North America · 7 Days · 14 Moments · January 2017

Costa Rican Adventures Round 2

3 February 2017

Local eats at a Soda in Jaco As it was our last night in CR, we were determined to get one last local meal. After horseback riding, Diego suggest to us the Soda (local restaurant) Marea Alta. Although conversation with this particular driver of ours was limited, he let him know we would like to stop there. Knowing it was our last night, we loaded up on food! Two main meals, two appetizers, two fruit smoothies and one dessert. I cannot say what exactly we ordered, as I just had our server pick out two suggestions for main meals for us. My favorite was the fish topped with shrimp and a vanilla sauce! The second dish we had was also a fish with shrimp and a gravy-like sauce. The fresh fruit smoothies (melon & pineapple) were so amazing! Nothing beats fresh fruit! 😃
Horseback riding booked through Viator. One of our favorite activities! (As if we could pick just one...) We went during sunset on the beach and it was absolutely perfect! The beach was beautiful and the horses were well trained. I was a little nervous at first as it was only my second time on a horse but the owner of the ranch, Diego, was very helpful and it wasn't long before I was feeling more confident. We finished it off with some local beers at a beach bar.
Surfing in Jaco with Walter Surf Shop. Highly recommended! We didn't even expect to be able to get up on the board, and yet both of us succeeded. The worst that happened was a huge wave that resulted in a boogie-boarding-like trip to shore for me and a smack in the face by the board for Andrew. An unpleasant gulp of saltwater throughout the lesson was also a common occurrence. A private lesson is a must as we had much more time to practice our skills than had we been in a group.

2 February 2017

Sunset dinner at La Luna in Gaia Hotel. Let me start by saying the view is SPECTACULAR! We reserved a table 30 minutes before sunset and it did not disappoint. We even got to see four macaws fly by as the sun was setting. Aside from the wonderful view, the food was unbelievable. This is truly upscale Costa Rican dishes. The coconut and plantain crusted mahi mahi is a must try!
We got to see a sloth in Manuel Antonio National Park!
Morning sailing with Ocean King. This was a wonderful experience. We were lucky enough to see many dolphins swimming along side the boat not long after heading out of the port. The boat was huge, and with only 30 people on board, we had quite a bit of room to spare. There were jacuzzis and nets in the front, and two slides in the back. The lunch served (wahoo) was delicious. After enjoying the open bar, we soon worked up the courage to jump from the top deck!

1 February 2017

Watching the beautiful sunsets at the Amphitheater of Vila Caletas hotel
Lunch in Jaco after scuba diving. While walking down the street, we stumbled upon Guataco. It was a little hole in the wall and didn't even have any interior seating, but this is exactly what we were looking for! The tacos were out of this world! By far the best taco I have ever had. The way the marinated pork roasts over the open flame gave it so much flavor. The al pastor tacos are a must.
Scuba Diving with Herradura Divers Our dive instructor, Iveta, was very knowledgeable and great at making us feel comfortable, as it had been awhile since our last dive. Visibility was low, but expected diving in the Pacific. The swell had also came in that morning. We did get to see a few neat wildlife including a lobster. If we had more time, we’d definitely opt to do Tortuga Island!

31 January 2017

Villa Caletas This hotel and views were jaw-dropping BEAUTIFUL! From the amphitheater to watch the sunsets, to the infinity pool, I couldn't imagine a nicer hotel. To make things even better, we were lucky enough to have our own private infinity pool attached to our room! The room and patio were both so much larger than expected. My only complaint would be the food. We were in search of more local food, not items we could get back in the U.S. Try checking out Jaco for some good local food, if that's what you are interested in trying.

30 January 2017

Our hunt for local beers It wouldn't be a normal post-hike or visiting a new location without also trying some new beers. We were especially excited to find that Costa Rica has an up and coming craft beer scene. Walking around La Fortuna, we stumbled on the La Fortuna Pub, which was an outpost for Lake Arenal Brewery (thankfully we didn't spend the $30 extra to make a pit stop there on the way from the airport!) The owner was so friendly and the beers were great! We were also excited to find Brazilian Cachaca on their menu which we had wanted to try after watching a documentary on our way to CR. It was delicious!
Organic coffee tour booked through Desafio Adventure Company This tour was so informative. We went in barely knowing anything about coffee and came out knowing everything from first planting to brewing the beans into coffee. We even got to help by planting our own cocoa plant! We also learned about the sugar cane plant and tried the juice from it, as well as finished our tour with a freshly brewed cup of coffee and a Costa Rican goodbye drink. It was so nice to visit a small local plantation.

29 January 2017

Two Volcano Extreme Hike with Red Lava TSC Calling this an "extreme hike" was certainly not an overstatement. With a combination of the sun and humidity, I felt dizzy just on our first portion up to the water break stop. Once we were in the forest, and hidden from the sun, however, it was much better. Although, boy was it MUDDY! Everyone had slipped at least once and had their legs covered in mud from this hike(so much for Andrews new white shorts), but it was so worth it! We got extremely lucky (only a 30% chance) to see the entire Arenal Volcano, something we saw none of during our last trip to CR. A stop in the green lagoon for lunch and swimming was just what we needed before we continued the rest of the approximately 10 mile hike. We finished it off with Costa Rican cocktails and volcanic mud masks in a natural hot springs river. What a day!

28 January 2017

Volcano Lodge and Springs This hotel was wonderful! It was unexpectedly right next to the last hotel we stayed at, Arenal Manoa. We preferred this hotel simply because we had our own private natural hot springs with a view of the volcano! The greenery is so lush, it almost feels as if there is no one else around!