Mandy's What You Should Know About a Costa Rican Vacation Travel Blog


WHAT I DID ON MY VACATION IN COSTA RICA Whenever we do these trips I get tons of emails from people asking about where we stayed and what we did so I thought I'd do a blog post to answer those questions in one place!

First off, a little about travel in Costa Rica right now. Costa Rica is what I would call a developing nation. Not third world, but in some places it can feel a bit third world, like when you are expected to throw your used toilet paper in the trash instead of the toilet. So if you are the sort who wants a Five Seasons experience, you need to manage your expectations, though the resorts we stayed in were SPECTACULAR. They have covid protocols EVERYWHERE but you get used to having your temperature taken and washing your hands before entering most spaces pretty quickly. Masks are currently required and cases are going up right now, so if you want to go, keep an eye on that. We were required to prove that we had travel insurance covering a two week quarantine if we got covid while we were there before we were allowed to enter the country. Vaccination status is not considered yet. We were also required to have a negative covid test within three days before re entering the US. Most nice resorts can help with this but I would highly recommend you set this up BEFORE you go in the first place. As more tourists come back I think it will get harder to get a last minute test done. You can click here to find the latest travel requirements for Costa Rica.

It is hot and humid. At the volcano it's a bit cooler, but it rained for at least a few minutes HARD at least once a day. The air conditioning is not as cold as I would like but not horrible. Ladies, don't bother with hair and makeup. For real, don't bother.

Where we went. We flew into San Jose, which is a biggish city with good amenities and stayed overnight at the Crowne Plaze Hotel. If you are flying in in the late afternoon I'd recommend an overnight stay and some sightseeing in San Jose. The National Theatre of Costa Rica is STUNNING. Just gorgeous. The history is lovely too. Click here for more. Here are some photos of that tour.

We also visited the Pre Colombian Gold Museum. It's 50 feet underground because it's full of gold.

THEN WE HEADED TO THE PACIFIC We stayed in Quepos at the Parador Hotel. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Check it out here. The drive there was simply beautiful, which is why I recommend driving during the daytime. Traffic is not great, the roads are narrow two lane with very little passing and it can take a LOT longer to get from Point A to Point B than you it would here (I-25 aside) so plan accordingly. Don't be in a hurry and enjoy the scenery! Quepos is southwest of San Jose on the Pacific and it's a lovely little town. Manual Antonio National Park is in this area and we visited and did a wonderful nature walk.

Then it was time to go fishing. Not everyone did this but our friends Terry and Kathy are always up for fishing so they went with us. We caught a bunch of Jack Crevalle and a mackerel but I did not get the Roosterfish I was after so now I have to come back!

Next day was our catamaran trip. One upside to travelling now is that our catamaran, which can hold 110 passengers, had 19 on it. Beautiful day of swimming and drinking and eating and boating.

THEN WE HEADED TO THE ARENAL VOLCANO Not INTO the volcano, but right next to it. We stayed at a magical hotel called the Arenal Kioro Suites and Spa. Click here for more on that. Unbelievably gorgeous views of the volcano. Stopped for lunch on the way. You'll notice that as the trip went on my photo taking got less and less and it's simply because I was just gobsmacked by how beautiful everything was.

NEXT DAY...ZIP LINING!! OH MY GOSH this was SOOOO GOOD. There are like 83 different zip lining operations in Costa Rica, but the one at the Sky Tram is the absolute BEST. Click here for more. First off, it looks like it was built by actual engineers so you won't die. Second, they helped everyone have a wonderful time, even those with some physical limitations. Our oldest traveler was Hazel and she did the Zip line just fine!

Chuck and I got massages in the afternoon but there are no photos of THAT. The only reason I bring it up is that it was really cool to get a massage with ACTUAL jungle sounds in the background instead of having them piped in at Beau Visage (although the massage is better at Beau Visage).

THEN WE RAN INTO JOHN MORRISSEY! Imagine my delight when I found out that John Morrissey happened to be in the country at the same time and stopped by to say hi! Don't judge my hair and lack of makeup, humidity is a rhymes-with-witch.

Mandy and John Morrissey in Costa Rica

Mandy and John Morrissey in Costa Rica

NEXT DAY, HORSEBACK RIDING! Only three of us thought riding a horse to a 500 step dodgy slime covered staircase to a waterfall was a good idea but I'm SO GLAD WE DID! Just beautiful. Beyond my expectations.

LAST DAY IN THE JUNGLE This is the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges and it is once again, just GORGEOUS. We walked about 3 miles this day through the rainforest. The humidity is no joke.

We headed back to San Jose for our final evening party. The entire trip was perfect from start to finish, no one got the Rona (we were all disappointed to not be trapped there for two more weeks, to be honest) This is why I love Charlie and Cruise and Tour. They make everything perfect. Now go to Costa Rica!!