I wanted to share with you our Costa Rica adventures! Although I’ll try to keep the photos food related to keep with the foodblog theme, I can’t help but showcase some of the awesome wildlife we saw in Costa Rica.
We picked Costa Rica for our vacation as it was a good compromise between my love of “vacationing at breakneck speed visiting every museum in existence” (ahem) and B’s love of lounging on the beach doing nothing.
It’s a great place for people who love adventure and wildlife, and as we visited during the off season (October), we got some great deals on hotels and tours.
If you want to eat typical Costa Rican cuisine, eat at a soda in Costa Rica, which are small casual restaurants where the locals dine. They are extremely budget friendly (about $5-7) and we ate the casado plates which includes some combination of meat (beef, chicken, pork in a variety of preparations), rice/tortillas, beans, salad/vegetables, and plantains. Each soda had different approaches to their own casado, making it a fun surprise.
We started our trip in Monteverde, where we ate at what would be our favorite soda of the whole trip (Sabor Tico). We ate there twice since it was that good – their chicken in particular is very tender and flavorful.
In many restaurants, you can see the cutest napkin holders featuring the traditional oxcart, or carreta, Costa Rica’s most famous craft.
We also checked out the Don Juan coffee, cacao, and sugar cane tour in Monteverde. We even met the 80+ year old Don Juan (I think his secret to looking so young / being so active is the diet of coffee, cacao, and sugar cane).
Here we have the green coffee (the most caffeinated), then light, medium, and dark roast. Costa Rica makes plenty of high quality coffee – ironically the countries that grow the most coffee drink the least coffee, and the nordic countries (ie Finland, Scandinavia, etc) drink the most coffee.
My favorite part was trying all the cacao fruit (which tastes nothing like chocolate) and eating the Latin version of chocolate making, with all the tasty spices and vanilla.
Other Monterverde highlights included ziplining (including a 1 km zipline!) and doing the crazy Tarzan swing. We then went to La Fortuna, which is the most popular destination in Costa Rica.
We stayed in the beautiful Volcano Lodge and Springs hotel which had beautiful gardens, the Arenal Volcano view (albeit covered by clouds), and best of all – natural volcano hot springs. We went hiking during the day around the volcano trails and rewarded ourselves with a nice hot soak.
At breakfast time, the workers toss fruit and you can see the tropical birds come out. I tossed that giant coconut (to my sadness after drinking it, I found the meat too tough to be edible) above so a bird could enjoy it.
One of the best adventures of the trip was canyoneering, or rappelling down waterfalls! We went with Desafio, one of the biggest adventure companies (gotta make sure it’s a safe, legit company because these are risky activities after all). Because of the rainy season, we got a discount and cool T-shirts saying “Pura Vida”, which is a Costa Rican greeting, goodbye, everything is great, thank you, and anything else you can imagine.
B and I were the only ones on the tour (basically a private tour!), so the guides got to take lots of photos of us. After the tour, a delicious casado lunch is included – this was also one of my favorite meals of the trip.
Our last stop was Tortuguero, which is along the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and famous for their wildlife. we saw sloths, monkeys, birds, and so many other animals on our canoeing tour (worth waking up at 4:45am).
Also there was a mean giant iguana at the hotel that wanted my banana, so I hurled the banana far away so it wouldn’t eat me (B was laughing at me the entire time).
One of the most magical moments was watching baby turtles as October is the hatching season – what Tortuguero is most famous for. At 5pm like clockwork, tiny baby turtles crawled out of the nest, and we cheered them on as they scurried to the ocean.
Hope you enjoyed these photos of Costa Rica!