For our honeymoon, Nick and I wanted to do something different…but it was pretty clear that Bora Bora was out of the question. I’m sure Nick came up with the Costa Rica idea, and I was happy to oblige. Some friends of ours had gone over the last few years and I have a coworker who is originally from Nicaragua and I love listening to his Central America stories. The promise of great Hispanic cuisine for two whole weeks was also enough to make our mouths water months in advance.
Wedding planning definitely overshadowed a lot of the trip planning we did for Costa Rica. I was able to find a deal for one resort via Wedding Wire’s deals, which was a great find. Going into it, I don’t think I was completely sold on the time of year (November is the end of the rainy season), or our chosen destinations in the country, but I didn’t have time to dwell on it; looking back, my skepticism was completely unnecessary.
We started our trip in the capitol, San Jose, before venturing off to Manuel Antonio, an area of the country surrounding a national park, for a coastal stay at the Hotel Parador. At one point on our journey to the coastal town, the driver of our tiny bus stopped at an overpass of a river. He nodded for everyone to get off and kept quickly saying something in Spanish that neither us or our fellow passengers could understand. Once we exited, he drove past and I thought, “great, there goes our luggage with all our stuff…” But then we noticed all these people on the bridge looking over the edge, where, sure enough, there were giant crocodiles, “cocodrilos,” that our driver wanted us all to see. This was just the beginning of our wildlife sighting for the trip.
Our stay at Hotel Parador consisted of relaxation, rising at 5am with the sun for pressed coffee, a nap in the room during daily 3pm rain storms, and eco-touring. The guide on our hike through Manuel Antonio National Park had us checking out poisonous frogs through his scope and kept us at a safe distance from the monkeys.
The second half of our trip took us even further into the country to La Fortuna, home of the Arenal volcano. This was the ultimate eco-tourist destination. Our resort, Arenal Nayara, one of the top resorts in the country, was nestled in the rainforest around the base of the volcano. (Fun fact: the resort was the site of filming for season 1 of NBC’s “Love in the Wild.”) We spent this portion of the trip touring waterfalls, swimming, exploring the cloud forest on hanging bridges, and of course, more wildlife scouting.
This tiny country did not disappoint. (Costa Rica is geographically smaller than my home state of Indiana, yet it boasts the most biodiversity in the world.) And after a rough ride back to San Jose (Nick almost lost his breakfast due to the winding, rough roads), we weren’t quite ready to go home. We tried to squeeze in a last minute Britt coffee plantation tour but weren’t able to pull it off. We opted for purchasing several pounds of the coffee at the airport and hopped on the plane where we could dream about all the rice and beans, plantains, and lychee fruit we’d consumed over the past two weeks.