I have just had another fantastic holiday to Costa Rica. I have been specialising in this amazing country for over 8 years & I can honestly say that I have never sold (in the 20 years I have worked in the travel industry) or travelled to a country as special & wonderful in every way as Costa Rica!
It is only twice the size of Scotland (another country very close to my heart!) but offers an unbelievable amount of diversity. All the scenery is stunning but within a few miles it dramatically changes. Yes there are jungles, volcanoes, cloud forests, wildlife & stunning beaches in other places in the world but how many countries can boast all of them??
Not only is Costa Rica a stunningly beautiful country with an abundance of nature, it is also home to the nicest, friendliest & warmest people, many of whom are now personal friends. A trip to Costa Rica can really re-affirm your faith in mankind, & nowadays we all need some of that!! Tico’s have a real passion for their country which drives them to do whatever they can to ensure that you also fall in love. It truly is not about the money they put themselves out so that visitors have the best experience possible.
Having said this there are areas of Costa Rica that have been allowed to develop for major tourism & I now avoid selling these areas. Why travel so far to experience something that you can have somewhere else in the world? Sounds crazy to me, but each to their own but I prefer to leave those companies selling charter holidays to it. I have faith that Costa Rica will always protect its wildlife areas & therefore mass tourism will not take over all the country.
So at the end of April Sam & I went to Costa Rica for our annual girlie holiday, leaving all the stresses behind us (yes I am married!!). We usually only go away for 1 week but to go to Costa Rica we managed to extend this to 9 nights. So as this was Sam’s 1st time to Costa Rica we needed to get a balance of her seeing some of the diversity but not trying to fit in too much.. So we went to 3 of my most favourite areas & hotels & it was a fantastic trip & felt like we had had 3 very different holidays because each area was very different. The itinerary order was not the best, but hey-ho even we are subject to availability!!
My top 3 areas have to be Arenal Volcano, Manuel Antonio & Corcovado in the Osa Peninsula. I count myself as being extremely lucky to have visited & stayed @ Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge 3 times. I think it is the most special place on earth & the national park has been deemed by the National Geographic Society as ‘biologically the most intense place on Earth’ so I am in good company! Sam & I also stayed here on our trip & it was again fabulous. On the boat trip to Cano Island we saw approx 60 dolphins & the snorkelling was great – I am proud to say that it was the first time I managed to use the sprouty bit to breath, although I did keep forgetting to breath!!
Manuel Antonio is the perfect combination of beach, relaxation, nature & wildlife. We stayed @ the superb El Parador hotel in a Premium room (the Premium Plus rooms have 1 king size bed only – we are friends but not that close!). We had dinner with the sales manager in the hotels La Galeria restaurant, which was wonderful, but there are lots of other restaurants a short taxi ride away. We also tried a local restaurant called El Avion, which was great value.
Every time I go to Costa Rica, whether on a personal holiday or for a work inspection trip I have to go to Arenal Volcano. To me it is the most awe-inspiring sight. When I managed to get my husband to take the long flight to Costa Rica he had heard so much about Arenal Volcano. I was so excited to go back & no doubt bored him to tears about it. When we arrived in the day time & I pointed it out to him he was so unimpressed that I would not speak to him.. Then as it got dark I was sat in my rocking chair on our hotel rooms balcony & called him out to see the orange lava flowing down.. I eventually went to bed whilst he stayed up most of the night filming the lava & continually waking me up to come & see all the activity!!
There are lots of hotels in this area now to suit all budgets, my favourites are Arenal Kioro, Arenal Springs & if you are on self-drive then Lost Iguana. With Sam we were lucky enough to stay @ the Kioro & it was wonderful, made even more so by the massages we had in the spa.
So that is it for another trip to Costa Rica & as always I was a bit emotional to be leaving. But I am sure I will be back, even my husband (he who hates flying & is married to me??!) is quite keen to take the journey again. I suppose in the meantime I will have to live vicariously through my clients & their trips to Costa Rica!