Two days after our wedding, on 10/13/12, Steph and I jetted off to Costa Rica for adventure, romance, and relaxation! We are happy to kick-off Wanderlust Wednesdays with the first of three posts reliving our memorable honeymoon! Let's start with the Central side!
|Joaquin welcomes you!|
While researching possible locations for our honeymoon, we were torn between going back to Europe and trying some place new. Stephanie wanted a beach so that she could lie in the sun and relax while I wanted to see some wild exotic animals. So we ultimately decided on Costa Rica and I began to research tour companies. Whenever we traveled to Europe, we planned the entire trips ourselves and felt limited by tours. After countless hours because I am a perfectionist, we decided on Gecko Trail Adventures. I contacted their representatives for some more information and began researching the hotels within their network. They didn’t require a payment for their services from us but instead probably collect from the hotels and tour activities for the business they attract. We were given choices of high luxury, comfort and in between type hotels in each location we were thinking about staying. Using TripAdvisor reviews, we made our choices and began reviewing many exciting and relaxing activities.
The day finally arrived and we boarded our international flight on American Airlines and our first class seats! This was my first time flying first class and I was enjoying the roomier seats and actual food with real plates! We enjoyed some inflight entertainment provided by both the airline and passengers who were some real characters sitting near us in first class. And before long, we landed in San Jose, C.R. We quickly met up with Steve, the owner of our first hotel, which wasn’t a hotel at all, but a bed and breakfast, home away from home! Chatting with Steve as we drove through the town into the countryside was like catching up with an uncle we haven’t seen in a while. As we arrived at the beautiful Casa Bella Rita in Santa Ana, it started to pour and Steve and Rita (the other owner/his wife) joked that we must have brought the rain with us! We were shown to our room and began to take in our surroundings. We were staying in a beautiful suite called the Mariposa Room. This room was located on the second floor of the main house with a view overlooking the canyon just outside its door. An indoor tropical garden serves as a privacy wall for the bathroom, providing beauty and innovation. We loved the little dogs that Rita and Steve owned, providing us with some canine companionship while abroad.
|Our fave pup, Tin Tin|
After a quick lesson on money conversion, Rita called us a cab and we headed to town for our first Costa Rican meal! We didn’t just enjoy the food; we loved it and headed back the following night for another taste! In between those meals was our first day of activities and tours in Costa Rica. We departed early in the morning and headed off to a traditional Costa Rican breakfast at a coffee plantation. We learned about how the coffee plants are cultivated and harvested, each bean by hand. They are then sorted and baked at different temperatures to establish different tastes. After becoming highly caffeinated from sampling every coffee flavor offered, we headed off to the Poás Volcano for our first hike! The Poás Volcano is an active stratovolcano in central Costa Rica. It has erupted 39 times since 1828. When the mist and clouds part you'll see the sulfuric, bubbling, green rain fed lake at the bottom, surrounded by smoke and steam rising from fumaroles. Water from the lake is constantly seeping through cracks in the hot rock, evaporating and building pockets of steam. When the pressure in these pockets exceeds the weight of the water above, the steam breaks through in geysers that rocket up to 820 feet (250 meters) high. Don't worry about getting a shower though; the crater is 1,050 feet (320 meters) deep. At almost a mile (1.6 km) across it's also the largest active crater in the world. The sulfur lake was a gorgeous blue color and aided in some awesome pictures! While hiking through the rainforest, we envisioned a dark scary movie that wouldn’t be complete without some wildlife (a native squirrel) that photographed with red eyes!
|Coffee beans laid out to dry|
|Hiking through the Rainforest|
|Dun, dun, dun!|
After heading off down the winding roads of the mountain, we stopped at a local ‘corner store’ for some snacks and souvenirs. We then continued to the La Paz Water Fall Garden for a scrumptious lunch and tour. Inside the park we visited the hummingbird gallery, the serpentarium, the birdhouse, the butterfly garden and the frog’s exhibit. Stephanie hand fed some toucans fruit while I became a magnet for butterflies with my bright blue rain jacket. After exploring the animals and devouring lunch, we followed the trails to La Paz. Some of the trails were winding and involved hundreds of steps along a mental gangplank, which reminded us of the movie Jurassic Park. Finally the trails led to a number of spectacular waterfalls in the middle of the rainforest. We took photos while being misted by these beauties of nature.
|Getting local tasties!|
|Stephy's Tucan Friend|
Our full day of activities left us filled with excitement for all that Costa Rica has to offer and eager to continue on our journey of exploring the country’s natural wonders. We watched the sunset over the canyon from our balcony at the bed and breakfast, while of course sharing a diet coke. After a delightful breakfast the next morning, we were headed to the Pacific Coast for some fun in the sun!
|The Beauties of Nature <3|