Costa Rica is a destination for those looking for adventure, beauty, exotic wildlife, and the rainforest.
There is something for everyone here. Beaches, the jungle, ziplining, whitewater rafting, hiking, ATV's, or just lounging around, Costa Rica has much to choose from. Costa Rica is just north of Panama and is one of the countries that make up the connection of North to South America.
We picked the resort area of Quepos on the pacific central side, south of San Jose on the coast. Puerto Quepos drapes itself across a tropical inlet surrounded by primary rainforest. The village center is a delightful six-block square of restaurants, bars, hotels, bakeries, art galleries and gift shops, all fronted by the main beach and sport fishing fleet. Quepos is growing quickly yet maintains many of its sleepy and humble beginnings.
Tourism is now the area's leading employer as Quepos evolves from its banana growing roots into a premier holiday destination. Bananas were shipped to world markets across the docks that now service the sport fishing fleet. In the 1980's bananas lost out to heartier African palms and their high quality palm oil. As Quepos diminished in importance as a banana port, it renewed itself as an ecotourism and sport fishing destination.
Our group occupied two villas ten minutes apart. Both properties had much to offer and had magnificent views. One was part of a gated managed property with private pools and its own private secluded beach. The other was located off a private road in the mountainside, had its own pool, and had a breathtaking view of Manuel Antonio National Park. There are many elevation changes so be prepared for steep slopes and steps.
Both villas had daily maid service and ours had laundry service included while the other villa had its own washer and dryer. All of the amenities you would expect to have were there from blenders to coffee machines. We took advantage of the lower prices at the local market and loaded up on drink and food to get us through just about everything but dinner. Only one dinner was cooked the entire week.
There were many restaurant choices, and it pays to check out who has entertainment for the evening. It's fairly quiet anywhere without entertainment, which may or may not be a plus depending on what you are looking for.
One of the top recommended activities is ziplining where you are hooked by pulley to a line connected from one platform high above the ground ( as high as 120 feet) to another and gravity carries you from platform to platform. We had guides manning both platforms and you are safety hooked to a line on the platform until it is your turn to go. You then get hooked to the line with your pulley along with another second hook for safety. It is an exciting experience. If you have an aversion to heights, this may not be the best choice for entertainment. I was impressed with the time the guides spent on our orientation talk, safety discussion, and the proper way to zip line. I was also impressed with the construction of the platforms, safety lines in place, and the instruction and knowledge of the guides.
We also spent a day doing a whitewater raft trip. It was fun, but the rapids were rated 2 and 3, so there weren't as many thrills as we were hoping due to the low water levels of the river this time of year. Nonetheless, the surrounding countryside was beautiful as we made our way along the river.
We picked a sunset cruise on a catamaran that was a big hit. Plenty of rum drinks kept things lively and we stopped to see the dolphins just before sunset.
Both villas reported daily monkey sightings, and we were lucky to see them one early evening directly from our pool. Our trip took place in mid March and we experienced sunny warm weather the entire trip. It's the tropical rain forest, so it's humid.
I would recommend this destination to those looking to be active and willing to explore all that Costa Rica has to offer. There are numerous activities that make it the perfect destination for fun and adventure!
About the Authors
Sue and Charlie Shimkus are owners of Lake Zurich Travel & Cruise established in 1974. Sue has served on the travel advisory board for Alaska, Hawaii, & Ireland and executive board of the local chapter American Society of Travel Agents. Lake Zurich Travel & Cruise is a member of the Signature Travel Network. Visit Lake Zurich Travel for Expert Travel Advice and resources finding the Right Vacation for you!
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