Arenal National Park | Costa Rica

From Monteverde, we made the 3 hour drive (about 75 miles) to the Arenal Volcano area. There is no direct route because of the mountainous terrain so we drove up, over and around Arenal Lake. The first part of the trip from Monteverde to Tilarán is not paved, but the views along the way are worth the slow, bumpy ride.     We used the ever faithful iGO ap again and started the first part of the trip to Nuevo Arenal. The plan was to stop at the German Bakery in Nuevo Arenal where Bill remembered having a delicious plate of Goulash back in 2007. Unfortunately, they were working with asphalt in front of the outdoor restaurant, and we weren’t able to eat there – maybe next time!   The last half of the trip was nicely paved roads and a fairly easy drive to our destination – Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort. We were planning to splurge for our last couple of nights in Costa Rica by soaking in the volcanic hot springs. The man made pools full of the naturally heated waters are amazing along with waterfalls to sit under for a relaxing massage. The hotel seemed overpriced and the food was not great, […]

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Driving to Nosara (Nicoya Peninsula) and Monteverde | Costa Rica

When you travel, you have to go with the flow. Things don’t always go as expected. That being said, I have always been very fortunate as far as hotel reservations go. This changed in Nosara, Costa Rica. We made a 6 hour drive from Manuel Antonio to Nosara arriving on the Friday night before Easter. It was a fun, crazy, beautiful drive.     We were so excited to make it through the last bumpy, narrow gravel road just before dark as my phone with the iGO gps was dying, only to learn the hotel only had us booked for 1 night, Monday, instead of 4 nights. After many phone calls and a long wait, she found us a place to sleep. Luckily we had the option to drive back to our friend’s place in San Jose for the next few days. A word of warning – DO NOT drive in Costa Rica on a holiday week – it is absolutely insane. I’ll be posting some videos of the drive later, but just take my word for it – don’t do it on a holiday! We didn’t see much of Nosara, but got up early to catch the tale end of […]

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Manuel Antonio and the Central Pacific Coast | Costa Rica

Costa Rica has 34 national parks and reserves protecting more than 12% of the country. When you include the private reserves it’s closer to 23% of the country. Located in the province of Puntarenas, 98 miles south of San Jose, Manuel Antonio National Park is part of the Central Pacific Coast. This area is unique because the national park is both hiking trails and beach. It is rather touristy, but we still enjoyed our time there. On a side note – If you visit the park, be sure to go to the “bank” where you purchase a ticket before standing in line to enter the park. It’s a little confusing. The park is very popular due to the large number of monkeys. I saw a sign somewhere in Manuel Antonio that said “Still more monkeys that people” It just might be true. They were everywhere!     However, it’s a little sad that tourists do not heed the signs and continue to feed them. They will approach you, steal your food, and even get into your backpack. I actually enjoyed seeing them more in Monteverde where they are a little harder to spot, living more naturally in their environment.   We did […]

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Do You Know The Way to San Jose | Costa Rica

How do you get to San Jose, Costa Rica? With poor planning, from Thailand it involves 4 flights and 44 hours to get from Koh Samui to Bangkok, Bangkok to Dohar, Dohar to Madrid, and Madrid to Miami. Add to that the 13 hours time difference and you have no idea where you are, who you are, or what day it is ;).  In Miami we were able to grab a great meal, UPS excess baggage back home, and get a good night’s rest before our final flight from Miami to San Jose. What were we thinking???  It would have been much easier to just fly straight from the US to San Jose. Anyway, lesson learned and our 2015 travels continue in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. A big shout out goes to the new friends we met in Miami during a weekend workshop in January. They were so kind and gracious to share their lovely condo near San Jose complete with an amazing view of the city from the  pool and restaurant on the property. Gaining entrance to the gated community was interesting to say the least. The 3 guards spoke no English, and my Spanish is very limited, especially when it’s coming at me […]

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