Back in November last year, my boyfriend and I booked onto a tour with Gap 360/G Adventures to travel around Costa Rica for 2 weeks, and we’re SO happy we did because it gave us the opportunity to see so much more than if we’d gone alone; I would 100% recommend it.
After landing in San José and experiencing a 4.5 magnitude earthquake, we headed to Puerto Viejo on the East coast and had the most jam packed couple of days there. On our first day, we went snorkelling, and saw absolutely tonnes of fish and then ended up in Cahuita National Park. We dried off in the blazing sun while eating some fresh pineapple, and then took a leisurely walk back through the park, catching glimpses of sloths, snakes, crabs and spiders (which was definitely a recurring theme throughout the country)!
Our second day started with a walk through Manzanillo Nature Reserve which was a forest next to a beach and it was fun weaving between the two. We then headed to the Jaguar Rescue Centre, which oddly enough didn’t have any jaguars but had tonnes of other animals. They fed the baby sloths while we were visiting; it was sooo sweet. We then made a pitstop at the Cacao Plantation, where we got to taste the plant, the beans and the finished product! On the way back to the hotel, we had a quick dip in a little waterfall (where I accidentally swallowed some water and had a very unhappy stomach for several days after).
We then travelled north on a 9 hour bus journey (whilst suffering with an unhappy stomach) and arrived to La Fortuna in the evening and were greeted by a gorgeous Costa Rican buffet dinner. Our first day there included hanging bridges, where we saw snakes, birds, bullet ants and an incredible view of the Arenal Volcano! Later we went to Catarata Waterfall which was 500 steps both ways, and believe me, my legs felt it the next day. Day Two entailed a Safari Float on the Peñas Blancas river and we saw a massive family of howler monkeys up in the trees and a baby crocodile a couple of feet away from us on the riverbank! We finished the day with a relaxing evening at the Baldi Hot Springs, with a super fast slide and a (very expensive) bar in the thermal pools.
We took a boat and a very bumpy bus ride to Monteverde and did a zipline pretty much as soon as we arrived. The longest cables were 2km long and the views over the valley were absolutely stunning. In the evening, we went to a small restaurant where we had a barbecue and a salsa lesson. On the second day, I went to a coffee plantation with some guys from the group while my boyfriend did a 143m bungee jump with some of the others (NOT my thing). We had lunch in a Treehouse Restaurant and shopped for souvenirs until the sun went down, when we went on a night walk in the forest.
When we arrived in Sámara, it was evening and so we headed to the beach in Nicoya and saw thousands of turtles laying their eggs! It was a once in a lifetime experience and one that I’ll never forget 💛 Apart from that, Sámara was more of a laid back beach town, and so we spent the last few days of our trip lounging about in the sun and swimming in the sea. Night times were amazing, because there was absolutely no light pollution and we could see nearly every star in the sky, it was so cool and I was gutted that they wouldn’t show up on my camera.
For our last night as a full group we went on a bar crawl around the capital which was an experience, for sure. The next day about half the group went home, and so the rest of us went to the Gold Museum, which showcased lots of past currencies, along with art and statues (meaning it was a very secure building). That evening, more of the group left and we were left with one other guy, who took us for (a lot of) cocktails which resulted in a tender head the next morning.
We landed in our connecting city in the evening and had 6 hours before our next flight, so we paid a taxi driver to give us a quick tour of the city and he even took us to get some delicious tacos. We finished our trip with a visit to the Angel of Independence and watched a Catholic parade, before jumping on our 9 hour flight home.