My Costa Rica Adventure – A Tropical Paradise!
Walt - professional traveler, amateur photographer & inspired chef.
My Costa Rica Adventure – A Tropical Paradise!
It had been two long years since I had had the chance to travel anywhere – thank you, Coronavirus. Well, as soon as the Covid-19 restrictions began to ease up, I began planning my next trip – I was so excited, it felt as if I was planning my first one ever. Two long years stuck in a concrete jungle, I figured it was time to experience an actual jungle again; to once more coexist with all that is green – with nature. I talked to six of my buddies and we did the research, and decided on going to Costa Rica.
I felt a change come over me the moment the plane landed in the magical land of Costa Rica. The air was thick and humid, the overwhelmingly present color all around was green and everybody was smiling – this place seemed to be the soul-healing cure I had been in need of for so long. As we got into the van we had arranged to take us into San Jose center for the day, I had no doubt this would be a trip of a lifetime!
San Jose – a busy, colorful, vibrant little city. Souvenir shops & clothing stores, arts & crafts, fruit & vegetable stands, cafes & bars, restaurants & barbershops – the streets were charged with an unlimited amount of energy. We had our first Costa Rican meal, Gallo Pinto, which is black beans and rice – and with it soft corn flour tortillas and cabbage salad. Simple, but delicious. After our meal we walked the busy city streets for a couple of hours, soaking in the culture, and then finally went back to the van to head to our hotel at a city suburb called Santa Ana. The hotel was beautiful, placed perfectly on a hill top looking out into the city on one side, and green lush mountains on the other. I went to sleep with a smile on my face.
At the crack of dawn, we hit the road – first stop, the Poas Volcano. It was an hour drive, and we had breakfast, homemade cheese tortillas with sour cream and black coffee, at mountain top roadside restaurant with a breathtaking view of the valley leading to the volcano. The Poas Volcano was spectacular – the temperature dropped steadily as we climbed higher, the lush green vegetation taking over, and the volcano itself, well, amazing. We looked down into the crater, and it was blue! Beautiful! After admiring the view from up there for a good hour, we got back into the van and set off toward our next destination – the Arenal Volcano and the country town of La Fortuna!
The drive was long but scenic, and as we got closer I was in awe of the change in temperature, landscape, vegetation, and color – it was like a different country. I felt the heat full-on, and the mosquitos, as we approached the Arenal Volcano. We immediately went on the trail hike through the forest and mountains, toward the volcano – what an adventure! By the time we made it up, we had a perfect view of the volcano – it towered over all else, blue, with a halo of clouds around it; spectacular. After hiking back down the mountain, we drove off to La Fortuna, a beautiful town well-known for its natural thermal hot water pools, and pretty hotels. It was short drive, and we had lunch at a rustic roadside restaurant where I had my first local beer, Imperial, followed by a smoked rack of ribs that blew my mind. After lunch, we headed to the the natural thermal hot water pools – amazing! Located smack in the middle of the jungle, surrounded by green and the sound of birds and monkeys, we sat and relaxed in the hot water for a good hour or so, before we headed out to our next destination – Jaco Beach.
It was approaching sunset by the time we got to Jaco Beach, and the first thing we did was head to a beach bar called El Point for a few frosty Imperial beers. We watched the sunset there – we watched the sun disappear into the horizon of the Pacific Ocean as the sky changed from yellow to orange, from orange to red, from red to purple, and from purple to black. Gorgeous! We were then taken to the Vacation Villa we had rented for a couple of nights, a 14-bedroom luxury rental called Jaco Oasis – what a place! We jumped in the pool the moment we arrived, and within fifteen minutes there was music being played by a DJ, cocktails being mixed and prepared by bartenders, and the smell of absolute deliciousness coming from the direction of the kitchen – the private Chefs were at work! We had a spectacular dinner consisting of grilled Ribeye steaks and lobster tails, and three unique types of multi-colored fresh salads – a meal worthy of kings! Safe to say I went to bed satisfied that night!
The next day we woke up early because this was to be a day of nature and adventure – we had the whole day planned! It all started with the Zip Line Canopy tour in the jungle – I felt my troubles fade as I glided over a sea of green beneath me. Next, we went White Water Rafting which was a total rush of adrenaline to say the least. Wet, sore but satisfied, we were ready for the last adventure of the day – Fishing! We sailed out into the blue, cracked open a few ice-cold Imperial beers and so began the wait. Within the hour we caught a huge marlin, which we were to take back to the house for the Chefs to cook us up yet another feast. Upon arrival at the house, the Chefs got to work and before long dinner was ready – grilled Marlin steaks, Marlin sushi and Marlin ceviche. Delicious! After dinner we decided to paint the town – we went to a club called XTC and another one called Republik – what a blast! We partied ‘til the break of dawn!
The next morning the van drove us to the airport, all of us baffled at how much we had seen, done and experienced in such a short period of time. Well, the vacation was over and it was time to go back home. Costa Rica is a true Tropical Paradise!