Archive for July, 2011

Linda and Warren H. traveled to Costa Rica this spring for the first time and had quite an adventure! They visited Monteverde and the Quepos and Manuel Antonio areas. This is what they had to say:

“We had a FABULOUS time! All the arrangement worked out great.  The drivers were on time, the hotels had our reservations, the flights  were perfect, and we LOVED COSTA RICA!

I’ll take a little time to tell you about it now because, to tell you the truth, I’m a little depressed about being back and I like talking about the trip!  Of course, the road to Monteverde was a surprise even though I knew what to expect.  But it was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the adventure and the scenery very much.  Even saw a rainbow as we got higher.  Hotel Belmar was on a beautiful site–spacious lush grounds and high enough to see the Pacific.  Selvatura was wonderful.  It wasn’t crowded so we took our time and spent about 3 hours on the hanging bridges, then visited the hummingbird garden.  We discovered that Warren is an excellent “spotter” and he even pointed out animals to our guides throughout the trip.  We also went on a night tour.  The hotel itself was nice enough.  It’s pretty old and smelled a little musty, but it was quaint.  The only real disadvantage was that it is far from town.  Breakfast was excellent.  We ate the rest of our meals in town.  One full day was just enough time there.
It was very exciting to go down the mountain the next day and get closer and closer glimpses of the ocean.  Arenas del Mar is gorgeous!!!!  You have to go there the next time!  It feels like it’s the only hotel for miles around because they’ve kept so much of the rain forest intact.  We felt like royalty from the beginning.  The check-in process was very smooth.  They greeted us at the welcome pavilion and took us and our bags (on golf carts) up the steep, winding path to the reception area (spotting a sloth on the way up) and gave us delicious drinks while they took our bags on to the room.  Our room wasn’t quite ready but we didn’t mind sitting by the pool overlooking Manuel Antonio.  Breathtaking!  Our room was in the lowest building, which meant we were right on the secluded beach where the outdoor lunch area and second pool were.  The beach was so perfect–lots of sun and waves for Warren and all the shade I could ever want.  It never felt crowded even though the hotel was full.  There were always plenty of chairs and room to spread out under the trees.  Lots of white-faced monkeys and 2 sloths entertained us every day on the beach.  And the iguanas were so interesting and comical.  We could hear howler monkeys a lot but they were harder to spot.
The food at the main restaurant was excellent.  There were plenty of vegetarian options for us and they even gave us an additional vegetarian menu to pre-order for a future nights if we wanted to.  We also splurged and took advantage of the spa–very nice.  (We were given a free demonstration on the beach.)
We took two excursions.  The first was a guided walk through Manuel Antonio park.  Our guide was wonderful and since we only had 6 people in our group he was able to answer all of our questions and help us take pictures.  The only disappointment we had was that all the trails except 1 were closed (due to landslides) and that made it a little crowded.  The next day we did a zip line tour and loved it!!!  The one we took was by Safari.  It included lunch (surprisingly large) and a butterfly garden tour.  The course had 11 zip lines, 2 ropes to rappel, and a tarzan swing.  I didn’t know if I would be afraid, but I had no problem at all.  I was very impressed with how it was run.
The hotel staff were superb.  They encouraged us to learn Spanish.  We got to know several  of the staff personally.  I could go on and on about how well we were treated.  We did a little exploring in Quepos and ate 2 dinners there.  The food was good.
Our overall impression of Costa Rica was that the people are very friendly and the country is very beautiful, with mountains and beaches very close.  We were glad that we didn’t rent a car.  We heard from several people who got lost or felt it wasn’t worth the expense.  We are telling everyone that they have to go.  If we had had more time we would have like Arenal, I’m sure.  Everyone we talked to said it is gorgeous.  But I felt like we spent the time we had wisely.
Thanks SO much for all your help.  All of your suggestions were right on target and very helpful.  I don’t see how any hotel in that area could be any better (than Arenas del Mar).  Being right on the beach and in such a lush forest made it very special.”  by Linda H.

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