Costa Rica is a genuine central American jewel. We were grateful to spend 14 days there in January 2018. I’d like to share our itinerary with you so you can easily plan your future holiday.
First Three days | FIRST STOP
Playa Grande | Tamarindo | Playa Conchal
We booked three nights in Hotel El Manglar located in Palm Beach Estates just 100 m from the gorgeous beach Playa Grande. The hotel rooms were very simple but modern with bathrooms that I really didn’t like. The hotel, on the other hand, has a beautiful common area with a year-round outdoor pool, various tropical plants well-taken-care-off, private access to the beach and friendly staff. We spent hours walking on the beach in the Playa Carbon direction or swimming in the pleasantly refreshing Pacific Ocean. Honestly, we barely practiced yoga, because there was so much to do.
We took one day trip to breathtaking Playa Conchal. Its sand is composed of hundreds of millions of tiny crushed shells. The result is turquoise & white coastline where you can enjoy sunbath with iguanas and apes hiding just a few meters away from you. Truly a tropical paradise.
Tamarindo, a touristy and much busier town, is just within a walking distance from Playa Grande. The problem is a crocodile river in the way :). You can hop in on a boat to transport yourself to the other side for one $. Tamarindo is a great place to eat for reasonable prices with an ocean view.
Another three days | SECOND STOP
San Jose | Central Valley
We were very surprised to hear how many people live in the Central Valley, a metropolitan area around the Costarican capital San Jose. More than 2 million people live at an elevation of around 1200 meters above sea level. The temperatures immediately dropped to 21 °C. Our plan was to visit Volcano Irazu, and then popped into Botanical Garden in Cartago. Well, it didn’t go as planned since the weather was extremely bad, it was 7°C, foggy and drizzling. We had fun anyway… because of the sudden change in elevation, we found ourselves two kilometers higher, and we felt a bit dizzy and laughed a lot.
In Cartago, we discovered stunning Ruinas de la Parroquia de Santiago Apóstol. In English – Santiago Apostol Parish Ruins are remains of many churches built and then struck by earthquakes over time. It was very inspiring, a bit surreal experience and we enjoyed it so much that we got lost in time 🙂 realizing that it’s too late to visit Lancaster Botanical Garden.
The next day we decided to visit Doka – the largest coffee plantation in Costa Rica. The guided coffee tour allowed us to learn a lot about coffee production. A part of the Doka Estate occupies the oldest Wet Mill in Costa Rica. Inside of it, we discovered how the coffee beans are separated, peeled, fermented and dried.