Here is a picture of Costa Rica from the air as we were descending into SJO (Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose). San Jose was a 5 hour and 40 minute flight from LAX.
After arriving into SJO around 5:45 AM, we headed over to the Courtyard Marriott in Alajuela right next to the airport. I prefer to stay at Hilton or Marriott properties when travelling rather than local hotels or chains.
After a few hours of rest, we departed for our first tour. Our first stop was a gift shop in Sarchi which had lots of hand made Costa Rican gifts and souvenirs. There was a cute cashier girl too :)
Here is a picture of me holding a Fanta Grape soda outside a shop in Sarchi. I love the sugar based sodas that are available outside the US. I hate the corn syrup crap we have here at home!
Costa Rica is known for hand made ox carts. This one made the Guiness Book of World Records and is on display at a public square in Sarchi. In Costa Rica, towns have a public square/park in front of the church where people gather.
Here is a nice church in Sarchi. They were having Sunday mass that day, and the place was really packed. Costa Rica is primarily a Catholic country.
We saw beautiful cloud forests on the way to the Arenal Volcano area on our first tour.
My mother, brother, and I are having lunch at El Novillo de Arenal steakhouse en route to the volcano. Lunch and dinner were included on our tour.
This is a typical Costa Rican meal with sea bass, rice, and beans, fried plantains, and vegetables. They also gave us freshly squeezed juice.
We could not get a clear view of Arenal Volcano since it was cloud covered. We could see the base of the volcano from the viewing platform. It has been dormant now for a few years.
There are "parasite" plants which grow on trees and suck the nutrients out of it. We saw lots of these near Arenal. It is interesting how nature is sometimes.
After seeing the volcano, we went to the Tabacon Hot Springs Resort. It was a lush and tropical resort near the volcano.
The park is man made, but it looks so natural!
The waters in the pools and waterfalls are heated by the nearby volcano and pumped in. The water temperature was really nice!
After enjoying the thermal hot springs, the resort treated us to a buffet dinner that included amazing desserts! The food was really good!
The next morning, we went on our 2nd tour to the Heredia Province of Costa Rica. We passed through the capital city of San Jose.
San Jose looked like any typical modern city for the most part with some high rise buildings.
Here are some lush tropical forests on the way to the Sarapiqui River in Heredia. Heredia is on the Caribbean side, and it rains a lot during the rainy season over on that side of Costa Rica.
We took a boat ride on the Sarapiqui River. It was raining pretty heavily, but then again, we were in a rain forest!
Here is a crocodile in the Sarapiqui River.
We saw lots of toucans in Costa Rica too.
This is a cayman lurking in the waters of the Sarapiqui River!
Our next stop was the Selva Verde Rain Forest preserve where we went on a search for poisonous frogs like the green and black ones in this picture.
Selva Verde was in the middle of a rain forest, and there were poisonous snakes there. So, we had to stay on a clear paved path during our visit.
We went to a butterfly garden at the Rain Forest Adventure place. One landed on me.
My brother and I took the aerial tram over the rain forest.
Helicopters were used to lay the cable and pillars for this tram so the area would not be disturbed.
The rain forest was so thick.
I was afraid that a tree snake would jump into the tram and bite us. LOL.
We saw some wildlife on the tram, but it was pretty quiet over all.
My brother and I decided to get a drink at the Hooters next to our hotel in Alajuela before we left for the Pacific Coast the next morning. The Hooters Girls were pretty attractive!
We stayed at the Hilton Papagayo Resort in Guancaste on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica after touring Arenal and the Heredia rain forests.
The Hilton Papagayo Resort was so large that they used these transport vehicles to take us around the property.
The resort had these bungalows that were built all over the property. This is a picture of our bungalow.
We had an ocean view bungalow since I was a Hilton Diamond guest.
The resort was all inclusive. Even the mini bar was included. They restocked it daily for us.
Here is a picture of the open air steakhouse from our bungalow.
This is the main pool area at the resort. There were three pools, and one of them had a swim up bar. It was awesome!
This is one of the beaches at the resort. The sand was black for the most part.
This is the adult only pool at the resort. It is near the spa area.
My brother and I played tennis too at the resort. They had racquets that we could borrow. I kicked his ass!
The resort had free activities for us to choose from. My brother and I did the kayak tour.
We saw hermit crabs on our kayak tour. The crabs mark their territory this way.
This was an iguana nest that we saw on our kayak tour.
The Gulf of Papagayo was really scenic!
There were lots of iguanas all over the resort. I think some of them lived underneath the decks of the bungalows.
A local band of musicians entertained us prior to dinner on the 2nd day of our stay at the resort.
They had dance lessons on the 2nd night of our stay at the resort also. One of the cute entertainment girls are setting up the equipment for the dance lessons.
Here is one of the open air restaurants that we went to for lunch. It has a nice view of the bay.
We returned to Alajuela and stayed another night at the Courtyard Marriott before flying out of San Jose International Airport. They actually had a Wal Mart next to our hotel too. LOL.
My mother, brother, and
I went to visit the Central American country of Costa Rica in May of
2014. Costa Rica is a tropical paradise located within our
hemipshere. Out of all the Central American nations, it is the
safest, and they were quite developed economically as well. Costa
Rica does not have a standing military either to avoid the threats of
military coups which have plagued most of Central America. They
place a big emphasis on educating their people. Most of the
people we ran into did speak some English also. Our tour started
in a city called Alajuela which is just north of the capital of San
Jose. The international airport (SJO) is located in
Alajuela. We stayed there for a few days as we explored the
Arenal Volcano area, San Jose, and the eastern side of the
nation. There was a nice mall across from our hotel where we
tried some Costa Rican "Mexican" food. Moreover, we got to check
out a Costa Rican Hooters there too. The girls at the Hooters as
well as throughout the country were actually pretty cute. We went
to the Guanacaste region of the country next to chill at a nice resort
on the Pacific coast. The all inclusive resort was awesome!
We would hit the beach and pools and just drink topical beverages
throughout the day. On the way back to Alajuela, we got to see
lots of monkeys at a rest stop as well as the Puntarenas water
front. We tried Argentine food too before we departed the
country. Overall, the food was really good in Costa Rica.
The water supply is safe also for the most part.