After a two-year hiatus from Costa Rica we were excited to be returning. We had fun organizing and planning our trip, especially since we were going to be exploring new areas of the country that we had never visited before.
We drove to the States and had a quick visit with friends and family and then off to LAX for a red eye flight.
We arrived early morning and after going through immigration and customs we were off to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. The traffic was horrible because of all the trucks heading to the port of Limon, but the scenery was beautiful. After living in Baja, where everything is brown, it was so nice to see green everywhere.
The Caribbean gets 140 inches of rain a year so everything is so lush and green. We arrived in Puerto Viejo and the town had a fun surfer, hippie, yoga, island vibe to it and the water was calm and beautiful. We couldn’t wait to go exploring after a long nap.
Dave has his yummy Costa Rican coffee in hand and has declared that vacation has officially begun.
The food was similar to typical Costa Rican cuisine, but it had a nice Caribbean twist. Most Costa Rican food is pretty bland, but I really enjoyed the spices they used and also enjoyed them adding coconut milk to many dishes, even the rice. Ghetto Girl was one of our favorite sodas (roadside restaurant) and the owner Marie was such a delight.
The beaches are amazing with clear water that is calm and inviting. We were able to visit Puerto Viejo, Punta Uva (my fave), and Manzanillo. I think the pictures will speak for themselves. Pure heaven for me.
We had been looking forward to going to the animal sanctuary and heard such great things about it. On the day we went there were too many people and not enough tour guides so we opted to come back in a day or two when the crowd-to-tour-guide ratio would be smaller. I got a few pictures that day before the tour started and before we decided to come back on another day. Unfortunately, the next day Dave got super sick and I soon followed in a few days. We were sick for the rest of the time in Puerto Viejo which was a too bad as we didn’t get to do half of what we wanted to do/see and we were never able to go back to the animal sanctuary.
Puerto Viejo is a beautiful beach community with so much to do. It is also a big party town where the town stays out late and the town is super loud until 4 a.m. with bands playing at several bars, cars driving by with their bass turned as high as possible, and people walking around. Our AirBnb was on the main drag, so we didn’t get a lot of sleep our week there. I would recommend staying at a more remote hotel and driving or taking a tuk tuk to bars or restaurants.
We left Puerto Viejo and headed for the La Fortuna/Arenal area, which is known for its volcano, lake and hot springs. We were still very sick, but we were excited to explore a new area. When we arrived at our AirBnB, it was not as nice as represented online; it was really small and there were no screens on the windows. With no screens, it is hard to get fresh air without letting all the bugs/mosquitos in. We got settled in and decided to go get something to eat at a local restaurant.
While we were gone we had a visitor who helped itself to a banana on the counter. This was a little unsettling and we hoped that whatever it was, had dined and dashed and would not be coming back anytime soon. As soon as we turned the lights off to go to bed, we heard a scurrying sound in the kitchen and also the sound of things being knocked off the counter. We came out of the bedroom and saw that things had been knocked on the floor including some garlic powder. We went back in our bedroom and heard munching and other noises. We were totally grossed out and knew that we would not be staying in this house another night. In all our years traveling in Costa Rica we never had a vermin problem in any of the places we have stayed. Also, during the night we heard mosquitos buzzing by our ears and knew that were getting bit even though we had bug spray on. When we woke up in the morning we both had at least a dozen mosquito bites each and also found the garlic powder again on the floor and the wrapper was eaten off of it (gross). We called the AirBnb host and he graciously gave us a refund for the remaining nights. This owner had 25 other units, but he said that they were all full as the town was sold out with all the spring break travelers. We decided that we would move on to another location, but we took the scenic route and drove around Arenal volcano and the beautiful lake that surrounds it. (The lake is 30 miles long). It was cloudy on the top of the volcano so we could not see the very top, but it sure was pretty.