Central America Day 13 – Puerto Jimenez

Hola,

Today we had a much more relaxed morning, particularly for Lucy who had an hour long massage!! During which mum and I decided to try out another one of the trails. We went on the waterfall trail during which we saw some very very large burrows which was slightly worrying. We also saw a group of about 5 adolescent spider monkeys and a little baby one in the trees. Who must have all jumped into the same tree at one point as hundreds of twigs started falling down, making us feel like we were being chased. (Do take whatever I say with a pinch of salt – as Joe would say I’m a bit of a drama queen).

We then popped in the pool to cool down just before lunch, which consisted of a huge chicken salad with an amazing passion fruit dressing – note to self, find a recipe when I’m home!!

That afternoon we got suited up in our harnesses and got ready to go waterfall rappelling !! We went down 4 waterfalls with the last one being over 20m high –

and we had so much fun (even mum enjoyed it).

It ended on the beach and we then had many, many steps to climb to get back to the lodge…

We then headed back for a coffee and a final swim in the pool and had to start packing as it was our final night in Puerto Jimenez, sadly!!

We had our final dinner and confirmed all our travel arrangements for our final day in Costa Rica.

Ciao x x

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Central America Day 12 – Puerto Jimenez

Hola,

After a not so fab sleep thanks to the thunder we had to wake up incredibly early as we had booked to go bird watching at 5:30.

Luckily they had already put out the coffee so we were able to have a cup before we left and we drove for about 20 minutes to a very open area with horses and cattle roaming.

Our guide was lovely pointing out so many different birds and showing them to us through her telescope. We saw so many different types of birds, my favourite being the woodpecker, that inspired the animated Woody Woodpecker, and the ducks that like to land on palm trees.

We then drove back to the lodge where we were able to choose our breakfast from a massive array of choice. I went for the fried eggs with bacon which was just what I needed after an early morning. We were also able to see a Guati, who comes from the raccoon family but likes to climb up trees.

By this point we were exhausted (especially mum who ended up going back to bed) and so Lucy and I enjoyed a morning spent by the pool.

We then had a massive lunch followed by coconut ice cream (my fav) and decided to head out on one of the many many trails they have around the lodge. We went on the suspension bridge walk which took us on a round trail that was about 3km long (not long but in that humidity boy were we sweaty !!). On our journey we came across thousands of leaf carrying ants, making me feel like I was watching Bugs Life 2. We also saw some very bizarre roots growing down from trees and a big group of howler monkeys, who when they spotted us started shaking the trees to try and scare us away (which I admit did kinda work).

As I said before we felt v sweaty (sorry TMI) but we decided to jump in the pool before getting ready for dinner. We then enjoyed cocktails and a 3 course dinner – they really don’t let you go hungry here !!

After some incredible food we headed back to the lodge as we were exhausted from our early start and enjoyed not having to try to fall asleep to the thunder…instead it was a very loud toad. Brill.

Ciao x x

Costa Rica day 11 – Manuel Antonio to Puerto Jimenez

Hola,

Today we left the amazing Manuel Antonio and took a 3 hour drive to Corcovados, Puerto Jimenez. We then had another drive that could only be done in 4×4 up a very bumpy road during which we had a guide who stopped to show us different birds, our favourites being the Scarlet Macaws and the screech owls.

We then arrived at El Remanso, a gorgeous little resort which has only 12 lodges run by a family. We wandered round, had welcome drinks and a very tasty lunch.

After chatting to the guide we were shown to our lodge which has a lovely view over the Pacific Ocean and is right next to the very inviting pool, where we decided to spend the rest of our afternoon.

We then headed for dinner and drinks, by which time it was almost pitch black!! We planned out the activities we want to do whilst staying here, which ended up with us having a very early start the following morning and so we headed back to our lodge and went to bed – well we tried to sleep, however I was kept awake by the biggest thunderstorm I have ever heard and due to the lack of curtains at the windows (which have only nets not glass) the lightning lit up the whole room. Mum and Lucy of course managed to sleep through it!

Ciao x x

Central America Day 10 – Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Hola,

This morning has to be one of my favourite of the whole trip so far. We went to the Manuel Antonio National Park trip (first thing in the morning) and were able to see an enourmous amount of wildlife, my favourites included:

•White tailed deer

•Rainbow grasshopper

•3 toed and 2 toed sloths

•Crocodile

•Squirrel, white faced capuchin and howler monkeys (including a little baby)

We had a fab guide and in the National Park is a beautiful beach that is rated the best beach in Costa Rica on TripAdvisor, and the Pacific Ocean was amazing – definitely the warmest ocean I’ve ever swam in.

We then went back to the hotel and had lunch with an incredible view (again). It then started to get cloudy and rainy, as usual in the afternoon and as I had started to suffer with a cold I decided to go for a lie down in the room.

Later in the afternoon we walked the “monkey trail”. A short trail on the grounds of the hotel where lucy spotted a sloth that the hotel have nicknamed Flash up in the trees. Despite it being cloudy it was still very humid and so we decided to have a last swim in the gorgeous pool.

After packing up our bags we headed down to the bar for happy hour (of course), played cards and had our final dinner in Manuel Antonio, sadly.

Tomorrow we are off to our final destination in Costa Rica!! (How time has flown by).

Ciao x x

Central America Day 9 – Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Today was definitely the most relaxing day of the holiday. We started with amazing views at breakfast!

We then spent a while at breakfast We were sunbathing by the pool by 9am and we stayed there until about 1:30! We chose to go to the adults pool and it was so quiet, a lot of the time we had it all to ourselves which was so relaxing.

We then went for lunch at La Frigata which had an incredible view of the Pacific Ocean.

In the afternoon we spent some time watching animals from our balcony, as it clouded over a lot, including Toucans and Capuchin monkeys!

We then decided to go for a walk down to the small beach near the hotel.

We then got ready and headed to bar Don Juan to have cocktails (my favourite is the strawberry daiquiri for sure) and we also had dinner there.

As mentioned at the beginning this was by far the most relaxing day of the holiday and we really needed it!!

Ciao x x

Central America Day 8 – Arenal to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Today consisted mainly of travelling. We spent 6 hours in a minivan driving from Arenal to Manuel Antonio (with the last part being the most stressful part as we were frantically trying to keep updated with the England game) but along the way we did see a sloth on one of the trees at the side of the road!

We then arrived at Parador Hotel and we’re amazed at the incredible views of the Pacific Ocean it has. By the time we finished watching the game and headed down for lunch it was about 3pm and we were definitely in need of food. We ate lunch at one of the many restaurants in the hotel (which was incredible) whilst being watched by Capuchin monkeys!

We then explored the grounds and planned what we wanted to do whilst we are here for the remainder of the afternoon.

After freshening up we headed for happy hour cocktails, our favourite thing to do this holiday. We decided to also have dinner there and play some cards which resulted in being a very relaxed and peaceful evening.

Once our food had gone down, we decided to go for a late night swim in one of the pools which was amazing as we got to see so many stars.

I’m already in love with this place and look forward to some time relaxing!

Ciao x x

Day 7 – Arenal, Costa Rica

Day 7:

At about 7:45 we headed out on our waterfall hike and chocolate tour. After seeing this as an option on the activities list we knew it would be right up our street. We started with a fantastic view of the waterfalls, the main La Fortuna waterfall and another that only appears when it has been raining (and we’ve had a lot of that recently).

We then walked down a lot of steps (480 to be precise) to reach the pool at the base of the waterfall.

A bit further along we were allowed to swim – which I took the opportunity to do.

We then hiked back up the many steps – v good exercise, and were driven to the chocolate tour. We were shown around a cacao bean plantation that they have whilst being told all the history of chocolate. We were then shown the traditional method of how to make dark chocolate from cacao beans. We were able to taste raw cacao, roasted cacao and our favourite bit was the melted dark chocolate at the end, which you could top with anything you want – sea salt was definitely my favourite.

We were then taken back to the Lodge and decided to have an afternoon to relax. Classic monsoon style we had some lovely patches of sun and some complete downpours but we had a relaxing afternoon anyway.

We then went to the hot springs (and the swim up bar) for happy hour: we enjoyed some cocktails and Imperial silver (a local beer that basically tastes like Corona).

We then packed our bags, as we are sadly leaving Volcano Lodge tomorrow, and headed for our last dinner at the Lodge.

The food we have had throughout our trip has always been amazing and we have been very impressed.

Whilst we’re sad to leave Arenal we are very excited to be heading somewhere a little bit sunnier…

Ciao x x

Day 6 – Arenal, Costa Rica

Waking up to our first morning in Arenal was a lot quieter than Tortugeuro and nice to wake up to a non erupted volcano (hallelujah).

We headed to breakfast which of course had watermelon and pineapple that I had plates of and beloved pancakes with syrup, oh and plenty of coffee. Something I’m yet to mention is how tasty (but also incredibly strong) the coffee is over here and also how we have seen many coffee bean plants.

We then headed over to reception as yesterday we had planned out 2 activities for the day (as there is SO much you can do in Arenal). We were picked up at 8:20 and driven to Lake Arenal to do our first activity of Kayaking. We had a lovely guide Reuben who works for Desafio (the tour company) who took us out onto the lake and provided us with a lot of history about the area. Whilst there were bits of rain here and there we had a fabulous time – would’ve been nice if the clouds had cleared up to let us see the top of the volcano but hey ho, you can’t have everything. We were then treated to beer and watermelon (at 11am but Pura Vida).

We then headed back to the hotel and had some lunch in the restaurant – Lucy’s chicken tacos looked incredible.

After a bit of time to relax we were then picked up at 14:30 for our canopy tour and it was well and truly up in the canopies. We went on a tour which had 10 zip lines and the views were insane. The longest zip line was 800m long and was 50m above the ground. Even mum (who is scared of heights) did it – we were all v proud. We also saw Toucans perched in the trees around where we were waiting for a zipwire – one bird mum had really wanted to see.

After a busy day we came back and had a very chilled evening and went for dinner in the hotel. We’ve pre booked another activity for the morning so I think an early night is necessary.

We are all still absolutely loving Costa Rica and everyone we have met so far. Thanks for reading.

Ciao x x

P.s. most of these photos were from our waterproof camera so are not the best quality but thought it was better than nothing!!

Central America Day 5 – Tortuguero to Arenal, Costa Rica

Today we left Tortuguero which seemed bizarre as it felt like we had only just got there, but we need to get used to the idea of travelling after only a handful of nights.

It was a very smooth journey with a boat journey then a coach back to restaurant El Ceibo, where our private transfer picked us up and drove us to Arenal, which altogether took about 4 or 5 hours.

Arenal is a city in Costa Rica known for its (active!!) volcano and hot springs. We are staying in the Volcano Hotel and Springs, which is lovely. Everyone here is super helpful, they provide 24 hour coffee and the cleaners make the towels into animals – so you know it’s really got everything you could ever need. Once shown to our room we planned out our next few days as we were given a whole list of activities to choose from and didn’t want to waste any time here. Once our activities were booked, it was time to go and test out the hot springs and, of course, get a cocktail from the swim up bar.

We then chose to have dinner at the restaurant in the hotel, which had a large menu but we chose some traditional Costa Rican dishes, some nachos and some Costa Rican beer. Our first impression of Arenal is very positive and we can’t wait for the next few days.

Ciao x x

P.s. the view from our room is insane – particularly at night!!

Central America Day 4 – Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Hola chicos y chicas,

This morning I woke at 5:45, still not quite adjusting to Costa Rican time zone!!

After having our usual 7am breakfast today was a bit different. As we chose to stay an extra night (that not many others do) there were no prearranged activities, which worked in our favour as it meant being able to watch England play Sweden! We had also booked to take part in the zipwires that they have next to the lodges at 11am (as a practice for future bigger zipwires we may do this holiday) which was a lot of fun.

We then went to have our normal buffet lunch but were surprised to find they had cooked us something special so we didn’t have to have the same buffet again – which was incredibly thoughtful. It seemed to be a traditional Costa Rican dish but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what it was…

We then were able to get onto the boat over to the town again and this time were able to go to the turtle sanctuary. It started with a 20 minute video and then a tour around their little museum, talking about the change Costa Rica went through from trading turtles, their shells and their eggs to actually conserving them. By conserving them they actually now make more money (from tourism) than they actually got from trading the turtles. We were taught all about the nesting process and about the dangers to turtles including sharks and plastic waste!! (So pls try not to use plastic straws and plastic bags – the turtles will be grateful)

After a massive downpour we got a water taxi back to our lodge and as the downpour continued we decided to relax in the lodge before dinner and pack up our bags ready to leave the next morning.

We then went to dinner and were treated to another meal specially cooked for us which was fried chicken – another very tasty dish.

Earlier in the day we had booked to go on a night time turtle spotting tour (it’s called something like that). These tours are run in a ballot as to whether you go 8-10pm or 10pm -12am. As we were still adjusting to the time zone we were very grateful when told we had the 8-10pm slot.

However unfortunately after 2 hours of waiting no turtles had come onto the beach to nest so we didn’t actually get to see any. This being said we were still happy that the money we paid to the tour will still be going to help with the conservation efforts we were told about earlier. We were also very happy as we got to go in a boat on the river at night and had an amazing view of all the stars, especially as there is barely any light pollution. Once we got back to the lodge we were exhausted and went straight to sleep ready for a travelling day tomorrow.