Even if you’ve never been, chances are you have heard the term PURA VIDA. While traveling through Costa Rica, this is truly a saying that followed us through the entire country. No matter how remote we traveled – all the locals greeted us with a big smile, a friendly hug and an encouraging Pura Vida! (Click for Important Disclosures)
I have not been to any other Central or South American Country that welcomes its tourists so warmly. All the guides and even locals that don’t work in the tourism industry make an effort to give you a warm welcome and make you feel right at home. We noticed a great understanding of the relationship between nature and wildlife conservation as well the need to expand for tourism. The country places a huge value on balancing those needs to keep Costa Rica the paradise it is today.
We began our adventure at Pacuare Lodge, a hidden paradise on the banks of the pacuare river. You reach the lodge via white water raft – where your adventure begins. If this is a bit too adventurous for you, not to worry there is a road transfer option as well. The lodges are built in African Safari Camp Style. Each stand alone building is uniquely designed and faces the river below. We stayed in the Morpho Suite below:
Activities here include birding, wildlife viewing, hiking, a swim in the hidden waterfall and so much more! Our favorite part, the rooms have no electricity, but you use candlelight instead. Making this paradise even more romantic!
From our way too short of a stay at Pacuare, we headed on to Pachira Lodge in Tortuguero National Park. (Click for important Disclosures) I have to be honest, the drive into the Park was a bit of a buzz kill, but since this is a National Park it’s just one of those hoops you have to jump through. I am happy to report that it was totally worth it! Pachire Lodge is located in the middle of the national park, which ensures an abundance of wildlife. We saw more sloth, monkeys, toucans, caimans, crocodiles, iguanas, Jesus lizards, birds and butterflies than we can count. Tortuguero National Park is located on the Caribbean Midwest and is an important breeding site for the green tortoises. If you visit here in October and November – and you are lucky – you can see baby turtles hatch! We tried multiple nights and made our way to the beach at 3AM, but luck was not on our side this time around.
Pachira Lodge offers basic accommodations, very standard for National Park Lodging we can find in the US. But the flora and fauna here is truly spectacular:
From the National Park we headed to the mountains and visited Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa in Arenal. (Click for Important Disclosures) The main town here is called La Frotuna, and it’s a lovely town to explore. Easy to walk through, very inviting, lots of amazing restaurants and shops. The church holds a lovely mass on Sundays and you can hear the choir throughout the entire town square. There is a small park, where kids play and artists showcase their arts and crafts. During our stay, most everybody kept ending their evening at Lava Lounge – a local bar and restaurant owned by Scott Alan. He also runs the local animal rescue shelter and part of the proceeds benefit the shelter.
Tabacon Resort is very uniquely located right at the Hot Springs. The resort owns a private access area at the springs, so no need to deal with the masses in the waterfalls. Simply walk up to Shangri-La Gardens located within the springs and enjoy complimentary day beds and private springs.
Arenal is a great jumping point for those more active excursions, like zip lining, hanging bridges tours, white water rafting, rappelling, and much more. You just have to be bold… 😉
After all this rain forest adventure and plenty of soaking in the hot springs, we went onward to our last stop: Latitude 10 Beach Resort in Santa Teresa, on the Pacific Side of the country. (Click for Important Disclosures) Now this place is truly a hidden jam – and your reward for reading on this far…!
Latitude 10 is a small luxury beachfront resort, consisting of 5 casitas and the most amazing staff ever! All casitas are open-air, meaning no windows, no mosquito netting and open bathrooms. It sounds a bit funny – but this is where true luxury lives! The food is to die for!
The town of Santa Teresa feels very authentic. It’s a small surfer town, there are no paved roads and everybody walks around barefoot carrying a surfboard.
We loved playing in the tide pools and wandering through town. It’s such a unique place and we felt like the only people around, having the resorts beach to ourselves for most of our stay. This is a great place for Honeymoons or small family getaways. Their motto: Unfussy Luxury – and that’s exactly what you get!
Needless to say, our visit was way to short and we cannot wait to return to the land of Pura Vida soon!
A special thank you to Memorable Costa Rica, one of our preferred partners to help me plan this amazing adventure. When you are ready for your adventure to Costa Rica, we’ll be working with them to create your once-in-a-lifetime getaway as well.
Daniela is a Travel Consultant with Avenues of the World Travel in Flagstaff, AZ. Contact Daniela for questions.
** Please note that all photos are authors own, except where credited. As travel industry professional, I make a big investment in first hand experiences. I spend a lot of time to keep up with accreditation and stay up to date on current developments in the travel industry. This means attending conferences, seminars, site inspections fam trip and group trips. I have been able to have some of the experiences shown and described at a reduced cost or combed by the hotel, tour operator, cruise line or supplier. The feedback supplied is based on my personal experience, and based on my personal preferences, likes and dislikes. This first hand experience allows me to better serve you and match the experiences you are looking for. It also allows me to create travel tips for you, based on experiences I have and things I wish I knew before. Travel Supplier partners referenced in blog posts are part of Signature Travel Networks Preferred Portfolio or can be booked via a preferred supplier partner (at least at time of post creation). **