Going to Costa Rica was a bucket list-of-a-trip. The country that I always dreamed about visiting. The beautiful sights, sounds and scenery… a volcano — a tourist destination that was, surprisingly, not all that expensive to travel to (this time of year is considered the “offseason,” but the temps are freaking BEAUTIFUL this time of year; low 80s during the day and 60s at night). Seven days felt like a vacation too, even considering the travel time.

The clouds clear from Arenal — as seen from our hotel property:
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The vacation was spurred by a conversation with a good friend — an opportunity to meet said online friend IN REAL LIFE for the first time at that. This, after knowing and talking to him almost daily for the last 13 years. Crazy story, I know, but I’ll touch on that another time. There were six of us altogether: my boyfriend and I, my online friend and his girlfriend, and another couple from Denmark that currently live in the states. Our varied personalities and interests made for a well-rounded vacation, and we all got along perfectly. In fact, I wish I could always travel with the same group!

Travel friends for life!

Travel friends for life!

OVERALL: As I mentioned, going to Costa Rica is a bucket list-worthy trip in itself (in fact, I crossed one item off my 30s Life List!). I wasn’t anticipating the perfect balance of beauty, adventure, fun and relaxation (although I really wish I would have booked an outdoor massage at the hotel). I enjoyed staying remote up in the mountains, but you might enjoy the beach — Costa Rica has both!

We’re all in here too:
rafting

The vacation was made through a Bookit.com deal and included both hotel and airfare.

LODGING: the Green Lagoon Lodge was incredible — the staff really went above-and-beyond our expectations. We ended up being the only couples in the place until the last night of our stay. The lodge itself is small and cozy (only 11 rooms, I believe), so it can book fast. There are no TVs in the rooms (a big YAY from us; I really hope they don’t ever add them because there isn’t really good noise insulation in the rooms); all of the rooms do have an air conditioning unit in the wall (I’m a light sleeper, and every time it turned on, I woke up… it might not bother you, but if those things do, bring ear plugs). Strangely, our room had a double bed and a single bed, but both were REALLY comfortable. The room is cozy and clean, and includes a refrigerator, small sitting area and shower bathrooms (bring slippers for the tiled floors that exist throughout the space).

The property includes a small restaurant area, outdoor cabana/bar area (which wasn’t open until our last day) that includes two outdoor pools (one large/one child size) and a covered hot spring tub area (we drank and played games outside every night). Because of the off-season, there was some construction occurring, but it wasn’t disruptive. We were honestly impressed by how much work was completed in one week.

In the clouds...

In the clouds…

FOOD: arroz con pollo, no bueno. But ALL OF THE PINA. Breakfast was included with our stay — there wasn’t a menu; the cook just decided what to make us every morning. Breakfasts typically included eggs, fruit, yogurt — but sometimes we had cheese or fried plantains or more rice. After five days of rice-and-beans-and-plantains-with-everything, I wanted something different. There are a few “American” restaurants (not chains) in La Fortuna for this purpose. The last night of our visit, our hotel hosted a travel group from France, but invited us to join them for a welcoming party (we enjoyed a really good meal and drinks and dancing). Also: THE COFFEE.

My rotating snack menu:
photo 2 copyphoto 4 copyphoto 5
from left-to–right: Zucaritas! / Imperial beer of Costa Rica / Lime & Salt Platanos

ADVENTURE: white water rafting, volcano hikes, ziplining, canopy tours, cloud forests and rainforest exploration, waterfall diving, hot springs… yeah, Costa Rica has all of that. If adventure is what you seek, then I highly recommend staying around Arenal. A few other activities that we did: LOTS of hiking, visiting an animal sanctuary, Salto and sneaking into the “secret” hot springs location.

Then there’s this (NEVER MIND THE LANGUAGE):

Yeah, I was a little terrified.

THERAPY: disconnecting from all the stressors at home was what I was looking for — and some peace and relaxation to grieve a bit. This vacation was a good time to get away from everything… well, everything except the boyfriend. Ha! But there were also opportunities to challenge myself… and then, there was my battle with the resulting poison ivy rash.

But it was the perfect place to have a sandwich.

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Sandwich Therapy, duh.

Have you traveled to Costa Rica? Tell me your favorite adventure in the comments!

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