Amazing Costa Rica! what else can you say. A country the size of West Virginia with a Caribbean coast, a Pacific coast, a continental divide with a cloud forest and an active volcano. With a range a climates like this you can see why there is such biodiversity in this land.
Collette Tours was our tour company and we were escorted by a fabulous motorcoach driver, Juan Carlos and one of the best, most knowledgeable guides I’ve traveled with Ricardo Howell.
We began in San Jose the capital city and home to 1/4 of the population. A few miles outside of town is the lovely family owned Doka Coffee Estate where we enjoyed an informative tour of the fields,production and roasting facilities.
Then on to Tamarindo Beach on the Pacific Coast and the centrally located Diria Resort. Two relaxing days( unless your room was next to the family of Howler monkees!) to enjoy sun,watersports,catamarans and watching the surfers.
Then up into the cloud forest at Monteverde for the next two days and the stunning views from our rooms at El Establo. We are located near the quaint town of Santa Elena where we had lunch in the treehouse and did some local souvenir shopping. A full day trip to Selvatura Park for an awesome zip line adventure involving 12 ziplines over the forest and the Tarzan Swing. Then enjoyed the butterfly gardens before heading back in time to go out to dinner at a fun place Tramonti Italian Restaurante- Happy Birthday Ricardo!
Fred dug and Doris planted a tree in the rainforest on behalf of Collette Tours as part of their contribution to green tourism. More will be planted, but this is dry season-little or no rain on the west side of the divide December to June- then look out ’cause here comes rain for the next 6 months.
A long ride to cover a short distance on really winding narrow roads, with great views though, on way to Arenal Volcano. Stop in Tilaran for a break, Elaine buys more”stuff”. Arrive at Arenal Lake, largest manmade in central America and supplies 50% of country’s power. A Pango Pango boat ride across the lake with incredible view of the 5,000′ Arenal Volcano looming nearby. Lots of wildlife and sign at dock warns of swimming and crocodiles.
Checkin to Arenal Springs Resort,WOW! Hot spring fed pools, waterfalls and main pool- with swim up bar of course. Two unit buildings scattered throughout the property with patios to view the ever changing face of Arenal. A few minute drive to La Fortuna to explore souvenir shops, buy special coffee and dinner on the main drag.
A day trip to the Nicaraguan border for an exciting jungle trip down the Cano Negro River with Mango on our Pango Pango. Egrets,bats,kingfishers,caymans,Jesus Christ lizards, monkees and a 3 toed sloth just to name some of the many species we encountered. Trip back to Arenal through the heart of the farming region, bananas,pineapples,casava,yuca and tapioca,sugar cane and cattle ranches all along the route.
Head back to San Jose and flight home, but first stop is Sarchi and an ox cart factory established in 1923. Great spot for handmade crafts and our group photo. Trip up the mountain to view Poas volcano, but alas Poas is invisible today-socked in by it’s own clouds- so buy some postcards to see what we missed.
Gotta leave something to come back for. We were here for 8 days and I feel like we only scratched the surface, beautiful country, friendly smiling people and fun traveling companions. PURA VIDA!!