Okay, now that I have covered our major outings and adventures, I think I need to go back and fill in any gaps I may have left in the story of our wonderful week in Costa Rica! Okay, fine, you got me, I really just want to post more pictures! 😉 But regardless of my motive, I will share a few more things that went well, a few things that went not-so-well, and a whole lot of pictures!
This would go into the category of “things that went well.” I love me some good food and Costa Rica did not disappoint! Now I will be honest and say that for my personal preferences, it could have had a little more spice to it, but what it lacked in heat, it made up in flavor!
Not much to say that can add to these pictures. Costa Rica is just gorgeous!
The colors in Costa Rica are incredible. You start with the beautiful green hills and blue ocean as a natural backdrop and then, as if that wasn’t enough, they have added the colorfully painted buildings and signs that you would expect to see in Latin America and in the tropics! Everywhere we went was filled with beautiful colors! ❤
Okay, so this is the sad part where something went “not-so-well.” I mentioned a few posts back that I am an over-planner. Well, in my quest to see every possible awesome site within driving distance, I think I may have, possibly, maybe, kinda over-planned our trip. The first clue that I may have bitten off more than I could chew was on our first major outing to Manuel Antonio National Park. We had planned to check out the Rainforest Spices Plantation after our time in the forest and a beach break, but it turned out that our trip into the park was both longer and more exhausting than we had anticipated. So as we were leaving in the early afternoon, dreaming of lunch and some rest, we determined that another hour of driving for spices sounded terrible! The moral: Never assume that you can make it in and out of a beautiful national park filled with monkeys and sloths in under 4 hours! Okay, that was way too specific to be a moral. Let me try again. Moral of the Story: allot more time than you think you’ll need to sightsee!
The next big FAIL in our itinerary was the day we were going to go to Poás Volcano, Doka Coffee Estate, and La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Turns out that Hurricane Matthew thought he would plan his Costa Rica trip at the same time we did. So, as the hurricane was stirring up some weather on the east coast, we figured it was not wise to drive hours toward the direction of the weather. So we decided to cancel. To be completely honest, this day may very well have been marred even without bad weather. Reflecting on my too-packed day in MANP, I am pretty sure there is zero chance we could have done both the volcano and the waterfall gardens in one day. Plus, I think we were all craving a little more family time closer to our home base.
Okay, so you can see on our itinerary above, we missed quite a bit that we had wanted to see. I really am so sad that we did not get to hike through the cloud forest from the Poás crater to Lagos Botos. And I’m sorry that my kids were not able to marvel at all of the beautiful animals and feed birds from their hands at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. But there is good news here too: Now we have an excuse for a return trip to Costa Rica!!! 🙂
Costa Rica Tips & Lessons Learned:
- Bring a good camera and a lot of SD cards! We got some pretty good pics with our iPhones, but our actual camera performed much better!!
- Try not to over-plan and be sure to be flexible!
- If you are interested in seeing more areas of Costa Rica, look into the possibility of staying in two different locations. As much as I loved our home base near Jacó, I wish we could have spent some time in Central Costa Rica as well!
- Due to traffic and possible road conditions, driving might be slower than you expect. If you are on a tight schedule, plan for some extra driving time!
- Use a GPS for driving around! Street signs will not necessarily be reliable. The waze app seems to be pretty popular and reliable there.
- If you are traveling with little ones, I learned that new toys are the way to go when you are stuck on a plane! We found that little planes and a “runway” on the tray table were compact, lightweight, and fun! We happened to stumble upon road tape in the Target dollar bins one day, but if you don’t find anything like that, I think this chalkboard tape would do the trick! Window clings were also a hit.
- A few things we were thankful to have with us: Tevas for hiking through the rainforest, hats to block the sun, a light and compact rain jacket, sunscreen, and bug spray. Since you never know what the weather will be, it’s best to be prepared for anything! 🙂 If you are into organic skincare products, we had great luck with this Badger bug repellent and Coola sunscreen.
Okay, Just a “Couple” of Final Pictures:
We’ll see! 🙂