As some of you may know last week was my first trip to Central America and I am positive that it won’t be my last. From the Rainforest to the Volcanos to the beautiful beaches, I simply couldn’t get enough. With a little convincing from my Austrian friend Lukas who spent 6 months in the capital San Jose, I finally decided to book a 10 day trip to Costa Rica with him and his knowledge of the country, right by my side.
The top five places we went, that I would recommend to anyone who plans to visit the country were: San Jose, La Fortuna, Rio Celeste, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio.
(Juan Santamaría International Airport)
San Jose was both the starting and ending point to our trip and in my opinion was the most central location to fly in and out of. The city sits in a valley with volcanoes to the north and mountains to the south. Despite the fact that we started and ended here, this was the location where we spent the least amount of time exploring. Thanks to a walking tour from Lukas’s Costa Rican friend Ricardo, we did manage to see some of the cities most popular destinations including: The National Theatre, Parque Morazán and La Cultura Plaza.
Additional places I would recommend to check out in the city include :
The National Museum
The Pre-Colombian Gold Museum
The National Artisans Market
La Fortuna is a town located in the province of Alajuela, Costa Rica and is known for it’s main attraction, the Arenal Volcano (located right behind that cloud in my first picture). The peak of the volcano is usually surrounded by clouds and unfortunately, we were not lucky enough to see the volcano with a surrounding clear sky even though I did leave my room multiple times to check! Maybe you will have better luck!
In terms of outdoor activities this town has so much to offer. If you have an adventurous side I would be more than willing to push you this way.
Right next to the Arenal Volcano is the Cerro Chato Volcano which is a non active volcano that has a green lagoon at the very top and makes for a very difficult hike. I am not over exaggerating when I say that this hike is difficult. Make sure you bring hiking boots. Even though I would enjoy watching the expressions of anyone as they encountered the deep mud and thick roots of the rain forest, I will warn you as I was warned.
I was told to bring hiking boots and I completely underestimated the hike, ignored Lukas and wore nike roshe shoes and a mini MK backpack. DO NOT do this. You will thank me post hike. The hike takes about 5 hours in total but is completely worth your while. I promise you have never seen anything like it and the view at the top is amazing.
Watch out for coral snakes. They are red, black and yellow. We saw one about 5 feet away from us on our way down from the hike. They have one of the most potent venoms and if you are bit your breathing muscles will shut down and you will die. (Not to scare you…just being honest)
Additional activities you can do:
Enjoy the hot springs
Visit a butterfly farm
View La Fortuna Waterfall
Go bungee Jumping
Pick your poison!
I like to think I have been a lot of places but this is by far one of my favorite locations I have been. It’s time to mark Rio Celeste off your bucket list because it is absolutely beautiful. The waterfall is located in the Tenorio Volcano National Park and is located near two small towns: Bijagua and Guatuso. You must enter the park on the Bijagua side and get a ticket before entering. In order to get to the waterfall you need to hike however, this hike is much easier than the Cerro Chato hike in La Fortuna and takes less time. I would say at most 4 hours in total depending how long you spend taking photos. Once you reach the waterfall the trail goes on to the Pora Azul which is a blue pool and the Tenideros where two rivers meet and a chemical reaction occurs that makes the water so blue.
I would make this a day trip and not attempt to stay anywhere near by. This is the main attraction in the area and you will want to move onto the next destination in your trip. If you are staying in La Fortuna, the various tourist stores offer day trips here.
(Cloud Forest Reserve)
(Tree House Restaurant and Café)
Monteverde is a small town in Puntarenas, Costa Rica and is one of the best ecotourism areas the country has to offer. This area was very hard to reach being that the roads were mostly dirt/large rocks for hours before getting to the actual town but once you get there it is quite the site. It was extremely relaxing and even though the town is driven by tourism it had a very calm atmosphere. We pretty much just relaxed and enjoyed our surroundings the entire time we were there. We did do a walk through the cloud forest reserve and we saw several types of birds and a coati!
Activities you can do:
Sky Tram/Sky Walk
Coffee Tours/Chocolate Tours/Sugar Cane Tours
Tree House Restaurant and Café
If driving is in your budget you should drive here and in an SUV. Lukas and I did take a car however I think we were the only car in the entire town. This is not an easy car ride. Expect to go 5 mph on dirt roads covered in large rocks for at least 2 hours. DRIVE SLOW and enjoy the views!
(Cheers to a great trip)
After days of outdoor adventure there was no better place to go than the beach. Manuel Antonio is a small oceanside town off the central Pacific coast and is south of Quepos a better known town. This beach town is a true gem and will easily win your heart over. It has incredible sunsets, beach activities, numerous hotels and plenty of restaurants.
Don’t stay too long, you will never come back.