Costa Rica Travel

Costa Rica Travel: 6 Ways to Have an Absolute Blast

I intended to stay home this winter and save my money, but the weather in Toronto has been unbearable.  The December ice storm followed by record snowfalls in January forced me to look south for a quick escape.  So I decided to travel to Costa Rica.


I’d never been there before, but it was a short flight (5 1/2 hours direct from Toronto), and G Adventures (my favourite tour company) had a good price on their 10-day Costa Rica Quest (CRQ) tour.  I signed up, and within 3 weeks found myself on a Air Canada flight to San Jose.

Once in my hotel, and with the help from our Tour Leader Danny, I poured over the menu of optional activities and started to plan my fun.  A few of us decided to ease into our adrenaline-filled Costa Rica travels with some nice relaxing river tubing, so we signed up for a half-day with:

1.  River Tubing La Fortuna.

First of all, let me say, this was anything but relaxing!  We all wondered what we were in for when we looked at the class one rapids and giant looming rocks.

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                   Our guide handed us helmets, and we looked at each other with some concern, but we soldiered on.

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I kept falling out of my tube, so it was a bit frustrating for me at first.  Eventually though, I got the hang of it and enjoyed the ride.  Our two amazing guides led and followed us and made sure the trip was safe.

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We took a break at the half-way mark, and enjoyed a warm shower under the cascading hot springs.  This was truly a paradise!

We were treated to some fresh pineapple and watermelon at the end of our tour.  The guides then packed up the jeep, and brought us back to our hotel.

I felt a bit beat up the next morning, and realized I had signed up for the…

2. Canyoneering/Rappelling adventure.  I really didn’t want to go, but as my German room mate put it “You signed up for the Adrenaline Package, not the Pussy Package”.  I had an understanding of what rappelling was, but was unsure of the term “canyoneering”.   For reference:

can·yon·ing
ˈkanyəniNG
noun
noun: canyoneering
  1. 1.
    the sport of exploring a canyon by engaging in such activities as rappelling, rafting, and waterfall jumping.
    BRING IT ON!
    canyoneering group
                  After our safety instructions. we suited up, and proceeded down several amazing drops.
    Collette Canyoneering
                           After the rappels, it was time to hike back up the canyon.  This was going to be intense! And very wet.
    At one point, we noticed one of the guides laying his body across a stream.  He blocked the water from travelling along,  but we weren’t sure why.  He smiled, and encouraged us down the canyon crevice.  Once at the bottom, we were told to sit bobsled style.  The “dam-guide” then got up, releasing the built up water.
    Costa Rica Travel

WOO-HOO!!!  Our bob-sled ride in the canyon was hilarious!

Exhausted and water-logged, our leader Danny advised us that we were booked for dinner at

3. Hot Springs Los Lagos.

I tagged along with the group, leaving my camera behind at the hotel.  What I found there is best described as a water park for adults (although there were a few children playing nearby).  The pools, fed by thermal hot springs, were bath-tub warm.  This place was the perfect ending to our day, complete with swim-up bar and intense water slides.  There were also cold pools for those wanting to cool off.

After a couple hours splashing around and getting tipsy at the bar, we headed to the restaurant for a full cafeteria style dinner complete with dessert and coffee.

It was now time to leave beautiful La Fortuna and head to Monteverde.  What can you do in Monteverde, Costa Rica?

4. ZIP LINING!  100% Aventura Adventure Park  has several zip lines, including one that is 1,590 meters long (the longest zip line in Costa Rica).  Seriously, why travel to Costa Rica unless you plan to zip line?

zip

We started with the “regular” zip line to whet our appetites for what was to come.

What followed, were 2 Superman zip lines (laying, face down, attached by cables on our back).  The day ended with the Tarzan Swing – the most terrifying/exhilerating/hilarious moment of my life!  Imagine a bungee jump, but in a seated position, with no elastic bounce, but rather a pendulum swing. (see my video below).

It was time to head to a much hotter climate on the Pacific coast:  Manuel Antonio.  We arrived there just in time to experience…

5.  A Sunset Sail.  Our group left in the late afternoon and enjoyed some rum cocktails and a seafood dinner on the boat.  We waited to see some dolphins, or maybe a whale?  Well, we saw some dolphins off in the distance, but no whales that day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot seeing a whale was o.k.  Just enjoying the sun was all we needed.

1898042_10203114964577486_1424527460_nWe did a little snorkeling in a warm water cove.  The sailing company provided our equipment.

Our trip was almost over,  so we spent our final day enjoying …

6. The Beach in Manuel Antonio.  Some of our group took surf lessons, but I was just happy to relax (which is usually hard for me to do!).  I rented a chair and a beach umbrella for the entire day, for just $5.  We flagged down the bartender on occasion, or waited for the sno-cone man to walk by.  We ran into the ocean like kids and body surfed the waves, whenever the sun felt too hot.

1655942_10151814867701082_2140209069_nThe beach at Manuel Antonio – a paradise where you can be a kid again.

My travel to Costa Rica was the perfect escape from a blustery, snowy Toronto.  Thank you G Adventures, this was my 6th tour with G and you came through once again!

Click Below to See My Video!

 


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Comments 20

  1. Hello! Love your blog of your trip. I’m getting ready to go on the quest tour in a few days and can’t seem to log on to the waterhole forum, but found this on there. As i love adventure/outdoorsy stuff I’m worried about the lack of shoes/clothing options. I didn’t want to buy new shoes or clothes that i may only wear once. I plan on taking 2 pairs of tennis shoes, one that can i assume stay wet? I don’t own shorts or hiking type pants. do you think leggings would be ok? Do you think i should take a pair of boots? there just like military style? so excited to go, but usually do hike/ outdoors stuff in jeans or dresses with shorts under them:)

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      Hi Lesley,
      For sure take a pair of shoes just for the water, and a second pair to stay dry. Boots are not necessary. You can do the nature walks and ziplining in jeans. If you plan to go canyoneering (which I strongly recommend), you will need something that can get wet (a dry-fit t-shirt/tank and some dry-fit shorts or swim shorts) – jeans or dresses will not be practical. I understand the desire to spend as little as possible, but don’t miss out on the fun! Maybe you have a friend that can lend you something? Check out the pictures on my blog and you can get some ideas on what to wear.
      Have fun!!!

  2. Thank you, I talked to a lady at G adv and she informed me that I could purchase cheap water sandals once there!! Excited, but always hate the packing part especially when going to a new place!

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      Author

      That’s right, expect to pay about $10 for a decent pair of water shoes there. Remember to pack a hat. You’ll need one at the beach. Also, if you don’t want to pack much, you can have the hotel in Monteverde do your laundry. They charged me $6 for a bag of laundry…not bad!

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  3. Collette,

    I am going on the same G adventures trip this December. What did you do for food? They tell me we can find food along the way. Can you elaborate on your experience?

    Feel free to email me as I would like to have as much advice about this trip as possible….

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      Author

      Don’t worry about food. You’ll have all sorts of opportunities to eat in local restaurants with your group. Also, at each hotel, you will be shown where the nearest grocery store is in case you want to buy something. Road trips always include stop offs where you can buy snacks or ice cream. It’s nice to buy extra nuts, dates or candy, and pass your snacks along on the bus. Others will do the same. I have been on 7 G Adventure tours, and food is never a concern…they’ll take good care of you 🙂

  4. Hi Collette! I’m going on this trip in a couple weeks and LOVE your post. You’ve convinced me to do the adrenaline tour :). What water shoes do you recommend and it is ok if I don’t have a duffel bag (is wheeled luggage problematic)? Thanks so much!

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      Author

      Hi Kimberley,
      You’re going to love this trip! Our tour guide’s name was Danny. Be sure to say hi from me if you are lucky enough to have the same guide. I purchased Ecco water shoes. They weren’t cheap but they were really good for this trip – very rugged, water drained out extremely well. If you look at my video of this trip, you should see them on my feet during the river tubing portion. I’m not sure if you live in canada, but if you do, try the Ecco store, they’re on sale right now. http://us.shop.ecco.com/women-sport/ecco-womens-lagoon-360-840503.html?dwvar_840503_color=58442#cgid=outdoor-women-sandals%2Fwatershoes

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      Author

      oops, I forgot to answer your question about luggage – sounds like what you have is fine. As long as you are able to carry your luggage up a couple flights of stairs without help, you’ll be fine.

      1. Hi Collette,
        Thanks so much for your answers! I tried on a Keen sandal this weekend, but I didn’t like the way they fit, so I’m really relieved with your suggestion! Thanks for the tip about luggage too and if I meet Danny, I’ll tell him hi from you!
        Best,
        Kim

  5. Hi Collette,

    Thanks for your post, it was very helpful!

    I’m contemplating taking the Costa Rica Quest tour this February. I was wondering about your thoughts on all of the optional/’add-on’ tours. There seems to be many and most of the worthwhile activities all entail a cost. Do you feel such charging for so many extras takes away from the trip at all?

    Some of the other Costa RIca tour companies include many of these activities for free (with the exception of white water rafting) for only a slight premium to G Adventures’ $999.

    I feel the quality of the guides and tours of G Adventures makes up for it, but would be interesting to hear your take!

    Best,
    Ben

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      Author

      Hi Ben
      I purchased the adrenaline package before leaving home. The package is flexible and highlights the best of the available activities. It was a good deal and if you want to do a lot, the adrenaline package will satisfy you. I didn’t have to open my wallet much at all once I got to Costa Rica. Our tour leader was awesome (as usual for G). I highly recommend buying the package and consider it part of the trip cost then just have a blast!

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