Treat Yourself Tuesday: Costa Rica Edition

I am excited to be linking up for my first Treat Yourself Tuesday today in a looong time! It’s hosted by my lady Becky, who just had a BABY BOY!!! I’m so excited for her and her husband Kyle, and hope she’s able to treat herself to some sleep today! 😉

Anyway, every Tuesday in this little blogosphere is a day to share how you have treated yourself lately. I love reading through Becky’s post to see what fabulous things people have been doing. She puts it best:

“Do whatever feels best for you. Do something that will make you feel relaxed and loved and happy. Treat yourself well and treat yourself often so that you will become the best you possible and in turn be your best for others in your life!”

treat-yourself-tuesday-badgeWell, today is an especially awesome #TYT for me because I am sharing pictures from my trip to Costa Rica! What could be a better treat than a vacation?

Just less than a week after my half marathon and concussion, Russell and I went to Costa Rica for 8 days and 8 nights. We went to three totally different locations throughout the country:

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As you can see from the points above, after arriving at the airport in San Jose, we visited: 1) Fortuna, a small town near the Arenal Volcano National Park; 2) Santa Elena, another small town near the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve; and 3) Manuel Antonio, an area on the coast that also houses a national park.

Here’s my attempt to give a quick recap of the highlights of each!

Arenal Volcano/Fortuna
Saturday evening – Tuesday morning

Our first full day in the Arenal area was spent at an adventure park where we got a package deal that included a hike through the rainforest complete with hanging bridges, a gondola ride up the mountain, and some of the highest ziplines in Costa Rica for Russell (the doctor said I couldn’t so soon after getting a concussion). Our hike was great and our guide made sure not to waste any opportunities for gimmicky pictures:

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The next day, we relaxed and went into town in the morning and had an evening “safari float” along a river about a half hour away. Here we saw our first monkeys and sloth from afar and the boat ride was even followed up with a very typical Costa Rican snack at a random little farm, complete with grilled plantains, freshly made cheese, homemade bread, and coffee.

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We were also a big fan of the breakfast options at our hotel, Lomas del Volcan, where we had our own cabin with a view of the volcano…and a ton of, um, interesting insects.

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Monteverde Cloud Forest/Santa Elena
Tuesday morning – Thursday morning

There is no straight road to get from Arenal to Monteverde, unless you want to drive all the way around Arenal Lake. So we opted for a taxi-boat-taxi, which was essentially a van…that took us to a boat…that took us across the lake…that took us to another van…that took us to Monteverde. A 5+ hour trip turned into a 3 or 4 hour trip. Not too shabby!

IMG_1086We arrived with time in the afternoon to go for a hike, so we went on a nature walk on a trail that had a little lower elevation than the super high cloud forest because there was a storm coming in at the higher elevation. Our guide brought a scope so we could get views of wildlife:

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The next day, we went to Selvatura Park, which was a park in the cloud forest very similar to the one we went to in Arenal in that it offered a hanging bridges hike and ziplining (still none for me). They also had a hummingbird garden and a huge butterfly area in a greenhouse where you could see butterflies in various stages of their development:

IMG_1112We finished the day by grabbing some meat and tortillas from a supermarket, as well as some herbs and greens from the hydroponic garden at our hotel since our cabin had a kitchen. The views from the hiking trails on our hotel’s property were amazing:

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Manuel Antonio
Thursday afternoon – Sunday morning

After a long van ride, we finally got to see the ocean. Our hotel was actually more of a resort style situation with our own concierge to help out, and a shuttle to drive people up and down the steep hills on the expansive property. There was also a restaurant and hiking trails leading down to the beach, which we also took advantage of:

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IMG_1162On Friday, we took a catamaran ride and hoped to see dolphins and whales but settled for some snorkeling, tasty drinks, and beautiful views instead.

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DSC_0349We finally realized that if we ever wanted to see some monkeys close up, we’d have to wake up early. So on Saturday, our last full day, we got to Manuel Antonio National Park around 7:30am and finally hung out with some primates. We also got to feed a few later on a boat tour of the nearby Mangrove forest.

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(this is me almost getting punched by a capuchin monkey)

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Our trip had to come to a close sometime, and that it did on Sunday morning when we piled into a tiny plane with maybe 12 other people and flew our way back to San Jose instead of taking another 5 hour long bus ride. We were greeted in Mexico City with long immigration lines, and the realization that we were headed back to reality :(

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This is by no means even half of all of the pictures we took, but I wanted to document everything we did sooner rather than later.

Anyway, like I said…there’s no better treat than a vacation :)

How did you treat yourself this week?

Have you ever been to Costa Rica or another nearby country?

One thought on “Treat Yourself Tuesday: Costa Rica Edition

  1. Oh my goshhhh!! Now I totally want to go to Costa Rica! I love active vacations with a little bit of relaxation thrown in. The views looked to be amazing and it seems like you saw A TON while you were there. And can I just say that your face did a 180 in about 2 days? I’m so glad it healed so well for you so you could enjoy that vacay… and the dranks 😉 I’ve never been to CR BUT I now live about 90 miles from Cuba and Cuba is kindaaaa close to CR so does that count?! 😉 Haha! So glad you had a great time :)

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