We just got back from our vacation to Costa Rica and a much-needed escape from an icy winter…and we’re already planning a return trip to cover other areas of this country! Costa Rica offers everything for a perfect vacation; rainforests, beaches and every sort of activity you may want to undertake! (hiking, zip lining,snorkeling, etc.)
This was a short trip (5 days) with our favorite set of adventure-seeking friends always in search of a packed itinerary! (yep, that’s how WE do it!) 🙂
Itinerary: 3 days in Arenal; 2 days in Manuel Antonio
This post covers the first three days in Arenal and the surrounding areas of La Fortuna (waterfall) and Monteverde (cloud forest). while we covered the majority of sights in 3 days at a pace that wasn’t entirely exhaustive, an extra day would have been ideal…
Day 1: We took a direct flight from NYC to San Jose reaching at a very decent time of 10am (a lot less decent while leaving our NYC apartment at an unearthly hour of 4am to catch a flight from Newark at 6am – the pain one must endure in the name of vacation! 😉 ). We arranged for a private taxi at the airport to take us to Tabacon resort in Arenal; our home for the next 3 days. It was a long drive (~2 hrs) but we were high on the energy from a warm and humid climate, a plate of gallo pinto and a chilled beer! But first, a quick stop for fresh fruit of course! 🙂
We decided to spend the evening at our hotel, Tabacon hot springs and chart out the plan for the next two days – besides, our exhaustion was finally catching up with us! The hot springs in the Arenal volcano region are in a beautiful setting of the tropical forest with a view of the volcano in the background. (Note: be careful walking on the black volcanic rocks in the hot springs as they can a bit sharp)
Day 2: We planned a packed day covering Arenal hanging bridges, Fortuna waterfall, and a hike to Arenal volcano
Our days in Costa Rica typically started early with breakfast at 7am and off on our tours by 8am! (why can’t I be a morning person back home? getting to work on time is such an adventure everyday!)
A short car ride from the hotel, the Arenal hanging bridges are actually a series of trails and bridges through a rainforest (250 acre private reserve) and offers great views of the volcano along the path. There’s not much wildlife here, but supposedly allows for great bird watching – although we didn’t spot many birds here but got some pics of a baby snake (viper), lizard and leaf-carrying-ants instead!
Our guide Alberto showed us one of the common lizards that lives in the forest…
Our next stop was the Fortuna waterfall that offered a welcome relief after the long hike through the forest… EXCEPT that the path (down) to the waterfall was a long-er hike, followed by an EVEN lo-ng-er (more) arduous UPHILL hike back from the falls (on these waffle-steps)!
But…completely worth the effort 🙂
we stopped for lunch at a farmhouse (can’t remember the name but they had this heavenly guava-chutney and we polished off two jars between the six of us!), then made our way towards Arenal volcano for our last hike for the day; watching the sunset by the lake. To our relief, this wasn’t much of a hike, but more of a “walk” through the forests that grow on fertile volcanic ash (yep, added this for you NJ). We also managed to spot “toucans” and wild orchids against the beautiful hues of the sunset – what an amazing view!
Alright! we have a new resolution to get in shape once back home… 🙂
Off to Day 3!!
Hope you enjoyed reading!