Costa Rica is a beautiful country that offers a little something for everyone.
We’re more of the adventure travelers, but we also love vacationing in a nice luxurious place in more of a small town, rather than a busy city. We’ve been to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico before, and loved the small fishing village feel.
While planning our vacation, we read about some of the hidden beaches on the pacific side, located not too far from the Arenal Volcano – this seems to be where a lot of the outdoor activities are clustered, so we chose to stay fairly close to there. The majority of our vacation was spent relaxing on the beach and enjoying the local attractions, but we also got out and did some pretty cool activities.
We opted to rent a car while in Costa Rica to help us get around to the different attractions and destinations that we wanted to explore. Most tours offer shuttle busses to get you to and from your location, but we wanted to wander off and see more of the off-the-beaten-path attractions on our own schedule. We actually found having a car really handy.
Playa Danta was one of the beaches we vacationed at. It`s a beautiful beach area, and there was next to no one on the beach while we were there. On one of our free days, we ventured up over the beach area on a 500m hike towards another secret beach, Playa Dantita. This hike took us along a spectacular cliff area with beautiful views of the beach below. It was quite secluded, and we were able to really enjoy the Costa Rica beaches without mass amounts of people around.
Highlights from our trip:
The crocodile boat tour:
We read about this boat tour in a travel guide for Costa Rica (Costa Rica 2013 – Fodor’s) when planning our trip. The book talked about two guides, Luis and Franklin, who feed chicken to crocodiles with their bare hands. This was something we had to see.
We traveled to Costa Rica the first week of December, right before their busy season, so we were the only ones on the boat tour. We were given a wonderful personal tour of the Tarcoles River, and learned about various animals that live along the river. Then, as expected we spotted a crocodile. Luis hoped off the boat, and proceeded to entice a crocodile onto the beach with a piece of chicken. What a site.
We got to know Luis and Franklin pretty well during the tour, Luis even showed us a few of his fingers that were missing the tips due to feeding crocodiles over the years. We also learned that Franklin acts as a personal guide in Costa Rica, and he offered to show us around Costa Rica on a day trip.
Touring the Costa Rica rainforest:
We took Franklin up on his offer and hired him to be our guide for the day. Lucky for us, we had our rental car, so we were able to travel around quite easily. Renting a local guide was one of the best decisions we made on our trip. It was an amazing experience having a local guide with us for the day.
Franklin took us up into the Costa Rican rainforest, through several little villages, onto a local farm to see various fruits and vegetables that they grow, we even met some wonderful local people, and we ended our day trip in the Manual Antonio National Park. One of the best parts of having Franklin with us was his knowledge of the park. We actually went around the backside of the park, and entered behind a friend’s restaurant. Franklin mentioned the park gets quite busy with tourists, so the monkeys generally head towards the back of the forest to escape all the tourists. He was great at pointing out different things along the way, and had such a great eye at spotting animals. We were able to see several different species of monkeys, a sloth, toucans, and several other animals along our tour.
Costa Rica is famous for its ziplining, so this was something we had to experience for ourselves. What an amazing adventure this was, and I’d highly recommend doing so if you visit Costa Rica. One of the lines that we crossed was along a mile long. It was such a thrill zipping through the forest.
Fun travel note: We got engaged on the beach while in Costa Rica!!
Where to stay:
We personally picked the Pacific side over the Caribbean side of Costa Rica because most of the touristy attractions that we wanted to see were along the Pacific side.
If you’re looking for something a little more secluded from the busy tourist areas, La Sirena is the perfect option. This luxury vacation home offers beautiful beach views, access to several of Costa Rica’s hidden beaches, and isn`t too far from the busy tourist areas near the Arenal Volcano.
Whatever you get up to on your vacation, Costa Rica will be an unforgettable experience. Contact the experts at Time & Place to start planning your next real-life luxury escape. We are waiting for you.
About The Author
Michelle is a road tripper and travel writer. She has been road tripping North America for the past 6 years. Follow along as we blog our way across the country, exploring hikes, food places, outdoor adventures, quirky establishments, and random roadside attractions here.