I am the type of person who naturally loves all places and finds the best parts of them. This trait of mine makes me easy to travel with because I am always enjoying myself. However, there are not a lot of places that really blow me away. Costa Rica really did it for me. I was blown away by the beauty, the people, food, and everything in between.
To give you more information: I went to Costa Rica the first week of March. Yes, just before Covid-19 blew up and international travel was banned. So we definitely got lucky by squeezing one more trip in before all the chaos happened. I am beyond grateful that the last place I traveled to was the beautiful Costa Rica. Seriously, beautiful is an understatement. If you considered to go here before but never had the chance, DO IT once you can! If you never thought about it before, well, think about it now! Costa Rica makes it difficult to not fall in love with it.
When we first landed…
We landed in Liberia airport, which I recommend to anyone going out to Costa Rica to do the same. The main airport is San Jose and I have heard that it is quite busy and far from the sites you will end up. Liberia might cost a few extra bucks to land there, but it is worth it and you will save on transportation! The airport is super small and everyone is extremely friendly. We got out of there within 5 minutes. Everything was super quick there – including customs. As soon as you land, you feel the Costa Rica heat immediately. I do recommend making sure you change on the plane to be ready for extreme summer weather. Since we went in March, Toronto was very cold still so we had to do a quick change in the airplane.
The time of the year we went…
March was a great time to go for us. It was the last month of dry season and the weather was perfect. We experienced no rain except for a quick downpour for a few minutes on one of the days. The weather was amazing, especially when we got to Tamarindo (our second destination in Costa Rica).
So..what was our first destination there then?
Other than the car rental shop, which by the way, was the most expensive part of our trip. But totally worth it since you need a car in Costa Rica to get around efficiently. Anyways, we chose to be more adventurous in the first half of the trip, then chilled out a bit for the second half. We drove to La Fortuna and stayed there for the first half. La Fortuna is where the volcano, rainforests, hot springs and other spots are at! The weather is not as sunny here and it is a bit wet, but still my favourite part of my trip by far.
The waterfalls are absolutely stunning here. The image above is me in front of Rio Celeste. The bluest water you will ever lay your eyes on! The blue colour comes from a physical phenomenon called Mie Scattering. This is when there is a presence of certain minerals in the water that causes sunlight to reflect to give this beautiful water its incredible hue. The hike was definitely tiring, but totally worth it! Downfall: you can not swim in this water. Upside: the smell would make you not want to anyways.
This next waterfall is called La Fortuna Waterfall. You can actually swim in this one, unlike Rio Celeste. Although the water was cold, it was extremely refreshing considering how warm it was that day. Plus, the hike is so tiring that you definitely need a dip in that water for this one. Although you may think Rio Celeste is more beautiful, I enjoyed my time at La Fortuna Waterfall much more. Especially since you could go into the water and it also smelled refreshing.
Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges
These bridges gave us the most magnificent views of the rainforest. Plus, the hike was beautiful! We spotted so many unique animals we have never seen before…including a deadly snake, which the one employee told us to stay away from. I am a sucker for thrill and heights so this was definitely my favourite part of my trip! It was beautiful and peaceful. You have the option of getting a tour guide or just walking by yourself. We chose to walk ourselves. I enjoy hiking on my own so I can stop for however long I want or go as fast as I want. Not that you would want to go that fast in this exotic country. Quite the contrary actually, you pray for time to slow down.
Second Destination time…
We decided we would go to Tamarindo for our second half of the trip, which I totally recommend. It is literally surfers paradise and absolutely beautiful. The beaches are gorgeous and the people are so friendly. There were a lot more tourists in Tamarindo than when we were in La Fortuna. We actually met a lot of locals in La Fortuna since many do live there. Tamarindo was a whole new vibe though. The weather was HOT HOT HOT. Seriously, bring SPF 60+ because you will need it! I am not one to ever burn, and I burned and peeled from the sun there. Do not be like Elda, profusely apply sunscreen and definitely go into shade as much as possible!
If you are looking for a beach vibe and you aren’t a family, I totally recommend staying in Tamarindo! The waves are far too high for kids in my opinion to be swimming in the beach. Considering, my 5’7, 120lb self was lifted in that water and brought so far. Although that was fun for someone of my size, but would not be much fun for a child! However, there are other beaches nearby that are far more kid-friendly. Playa Flamingo, Samara Beach, Playa Coyote and many more! But if your kid is a little older and can swim or wearing a life jacket, you will be fine. Plus the waves only push you to shore, so it won’t be too bad!
Something everyone who has been to Costa Rica told me about it was: the sunsets are beautiful. Let me tell you…they were 100% right! The sunsets were GORGEOUS here…absolutely stunning. We took a boat ride on our last full day and it was 100% worth it, especially because the sunset at the end was insanely gorgeous! The picture does not do it any justice. You need to go see it for yourself.
The part of Costa Rica that shocked me the most:
Honestly, I did not go to Costa Rica thinking anything of all the food I would eat. I was shocked to discover how delicious everything was. The fruit was expected to be juicy and delicious. However, the amazing spots we discovered for lunch and dinner never failed to impress us! In La Fortuna I really do recommend: Soda la Hormiga for breakfast, Red Frog Coffee Roasters for every meal of the day and Organico Fortuna for all the healthy meals. Organico Fortuna had a lot of vegan friendly options, and their smoothie bowls were amazing! In Tamarindo, I really do recommend Green Papaya Taco Bar for the best tacos you will ever eat. Seriously… go there and have their Ahi Tuna taco. You will be amazed!
That’s about it for me…
I hope this convinces you to go to Costa Rica! It is absolutely beautiful. The people are SO friendly and everything was absolutely perfect! Seriously.. do it!!