Costa Rica Stories and Tips

Costa Rican Vacation - Arenal, Monteverde

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member

Our trip to Costa Rica very memorable.  We arrived in San Jose and from there traveled by small plane to Arenal.  Then we took a car to the Tabacon Hot Springs Resort and Spa.  This is a beautiful hotel located at the base of a volcano, people are very friendly and service is excellent.  After we checked in we took a dip in the hot springs which consist of many pools surrounded by the forest, what a sight!  We also used the spa which does a wonderful job.

The next day we went horseback riding up the Arenal Volcano.  We departed from a private farm in front of the Arenal Paraíso hotel this adventure takes from 2 and a half to 3 and the whole tour is done completely in the slopes of the Arenal volcano not on conventional roads but on a mountain trail that has been in use for many years ago by the local farmers of the region.  We went across rivers and beautiful landscape to admire the Arenal volcano from a real close perspective. During the trip we arrived at view point from where we could clearly see the dry lava from past eruptions.

The next day we went to the Caño Negro wildlife reserve.  These amazing wetlands are located in the northern zone of Costa Rica close to the small village of Los Chiles in the Province of Alajuela. Caño Negro is mainly conformed by the Caño Negro Lagoon and the Rio Frio. According to our guide this is is one of the most important biological areas of the country (4th on earth). Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge was declared "Wild Life Area of International Importance" in 1991. The whole tour is made on a boat and you get to see many species of animals such as birds, as well as the emerald basilisk, iguanas, river turtles, caimans, jaguars, ocelots, giant anteaters, monkeys, and many others.  The whole tour took almost the whole day.

The next day we left for Monteverde.  In order to get there you need to take a jeep, but be warned that the roads are unpaved and its very rough riding along steep cliffs.  Monteverde is a very small town with not really a lot of things to do.  We stayed at the Hotel El Establo, this was a very good hotel with a beautiful view of the rain forest perched on the hills of a mountain.  The rooms are clean and the people are friendly.  At night we took a nature tour and hiked along different paths with only a flash light provided by the tour guide.  The next day we went to the Monteverde Cloud forest reserve.  At the entrance you will find a Hummingbird sanctuary housing hundreds of hummingbirds which you can feed by holding a feeding bottle containing sugar water.  Once inside the reserve You will hike through the well-marked-trails, waterfalls, rivers, and the observation area of the park. If you are lucky, like we were, you might spot a Quetzal,one of the most beautiful birds in the world. You will also see an amazing variety of flora and fauna in this tour and breathe some of the cleanest air in the world.  In the afternoon we took a canopy tour which consists of sliding from tree to tree while you are on a harness attached to a metal wire.  This is an amazing experience and its a must!!  You will be about 200 feet in the air with the forest below you and the sky above you.

The next day we left for San Jose and arrived at our next hotel, the Xandari Resort.  This is the place to relax if you want to relax.  It has a wonderful spa, nature trails, and plantations surrounding it.  All the food served at the restaurant is home grown and you can tell by the fresh taste.  

The next day we left for San Andres Island in Colombia.  If you want more information about San Andres see my other journal.

Overall Costa Rica was a wonderful experience but I believe you will enjoy it more if you are a nature lover, but everyone can agree on the beauty of the country.

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