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8 Days in Costa Rica

May 4, 2015

Day 1: San Jose to Arenal Transfer

 

Travel Time: 2-3 hours

Scenery: The drive takes you through 3 diverse regions. Coffee Plantations, Cloud Forest and Rain Forest.

Highlights: The green and lush Cloud Forest area of Monteverde was incredible.  The kids got a kick out of driving in and above the clouds. 

Special Stop: Kids loved stopping at the Fortuna Town Square (very unique) and buying Copos (shaved Ice).  They give you 3 options, syrup only, syrup with condensced milk and syryp and cream.

 

We stayed at the Nayara Hotel in Arenal.  Great views of the volcano.  As a Virtuoso Agency our clients receive, at no extra cost, breakfast for 2, resort credit and upgrade upon arrival if available.

 

Day 2: Hiking and Hanging Bridges

 

Activity: Hanging Bridges Nature Hike.  A 5-6 KM walk through the rainforest.  7 Hanging Bridges connecting various ridges. 2 1/2 Hour Tour

Highlights: Watching Spider Monkeys eat guavas and carry their young.  A hummingbird’s nest, looked like it was made of shredded cotton.  Witnessing Thousands of ants carrying leaves, food and branches up an “Ant Highway”.  A sleeping owl perched high in the trees.

Lunch: The Springs Hotel.  Beautiful views of the volcano and valley.  The hotel features beautiful infinity pools with cold and thermal waters.

Dinner:  Nene’s in Fortuna.  We shared very good steaks, ceviche (made w/ ginger ale), rice & beans, plantains and shrimp.  Food was excellent but pricey….

 

Day 3: Zip Line, Waterfall, Tarzan Swing, Hot Springs...

 

Activities: Zip Line, Hike to Fortuna Falls, “El Salto” del Rio Fortuna and the “Chollin” of the Tabacon River

Highlights: Gliding at 50mph & 1000 feet above the valley with views of the lake and volcano.  Finding a hidden Tarzan swing and jumping from a cliff into a river pool.  Relaxing at the thermal River.

Tip: The Arenal Area is blessed with several hot springs but the thermal river running from the volcano is unique and free. Have a taxi drive wait for you at the entrance & enjoy the river with locals and tourists alike.

 

The first two ziplines you are flying close to 1000 feet over the valle floor.  Helped not to think of how strong the straps really were...

 

 

After a long day we found the Free Hot Springs outside of the Tabacon Resort.  There are no thrills here but it was a wonderful way to spend 45 minutes relaxing.  

 

 

 

 

Day 4: Rafting the Rio Sanripiquin

 

Travel Time: There are several rafting opportunities in Arenal but a 90 minute drive brings you to the 3 & 4 rated rapids of Sarapiqui River.

Highlights: “Surfing” the river (see video).  Navigating challenging rapids with the family.  Howler Monkeys and Osprey’s….  Tarzan swing and cliff jumping into the river.

Lunch: Stopping at El Marielas Soda for a typical meal (“Casada”) of rice & beans, salads, sweet plantains and meat/chicken/fish. Tasty and wonderful….

Special Stop: We stopped at a pork butcher that sold “Chicharones”, Fried Pork drizzled with fresh lime.  An Imperial Beer was the perfect match…

"Surfing" the River....

Rio Sanripiquin offers great family 3 and 4 rated rapids.  Around 90 minutes from the Arenal volcano and definately worth the trip....

 

 Not a good sign when the guide jumps from the raft....

 

 We found a 10 foot cliff where we all jumped into a wonderfull river pool...

 

 

Jumping from another rope swing into the river.  What does floating on air feel like??

 

 

 After our river adventure we headed to Soda Marielos for a typical "Casada" Meal...  Black Beans and Rice never tasted so good....

 A "Casada" usually comes with a chicken/pork or beef, rice & beans, sweet plantains and several salads/vegetables.  

 

 

Pit stop to buy fried pork and beer.  Tradition is to drizzle lime on the tender pork..  Wonderful!!

 

Day 5: Transfer to the Papagayo Peninsula in Guanacaste

 

Travel Time: 2.5-3 hours.

Scenery: Wonderful drive along the Arenal Lake.  Once you pass the continental divide the land becomes increasingly dry as lush greens turn into shades of yellow and brown. Three volcanos come into view

Highlights:  A stop at a macadamia farm with scenic views of the Arenal Volcano.  Wonderful Roasted Pineapple Upside Down Cake and Banana/Nut Muffins.  Toucans eating from a Papaya tree….

Interesting: Close to 70% of the country’s energy needs are generated by the Arenal Lake.  Close to 90% of energy is Green. 

 

Treats at the Macadia Farm Cafe....

A Toucan feasting on Papaya...

 

Day 6: Surfing and the Beaches of Guanacaste

 

Travel Time from Papagayo: 60 to 90 minutes

Activities: Surfing lessons in Tamarindoo Beach with Banana Surf Shop and a drive to Brasilto and Flamengo

Highlights: 2 hours of Surf Instruction from 2 great guides (Jonathan and Evi). We were able to ride the waves after their patient guidance and expertise.

Special Tour: With miles of coastline, Costa Rica boasts wonderful black sand beaches.  We took a special tour of the area and discovered their beauty

 

 Our Instructors Evy and Jonathan. Wondeful teachers, patient.  All of us rode plenty of waves....

 

Playa Tamarindo.....

Playa Brasilito

 

Day 7: Relax and Rejuvenate by the Hotel Pool and Beach

 

 We stayed at the Andaz with it wonderful pools on the cliff side.  As part of Virtuoso: Our guests, for no extra cost, receive breakfast for 2, $100 resort credit, upgrades upon arrival if available.

 

 We spent the day at the Four Seasons.  3 pools, 2 beaches, wonderful service.  As a Four Seasons Preferred Agency our guests receive, at no extra cost, breakfast for 2, resort credit and upgrade upon arrival.  

 

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