Travel Story 1: Mainland Costa Rica

So Costa Rica, images of of lush jungles, sandy beaches, and (if you’re my boyfriend) sloths come to mind. I’m going to go through some tips on things that made my trip easier and a type of itinerary to follow.

First, Hostel Pangea in San Jose is one of the coolest Hostels I have ever stayed at, combined with shuttle rides to and from the airport, a pool, and a sweet rooftop bar (try their buffalo chicken sandwich… so good) that sells beers and has hammocks overlooking the city, you can’t really go wrong.

We only spent one night at the beginning and the end of our trip in San Jose, which I am slightly sad about…they have some interesting museums and beautiful architecture. After that we took a shuttles bus (there are so many companies, I will list the ones we used at the end!) up to La Fortuna, which was the cutest town, with the friendliest locals.

In La Fortuna we stayed at Hostel Backpackers La Fortuna, cute little hostel (with air conditioned rooms) and the most bomb bartender I have ever seen. As well as the cute central courtyard (with hammocks and a fountain)  it was walking distance to everything!

You’ve gotta check out:

  • Arenal Volcano National Park
    • La Fortuna waterfall
    • you can book this trip through the hostel
  • Rio La Fortuna (a free swimming hole with rope swing)
  • the hot springs
    • our hostel offered a tour, it was like 10 bucks a person, we got bussed back and forth, got a private night at natural, lazy river, hot springs, and free drinks (they also put on a natural volcanic mud masks)

Also make sure that you grab food at La Choza de Laurel and Restaurante Mi Casa!

After La Fortuna we took another shuttle to Monteverde (because you can’t go to Costa Rica and not see the cloud forest). We stayed at Casa Campo Verde, a cute little B&B with the sweetest owners and traditional Costa Rican breakfast every morning (gallo pinto). Highly recommend staying there, its your own unit with an adorable deck and a view of the jungle.

You’ve gotta check out:

  • the Monteverde Cloud Forest
    • and if you have time the Santa Elena Cloud Forest
  • eat at the Treehouse cafe (AMAZING FOOD… honestly I’m not a huge vegetable fan but I could eat only those veggies for the rest of my life, the stuffed chicken is to die for and so is the seafood, and if you wanna get a little tipsy their sangria is so good)
    • it was a little more expensive (comparable to dinner in the US or Canada) than the sodas or traditional costa rican fair, but it was a magical date night.
  • GO ZIP LINING!!!! It was so freaking fun.

 

 

Getting around:

  • We took private shuttles in between the cities/towns, mostly for the convenience, it took way less time then the public bus (though public bus is way way way cheaper)
    • We used www.anywhere.com/costa-rica/transportation they show private rates and shared shuttle rates (San Jose to Arenal (La Fortuna) took about 3.5 hours)
    • To get to Monteverde from La Fortuna we took a combinations of shuttle and a boat ride across the lake (the fastest and coolest way to do it) and we booked that through http://www.anywhere.com/costa-rica/destinations/arenal/tours/arenal-boat-monteverde
    • Interbus is also reasonably priced
  • Once in the towns we mostly walked everywhere or took taxis or shared shuttles to get to excursions

 

As you can see I loved using anywhere.com, they were so helpful and reasonably priced and the shuttles were always on time and the drivers were locals who gave the coolest facts and even stopped at friends houses so we could get fresh fruit and even pet a sloth.

I would also recommend at least a basic knowledge of Spanish. img_0240Photo taken at Arenal National Park, La Fortuna

Stay tuned next week for my tips on the coast!

xx

R.

(also if i had a dollar for every time I said “cute” I could probably retire)

 

Feature photo taken in San Jose

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