Fiona Returns from Costa Rica

I have just come back from another amazing trip to my beloved Costa Rica. Even going in what is classified as one of the wettest months, did not spoil the trip. It did rain but usually by 4 or 6pm, with the rest of the day being glorious.
On this trip I wanted to visit the Southern Caribbean coast, then to the central cloud forest region, up to Punta Islita & finishing in Manuel Antonio- Visiting other lodges / hotels en route of course. Its hard work but someone has to do it but I love it.. ?

My 1st night was at the wonderful Xandari Plantation y Spa outside of San Jose. This is my favourite hotel in San Jose & very popular with our clients. In fact, all of our returning clients to Costa Rica insist on going back to the Xandari. The hotel now has wifi in the rooms – which is new since I last stayed there. The food in the restaurant was wonderful & it was no trouble at all for them to make changes to suit my fussy vegetarian diet. It is the perfect welcome to Costa Rica, I instantly felt at home.
This is the view of the central valley from my massive bedroom.

Central Valley

The next morning my driver picked me up & we headed to the southern Caribbean Coast. 4 hours later we arrived @ the only sloth sanctuary in the world. It was a fascinating place to visit to see all the rescued sloths there- babies as well. We then carried on driving south to Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Coccles & then to the very end of the Caribbean coast & Manzanillo. All of this region is very Caribbean & to be honest I could have been in Jamaica. It is very vibrant with bars & reggae music played everywhere. I had a delicious vegetable coconut curry but I am not sure this is an area for my clients to take the long road journey to. Nevertheless, is was interesting for me to finally go there. If I did send clients down here I would recommend Le Chameleon Hotel & Shawanda Hotel, in Coccles, as well as Coral Hills Bungalows in Cahuita.

Sloth

The next day we drove back up the coast & I met up with the owner of Selva Bananito Lodge to take the 20 minute 4X4 journey to his lodge. Jurgen is a interesting man who is very passionate about protecting the tropical forests from the deforestation. They have 15 cabins- all quite basic but have stunning views. Guests staying here can horse ride, trek, do the tree climbing etc. I went on a horse ride, which was great although I felt for poor Canelo – my horse.

Hammoks

I only had 1 night at Selva Bananito, which was not enough, before heading back to meet my driver to carry on up the coast & across to the central Cloud Forest area. I had 1 night @ the absolutely wonderful El Silencio Lodge & Spa. Wow, my villa was stunning, with my own Jacuzzi outside. I also had a treat in the spa, which was lovely. They even had a vegetarian menu in the restaurant- so that hugely impressed me. I do think clients will love this property as they are in a cloud Forests with nature treks as well as the optional tour into the village to a local ladies home to learn to cook tortilla’s. The lodge also has its own trout farm & organic greenhouse , which you can visit with the chef. This lodge is easy to get to & very comfortable. In fact since I got back I have already booked some clients in at El Silencio.

bathroom

So after a wonderful night’s sleep I then head off to go to Punta Islita on the Pacific Coast. However, en route we stopped in @ La Ensenada Lodge. I have sold this a few times to our clients that really love nature & bird watching. It is a lovely lodge with basic rooms but the property has great ocean views & great swimming pool.

garden

I then arrive at Punta Islita Hotel & had a 2 night stay- what a treat. I last went to this hotel on my very 1st trip to Costa Rica 15 or 16 years ago. It was wonderful then but is even better now. It is a stunning hotel, with a swimming pool up at the main hotel but also the beach club has another pool. The service is exceptional & accommodation wonderful – I had a suite with my own hot tub outside. BUT for me the big highlight, which I will never forget, was having a group of approx 20 scarlet macaws flying past me, at eye level, only about 10 feet away! The colours were breathtaking. I was sat by the pool, which is high up at the hotel & at 1st I heard & then saw 2 go past. I got up & then there were 20 of them!! There is a macaw sanctuary near by- which guests can visit, so they are flying in & out of there all day. Later I saw them again & they flew down to the almond trees by the beach club. You can see from this photo below how high up the hotel swimming pool is – a great view.

Going for a Swim

With a very heavy heart I had to leave Punta Islita – but promised myself that I would go back just as soon as I can. We were heading down the Pacific Coast to Manuel Antonio to end my 8 night trip with 2 nights @ one of my favourite hotels- the El Parador. But before I got to the El Parador I had some stops to make & hotels to visit. I will not mention the ones I did not like, but one that was great & I have booked for clients now, was Cerro Lodge. This lodge is near Tarcoles river where we find the crocodiles, but also near Carara National Park- a great place to see Scarlet Macaws . Cerro Lodge is surrounded by nature & has a rescue centre for white deer. Guests will also see the Scarlet Macaws in the trees & flying by. A guided tour to Carara is also a good idea.

Scarlet Macaw

After a few other hotel inspections – not worth mentioning, unfortunately – we arrived @ my 2nd home the El Parador Hotel.
I absolutely love this hotel, the location & the staff. We have worked with the hotel for all the years I have been @ Worldwide Holidays & have a wonderful relationship with them. A high percentage of our clients stay here & they are always looked after extremely well. I was treated like royalty & was given the master suite right @ the top of the Suites building – omg I though I was in heaven.. The room was huge with a massive balcony, the views were of course stunning. This was the perfect end to my trip, I had dinner with some wonderful friends – Allan, the hotels sales director, Sylvia from Guest services & Walter our ground agent in Costa Rica. What a wonderful time we had catching up.

Hotel Parador

As I was flying with Iberia I went straight from the El Parador to San Jose Airport- tears were shed & I was so sad to leave. All good things have to come to an end, but I will be back & have a proper holiday next time.. Costa Rica is a very special & unique country.

If you would like to visit Costa Rica, or re-visit, please get in touch & I can put together an amazing trip for you. Email me on fiona@worldwideholidays.co.uk or phone us on 01202 232335.

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