Category Archives: Costa Rica

Pura Vida in Costa Rica – San Jose

We took a shared cab to San Jose.

The road is again through picturesque mountain side, lush and green and gradually descends in to the plains below. As the drive progresses, weather becomes warmer, traffic increases and you find yourself in the midst of a typical city. Blaring horns, traffic, street hawkers, the general hustle – bustle which brings you back to the realities of life.

I was a bit sick by the time we reached San Jose and we decided to check-in and chill.

We got a sub, fries and watched some Spanish television.

The next morning, we went to downtown San Jose to see the Gold Museum. Of course, there are several other places of interest – National Theater, Central Park, National Museum etc. But I wanted to see the gold museum with his pre-Columbian era artifacts and models of how people lived, hunted, fished etc. in those days.

I was feeling sick again, so ventured out to find some place to drink something and sit down. There were beautiful Christmas decorations on the street.

After a quick lunch, I was still queasy.Suspecting something amiss, we went to a pharmacy and bought a pregnancy test kit. It was hilarious trying to ask the lady behind the counter for the kit. She didn’t speak any English and I didn’t speak enough Spanish to ask for this. Guide books and phrase books don’t come quipped with this, well because, not all tourists go looking for this.

Finally we got the kit and came back to the hotel. We were so elated when both lines turned blue.

It was the best news of our lives 🙂

Then suddenly I worried about the food, drinks and all the fall during white water rafting. In hindsight, everything turned  out to be alright. We joke that Varun’s first trip was to Central America with all these adventures. No wonder he loves to travel!

Costa Rica is very family friendly. We saw tons of large families travelling together. It’s easy to book a van and get a driver for the entire stay. There are plenty of options for everyone – from zoo’s, serpentoriums, animals and insects museums to adventure sports. Its cheap and the dollar stretches further if you can avoid the Thanksgiving to Christmas peak season. Hike, bike, ride, snorkel – its guaranteed to keep you asking for more.

Its one of those places that I  know Varun will have a lot to do and love. Cant wait for him to grow up and go zipline with him 🙂

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Pura Vida in Costa Rica – Monteverde

Pura Vida in Costa Rica – Arenal

After Manuel Antonio, we took a cab to La Fortuna, the town closes to Mt. Arenal.

Arenal is the home to an active volcano. You see the volcano from a distance so its safe. The only catch the mountain being so tall generates its own weather. Similar to Mount Rainier. So its hard to predict if you will actually see it or not.

When we reached La Fortuna after 3-4 hour drive, the upper half of the mountain was covered in clouds. It was breezy and it looked like the clouds were clearing. We met several folks who told us that they had camped around in the region with the hope to see the volcano but it has rained and was covered for last ten days or so. Bummer.

We didn’t have high hopes.

Instead we went on a hike around the base of the volcano to burn off some of the most delicious arroz con pollo (rice and chicken) of the trip.

The hike was through thick forest and we saw dead snake, owl butterflies etc

After the hike, we went to the viewpoint to view the lava coming from the top of the mountain and roll down the sides. It had cleared up by then and there was quiet a crowd at the view-point. We were thrilled to see the smoking peak.

But as it was around dusk, there was still a lot of light to be able to see the red rocks clearly. So, we planned to grab dinner, go to some hot springs and then come back later at night.

Arenal being volcanic country, every resort will have their own hot springs and pools. But, there are 2 resorts that have extensive pools – Baldi and Tabacon. They are open to public even if you don’t stay there for a fee. We went there in the evening and enjoyed it. Highly highly recommended.

Later that night we took a cab back to see the volcano and it was amazing sight. The crowd was still strong and people had come quipped with flashlights, food, drinks, snacks and blankets.

We stayed for about an hour and headed back to our resort.

Arenal has a lot of activities – White water rafting, horse back riding, rappelling, hiking, ziplining etc. The next morning, we had signed up for a Rappelling tour. I have never rappelled before. I was sore from the previous white water rafting and hiking trip, had a broken toe nail that throbbed but was excited to go down the waterfall.

After gearing us up and the safety drills, we rappelled down a series of waterfalls, the last being 200 ft tall. It was fun though short. I actually had begun to get a hang of it only by the last fall.

Post lunch, the outfitters dropped us back to our resort and we chilled there till evening. We went into town for a nice Italian dinner and came back fairly tipsy and happy!

Next day, we checked out and went on a horse back riding trip to Monteverde.

…to be continued.

Pura Vida in Costa Rica – Manuel Antonio

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