Friday, January 13, 2017

Costa Rica trip review - Part 2

Back to finishing up my Costa Rica trip review!  Part 1 was about our trip to the Arenal Volcano.  We left off with lunch at the Sky Adventures Park and driving to our next destination at the beach.  We were staying at the J.W. Marriott, Guanacaste and it took us about 4 hours to get there.  We arrived right as the sun was setting over the ocean.

The hotel had an amazing pool that overlooked the beach

Guanacaste is a province right by the Pacific Ocean and has a lot of beach towns.  The resort we were staying at was beautiful but pretty remote.  It took around 30 minutes each time we wanted to go to the closest town, Tamarindo.  We were definitely glad to have the car.  The resort was beautiful and had everything you could want but we also wanted to get out and explore the area while we were there.

 Plenty of opportunities to relax at the hotel

The first evening, we just settled in, had a swim at the amazing pool, had a relaxing dinner at the hotel, and then called it an early evening.  Friday was our first full day in Guanacaste.  I woke up early and went out to explore the beach.  I meant to go for a run but the beach was really rocky so it was definitely more of a walk as I had to watch my footing.  Still, it was beautiful.

My dad joined me at the beach later in the morning for some photos

We spent some time enjoying the pool, had lunch at one of the poolside bars, and then spent some time at the spa for massages.  It was a gorgeous spa, with a lot of connection to the outdoors.  There were outdoor showers and even our treatment room was like a huge balcony with one side facing the outdoors.  The sound of the wind and water added extra relaxation to the massage.

Lunch at the poolside bar

In the evening, we got dressed up and drove into Tamarindo to check out the town, do some shopping, and get some dinner.  We found a sushi place that had good reviews and a lot of vegan options in addition to the seafood.  Tamarindo is known as a surfing town so it was pretty laid back.  We also found a mini-golf place so spent some time enjoying friendly competition.

Another beautiful sunset

Saturday started the same way.  I woke up early for a swim.  The pool was pretty quiet in the morning and I got in a nice work out. 

Compilation of pool time photos

We had breakfast at the hotel restaurant again and then Mike, my dad and me drove off to the Monkey Jungle Canopy Tour for some zip lining.  This was a lot of fun!  It seemed like a pretty small operation but that just meant a lot of individualized attention.  There ended up being a group of 6 of us and three guides.  They drove us up on ATVs to the start of the zip lining.  There were 7 different zip lines and we ended with a "tarzan swing."  Afterward, we relaxed back at the main area with some water and freshly cut fruit.  We heard howler monkeys while we were zip lining though didn't actually end up seeing them.

Mike's first time zip lining

Saw this guy while we were having lunch at the hotel later

We went back to the hotel to clean up and relax before driving back into Tamarindo for dinner.  I had read about a Mediterranean restaurant that had good vegetarian food so we tried it out and it did not disappoint!  They even had amazing vegan options for my mom, including an Apple Crumble with coconut ice cream for dinner.


Sunday, I started the day with another walk on the beach for around 3 miles and pool time. 

There were cows grazing by the beach during my walk

Then we went off for a sunset cruise that started around 1.  It was a beautiful ship and it included an open bar.  We drove out to a nice cove and people were able to jump into the ocean for a swim or snorkeling.  Mike and I went into the water but after 15 or 20 minutes we noticed the jelly fish.  I ended up getting stung by one but it wasn't too bad.  We got out of the water after that but it was good timing as they were setting up lunch on the ship.  Lunch included rice and beans, chips, salsa, chicken for those that wanted it, lots of fruit and home made cookies.  Yum!  Then we took our time sailing back to town.  We saw whales on the way back and it was amazing.  The sail ended with a stunning sunset over the water.


We went back to the hotel and cleaned up for dinner at one of their fancier restaurants for our last night in Costa Rica.


And that was it!  We got up early on Monday to drive back to the airport, maybe a 90 minute drive.  We got there pretty early and then had to wait around a bit before the airline opened up their desks so we could check our bags.  We did some last minute souvenir shopping (definitely more expensive at the airport so get stuff in advance if you can), had some lunch, and then boarded the plane to fly back home.

So that was Costa Rica.  We all absolutely loved it.  It's a beautiful country with really friendly people.  We had a lot of fun and it was a nice blend of active things and relaxation.  I would highly recommend it as a vacation spot to anyone.