Nearly 12 years ago I took a geology class and lab in college. It was super fascinating, and totally made me want to be a volcanologist. Mom and Dad said no; something about being too close to death. I still think volcanoes are amazing and I remember learning about the Pacific's ring of fire and my teacher mentioned that in Costa Rica there are natural hot springs at the bottom of the volcano, and while sitting in hot springs you can relax and stare out at a volcano. I was enthralled! Since then it's been a dream to go, and Justin happily obliged! This is probably one of my most exciting boarding passes ever:
We had a quick flight to Houston, and then a little over 3 hour flight to San Jose. With turbulence. With lots of turbulence. I was worried, to say the least! I was so relieved when we landed! We met our driver and then had a 3 and-a-half hour van ride to La Fortuna. With bumps, twisty turns, and gravel roads. My stomach was totally growing more squeamish by the minute. I tried to just look out the window at the amazing beauty of this country, I was amazed!
They plant lots of coffee and fruit, so it was so green and lush! Our driver learned we grew up in Los Angeles and pulled over to take this picture:
Finally we reached our hotel. It was so pretty! The rainforest is so thick! It's like they literally have to cut into the bush to make roads and houses. We got to our room and this was the view from our balcony!! I was seriously in heaven!
This was Justin's view:
I could stare at that volcano for hours!! It actually had two peaks, one old with green hillside, and one younger that still steamed and had a gray/brown hillside, naturally without vegetation. So interesting!!
The next day we had a canopy (rainforest) walk and zipline tour. I should start by saying that the word "walk" was greatly disillusioned. It was a 3-hour hike through the rainforest. A literal hike. Beautiful! But a beautiful hike! We did three suspension bridges, which Justin liked, two lookouts and two waterfalls.
Here's look out one:
Just down from the first waterfall was the second:
Both waterfall were so pretty! Our guide told us he knew a great spot for a picture, this was it:
A couple in our group said we should definitely include it on our Christmas card. I thought I'd just slip it in here.
Caution falling trees:
Justin on the suspension bridge. There was one bridge that really swayed and they said its hard to get across without holding on. I lasted like a quarter of way without holding on, but this guy:
made it across the whole thing! Bazinga!
After our "walk" we took a tram up the mountainside to start our 8 ziplines down. Here's some views from the top. These were some of my favorite views of the trip:
Here's a quick video our guide took of the zipline views, it was sunset and it was gorgeous! It's quick, but really loud from the zipline, maybe mute would help.
The next day we went into La Fortuna and walked around and then went to some hot springs. We stopped very quickly at another more public hot spring the next morning too:
This pic is me, sitting in a hot spring looking at a volcano. Life dream: met!
Later that morning we sadly left La Fortuna, and my Arenal volcano to head to the beach. Our trip coordinator gave us the option of a 6 hr van transfer or a 30 minute flight. We obviously chose the flight. Here's the 12 seater ride:
This plane was so small they weigh your baggage and each passenger. Nothing will make you rethink your breakfast options like standing on a scale in front of the rest of the other passengers!
views from the sky
We arrived in Manuel Antonio and checked into our second hotel, we immediately checked the view.
That will definitely do! It was so relaxing!
We had an extra day at this hotel, and we took some time to enjoy the beach! Our hotel had two beaches, one private with a restaurant, and one that led to public beaches, and eventually the town.
We hiked on some rocks, but this was not a 3 hour hike, it was more of an "at your leisure pace."
doing some swimming
I love how the rainforest stops at the sand of the beach, it's so pretty! With the hotel being in the rainforest, there was lots of wildlife, like this guy:
these iguanas were all over the place. They're big, and fast... I was worried.
This little guy was in our room, thankfully it was a little crab, and not a gigantic spider!
One day we went into town and got some shirts for the boys, another day we went to the national park and a guide helped us find the monkeys, birds, lizards, raccoons and sloths. Here's some sloths, it was actually a mom and baby.
As you exit the back of the park there's an amazingly beautiful cove that looked like something right out of Pirates of the Caribbean. The water was so warm and perfect for a little swimming. I can't remember the last time I "played" in the ocean, it was fabulous!
some more views (these are my other favorites)
We had a light hike back to our hotel and had to take a mini boat through this creek. I thought, tiny boat, little creek, no big deal. I was surprised no one was swimming in it! Oh, then he explained there's crocodiles, so no swimming allowed. Suddenly the tiny boat seemed very collapsable.
We made it through! The next days we enjoyed the beach and were sad to pack up for home, but we really missed the boys. This trip was amazing!! We really loved our time visiting a new country! It was so beautiful, we definitely miss these views:
We took one more mini flight to San Jose. Then back to Houston. Then back to Dallas, and our boys! As a side note, I loved the re-usable, laminated board passes from Manuel Antonio airport!
We really recommend a Costa Rica trip, the boys now are asking to go! We're especially grateful to Clarke and Diane for watching the boys for a week, and keeping up with those three! I really loved this trip, mostly I come away from this feeling overwhelmingly blessed to visit such a beautiful place. It has, yet again, made me in awe of the beauty our Father in Heaven has given to us on this earth.