This week I was in a total bucket list dream destination…Costa Rica.
I have dreamed of visiting Costa Rica for years! It is truly a bird nerd paradise and I have always wanted to go and explore the country. When I received an email from Visit Costa Rica asking if I wanted to join them for a few days of exploring the country I jumped at the chance.
Last Sunday I flew into San Jose and started my adventure. I spent the first night and morning at Asclepios wellness resort. We kicked off the trip with a yoga lesson and healthy breakfast of fresh fruit and all the fruits juices. It was a lovely way to kick off the trip and reminded me of just how much I need to keep meditating and maybe try and start a yoga practice or other morning stretching routine.
We headed out mid-morning to kick off our adventures. Our first stop was the town of Sarchi which is known for making beautiful ox carts. While ox carts are not quite used like they used to be you can still see the artistry that went into making them along with visiting the world’s largest ox cart.
I think it is interesting how the ox cart artists went from making functional ox carts to now making bar carts that resemble ox carts. They have adapted to the times while still showcasing their artistry.
Our next stop was the gorgeous Villa Blanca Hotel located in the Los Angeles Cloud Forest. The hotel has a main lodge and then individual casitas and honeymoon suites spread over the property. The cool thing about this hotel is it is surrounded by a private nature preserve.
We were due to go on a nature hike but mother nature had a different idea. Right after we checked in the skies opened up and it was torrential downpour along with crazy thunder and lightning. We spent the afternoon relaxing in our rooms. I attempted to make a fire and have realized that I need to get some fire making lessons from my lovely park ranger husband.
After a gorgeous dinner in the restaurant where we enjoyed the cheese that is produced on site we thought we might go out on a night time nature walk but again the rain stopped us. Can I tell you how nervous I was to think about heading out into the cloud forest at night? I was one part freaked out and one part excited. The hotel has videos that show pumas, ocelots and other cats roaming the trails and we were going to be heading out at night. Oh, and don’t get me started on the snakes.
We didn’t end up getting to go on the nature hike at night but we did the next morning. After we spent time in the dairy bard milking cows. I am going to admit right now that milking a cow is not my skill set. I kind of felt bad for the cow because I was not getting it done at all.
But I was able to feed a week-old cow which was pretty darn cute and fun.
Our hike into the cloud forest was interesting. You could hear the rain overhead but we only felt a small bit of it. The trees and plants grab as much of the moisture as they can. While we didn’t see any big animals mine a few coati we did get to see some gorgeous hummingbirds.
From Casa Blanca we had to hit the road and head south towards my dream destination…Manuel Antonio National Park!
The drive took us through the countryside of Costa Rica to Si Como No resort located 5 minutes from Manuel Antonio National Park. Have you ever been so close to a dream spot but so far away? This is how I felt the first day we were at Si Como No. We were so close but had other things on our itinerary so I had to not so patiently wait to get to the park.
We did go on a Mangrove Boat Tour with Iguana tours which took us into the heart of the mangroves. We saw quite a few birds including 2 green parakeets that had me squealing with excitement. One of the girls on the trip turned her head and said look at the green birds. I tried not to squeal with excitement while trying to get pics of them.
We also saw white faced capuchin monkeys in the parking lot which was so cool. I am not sure why this monkey looks so grumpy!
After lunch in the marina, we headed out on a stormy catamaran ride. Oh, how I wish the weather would have been better but mother nature was not feeling it this day. We spent a few hours out on the boat and were lucky enough to see a humpback whale and her small baby.
We also had time to swim in the ocean and cool off which felt great.
After the boat tour, we were soaked and headed back to Si Como No to relax and get ready for a delicious dinner onsite at the hotel. The hotel is focused on bringing fresh local produce and products to the table for all of us to enjoy.
They are really focused on the environment and making sure that they offer a gorgeous hotel environment while not damaging the rain forest around the hotel. From not using damaging chemicals in the laundry to providing eco-friendly toiletries in the bathroom.
This resort offers a family friendly environment that would also be great for couples. I would have loved to sit on my balcony with john in the morning watching birds and kicking off the day together. The hotel is the perfect place for couples to unwind and spend time together.
Finally, on Thursday it was the day I had been dreaming of….time for Manuel Antonio National Park! YES!!! Oh my gosh, I could barely contain my excitement over being in the park. We hadn’t even walked a minute or two down the trail when we spotted our first sloth sleeping in a tree.
This was just the start of a magical few hours in the park. You guys if Manuel Antonio National Park is not on your bucket list it needs to be! Seriously if you love birds, monkeys and wildlife you need to visit this park! I mean NEED to visit!
At one point, we had white faced capuchin monkeys less than a few feet from us. So close that I couldn’t use my 100-400 lens because it wouldn’t focus and I had to switch to using my phone.
A couple of tourists had to grab their shoes because the monkeys tried to walk away with them. We also saw raccoons, coati, and so much more. We didn’t see any snakes which made me both happy and sad if that makes sense. You all know snakes are not my thing but I would have liked to have gotten a pic of a pretty snake far away in a tree that was not near enough that I had to fear it.
I will admit to walking down the middle of the trail so I didn’t brush against any branches or bushes not knowing what was inside of them.
We sadly had to leave Manuel Antonio National Park after a few hours and head back towards San Jose. I was so sad to leave that I sent John a message that we need to plan a return trip to Costa Rica soon so he can visit the park. I am pretty sure ParkRangerJohn.com needs to expand to cover Costa Rican parks not just US parks. LOL!
Our final night was spent at Finca Rosa Blanca which is located about 25 minutes from the San Jose Airport. The hotel is also a coffee plantation and offers coffee tours, bird tours, and an onsite spa. I wish we would have had a few days to explore this lovely hotel.
It was a super quick overnight stay and I don’t think we got to see even 10% of the amazing offerings the hotel has. We did take a quick salsa dancing lesson which was hilarious. I am going to hope that the videos that were taken do not end up all over the internet. I like to dance but I am not sure I am always doing the right step or in rhythm.
I had a few flight issues on the way back home but not a huge issue. My flight ended up being 6 hours delayed due to fog the night before in San Jose. I was able to actually sleep a bit instead of getting up at 4 am which was amazing.
Now that I am home I am working on going through the 2 million pictures I took in Costa Rica, cuddling with kitty kitty and fluffy and spending time with John. Right now, I am planning on being home for the next month focusing on some huge goals, life things we will dive into at a later date and some fun new exciting life changes that are happening right now.
I am not pregnant…lol…just want to make sure that rumor doesn’t get started. Sorry MOM! But we are working on some exciting changes and life updates that we will be sharing soon.
I hope you have a truly amazing week!!!!