So, as I've mentioned on Instagram, I recently married to an awesome man, Chris. After dating for a few years, we tied the knot in March of 2018. I plan to do a post later about our wedding (planning, vendors, etc.), but these Summer vacations have me wanted to relive our days in the sun.
This was going to be our first trip out of the country together (and Chris' first time ever), so I handled most of the planning. We talked about a lot of places, but mutually decided Costa Rica was going to give us both the relaxing and adventure side! We're both pretty active people, so a honeymoon of doing nothing but beaching and drinking, wasn't what we wanted. Although, maybe some day.
I gathered as much information on Costa Rica as I could. A lot of Pinterest, reviewing articles and maps, the different cities and food, etc. I wanted to keep as much of the planning a surprise, so we created a list of "what we want/would love to do" honeymoon list. This included zip lining, hot springs, waterfall, hiking, and eating all the local food. I rolled with the list, hopped on Booking.com (which I definitely recommend) and started booking things!
San Jose to La Fortuna
Day 1: We flew into SJO (San Jose Airport), went through customs and picked up the rental car (btw, I accidentally picked a manual so we had to cancel and visit another rental company for an automatic).
I though we'd have a lot of time in San Jose, maybe to visit a museum or Poas Volcano, but in order to drive to La Fortuna before dark, we had to get on the road fast. Let me just say, this was the most terrifying drive — like truly a marriage test. We were an hour away from Arenal Hostel Resort and it was dark, foggy and impossible to see. We ended up driving about 10 mph until we got there. We checked in, walked the street and grabbed some sushi for dinner.
Day 2: After a good night sleep, we were back on schedule. We grabbed breakfast across the street, which was amazing. A typical Costa Rican breakfast, that we saw, involved eggs, plantain chips, toast, beans, rice, coffee and fresh juice. We looked at the tours, but decided to take the car and head to Arenal Volcano on our own. Once we arrived to the park, hiking on our own was easy and fun! We saw the volcano through the clouds, walked through high grass and actually experienced the cool air and rain in the rainforest!
Costa Rica is also known for their natural volcanic hot springs — now, this was definitely on my honeymoon list. We drove by a lot of resorts with thermal spas and natural hot springs, so we found one that allowed non-guests. I don't remember the hotel, but they had an amazing water park / pool area. There were at least 10 different springs at different temperatures and slides.
La Fortuna to Monteverde
Day 3: After another night at the Arenal Hostel Resort we packed our bags and started our drive to the coniferous cloud forest of Monteverde. This was another long drive — less dark, but much more rocky. We were warned the drive was going to be narrow, but wow — we were legitimately driving down the mountain with cliff-side views the entire way. On our drive, we stopped in the town of Santa Elena and parked at the national park. We spend the afternoon hiking the beautiful trails and walking across the suspended bridges above the forest canopy — this might have been my favorite part!
After our hike, we finished our drive to Cabinas Vista Al Golfo and checked in. Monteverde is known for their zip lining, so we booked a morning tour at the front desk. Having nothing planned for the evening, we picked up drinks and snacks at the grocery store and walked around town.
Day 4: We started the morning off with a complementary breakfast (more eggs, bread and juice). With the tour already booked, we got our backpacks packed and water bottles filled. I wish I remembered the tour company, but they were great. Our fee included round-trip transportation from our hostel along with the 3 hour canopy tour (zip line). And the zip lining experience do not disappoint. Flying tree to tree miles through the air was such a thrill!
Afterwards, we made a couple drinks and decided to walk to dinner. On our way to this treehouse restaurant, we saw a sloth — walking across the street! It was so random and awesome!
Monteverde to Manuel Antonio
Day 5: We left Monteverde and drove to Manuel Antonio, known for their National Park. This was a long drive (I want to say 4 hours or so), so we took our time, drove along the coast, and stopped in the town Quepos.
We checked into Selina Manuel Antonio and enjoyed walking around the hostel. This place was huge! I seriously recommend this place for a younger crowd — they have activities every day and night, from sunrise yoga to evening socials at the pool. We arrived on a Sunday (and the park is closed Mondays), so we booked a catamaran for the next day. This was probably the most "honeymoon" thing we did, because it was literally just laying out, relaxing, snorkeling, and drinking endless Pina colada with each other. It was perfect.
The next day, we went on our tour of the Manuel Antonio National Park. It wasn't terribly crowded and we went on a guided tour with one other individual. This place is pure jungle, y'all! Our naturalist guide was very helpful pointing out several wildlife sightings, such as wild sloths, many Capuchin monkeys (babies too!) and several reptiles while walking the trails. The tour ended at the Playa Manuel Antonio beach, which was perfect for calling off. We also witnessed the thieving raccoons on the beach (which we were warned about), but it was really funny to see in person.
We spent another day at the beach, soaking up the sun, watching the sunset and eating all the ceviche and Britt chocolate we could. We drove back to San Jose, actually stopping back in Quepos for a spontaneous surf lesson, and stayed at Villa San Ignacio which was very pretty, treated us to a honeymoon cocktail at dinner, and was located close to the airport.
To wrap it all up, if you're looking for a great vacation spot with a mixture of adventure and relaxation, Costa Rica is your place! I always felt safe, the food was fresh and all the locals really seemed to live true to their motto, “Pura Vida”— meaning "simple life” or “pure life”