Hello friends! We are back from our glorious beach vacation and busy still reminiscing and, you know, planning our next big trip (Nicaragua, here we come!). Costa Rica was everything we could have wished for and more and we were so happy to get to relax in such a beautiful setting. I don’t think Central America gets the recognition it deserves. It’s so close, so lush and beautiful and filled with amazing people and adventures.
We flew into San Jose late in the evening and then took Nature Air for a short, but scary!, 20 minute flight into Quepos the next morning. We watched the rolling green mountains out the window and finally saw the ocean in the distance. A short cab ride through town and up the winding road and we had arrived at Tulemar, our home for the next week. Tulemar sits nestled right next to Manuel Antonio National Park and houses both private homes and villas for rent. The lush jungle landscape ensures that you feel pretty alone in your villa and the views from our balcony were insane. We woke up at sunrise every morning and it was so relaxing to wake up and shower with the sounds of monkeys playing outside the window and end our nights watching the sunset from our balcony. The property was beautiful with monkeys, iguanas, sloths, and a plethora of colorful birds constantly in view. All of the staff would spend time pointing out a sloth they had seen earlier or stop to ensure a monkey was with it’s family. Tulemar definitely had all the conveniences of a large resort, private concierge, shuttle around the property, beach attendant, room service, etc etc) but it wasn’t overtly pushy and you could easily be left to your own devices without much interruption. I would definitely suggest it for anyone looking for a beach vacation!
We spent a significant amount of time at the beach and pool at the hotel and didn’t really venture out too much except for a meal here or there. We really wanted to take some time to relax after a stressful few months and this was perfect. Tulemar has a private beach and a number of pools to choose from. There is an infinity pool at the restaurant which had wonderful views but we usually chose to stick with the beautiful pool a few steps from our villa that, for some unknown reason, no one was ever in. We spent most mornings and early afternoons at the beach, catching some sun, and jumping in the waves and then our early evenings cooling off in the pool. It was pretty rough. Vince got eggplant dark and I managed to not get burned so we both accomplished our goals! We saw sloths and monkeys on the beach and it was fun to watch the little hermit crabs heading towards the ocean in the afternoon. We also had the best mojitos of our lives (made with Flor de Cana, of course) and drank some rum and coke from a can, which is amazing.
We wanted to make sure we did lotsssss of relaxing this trip but also wanted to ensure we took at least one adventure. There were lots of options to choose from: canyoning, zip lining, ATV tours through the jungle, and lots and lots of other things but we settled on white water rafting. We started our morning with breakfast at the tour office and then started on our 2 hour drive into the mountains on a small, bumpy, dirt road. It was a little scary at times, the road getting concerningly close to the edge of a steep drop but the views were beautiful. Neither Vince nor I, had been white water rafting before so we decided on the level 3 river (Rio Savegre) but we are ready for the level 5 next time! The river was cool and in between rapids our guide let us jump out and swim in the river. It was so refreshing! We spent a lot of time being mesmerized by the mountains around us and our pictures could never do those views justice. They don’t even come close! Half way through, we stopped our boats and hiked a short distance to a mountain waterfall. We spent a little while here, swimming in the waterfall and feeding the rough ends of our pineapples to the fish. There’s something so revitalizing about feeling the rush of the water on your back and re-energizing in the cold water. It was definitely one of the best parts of our trip.
One day, I’d love to go back to Costa Rica, maybe check out the areas around Liberia and volcanoes and hot springs. It was a beautiful country and it’s rough adjusting to not responding “pura vida” when people ask how I am. Have any of you been to Costa Rica?