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Costa Rica: day 1 - Adventure, Exploration and Relaxation

Deciding on Costa Rica...
My husband and I were in the Houston airport about to go back to New York and casually noticed a flight to Costa Rica. He said "how about Costa Rica?" - we had been discussing options for our pre-wedding honeymoon/post-graduation trip and hadn't yet decided on anything.

Costa Rica sounded exotic. Having spent the past almost-4 years in New York, something tropical and exotic sounded fantastic! We began looking at travel guides for Costa Rica, also Belize, some islands off Portugal which I had read about in a National Geographic Travel magazine, Bora Bora, and Malta.

Around that time, I had come across an article in a bride magazine about luxury ecolodges, and Lapa Rios (in Costa Rica) was one of the places featured. After visiting the spectacular Lapa Rios website, we were sold! Costa Rica it would be!

While Lapa Rios would be our 5 day splurge at the end, we had a total of 15 days to work with. We wanted to see the different regions of Costa Rica, so we decided - with the help of Costa Rica for Dummies 2nd ed. - on the following itinerary: area just outside San José (1 night at Vista del Valle), Arenal (1 night at Arenal Observatory Lodge), Monteverde (2 nights at El Sapo Dorado), Manuel Antonio (2 nights at Villas Nicolas), Tamarindo (2 nights at El Capitán Suizo), San José (1 night at Hotel Aranjuez), Osa Peninsula (4 nights at Lapa Rios), San José (1 night at Hotel Aranjuez). So we have a volcano in the Northern Zone, a cloud forest in the Northern Zone, a beach in the North Pacific, a beach in the Central Pacific Coast, a rain forest in the Southern Zone, and the Central Valley.


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The flight was good. It's a 4.5 hour direct flight from Houston to San José's Juan Santamaría international airport. The landing was a little scary. Thought we'd run out of runway! We got our luggage, found our driver and off we went to our first hotel, Vista del Valle.

Vista del Valle is 20 minutes west of this airport. We decided on this place because - although we knew we'd be renting a car to go to our next destination, Arenal - we felt uneasy about driving there right after our flight. Also, the hotel offers transportation to the hotel from the airport for $20, which you can arrange in advance, and this just takes some of the first-day stress out of arriving in a new country. Anyway, I would highly recommend this, especially if this is your first visit or you will be trying to find the place in the dark.

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We have arrived. On a journey of adventure, exploration and relaxation...

next post > day 1 - Vista del Valle

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