Costa Rica Journals

Costa Rica es Pura Vida

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A January 2008 trip to Costa Rica by Carmen

Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort & Spa Photo, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica More Photos
Quote: Monkeys and sloths and bumpy roads, oh my!

Costa Rica es Pura Vida

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Overview

Hanging Flower Photo, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Quote:
Costa Rica has so many different ecosystems to visit, it’s hard to answer the question "How was it?" The beach was relaxing, the volcano was fascinating, the cloud forest was an adventure. One of the best experiences was the Cano Negro excursion from Arenal. We saw more wildlife here than we could see in a lifetime. It was like wildlife overload. We saw three kinds of monkeys (adults and babies), more birds than you could shake a stick at, and even a sloth in motion (which is rare, because they are one of the slowest animals ever, and they sleep a lot.)I also enjoyed ...Read More

Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort & Spa

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Hotel | "Arenal Hotel Paraisso: Volcano View"

Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort & Spa Photo, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Quote:
After a long three-hour drive from San Jose on some of the windiest roads I’ve ever experienced, we finally saw the Arenal volcano poking up on the horizon. We drove through the small town of La Fortuna (renamed since it was fortunate to have survived the volcano blast), and then five minutes later we pulled off the road into the driveway of the Hotel Paraisso. I’m not sure what Paraisso means, but it was like a lush paradise. Everything has a “lodge” feel to it, with native plants and a well-landscaped property. There was a lake, a pool, a “pool” bar in a hot springs, and about 8 small hot springs pools. (Note here, these aren’t natural hot springs. The Paraisso set up a way to steal water from a nat...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 5, 2008

Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort & Spa
La Fortuna
Arenal, Costa Rica 4417
+506 2479-1100

Flamingo Beach Resort

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Hotel

Flamingo Beach Resort Photo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Quote:
It’s a long trek from the eco-tourist part of Costa Rica (Monteverde) to the Pacific beach resorts (it took us just under 4 hours to drive, with about an hour on bumpy roads.) The weather is also quite different: the Pacific side is hot, hot, hot. But not terribly humid, so it’s not unbearable. We purchased the all-inclusive package (room and all meals and house drinks) at the Flamingo Beach Hotel, and they know who gets what by the different color wrist bands they give everyone. We checked in around noon (normal check in is at 3) and they put us in a room with two double beds. That just wasn’t going to work for us, so we asked to be moved to a room with a king bed. We had to wait 3 hours, b...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 5, 2008

Flamingo Beach Resort
Playa Flamingo Santa Cruz
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
011-506-2-654-4444

Hotel Britannia

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Hotel | "Hotel Britannia, In the Heart of San Jose"

Hotel Britannia Photo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Quote:
I will be the first to admit that when the transfer shuttle from the airport stopped in front of the Hotel Britannia, I was a little nervous. We’d just dropped some folks off at the Hilton near the airport, and their hotel looked like a paradise. Hotel Britannia was in the center of San Jose, surrounded by insane traffic, exhaust fumes, worn-down building fronts, etc. The hotel itself looked like a historic building with wrought-iron fencing and a beautiful entrance. The lobby was an open-air seating area with a small gift shop, and the front desk was situated in a small corner near a fountain.The front desk staff (consisting of one person that we saw) spoke a fair amount of English and was ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 5, 2008

Hotel Britannia
Calle 3 Avenida 11
San Jose, Costa Rica
1-800-263-2618

Fonda Vela Hotel

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Hotel | "Monteverde: Fonda Vela Hotel: In the Clouds"

Fonda Vela Hotel Photo, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Quote:
After a two-hour transfer from Arenal to Monteverde on the worst roads I’ve ever seen, we finally got to rest our butts as we arrived at our hotel. The family-run Fonda Vela is the closest hotel to the Monteverde cloud forest, and the buildings blend into the environment well. The room décor reflects the surroundings, and the room itself is HUGE! We had a king bed, a huge desk, an armoire with TV, and a sitting area that looked out onto a wooded area. The bathroom had a separate sink and mirror area, so I could put on makeup while the boy was in the shower. The front desk staff was on the ball, able to book zip line tours or ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 5, 2008

Fonda Vela Hotel
Apartado 12-5655 - Santa Elena
Puntarenas
+506 2645-5125

Arenal Volcano Hike: The Mountain Rumbles

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Attraction

Quinti Photo, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Quote:
We booked both of our excursions from Arenal with Sunset Tours and I can’t say enough good things about the company and the guides. We had the same guide for both our Arenal volcano hike and our Cano Negro boat tour, and he was incredibly knowledgeable, and he could spot wildlife which reminded me of the old adage: "like finding a needle in a haystack."A shuttle picked us up at our hotel around 3 p.m., and took us to the Arenal volcano viewing spot. A quick stop for a pee break (it’s a 2-hour hike) and then we were given our volcano lesson at the ba...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 5, 2008

Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge

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Attraction | "Cano Negro: Monkeys and Birds and Sloths, Oh My!"

Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge Photo, Cano Negro, Costa Rica
Quote:
We booked two excursions from Arenal, both through Sunset Tours. I can’t say it enough, Sunset Tours rocks! We had the same guide for our Cano Negro tour as we did for our volcano hike, Zender, and he was a great guide. We found out at the end of our Cano Negro tour that it was the first time he’d done it on his own, and you’d never have known it, because he was a pro! The boat driver was a pro, too, spotting animals with the best of them. And one of the staff even reached into the water and pulled out a baby cayman (like a gator) for us to see up close! Now th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 5, 2008

Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge

Cano Negro, Province of Alajuela

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

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Attraction | "Monteverde Cloud Forest Hanging Bridges"

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Photo, Monteverde, Costa Rica
Quote:
The front desk at the Fonda Vela hotel booked a tour for us (the same day we arrived) to travel into the cloud forest and walk along the hanging bridges. There are several companies that offer hanging bridges and ziplines, and the one we heard the most about was SkyTrek. The hotel must’ve had reciprocal arrangements with another company, Selvatura, because we drove right past the SkyTrek office. But I think Selvatura did a great job – the transportation was included, and it cost us about $35 each, which also included a guide to take us along the path. There were only four people on the tour, which was also nice, b...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 5, 2008

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Monteverde
Monteverde, Costa Rica