Spending 2 weeks roadtripping across Costa Rica was amazing. There is so much to see and do, from beaches to rainforest to mountain, volcanos, cities and more. The people were amazingly warm and friendly, the landscapes incredible and everchanging.
I decided to do the photos per day as we did so much. Some people go on vacation to lay on a beach but this is how we do it! Cameras: Olympus E-M10, Nikon AW110, Iphone 6, Sony Z3. Click for bigger photos.
Day 1: YYT to SJO saw us travel from 5:15am NST to 12:40CST. A difference of 3.5hrs that we would never get used to but would mean we would get to enjoy the full sun. In Costa Rica, the sun rises at 5:30 and sets around 6 due to its closeness to the equator. Overnighted at Wyndham which was perfect for our short stay.
Day 2: Up early and off to Monteverde. On the way we stopped at Poas Volcano, about an hr from Alajuela up country mountain roads. We arrived around 8 and were told we wouldn’t see anything as it was cloudy and foggy. But we were here so we figured we might as well have look. The hike to the 1st crater was a pretty easy .5km up a paved road. We couldn’t see anything so we tried the trail to the Boto Lagoon then back to the parking lot which took about an hour. It was pretty amazing being up that high and you could definitely feel the change in oxygen levels.
After Poas it was back on the road to Monteverde. The trip took about 3.5hrs and lead us through lush valleys and dirt roads up mountains. Some of the driving was pretty hairy on the winding mountain roads but we made it to Los Pinos. We had a night tour planned with Three Brothers Tours, Alexandre was our guide. He was amazing with the kids and we all loved seeing the various animals in their natural setting.
Day 3: Checked out the town of Santa Elena a bit then headed off to the Monteverde Theme Park to see the frogs and insect displays. As some of the animals are noctural, your ticket allows you to return in the evening, which we would do. As we were starting to leave the lady who runs it told us her daughter had seen a family of white faced monkeys in the butterfly garden, would we like to go see them? She didn’t have to ask us twice! Down we went into the forest and spent about an hour observing them, and them us, with no tours or guides or anything. Just us and them. It was amazing.
So how do you top that? Another awesome tour with 3 Brothers. This time in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Huge old growth forest, birds, waterfalls, coatis and our first experience with a hanging bridge (after taking a wrong, longer trail. Oops!)
After that it was back to the Theme Park to check out the nocturnal frogs. They give you flashlights you have to search for the frogs like a game of spotlight. Awesome!
Day 4: On the road again! Spent our last morning in Monteverde at Selvatura Park before heading to La Fortuna. We arrived at opening time and had the whole park to ourselves! We didn’t see many animals but it was pretty cool to be up on the hanging bridges, some as high as 60 meters. What a view!
Then it was off through the dirt roads and small towns on our way to Las Lagos in La Fortuna. We stopped on the for lunch at Lake Arenal Brewery. Great food and beers and beautiful view of the lake. Once we made it to Las Lagos it was up to the lookout for a peak then to the pool!
Day 5: Spent some time exploring the various animal areas at Las Lagos before heading to town and then swimming at La Fortuna Waterfall. 60 meters high with 2 natural pools. What a spot!
Day 6: Mistico Hanging Bridges! Pretty cool bridges but a busier park and not a whole lot of wild life. Amazing views though!
Did some geocaching around lake Arenal then hiked to the lava flows at Arenal Volcano National Park. Amazing! The hike back is through the forest. We saw some amazing huge trees, birds and as dusk was approaching could hear ocelots off in the distance.
Day 7: On the road again! This time we make the trek to the Pacific coast town of Jaco. Kids spent the morning in the pool at Las Lagos, then we got underway.
As we were stopped at a store we discovered a screw in the tire! The people at this woodworking shop were so nice to let me change the tire in their lot so Melisa picked up a few things while she waited haha!
After the tire change we hit the road and finally landed in Jaco around sunset. It was a long drive but check out that view.
Day 8: Bummed around the beach for awhile before heading into Jaco then took a drive down the coast and saw about 20 macaws!
Day 9:In the morning we did a Monkey Mangrove tour. In the parking lot there is a cacao tree where the sloths like to lounge. It was incredible to see them up close.
Our guide, “crazy Alex” was attentive to the kids and pointed out all kinds of animals and talked about the ecosystem in the area. He knew all kinds of bird calls and monkey calls, giving us an up close experience. He called the monkeys down from the trees where they took a piece of banana from our hands. The kids loved it.
After that we drove down to Manuel Antonio for lunch at El Avion, a restaurant with an airplane running through it!
Then we decided to go check out the crocs at Tarcoles river. We counted 33 crocs!
Day 10: Spent the day at the beach and exploring Jaco
Day 11: Got moved to a 2nd condo because of construction in the neighboring one we were in at first. Checked out the farmer’s market then went for a rip with AXR in a Rhino up and down mountain dirt roads, stopped for a swim at a waterfall, lunch at mountaintop restaurant then ending up on the beach. Awesome day.
Day 12: Hiked into Manuel Antonio beach. Very hot but beautiful beach with all kinds of animals, including raccoons and monkeys that will try to steal your stuff! Kids did zipline rollercoaster and lunch in an old traincar with a supercool pizza oven.
Day 13: Last day in Jaco! Melisa and Niko went ziplining while Dylan and I just hung out.
Day 14: 1.5hr drive to San Jose. Driving in the city is crazy, so much traffic with motorcycles making their own rules. Took a walk through the central market. Would have loved more time here.
Day 15: Last day/flyout. Spent the morning at The Children’s Museum, a converted prison. What an amazing place. Its too bad we were kind of rushed through it, the kids could have spent all day there. After that it was back to the airport to head back to Canada. All in all a fantastic trip.