green tree on beach Manuel Antonio Beach Costa Rica

I could have spent 9 weeks, but since 9 days was all I could allot for this time around, I packed as much as I could into my Costa Rican getaway.

MANUEL ANTONIO

beach, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

beach, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

hermit crab, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

fallen tree, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

 

Surrounded by jungle foliage made my heart sing.

jungle foilage Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

jungle foilage, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

jungle foilage, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

spikey tree, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

lizard Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

sunning lizard in tree, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

lizard Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

lizard Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

water view, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

lookout, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

view, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

rocky shoreline, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

sunbathing lizard, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

lizard on beach, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

monkey in tree, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

(for more monkey pictures check out this post: THE MONKEY THIEVES OF COSTA RICA)

 

Resting languidly way high up in the trees- sloths! You’d have walked right beneath them never knowing they were there if not for the trained eyes of a local guide.

sloth in tree, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

secluded beach, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

beach towels, Manuel Antonio beach, Costa Rica

beach afternoon, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

White-Tailed deer, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Playa Espadilla beach, sunset, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

LA FORTUNA (ARENAL)

The evening we got in, the top of the giant volcano was shrouded in ominous dark clouds.

downtown La Fortuna, view of Arenal volcano at dusk, Costa Rica

 

Downtown at dusk.

downtown La Fortuna at dusk with view of Arenal volcano, Costa Rica

downtown La Fortuna at dusk with view of Arenal volcano, Costa Rica

 

A peek outside our hotel window.

view out of hotel window of Arenal volano, La Fortuna, Costa Rica

 

the famous La Fortuna waterfall

La Fortuna waterfall, Costa Rica

exotic plant, Costa Rica

 

I looove air plants : )

airplant in tree, Costa Rica

 

Spent hours soaking in natural hot springs in the jungle.  (note to self: next time pack beer : )

free jungle hot springs, Rio Chollin, La Fortuna, Costa Rica

 

patacones con guacamole (fried plantains with guacamole, mmm!)

patacones con guacamole, fried plantains with guacamole, Costa Rica

 

From La Fortuna we took a boat across Lake Arenal, then a bus on to Monteverde.

house on Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

view of Lake Arenal by boat, Costa Rica

boats on Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

 

Saw this lovely green guy at a little shop along the way.

green tropical bird, Costa Rica

MONTEVERDE

We only spent a quick afternoon and evening in Monteverde.  Just long enough to get a taste of the misty tourist mecca- and see a little wildlife too!

hillside, Monteverde, Costa Rica

 

Casado – what I basically lived off of during my visit!

I always ordered the “casado vegetariano” and made sure to state “no mantequilla (butter) or queso (cheese).”  (For those of you that don’t know, I follow a vegan diet.)

The meal always included some variation of rice and beans, fried plantains, some vegetables, and a small salad.

casado vegetariano, Monteverde, Costa Rica

 

a hike though the cloud forest (which ironically wasn’t cloudy at all the afternoon we spent there!

beautiful old giant tree, hiking in Monteverde, Costa Rica

old tree, Monteverde, Costa Rica

 

Seeing the wildlife was by far my favorite thing about my trip to Costa Rica.

(If you haven’t seen my post about one of the highlights of the entire trip- the monkeys of Manuel Antonio- check it out here.)

color bird, Monteverde, Costa Rica

 

LOVE these wild creatures! a Coati (left) and Agouti

Coati and Agouti, Costa Rica wildlife

 

Agouti having a snack!

Agouti having a snack, Costa Rica wildlife

 

Hummingbirds are hard to capture! this guy finally held still JUST long enough for me to get a shot that wasn’t blurry!

hummingbird, Monteverde, Costa Rica

 

We ended our quick visit with a nightlife jungle walk.

A baby viper on the trail!

baby viper on the trail, nighttime jungle tour, Monteverde, Costa Rica

 

Although highly venomous, our guide had no hesitations handling the little snake to move him off the trail, where he would have been a potential danger to other nighttime hikers who were to also pass this way.

baby viper handled by guide on nighttime jungle tour, Monteverde, Costa Rica

 

a sleeping Toucan – isn’t he an adorable little fluff ball?!

sleeping Toucan, nighttime jungle tour, Monteverde, Costa Rica

 

MONTEZUMA

Our journey from Monteverde to Montezuma included a pretty ferry ride.

ferry ride, Costa Rica

view from ferry, Costa Rica

 

We drank a staple Costa Rican beer on the ride.  Not my favorite, but much better than the other uber popular mass-produced national beers we tried!

drinking a Pilsen beer on Costa Rica ferry ride

 

The steep downhill walk from our B&B to the beach.

walk to the beach, Montezuma

beach, Montezuma

ocean, Montezuma, Costa Rica

 

beautiful Montezuma Beach

boats, Montezuma beach, Costa Rica

 

Of course, my favorite thing to do in Montezuma, besides watch the monkeys play in the trees from the balcony of our B&B…

 

was spend time on the beach.

 

We hiked along the beach to reach this rock sculpture garden.

rock sculpture garden, beach, Montezuma

 

And climbed over the huge rocks that were exposed during low tide, mesmerized by all the sea creatures we found living there hidden in the crevices.

sea creatures, Montezuma, Costa Rica

hermit crab, Montezuma

 

time for a treat — fresh coconut

coconut vendor, Montezuma beach, Costa Rica

raw coconut drink on the beach, Montezuma, Costa Rica

drinking coconut water on the beach, Montezuma, Costa Rica

log on beach, Montezuma

Montezuma beach, Costa Rica

sunset, Montezuma beach, Costa Rica

 

Another casado.

casado vegetariano, Montezuma, Costa Rica

 

This cute little lizard was living behind a picture frame in the stairwell of the B&B we stayed in.  Every morning on our way down to breakfast I peered to see if he was there.

lizard living behind picture frame, Montezuma

 

The B&B had their own brewery on the premises, as well as a butterfly garden.

brown butterly, Montezuma

green winged butterfly, Montezuma

butterfly on finger, Montezuma

 

On our last morning we hiked to the Montezuma waterfalls.

These are the lower falls (and biggest).  Swimming in the water was SO fun and refreshing.

To get to the top falls we decided to go off the beaten path by taking an alternate hiking route instead of the main highly traversed stairs and platforms that had been built for the tourists and were crowded with families with kids.

Wroooooong idea.

The hike proved to be nearly impossible for me, but once I had gotten going, there wasn’t really a way to turn around.

It was SO steep and narrow that nearly the whole hike had ropes that you had to cling to and hoist yourself up and down with.  The ground was dry loose dirt and the sheer drop off so many feet to the ground below was so daunting that I VERY nearly threw up and had a panic attack.  Thank goodness for my boyfriend whose support kept me going!

I was so shaken up by the time we reached the upper falls I had to just sit on the rocks and collect myself for some time before I could enjoy another swim.

On the way back down, we tried to exit through the main tourist way but found out it cost 1000 colones (about $1.75) each and we didn’t have any money with us.

Since I was still so shaken up by our hike I pleaded with the man to let us through, but with the language barrier he didn’t understand.

Luckily a Costan Rican man who knew both Spanish and English came by and translated for me and he let us pass.

Thank goodness! There was NO WAY I would have attempted the hike back down! I would have sooner asked for someone to pay our way than even THINK about going back the way we had come!

Montezuma waterfall, lower falls

 

After our unsettling hike it was time to head into town and enjoy some local craft beers and relax by the beach.  (Hours later, my nerves were STILL wracked!)

 

Then, our long trek back to the airport to a catch our flight home, that included another pretty ferry ride.

sunset, ferry ride, Costa Rica

sunset, ferry ride, Costa Rica

 


TELL ME, have you ever been to Costa Rica? If so, where’d you go? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!