This has been such an enjoyable and relaxing trip to a very beautiful and peaceful country. I think Costa Rica would make an excellent choice for a honeymoon destination. Pura vida is a rather over used expression here and you do get a bit tired of hearing to by the end of three weeks, but it really does sum up my overall impression of the country very well. The direct translation is “pure life”, but in Costa Rica, pure vida is used as a greeting, a thank you, you are welcome or simply to express that something is awesome. It’s a quick way of summing up an expression of peace between one another and an attitude to life in this – one of the happiest nations in the world. The country has its problems, like all others, but the Ticos like to focus on all the positives instead of their fears or worries. Pura vida sums up their general outlook on life and symbolises Costa Rica’s ethos of moving forward and simply enjoying life.
The Ticos I have met all seem to have a sunny disposition and there is good reason for that – Costa Rica is an oasis of calm in an otherwise troubled part of the world:
- Their country is crammed with ecological riches
- Educational, sanitation and health standards are very good,
- The standard of living (for the most part) and life expectancy are high
- There is political stability backed by democracy.
Our trip was booked through Round the World Experts who co-ordinated the itinerary I had constructed myself very well – all the ground arrangements and transfers worked seamlessly. Local tour operators in this area are Swiss Travel (who most of our excursions and transfers were booked with) and Costa Rica Vacations (highly recommended by other travellers we talked to). These agents may well be able to offer you more expert local advice than a UK based agent would and possibly a small saving, but wouldn’t be able to book international flights.
When is the best time to visit Costa Rica?
The dry season/”Summer” is from mid-November to April and is considered the best time to visit. It can, be very wet even in the dry season though and humidity is extremely high. In the rainy season, days often start sunny, with rain falling in the afternoon and evening. In the rain/cloud forest, the weather is very iunpredictable and humid at any time of year. The Pacific coast is sunnier than the Caribbean coast.
The Costa Rica currency is Colon(es), but US dollars are widely accepted everywhere. We didn’t use any colones on our whole trip, except for spending the change that was given to us when we paid in US dollars.
Top Ten “Must Dos” for a luxury trip to Costa Rica:
- Drink Piña Calada and Pipa Fria
- Tortuguero National Park – canal boat tour (stay at Manatus)
- A nocturnal walk (location unimportant – just do it!)
- Arenal Volcano – Hanging Bridges (stay at Nayara)
- A sunrise birdwatching tour (location unimportant – just do it!)
- Sarapiqui River – White Water Rafting
- Visit Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge
- Lapa Rios Eco Lodge – watch the sunrise – from your own bed!
- Lapas Rios Eco Lodge – enjoy a massage on your private outdoor terrace
- Swim in an infinity pool – overlooking the Whale Tail – Uvita
Best Hotel Award:
Lapas Rio Eco Lodge was easily the best hotel we stayed in, taking into account both the room, the facilities and the overall experience. Interestingly, it wasn’t the most expensive either. Taking all costs into account (so hotels where full board and all excursions were included can be compared on a like for like basis with breakfast only hotels) our two favourites – Manatus and Lapas Rios – were also the cheapest overall. Nayara was wonderful, but twice the price and Kura was almost three times the price. With travel, you don’t always get what you expect or pay for. Hopefully, this is helpful info. for future travellers.
Wish I’d seen:
- A resplendent quetzal, complete with its 3 foot long red tail
- A tapir
- An armadillo
- A glass frog – a tiny, translucent green tree frog which – if you put it on glass – you can actually see its internal organs and observe its heartbeat.
- A hot lips plant – ah well – maybe on the next trip … ?!
My parting thought:
“If history continues, power will reside in societies that have considered their resources, not those that have spent them.” The Quetzal and the Macaw – David Rains Wallace. From what I have seen, Costa Rica seems to be doing a pretty good job of making the most of its natural resources, protecting biodiversity and benefitting from tourism in a sustainable way – long may it last…
Suggestion for Further Reading:
How United Fruit Company Shaped the World – Peter Chapman
Glad I packed:
Brolly, binoculars, bug spray, hiking boots, good flashlight.
Where to next?
Aberconwy, Wales …