Costa Rica travel guide

February 4, 2018

 

 

There are always ups and downs to everything. I didn’t really think that there could be any ups of being a teenager since I hadn’t experienced many yet due to the fact that I was only a year into my teen life. I had obviously experienced the many downs including the absence of money, which I thoroughly explained in my last blog. But I was completely proven wrong when my dad told us to pack our bags and to brace ourselves for an adventure to Costa Rica. Now obviously this isn’t my first vacation but it is my first major international trip. Going to another country is a huge thing because of how many factors which play into it. I could talk about the financial expenses, and many other boring things but one of the biggest perks of being a teenager is that I don’t have to think about any expenses. Since this is a blog from my perspective as a teenager, I’m going to talk about the many things from my first impression, to if I recommend going to all the activities available in Costa Rica. So without further ado welcome to COSTA RICA!!!

 
Day 1:

 

Part of being a teenager means that you have to set amazing first impressions to anyone you meet. You are trained to do this throughout school so that the teacher doesn’t hate you the whole year. Just like a teacher hoping for a great first impression from a student, I was hoping for a great first impression from Costa Rica. To be honest, I didn’t think that I was going to get a good impression because, for some reason, I thought that any country besides the U.S. is terrible. To my surprise, my first impression to Costa Rica exceeded my expectations by a lot. Yes, it was that good. And let me tell you two secrets to knowing if a certain place is clean and a good place. One, their bathrooms are clean. And two, they have good Wi-Fi. My first impression was obviously in the airport and the bathrooms were probably the best I have ever seen. Not just that but the Wi-Fi was also better than any airport in America. To top it all off, everyone was generous and helped us out. These expectations stayed throughout the first day when we ate dinner and stayed overnight at the hotel. I also expected a very old hotel with a lot of bugs but the hotel was even better than some hotels in America. Anyways, we were tired because of a 6-hour flight and decided to sleep to our jam-packed next day. On day 1 I learned that the U.S. is not the only good country in this world and also that my diet for the next seven days is going to be a lot of beans. I already love my seven-day vacation to Costa Rica.

Day 2:

 

 

Today was our first whole day at Costa Rica. Let me just say I am impressed. Although most of today consisted of driving from San Jose to Manuel Antonio, from how nice the staff was to the scenery, I can say without a doubt, that this is going to be an amazing vacation. As soon as I was ready to go on the drive to Manuel Antonio, we went downstairs to an amazing aroma. As a teen I am not responsible for booking the hotels so I had no clue that there was breakfast included. I was shocked by how good the breakfast was. Now I understood, why my dad said we are going to eat a lot of beans in Costa Rica. The drive to Manuel Antonio was a 5-hour drive but only felt like an hour. The taxis in Costa Rica are nothing like the US. In the taxi, they provide everything from water to phone charging ports and are also extremely spacious. If that’s not enough, the drivers are so nice. Our driver let us stop whenever we wanted to so that we could eat and go to the bathroom. He even told us the best places.

We stopped at a stall on the side of the road and as usual, another unexpected thing happened. I obviously didn’t expect the fruit to be this good. I got fresh coconut water for like a buck, which made me understand that the US is overpriced. As we continued our drive to Manuel Antonio, we stopped at this bridge and got to see tons and tons of crocodiles. As I said before the experience in a taxi in Costa Rica is much different from the US. After a long drive, which felt quick, we arrived at our hotel. La Mariposa. The hotel itself meant butterfly and as you know butterflies are beautiful, and this hotel matched its name. I have no words for the view of the hotel. You can see below how beautiful it is. As I am still trying to make sure the view of the hotel isn’t a picture, I would like to recommend this hotel to anyone who stops in Manuel Antonio.

 

 

 

Day 3:


You probably already know this if you are a teen but we get hungry in an instant. This is

another reason why I LOVE Costa Rica up till now. The hotel we booked had the best breakfast I have ever had. Below are a few pictures of what I had for breakfast. Anyways, for the third day my family had decided to go hiking in the rain forest and maybe even to the beach. Before we even started our hike, I was amazed by the amount of stalls they had right before you go. The hike was mostly a fun and interesting experience. Here is why it was only mostly. Number one; our hike was in the national park and you have to hire an expert to help you see the animals. The only problem was that we thought we had hired a private tour guide but instead we had another family with us. The other family wasn’t the problem but the fact that they didn’t tell us that it was a public tour guide made it a bit less fun. Number two; there were only a few species of animals. Obviously as a teenager, I’m used to zoos and safaris but we were looking for animals in their natural habitats so we didn’t see as many species of animals as I thought. These were the only major complaints I had but overall the experience was awesome and as a teenager in training I am learning that you cannot get everything to come your way. As I said before, today is supposed to be a very jam-packed day. We were supposed to go to the beach right after tracking so that we could relax a bit. But then on the way back my dad decided to call a raccoon over for fun. The raccoon ended up biting my dad, whom we later laughed out due to the fact that we found out the bite wasn’t anything too serious. Below are a few pictures of the animals we say during the hiking trail. Anyways, once we finally got to the beach, I had an amazing time. I would seriously recommend going to the beach if you are in Costa Rica and here is why. The reason I liked it is because it was like a giant wave pool. In my experience all of the beaches I have been to in the US have been significantly smaller to this one, much more full of seaweed and heavily polluted. The beach in Costa Rica was not just clean but also looked like a movie. White sand. Blue water. You might think that going to the beach is a waste of time because you can do that from anywhere, but going to the beach in Costa Rica is worth it. Anyways, once I was done swimming in the ocean, I came out to two things. The beautiful sunset. And the fact that my dad had just lost his glasses to the ocean while swimming. Luckily my sister had an extra pair. Day 3 has been amazing and I am thoroughly enjoying my stay at Costa Rica. I hope my dad is as well after all he has been through today!

 

 

Day 4:


Another thing I love about Costa Rica is its beauty and how versatile it is. Here is what I mean. My fourth day in Costa Rica consisted of traveling from Manuel Antonio to Arenal so although I didn’t get to do much except for sit in a car I still enjoyed the beauty of Costa Rica. Now, Manuel Antonio is completely different from Arenal. Arenal is much higher up in altitude and is almost in the center of Costa Rica. This means there are no oceans nearby and the view is a volcano. While I was driving there today, I held onto my seat tightly due to the fact that the drive was on a very curvy hill. Even though there were mostly hills and cliffs, the drive there was very peaceful and beautiful. We got to see tons of different animals and plantations on the way. All of this was beautiful but what really amazed me was how versatile such a small country could be. For example, we only traveled a few hours and the whole setting of Costa Rica completely changed. In my perspective, it is a good thing that the setting changed because you don’t have to do and see the same thing over and over again. The setting wasn’t the only thing that changed. In fact, the food we ate was even better and fresher than Manuel Antonio, which was kind of obvious because there were so many farms in Arenal. As usual, the driver was amazing even though he didn’t understand English. We arrived at the hotel to the extraordinary staff, and the unique hotel. Our hotel, Arenal Manoa, wanted to highlight the nature and how beautiful it was, they even decided to make the hotel mostly outdoor. This meant to get to anywhere from the room, we had to walk outside which is not like any hotel in America. Since I am a teen, I really enjoyed that because I love getting my energy out and the path to the different places in the hotel was the perfect place to do so. We couldn’t really see how beautiful the hotel really was because it was dark by the time we got there. Also, on the drive here many clouds were covering up the volcano so we couldn’t see the top of it. Aside from this, I hope tomorrow, my family and I will really be able to see and enjoy the extravagant hotel.

 
Day 5:


As soon as I woke up, I noticed that the view of our hotel is perfect because you could see the volcano clearly. The only problem was that the top half of the volcano was completely covered by clouds because of the high altitude. Obviously, my family and I thought it would clear up later on but as a teenager, I had to impatiently go on my phone and search up when the clouds will go away. I found out that they only go away on 70-80 days of the whole year and that was during April through June. To our luck, it was December and I don’t think we will be able to see the whole volcano clearly throughout our trip. We weren’t too mad because the part we could see of the volcano was elegant although it was an active volcano. Also, my dad had planned an extremely adventurous day ahead which was to go on another really long hike to the volcano and go to the natural geysers which were heated from the volcano. Obviously, before we started another really long hike, we had to eat breakfast and even though our room was a long walk from the breakfast area, you could literally smell the food. If that’s not enough on the walk there, you could see the cows they used for the fresh milk and the chickens they used for the eggs. I don’t really know how else to describe how good the food was. Anyways, during our breakfast, we also met a painter who was painting the natural beauty in Costa Rica and below is his extraordinary painting.

Once we were fueled up, we got into the hiking attire or what we thought was the proper attire. One thing you should know if you are going to Costa Rica, especially Arenal is that the weather fluctuates a lot. One second, the sky could be completely clear and the next second it would be pouring.

 Obviously, since we didn’t think it would rain we went hiking on the path without an umbrella or any raincoats. Luckily, on the way there it only drizzled and we didn’t get completely drenched. The hike to the bottom of the volcano was only about a 1-mile hike so it didn’t take as long as our other hike in Manuel Antonio. Once you reach the bottom of the volcano, you are supposed to go up a very rocky path so that you could get a more clear view of the volcano. We did go up the very rocky hike but again got to see the volcano covered in clouds. After a few pictures we decided to go back and we even got to see the tallest tree in the forest. As I said before we had forgotten any rain gear so to our luck it started pouring and we got completely drenched while waiting for our taxi. This was a different experience for me since I was surprised by how quick it stopped raining and how quick we got dried up. As we headed to the hotel, we started to talk about the volcano and how the volcano actually leads to many natural geysers. My dad had actually booked a trip to a geyser for today. Geysers themselves are really expensive and this geyser, in a hotel called Baldi, was actually known as one of the best geysers in the world. After such a long and sweaty hike I was ready to jump right into the hot springs. The only problem was that since the hot springs were one of the best in the world, it had a REALLY long line. But it was a great experience. They had levels of how warm the springs are and the closer you get to the volcano the warmer it gets. Just as a tip, don’t go in the warmest one because when I went in it, I felt as if I was burning. Besides that, they also had a water park with a water slide that went over 25 mph. That is really fast compared to any slides I have been in the U.S. Once we were done relaxing in the springs, you walk to the next floor which has a buffet. Again, I don’t know how much all of this cost since my dad booked all of this. Teenager 1, Non-teenager 0 for this time. Anyways the buffet wasn’t as close to how good the food was in Costa Rica. I’m not going to complain since I had an amazing evening in the geysers. Today was a packed day but turns out tomorrow is going to be even more filled up because my dad had surprised us with booking tickets to go zip-lining. I can’t wait until tomorrow because the zip line is more than 3 miles long!
 

Day 6:


Do you know how you get that feeling, especially when you are younger, that wherever you go you don’t want to go back home. Well, since our trip was almost ending and today was our last day of actual activities, I was getting that regret type of feeling. Since I had to

 go zip lining, I tried to get rid of that feeling but just couldn’t even while looking at the beauty of Costa Rica. As we got closer to the zip lining, I started to finally lose that feeling, especially when I saw people zipping down more than 40 mph down a zip line. I don’t think I have ever done anything like this so I was ready as I could ever be. Once we got our harnesses we got led to a trolley which brought you to this really high place which had an awesome view but obviously, all you could think about was the really high drop which could happen if you fell. There were about 30 people and we all got sent down the zip line one after another. Let me just say, one of the best experience ever. I know I have been saying that a lot but truly if you are in Costa Rica you have to check out this zip line. You even had stopped in the middle of the zipline for food and other beverages. Anyways later that day I had another great experience when our family went downtown again to eat some lunch. My dad and I decided to rent a scooter, and it literally only cost 12 dollars. After a lot of fun on the scooter and waiting for my other family members to drive the scooter we finally headed back to the hotel to get our last day of sleep in Arenal. I was so tired that I fell asleep as soon as we got to the hotel.
 

Day 7:


Today is my last day in Costa Rica and a quick one. We had a really long and similar drive to San Jose. We got there pretty late and were ready to eat dinner. So instead of going to a restaurant I really wanted to go to the marketplace to find something cheap to buy since I wanted a souvenir. So after begging my parents to agree with me, we got to the really crowded streets and to our surprise, our taxi parked our car right at the spot of a crime scene. Yes, you heard me right, a crime scene.The police were tackling and arresting two people right in front of our car. Luckily we didn’t decide to turn back and we

 got food from the marketplace. The reason I didn’t get anything else was that I didn’t find anything cheap. Turns out things in the marketplace were actually more expensive than things in the mall in the U.S. 

 

As I am looking over my trip to Costa Rica, I’m reliving the exceptional moments and food in Costa Rica. Out of all the places I have been to Costa Rica has undoubtedly been one of the best places and most exotic as well. I hope that this blog helps you understand more about Costa Rica if you are thinking to go there and more about what activities you should do there. If you are looking for somewhere to go, as I said before, Costa Rica is a great place for an adventurous vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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