Well guys, here it is, my blog about our latest trip, this time to Costa Rica. It was magical, a visual art installation, a fantastic voyage, and for many of us, a healing adventure.
To say that a trip to Costa Rica is an adventure isn't really doing it justice. Costa Rica is an incredible mixture of micro climates that pave the way for wonderful wildlife, vibrant folliage and magnificent plantlife, along with volcanos and beaches and jungles...oh my!
If you're up for a life changing vacation, this is the trip to take.
So let's start with our incredible home, aply named - Casa Celestial
Located just up the hill from Tarcoles, and approximately a 2 hour drive from San Juan, Casa Celestial sits at the top of a long, winding, very steep driveway. From the moment that you walk in the door and take in the breathtaking views you can feel your attitude shift. All your cares and worries melt away as you walk out to the back of the house to see the Pacific Ocean in front of you. (Please see the website for more incredible photos of this amazing property)
Other than the amazing accommodations, a fabulous perk of this property is that it comes with concierge services provided by a wonderful man, Edgardo Kinderson.
Prior to our arrival in Costa Rica, Edgardo worked with us to assist in booking every single adventure/tour that we did, provided car services to and from the airport, ensured that we had tour guides each day, hired our Chef and Housekeeper for our entire stay, as well as assisted when some things got a bit sticky toward the end of our stay (Mother Nature situation, stay tuned) He was an absolutely invaluble person to have with us and we couldn't have appreciated him more. What an amazing human.
Our Chef, Marco, and Anna also went above and beyod to ensure that we enjoyed our stay. Each morning and almost every evening Marco & Anna prepared a delicious meal and served it for us.
Breakfast was always served in the dinning room of Casa Celestal, but in the evenings we typically ate dinner out in the palapa area. There were six of us in our party so there was plenty of room for us to enjoy our dinner and have a lively conversation about our day.
The food was always delicious and bountiful! And let's not even talk about the Costa Rican coffee! WOW!
The house has 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms so there is plenty of room for a family or large group. We intend to go back and enjoy time at the house more than we did.
On our first day we did a Crocodile River Tour.
t didn't sound like much to me at first but once we were on the boat and under way, our tour guide introduced himself and proceeded to wow us with his knowledge of the animals, birds, and foliage along the river banks.
His name is Roy and it was soon apparent how much he really enjoyed his job as well as living in Costa RIca. He really had become one with the land.
Not only did we see crocodiles, but we got up close and personal with one of the largest ones I've ever seen.
We saw many birds and got some great information about Macaws and Toucans, both which are plentiful in Costa Rica.
Another memorable tour was the one that we took to the Manuel Antonio National Park. It was about a 2 hour drive from our home, near the town of Quepos, but well worth the trip. The magic of the beach and the greenery of the forest come together in one place, and the result is a natural paradise. Not surprisingly, Manuel Antonio National Park is the Protected Wilderness Area that receives the largest number of national and international tourists.
In addition to beaches, the Park offers a very humid tropical forest where endangered species of flora and fauna coexist, a mangrove swamp, marine environments, islands and a 14-hectare lagoon. And let's not forget about the monkeys.
We came across several White Face Monkeys, which are very tame and will come right up to you if you have food for them.
Howler Monkeys on the other hand, stay way up in the tall trees and are hard to spot, but not for our trusty guide Roy who joined us on this tour as well. (He took this photo.)
Roy was instumental to have with us on this particular tour as he was equiped with a telescope that he would use so that we were able to see the animals that were nestled way up in the trees. Although you don't have to have a guide to tour the park, I highly recommend getting one.
Roy specifically was fantastic at pointing out things that we would probably never have spotted ourselves, like this sloth that he spotted in a tree outside the restaurant that we stopped at for lunch.
The beaches are beautiful in the park and were full of people. It's not hard to understand why people flock to this specific beach as it is the only one in Costa Rica that has white sand.
Another memorable tour that we did was for our New Year's Eve celebration. We reserved space on a catamaran aboard the Costa Rica Sea Lounge. They put together a great New Year's Eve celebration package that included only our group, again, amid our concerns about the raging Omicron variant.
We were shuttled out to a private island aboard the catamaran while enjoying an open bar and beautiful weather. Once there were were escorted by small boat to a private beach that was set up with a bar, dining table big enough for our group, lounge chairs and a large fire pit. There is also a bathroom available for use.
We were greeted with drinks and appetizers and spent a few hours relaxing and enjoying the beach. We were then treated to a wonderful meal and afterward, to a spectacular Fire Dancers Show that literally blew our minds.
Check out this video of the grand finale!
Last but certainly not least was our Adventure Dining Tour on our final night in Costa Rica.
Created by fellow Texans, David & Cindy Stannard, Adventure Dining is just that. A beautiful garden oasis in the middle of the jungle that is sure to excite you.
David greeted us upon our arrival and was quick with the joke and gracious with his wine. He escorted us around the top part of his property, and regaled us with tales of his experiences in Costa Rica over the last 20 years after leaving Dallas Texas. He has a bigger than life personality and has built a beautiful and magical experience for people to enjoy.
After a walk through his vast gardens we were given copious amounts of wine and served a beautifully prepared meal by his staff. All in all, a wonderfully magical evening. I highly suggest booking Adventure Dining while in Costa Rica. And when you do tell David us fellow Texans say Hello!
We also visited a volcano while we were there. I was lucky enough to get this shot of the caldera right before a cloud covered it and obscured it from view.
After visiting the volcano we made our way to La Paz Waterfall Gardens .
La Paz doesn't just have a waterfall, it has several major waterfalls as well as a zoo where you'll be able to see Big Cats, tons of butterflies, monkeys, snakes, Macawas, and Toucans.
Although the waterfalls are really pretty spectacular to see close up, getting to them is a bit precarious. The pathway is steep and there are many, many stairs so if there is anyone in your party that has trouble with stairs of steep pathways, this may be one the they should sit out. But, that would be a perfect time to visit the on-site restaurant that offers a delicious buffet.
We has such a wonderful trip, full of adventure and excitement but it was also a visual masterpiece.
We drove buggies through the jungle, got a first hand class on Costa Rican coffee, and found a beautiful Macaw sitting in a tree outside our home one evening. Magical!
This was a wonderful trip and I feel very fortunate to have been able to do it with people that I love tremendously. After losing our dear friend, travel companion, and a wonderful human earlier this year in a sudden, tragic way, this trip felt healing for me.
I hope you enjoy this blog. There will be many more to come.
Adios Amigos! Until we meet again.
Items of Note: For Covid we were required to take a test 24 hours prior to leaving the country. There is a testing site near the airport that you can make a reservation at, or do a walk up.
Also, there are many people in the country that drive cars but very few roads. Prepare for taffic jams and delays.