Lifestyle, Travel

Breathtaking Costa Rica

December 21, 2015

DSC_0236

I just got back from a wonderful trip to Costa Rica. What a beautiful country! I am excited to share some highlights and pictures from my trip! (Photo credit: Spencer Liu)

Tamarindo: Day 1-2

We flew into Liberia Airport and took a taxi to Tamarindo, a town in the Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It has a lovely beach and is a great place for surfing. We spent the two days exploring and relaxing on the beach. The sunset was beautiful, but my favorite part was walking on the beach late at night. The beach was completely dark so it took a while for my eyes to adjust, but then I was able to see thousands of stars. I cannot remember the last time I looked up at the sky searching for stars!

DSC_0322

DSC_0244 (1)

IMG_2168

DSC_0170

DSC_0690

DSC_0211

Arenal/La Fortuna: Day 3-5

We hired a driver to get to Arenal/La Fortuna. My advice to anyone traveling long distances in Costa Rica is to book a driver/shuttle/van/bus. Do NOT try to drive around on your own because the roads are very hard to drive on! The ride was so bumpy that I logged over 7k steps on my Fitbit while sitting!

The resort we stayed at was very nice! It had about 20 small houses/units, and a couple swimming pools and hot springs. Arenal was my favorite stop of the entire trip. I went paddle boarding for the first time. I was scared because I don’t know how to swim, but having a life jacket on helped. The scariest part was jumping off the boat when we were in the middle of Lake Arenal. It was difficult getting up on the paddle board in the beginning, but after doing it once it was a lot easier. I had a blast paddle boarding around the lake and I cannot wait to go paddle boarding again. We also visited Arenal Volcano, which was a very easy walk/hike to the outer edge, relaxed at the Baldi Hot Springs, and went on a safari rafting trip. We saw many species of birds, monkeys, cows, and beautiful trees/plants.

IMG_1824 (1)

IMG_1834

DSC_0806

DSC_0828

DSC_0851

DSC_0832

DSC_0881

DSC_0770

Monte Verde: Day 6-7

We arrived in Monte Verde late afternoon and the only activity we had time for was to visit Sky Walk, which has 6 suspension/hanging bridges. It was about a 45 minute walk and was incredibly scenic! On the second day, we visited Cloud Forest. I would recommend paying for a guided tour. There are about 900 species of birds in Costa Rica, and our guide has seen over 800 species. He was very knowledgeable and passionate and knew where all of the nests were so he set up his binocular in the right spots. It would have been impossible spotting the birds on our own because they were so well hidden! We couldn’t even capture the photos using a DSLR because the birds were so high up. However, with the binocular, we were able to see! We also visited the hummingbird exhibit and there were hundreds of hummingbirds flying around.

DSC_0045

DSC_0067

DSC_0063

DSC_0196

San Jose: Day 8-9

Surprisingly, we did not see many tourists in Arenal or Monte Verde. Most of the places we went to we were alone. After spending 7 days in nature and eating casados every day at various sodas (small restaurants specializing in local food), I was happy to spend the last two days of the trip in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. On our first night, we got tickets to a Christmas musical. Half of it was in English, the other half in Spanish. It was quite entertaining!

Even though we stayed in the heart of the city, we went on a day trip to Poas Volcano and the Doka Coffee Plantation. Poas Volcano is an active volcano and it was breathtaking!

IMG_2258

DSC_0263

DSC_0284

We also visited the Doka Coffee Plantation, which was ssooo informative and interesting! We learned the entire coffee making process and it reminded me of this cranberry case we read in operations class. I bought several bags to bring back to the states.

DSC_0353

DSC_0330

IMG_2308

DSC_0338

DSC_0339

DSC_0340

IMG_2321

IMG_2320

DSC_0344

On our last night in Costa Rica, we had dinner at this fabulous restaurant called La Esquina de Buenos Aires. We shared this meat dish that was meant for 3 people (that’s what it said on the menu), but in reality there was enough food for 4-5 people!!! It had sausages, tripes, livers, chicken, pork, 3 different cuts of steak, potatoes, etc. It was a great last meal in Costa Rica!

DSC_0384

I had such a great time in Costa Rica. It is a beautiful country and I highly recommend visiting.

Pura vida!