Costa Rica

I went to Costa Rica in 2018 and it was one of the best holidays of my life. I went there at the beginning of August for 3 weeks and then came home. In Costa Rica they don’t have the four seasons, they have a dry season and a wet season and August is in the wet season. For a family I highly recommend going in August because even though it is rainy it is not the rainiest of the season and it didn’t cause any inconvenience for me or my family, another reason I recommend it is that Costa Rica is full to the brim with tourist attractions and all of them are worth seeing and We struggled to get everything in with 3 weeks and we only vaguely explored the pacific and for a family August is the when you have the most time for holidays. Another reason I would recommend Costa Rica in August is because not many people travel in that time because most people travel in Easter for the dry season but in August it isn’t to busy and you can have the full experience.

Even though I only travelled the Pacific and not the Caribbean I saw and experienced so many things and travelled to various different areas like the capitol city San Jose, and just outside in a place called Cannas, the cloud forests in a place called Monteverdi and two different beach areas called Tamarindo and Samara. In all of these areas I would recommend a 4 by 4 with a spare tyre because in some areas countless roads are unpaved and they go on forever and you are very likely to puncture a tyre especially in the cloud forests. I would also not recommend eating while you are driving along an unpaved road.

San Jose and Canas: San Jose and Cannas are much more man made than other parts of Costa Rica but they were still amazing places full of attractions. I started with some zoos in San Jose and they were packed with animals and the enclosures were really wild like and they had lots of space and it was really easy to spot the animals. I also went to a place called La Paz Waterfall Gardens and they also had animals like a zoo but the main attraction was the waterfalls and there were 5 or 6 waterfalls and you could get really close to them. Also to make it better all the waterfalls were connected so we didn’t have to travel to longer distance to see them and It was one of the best experiences of my life and I have had some mega ones. For the waterfall gardens I would recommend bringing a poncho and be warned, there are a lot of steps up and down. The next day we drove up to a volcano called Irazu and we were able to climb all the way to the top and look in the mouth of the volcano and depending on the time of year it looks different. When I went the ground was covered in sulfer and black ash and it smelt like gone off eggs to me. I would recommend going to see the volcanoes before 10am because after that time the clouds come in and it is hard to see and it will start to rain heavily as I found out. In Canas it is very similar to San Jose for accommodation and attractions. When I was there I only had one day of adventure because the next day I was going home so I couldn’t do much but what we did do was the highlight of the whole trip. In the morning we went over to the hot springs and we started with the mud bath areas and going round the volcanic rock and it was boiling in there and you could actually mud baths that you could get into but I didn’t, There was also volcanic rock from when volcanoes had exploded and streams of boiling mud. As well as the hot mud there were also over 6 swimming pools filled with natural water and the pools were of different temperatures with different depths and sizes and there were special children’s pools with really cool and fast slides. Around the pools there were also family tables under a roof with a mini barbecue so a family could have their own little booth and have some lunch and in the distance were some amazing views of volcanoes. That was in the morning and early afternoon we left and drove to a place called Finca Verde reserve which is an Eco lodge but it was also an attraction for tourists. I had lunch at the butterfly garden restaurant then we went on a tour with a guide and they showed us all the plants and how the wildlife grows and I was amazed at how amazing everything was and I got so much information and I even saw tent-making bats. We also went into the forest area and saw so much and it was phenomenal, the highlight was by far the sloths. We came across 6 sloths eating, sleeping and climbing and the guides even had telescopes so we had incredibly clear sightings of the sloths and my heart melted as I saw the sloths.

Monteverdi cloud forests: In Monteverdi the places you stay are in Eco lodges and I stayed in one right in the middle of nowhere surrounded by forests with a view like heaven. If you are into adventure I would highly recommend the Eco Lodges. I stayed in an Eco Lodge called Rancho de Lelo and It was amazing. Most of these places are a family business and the people at Rancho de Lelo were so kind and lovely. At reception they even have maps filled with tourist attractions and they even help you book everything. In these Eco lodges all their food is natural and all heir food and is organic and in Rancho de Lelo even had a special tour around their farms and crop gardens, they had their on fish, livestock, crops and other farm animals and we were even able to do a bit of fishing and we got so much information about farming and they are use so much renewable energy, they even use the gas from the waste from the garbage to power their ovens in the kitchens. Some of the attractions that we did were coffee, chocolate and sugar tour, canopy walks, high ropes and cable cars. Another tourist attraction that we didn’t do was a cheese making factory. The chocolate and coffee tour was amazing, we started with the coffee and we learned everything from how they make it to the whole history of coffee, we were taken past all the coco plants and told about all the different jobs people do in coffee. They also showed us some apparatus on removing the different layers of the beans and they even had beans in different stages so we had a perfect understanding. We also were able to get hands on with roasting the beans and we were even allowed to try the food. Then we immediately did the chocolate tour and we were able to try the white beans before they were turned into chocolate, we were also shown the foods in the different stages like the different days of fermentation and the beans while they were in the sun turning brown and some people roasted them and we could try them. We also were able to mix them up with other ingredients and make hot chocolates and little chocolate spreads mixtures. Then we went to do the sugar cane tour and we had a large untouched sugar cane and my sister and I grinded the juice out of it and we were all able to drink the juice and it was so sweet I couldn’t drink that much. I would definitely recommend that tour. Something else that I would recommend is the high ropes attraction. The high ropes is quite expensive but it is definitely worth doing if you are into adventure. In this high ropes attraction there were three activates we could do and I did all of them. We started with a canopy walk through the forest looking out for wildlife and all nature and because it was so high from the ground level the air was very thin so as I was climbing I did start to feel quite light headed but after a while I was alright. In the canopy walks there were also 6 long bridges really high from the ground floor an they were also quite long as well so it was really fun walking across them and from the canopy walks I got so much information and was introduced to new species of tree and plant, I had never even heard of before. Something else that I did with my family that I loved was the cable cars where we sat in a cable car and were taken up and down the mountains and the views were fantastic and I really enjoyed it. Th final thing I did and by far the best was the zip wires. My sister and I were connected to a zip wire and hundreds of metres from the ground we catapulted from one end of the zip wire to the other and I will never forget those moments. Overall there were 6 zip wires and the 5th was the fastest and the 6th was the longest, at a length of over half a mile in the middle of the sky and the views, I can’t even describe them.

Tamarindo: is a beach resort on the edge of Costa Rica and if you’re looking for a place to relax on a beach and shop until all the stores are empty then Tamarindo is definitely the place for you to go. While I was down there pretty much all I did was shop, sleep and lay on a beach but my dad wanted to do some kayaking so went on a trip and I would definitely say that, that is an activity for the athletic and super energetic people because even my dad described it hard work and he is a very energetic person. Where I stayed in Tamarindo it was filled with restaurants and the food in almost all the restaurants was divine. I spent most of my time in Tamarindo relaxing on the beach and the beach has a border full of bars and restaurants and all of them were lovely places and I had a brilliant time. I also went into the sea and it was so relaxing and I was very surprised because the waves were a lot more relaxed and settled that I originally thought. Also because the government are very focused on this issue there was no litter in the sea, on the beach or anywhere on land.

Samara: Samara is another beachy place like Tamarindo and is a very good place to spend some relaxing time. I stayed in a hotel called the ‘Flying Crocodile’ which had a lovely pool area with comfy hammocks and a nice pool table. The swimming pool also had a nice tiled slide. The rooms were very pretty and spacious and it was over a large area with lots of space. Some of the beaches have white sand and are turtle nesting sites. On a particular beach there were a group of people who collects, protected end released the eggs into the sea. If you can find them on the beaches they will let you help release the eggs. I was going to do it but the eggs hatched two days after I left so I missed out but I have done it in Tobago (Caribbean island) and from that experience it was a truly unforgettable and magical experience. I spent the rest of the time relaxing in the hotel. There were some restaurants near the hotel and there was this one outside the road, to the left that was amazing. run by two women who had a lovely small restaurant with the most amazing rice with prawns. I would highly recommend it. (To be honest anywhere you go it is nice but the best one I had was at that restaurant).

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