Monday, September 16, 2013

Costa Rica - part uno

Ahhh yes. Finally. Time to sit down and write an ol' blog post. I've folded two loads of laundry so I feel like I've earned it! Which, how high this blog sits on the priority list is another story for another time; but generally, if I'm feeling behind in life, I don't blog.

Another weekend has come to an end, and it was a good one. I love the busy pace of fall, even though it is still scorching hot here in Houston. No hot pumpkin spice lattes for this girl yet - we are just gonna have to wait for the weather to cooperate. I'm a diehard iced coffee girl anyway :)

So before I forget, I want to tell you all about our trip to Costa Rica. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen - and we both left so incredibly happy with our choice. It's taken us a couple trips, but we've realized that we don't enjoy a vacation with too much downtime. Me especially. I'm kind of an adrenaline junkie, while my husband is a nature lover. Matt suggested Costa Rica, and I have an extreme fear of bugs that was making me very hesitant. But after some research into all the adventureous activities, I realized a trip to the rainforest was the perfect compromise for us! The options were seriously endless with zip lining, walking tours through the rain forest, hikes to volcanoes, surf lessons, national park tours filled with wildlife, and white water rafting at the top of our list. 

after two weeks of practically living on tripadvisor (they even have an app!) and talking to this travel agency in Costa Rica - we finally agreed! We were headed to Two locations in Costa Rica for our 2013 vacation and sorta-of-delayed anniversary trip. You can find details of booking the trip at the bottom of this post. 

First off - the drives in the country are a sight to see themselves. Once you are 20 minutes from the airport - you are staring at mountains and green grass for miles. Coffee, sugar cane, and indoor plant farms are EVERYWHERE. I really could have used some Dramamine on the first ride. But here are some pictures of the first car ride. 

After 3 hours of bumpy driving - We arrived at our first location: the Arenal region, in a town called La Fortuna. The main attraction in this region Is the Arenal volcano, which has been dormant for two years. It first blew sometime in the 60's, and experts say it may become active again in 100 years. The volcano is also what warms up the natural springs - which we never tested out because we ran out of time! 

Most hotels in the area have a view like this:

Or on a gloomy day, this view: 

Every day was kind of a toss up, and everyone wants to get that one view of the tip in broad day light sans clouds. We finally saw it clearly on our last day, lava steam and all :) 

We had no idea our first hotel, Nayara Spa and Gardens, was a big honeymoon destination. Which we found a little funny, but we met a bunch of brand new couples. I know every hotel has some kind of ranking, but just to throw it out there.. It's supposedly one of  top 5 most romantic hotels in the world, and rated one of the best hotels in Central America. Needless to say, I was most excited about our first stop, and hardly researched our second hotel and location. Here are some pics of Nayara: 

Each room was a private 'casita,' with a indoor and outdoor shower (see below). My favorite was the jacuzzi on your patio. It was so relaxing to sit on the patio and listen to the rain.

^jacuzzi on the patio^
^pool with volcano view^
^outdoor shower^ 

We loved Nayara so much, and I would definitely recommend this hotel. I wish we had more time at this spot.  Our last day we didn't participate in activities because we felt guilty leaving  and not fully enjoying the hotel grounds. 

Now the activities portion of this area - I think you'll be happy with any activity you pick here. It was just so hard to pick and squeeze it all in!! We went zip lining at a place called "sky trek." 

And then a walking bridges tour called "sky walk," which was a three mile walk through the rain forest. You walk over bridges like this: 

This tour was definitely a favorite of the trip. Finding waterfalls was super exciting, and I can't wait to find some more around the world! 

Excuse my drowned rat look, but I just couldn't resist this funny pic! 

1. I booked our flights, but used the travel agency for hotel reservations and all transportation. We did not want to rent a car once we got there. Roads inside the country are notoriously windy, bumpy, and improperly marked. 

2. We booked all of our excursions through the hotel. We couldn't pick from the Internet, and wanted to see how the weather would play out. 

3. Take Dramamine if you get car sick easily. 

4. Most activities in CR are in the morning. So driving days feel kinda wasted. We stayed 3 nights here and didn't feel we had enough time. 

And that's all I could think of for now! 

Toddles and happy Monday. 



Brittany said...

That hotel sounds absolutely perfect!!! Looks like you guys had a lot of fun.

Kate at Green Fashionista said...

LOVE ziplining that course looks amazing. And the views of the volcano from the pool are breathtaking :)

Lynette said...

YAYYYY PICTURES!!!!! I am so glad you got to do your vacaaayy. Next time put me in your luggage.

Dara @ The Southern Thing said...

Gorgeous pictures! I've been wanting to go somewhere exotic and have been considering Costa Rica. I'm glad you posted this! It looks like y'all had a blast!

Kay Bee said...

I was wondering when you were going to write about your trip! Glad to see that you had tons of fun and thanks for the tips...Costa Rica is on my bucket list!

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