Spring Break in Costa Rica // Travel Diary
Hello Hello! Today I will be sharing with y'all my recent trip to Costa Rica for Spring Break. I have been so excited to not only write about the things my family & I did, the new country we explored, but also share with y'all the travel diary I put together (see video above). I think so much can be said in a single blog post, but a video can completely capture you into a specific place or moment, in a sense. So anyway, please please check out the video above. I am pretty proud of how it turned out :).
Anyway, let's get on with this post! Ah, Costa Rica. To say I enjoyed my time in this beautiful country would be a huge understatement. Honestly, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I knew prior to visiting, Costa Rica was a mix of beaches with rainforests (which I later learned includes humid forests) filled with exotic animals, but what did the beaches look like? Would we really even get to see any animals? I wasn't sure. But everyone I had talked to that had once been to Costa Rica, had said they absolutely loved it. Now, the other thing is Costa Rica is a pretty decent sized country. Like Texas, it can take seven or eight hours just to get from one city to the next & the landscape & culture can change drastically in that distance.
My family and I stayed in the Southwestern area of the country. From what we were told by some locals, this is the more cultural area, while the north is more industrialized. On Monday, we flew into San José, the capital, & drove to our hotel. Since we were visiting during the dry season (late November to April), the drive was only about an hour & a half, however, we were told during the rainy season (May to early November), it can take up to five hours. Though it was a little long, the drive was beautiful. We got to see so much of Costa Rica & drove straight through many villages & markets. We even stopped about 20 minutes away from our hotel (we stayed at the Marriott Los Sueños Ocean & Golf Resort in Herradura & near Jaco), on a bridge that was over a river of crocodiles! Oh, and a HUGE bonus--pretty much all of the taxis in Costa Rica are vans. This makes traveling in large groups (like my family) a whole lot easier. After getting our rooms situated, we took a quick dip in the pool & then headed off to dinner in Jaco. We ate Costa Rican sushi at Tsunami Sushi & I must say, it was pretty good. I really appreciated the plantain & mango twist.
Tuesday we got up rather early to drive an hour & a half to the Manuel Antonio National Park. Throughout the day, we had an excellent tour guide, Micheal, who was so helpful & knowledgeable on literally everything in Costa Rica. With the help of Micheal, we saw three different types of monkeys, two different types of sloths, frogs, & the most gorgeous iridescent butterflies inside the park. After hiking for a while, we spent a little time on the Manuel Antonio Beach. Although I am glad we got to check out the national park & hear everything Micheal had to say about his country, I do think it was a bit more on the touristy side. Also, the hour & half drive there & back made the day seem a lot longer. That night we stayed on property & ate dinner at one of our hotel's restaurants, Hacienda Kitchen. Believe it or not, this was my favorite meal of the week (besides breakfast but I will get to that later). It was an authentic Costa Rican meal with lots of Casados (a very popular Costa Rican dish), plantains, ceviché, & fresh fish. I will say my inner Cuban was on fire with the abundance of plantains throughout our stay.
On Wednesday, we drove ten minutes down the road from our hotel & rented buggies. We drove through the rainforest, capturing some pretty amazing views on these heavy-duty golf cart things. After an hour or so, we parked our buggies, & walked about ten minutes to a beautiful waterfall/natural pool. After being literally covered from head to toe in dust & dirt the cool natural water felt amazing. We spent the remainder of our day hanging out by the pool at our hotel. Jeez, in these hours in the sun, my sibs & I got a little crispy...
For our final day, accompanied by a lovely crew, my family & I took the Sea Lounge catamaran to a beach not too far from our hotel. There, we snorkeled, ate lunch, played some sick beach volleyball, & just enjoyed ourselves. Thursday was, without a doubt, my favorite day of the week.
I must devote some of this post to our breakfasts in Costa Rica because holy cow, I am still dreaming about them. Each morning we grabbed breakfast at Hacienda Kitchen in our hotel (yes, also the place we ate dinner on Tuesday night). The breakfast buffet was unlike anything I have seen before. An omelet station, cereal bar, build your own oatmeal, they had it all, but I could not get over the sweet plantains, the sweetened condensed milk on the french toast, the fresh fruit assortment (I found a new love for mango), & the PASTRIES. Our hotel apparently is known for their caramel swan pastries which were amazing. They were sweet pastries in the shape of swans filled with thick homemade caramel. YUM.
And of course, can we please discuss the culture of such a unique place? Like I mentioned, the country is fairly large so I can only speak for the area we were in but I loved the people here. Everyone we met seemed to be truly in love with their home which made me feel so welcomed. Also, I must say I think I became a fluent Spanish speaker in the five days I was there...okay, maybe not fluent, but it sure was nice to put the little Spanglish I do know to use!
I know I know, I had a lot to say about my time in Costa Rica, but I found myself so at peace here. I simply wanted to elaborate on what you may have watched in our travel diary above a bit more & give you my honest opinions on my experience in Costa Rica. I find it so interesting to listen to people's takes on countries they have visted, what they did in that country, & how they connected to the culture. I hope the post brings you some new insight to such a cool country!