I envision all of my trips with others beginning with them telling me about their next vacation. I say something along the lines of “oh, I’ve always wanted to go there,” and they tell me I should tag along. I then buy my ticket and in just a few short weeks, we’re heading to wherever. That sort of happened when an old coworker told me of his plans to visit Costa Rica a couple years ago. I, a lot like now, was sick and tired of waiting on people to accompany me places, but was too scared to go alone. Whenever I spoke of solo travel I was literally told things like “my body would be chopped up and found in a river.” *scoffs* Humans, I tell ya. Anyways, I’m super happy I gave into my impulse and booked that flight when I did. Like with everywhere else, I fell in love with Costa Rica.
Where I Stayed
The Allegro Papagayo all-inclusive resort was absolutely nothing to write home about, but got the job done. Whenever I return to Liberia, Costa Rica I’ll probably be staying in an eco-friendly resort in the middle of the jungle, complete with views of a volcano, but I haven’t sworn off of this hotel. I got to experience my first black sand beach and although I never took a dip in the Papagayo Bay, the trips to uninhabited islands from the resort were more than worth it. I’ll never forget the time I took a boat to another boat to a private island. Seeing an entire school of jelly fish and still deciding to jump off of a boat, sans lifejacket, is a story that never gets old. Discovering that rum and ginger ale is the mecca of rum concoctions is just one of the many things that may not have ever happened had I not stayed at this hotel. Oh, and the daily journalling in nothing but a towel on a balcony overlooking the bay, yeah, that probably won’t happen anywhere else.
What I Did
In addition to the mini excursions from the resorts beach, one that included failed attempts at fishing but was rewarded with a private island BBQ, I gave zip lining my first try. It was a full day of activities that started bright and early and without breakfast. When booking these excursions to pick you up at the crack of dawn, make sure you have a spare packet of instant oatmeal or at least some fruit. Trekking what felt like miles to a river with the biggest inner tube I’ve ever seen in my life, and all on an empty stomach, was not the best way to start the day. I was determined to not collapse out of fear of embarrassment and I like to think that’s what got me through it. Coasting down the river for an hour or so afterwards was relaxing to say the least.
If memory serves me correctly, we then rode back to the starting point via
horseback mules. It was my first time as an adult on one of these creatures and hopefully not my last, although they didn’t seem too tame. One kid decided he wanted to literally ride and took off on his horse causing everyone else’s to follow suit. It just wasn’t fun with a crowd, but with less people I think it’d be great.
Lunch was a buffet included with the package. No matter what your diet you should be able to indulge in at least a plate of food. If local Costa Rican cuisine and juices aren’t your thing, this could pose a problem. Luckily that didn’t last too long and zip lining followed shortly after. If you’re expecting a swing, or three, a couple feet from the ground and through the trees then think again. Every time I thought it was time to turn around, we kept going. I repelled down into canyons and climbed back up (at one point I was pulled up the rest of the way because the way my exhaustion was set up…) and zip lined above the forest canopy.
Can you believe that wasn’t the end of the day? The actually day ended at the natural hot springs where I covered myself from head to toe in mud and lounged around in different temperature “jacuzzi’s” powered by a volcano. I SAID POWERED BY A VOLCANO. How dope is that? And why don’t we have hot springs in New York City? I’m going to write to my local congressman for sure.
Why You Should Go
Sure, Costa Rica can be another baecation notch on your belt. But if you want to lounge on the beach sipping from freshly cracked coconuts, this isn’t the place for you. Liberia/Guanacaste isn’t know for it’s beaches although you may come across a gem or two. If #explore and #adventure are two of your most used hashtags on Instagram or the twitter (lol), then Costa Rica is calling. I have never had a more action packed or fun trip in my life. And I’ve been to Belize and swam with sharks, damnit! I’ll be honest, hopping directly into a school of jelly fish without a life jacket to go snorkeling in CR is scarier than any shark. It’s the little ones that have no regard for your life. And I never tire of explaining to people how I got them to stop itching. I’ll let your mind roam with that one.
Have you been to Costa Rica or are planning to go? Drop me a line about your favorite part and be sure to check out my first installment in the “A Look Back” Series – Paris.