 26, 2001

Quote:
This hotel was a gorgeous oasis in an iffy part of town. We arrived at night, and we were somewhat concerned, especially since we planned to leave our car there during our overnight rafting trip. However, the hotel has an armed security guard posted outside who took a personal interest in looking out for us, and this made us feel much better. During the daytime, the neighborhood looked much friendlier! The lobby, dining room, and rooms were decorated with luxurious dark wood and nice furnishing. Our room was large and quiet. It had no air conditioning, but we didn''t need it in the middle of September. The service at the hotel was excellent. Our meal at their restaurant was the finest we had i...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 26, 2001

Quote:
This hotel in the middle of NOWHERE makes a nice stop between San Jose and the Arenal area. The accommodations are individual houses, called casitas, that are representative of local homes. Ours was one large room with a bathroom and sitting area. The fireplace was prepared for us, and we actually used it in mid-September. It was very cozy! We had dinner and the included breakfast at the hotel''s restaurant. They serve typical Costa Rican fare (Arroz con pollo, etc), and it was hearty and very good. The hotel is owned by a former president of Costa Rica, whom we met on our visit. The hotel is located on a private reserve, the Los Angeles Cloud Forest, so birds, butterflies, monkeys, and other ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 26, 2001

Arenal Observatory Lodge

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Howler Monkey - Arenal Area, Costa Rica Photo, Costa Rica, Central America
Quote:
The Arenal Observatory Lodge is a unique hotel that combines an incredible setting, spartan elegance, and outstanding service. As you drive to the lodge, you first enter Arenal National Park on a rugged but easily passable gravel road. The lodge consists of several low-lying buildings, all of which are within easy walking distance of the registration and dining areas. The lodge is separated from the volcano by approximately 1-1/2 miles and a deep valley. The Smithsonian chose this site as their research facility because of its safe but close proximity to Arenal. We stayed in the Smithsonian Superior rooms. The Smithsonian buildings are oriented so that every room has a volcano view. And what a ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 13, 2001

Rich Coast Diving

Attraction

Quote:
My husband did his Open Water Referral Certification here. The diving instruction was very professional. They let me join the class as a refresher at no additional charge. The rental equipment was in poor condition. I don't believe it was unsafe - just worse for wear. We had a disappointment on our second day of diving - the boat got to the edge of the harbor and quit. The dive shop owner finally concluded that the gasoline had been watered down, and there was no way to get the engines going. We had to dive in the harbor where the visibility was terrible! I will give Rich Coast Diving some credit. They did offer us an extra day of diving at no charge, but we already had plans for the f...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 23, 2001

Canopy Tour

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Quote:
Before the tour began, the staff outfitted everyone with harnesses, pulleys, gloves, helmets, etc. These mischevious chaps were not above making fun of you in this attractive garb! After the safety orientation, we walked to the forest for the beginning of the tour. The tour leader was very informative about the history of the Los Angeles Cloud Forest and the flora and fauna. When we arrived at the forest, we had to climb up stairs to a platform high in the tree canopy. When I got to the top and saw the 50 yard zip line that lay before me, I was almost ready to back out. When it was my turn, I hooked my pulley on, put on a brave face, stepped off the platform, and zipped through the jungle faster...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 26, 2001

Overnight Rafting Trip

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Pacuare Waterfall Photo, Costa Rica, Central America
Quote:
We chose Rios Tropicales (http://www.centralamerica.com/cr/raft/rios.htm) for our rafting trip on the Pacuare River. They picked us up at our San Jose hotel, and the adventure began. Our guides asked if we wanted to stop at a serpentarium to learn about the local snakes on our way to the Pacuare put-in. Although we were a little concerned that this might be some prerequisite for the rafting trip, we decided to check it out. What a treat! The resident snake expert awed us as he handled the dangerous Fer de Lance as easily as the harmless (and adorable) tree frog. This man and his studies on the habits of the Fer de Lance were featured i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 4, 2001