Peering out the airplane window as the plane was descending, my eyes were met with gray clouds, lightening, and heavy rain. My first thought was that the weather forecast was correct, and my brother and I were going to have nonstop rain for the duration of our trip. This was something we had planned, packed, and gotten each other excited for. Upon exiting Liberia Airport, we were greeted by a wall of local taxi drivers, all with “the best price”, taking us back to the bargaining world of Thailand.
I could write a twenty-page essay about this country and it still wouldn’t do it justice, so I’m going to make it short, sweet, and easy on the eyes – closely comparable to the majority of my experiences there.
Pro Tip: Costa Rica is small – RENT A CAR & GO EVERYWHERE
- We fell asleep to the rain on the first night, played in it the next morning, and happily welcomed the sun for the remaining eight days.
- Booking the first night – wing the rest: proven to be, not only an exciting way of travel, but the best way to keep moving and exploring.
- Started north, on the PACIFIC OCEAN SIDE, and moved south enjoying four beaches: Playas del Coco, Playa Brasilito, Playa Conchal, andTamarindo Beach. Each had different colored sand, water, and unique wildlife. The turquoise blue waters of Playa Conchal are a must see, and the nightlife and surf in Tamarindo is worth staying another night for.
- Headed CENTRALto explore the tropical rainforests, Arenal Volcano, and La Fortuna Waterfall. We were lucky enough to hike around the base of the volcano on a sunny day, making the mouth of the volcano completely visible – a rare sight. La Fortuna pounded 210ft down into the most refreshing pool of water.
- Made it to the CARIBBEAN SIDE: We swam, surfed, cliff jumped, slack lined, swung on beach swings, walked in the rainforest, and danced. The water is warmer, the sand will burn your feet, and the locals and nightlife are lively day and night. We explored two beaches: Puerto Viejo Beachand Playa Cocles. Puerto Viejo is for partying and all things wild, and Playa Cocles is cleaner with relaxed locals, pretty sand, and all water activities.
- NORTH CENTRAL: We wanted to spend our last couple of days in the tropical rainforests. Las Hornillas Volcano Hot Springs was a secluded oasis with eight different natural hot spring pools, boiling volcano mud baths, and a natural sauna. Buena Vista Lodgegave us the most action-packed fun day with an eight course zipline, nine course suspended bridges, ¼ mile long waterslide through the rainforest, coffee, hot sauce, bread, and sugarcane tastings, excluded horseback ride to a waterfall and natural hot springs and mud baths, and a traditional Costa Rican buffet.
- Wildlife Sightings: The Green Iguanas were big bodied, fast, tree climbing, fence jumping reptiles, and in the sunlight, their skin glowed teal and neon green. The Cane Toad was the size of a softball, the butterflies were massive and florescent, the mosquitos ate every inch of me, and the majority of the other insects were intimidatingly large and loud. I stepped on a small black snack that luckily didn’t bite me, and we sadly only saw one sloth but it was dead 😦 The adorable stray dogs, or Territorio de Zaguates, were healthy and happy, along with the stray cats. No two monkeys or birds were the same: Birds– Yellow Naped Parrot, Resplendent Quetzal, Keel Billed Toucan, The Black Mandible Scarlet and Great Green Macaw, Red Headed Barbet, Violet Sabrewing, Broad Winged Hawk, Jabiru Stork, Great blue heron, exotic chickens, roosters, and wild turkeys. Monkeys – Howler Monkeys, White-faced Monkeys, and Spider Monkeys.
Gaining elevation and peering out the window once again, my eyes were now met with plush green undeveloped land, and it took my breath away.
Your fifty shades of green
Skin still sun kissed
Eyes still widened
Heart still in your rainforests.
Another Altered Traveler