Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wanderlust Wednesdays - Costa Rica Honeymoon (Part Two)



Day three of our honeymoon began with breakfast and van ride through the countryside from central Costa Rica to the Pacific Coast. Only one other traveler joined us on our shared ride, in which he was dropped off at Jaco, a quaint little surfer town just 30 minutes from our destination.

Joaquin welcomes you back!

Upon arriving in Manuel Antonio, we were ecstatic to see that we were a short walk from numerous restaurants and the beachfront. We settled into our deluxe suite at The Falls Resort and welcomed the heat that the Pacific Coast provided. We quickly changed into our bathing suits and enjoyed the sunshine at the pool. It wasn’t before long that we noticed the abundance of butterflies, dragonflies, and lizards within the gardens around the hotel grounds. Later that afternoon, we departed to the town of Quepos for some shopping with the locals and dinner. We settled on Sanchos for dinner on our walk back up the hill to our resort. We divulged on some incredibly tasty vegetarian nachos and diet coke. The fresh salsa and guacamole was enough to cause us to contemplate never leaving!

Pool Time!

Happy in Manuel Antonio 

Town of Quepos

Vegetarian Nachos from Sanchos! 

The next morning we woke up to some upsetting news. We were scheduled to go snorkeling that afternoon; however, the weather reported for some rain. The rain would cause rough seas and limited visibility for snorkeling so the trip was at risk of being cancelled. The hotel personal advised that the rain may be coming earlier than the tour group expected so I took their advice and didn’t reschedule the trip for the morning instead. Stephanie was also feeling a bit under the weather that morning and wanted the time to just relax. We took a walk down to the beach where the weather was perfect and had me questioning if I’d made the right decision about snorkeling. We bought some t-shirts and bracelets at the small shops along the beach and enjoyed sticking our feet in the Pacific!

Beach Happiness

Waves Crashing

Relaxation

Since our snorkeling trip was cancelled for the afternoon, we opted for a kayaking trip along the mangroves. We were super excited for the activity and kayaking was one of our favorite outdoor activities! We chose a two-passenger kayak and had no trouble paddling along with the instructor. There was also a mother and her adult son from Texas. They had a little bit of trouble getting coordinated. If I remember correctly, they fell out at least once! We paddled along spotting monkeys and lizards. We also saw bats sleeping along the trunk of a tree and birds. The monkey sightings were very exciting for us as monkeys are said to be everywhere in Costa Rica but these were our first! Just as we spotted the monkeys, it began to pour! Just as the snorkel group predicted! We had thankfully dressed with some rain gear and sealed all our valuables and electronics in plastic, but we still got soaked… all 5 of us! That explains the limited pictures from this tour. After about 2 hours or so kayaking, we headed back to Manuel Antonio for dinner. We had a wonderful coastal dinner, which consisted of fish, rice, beans, eggs, plantains, and salad. Stephanie had some extra veggies on her plate instead of the fish and no dinner was complete without a piña colada smoothie!

Kayaking!

Our Coastal Dinner

We took some nice hot showers and settled into our bed for the night. The next morning we were headed to Arenal, the area of the most popular volcano! We shared this van ride with two girls from Wyoming who were back packing and staying in hostels. That’s something we would have done if this weren’t our honeymoon, and we were grateful for our beautiful hotels throughout the country.

Joaquin says "Hi!"

Upon arrival at Arenal Manoa Hotel & Spa, we were provided with refreshing drinks and greeted with a breathtaking view of the volcano! Stephanie bought a much-needed raincoat with a hood because we had another rainforest hike scheduled that afternoon. We were driven to our room and assisted with our bags. We couldn’t help but chuckle when we opened the door to two double beds. No reason to make a fuss about it, we used the second to lay out our clothes! Our bathroom had skylights and a tree growing in between the shower and toilet. One wall of the room was all windows and sliding door opening up to a spectacular view of the Arenal Volcano! Volcán Arenal is an active andesitic stratovolcano and one of the most active in Central American with mini eruptions almost every day. We posed with this giant sleeping beauty and I think we took some of our best photos here! After exploring the grounds, we headed off to our hike. Covered in bug spray with the sun setting and darkening our path, we were able to observe wild toucans and parrots in the trees at the base of the volcano. Our guide taught us about the natural wildlife and trees. We hiked for about two hours building our appetites and received a refreshing beverage at the end of the tour. The couple with us was also on their honeymoon!

Arenal Volcano view from our room!

Hot Springs

Posing by the Giant Sleeping Beauty (Arenal Volcano)

Rainforest Hike

Elephant Ear Leaf in the Rainforest! 

We were then dropped off at Tabacón Resort where we enjoyed a buffet dinner of traditional fare before heading to the locker/changing room. This wasn’t the resort we were staying at but instead we were here to lounge in the naturally heated hot spring pools. Tabacón Resort not only had 12 pools to swim in but also waterfalls and slides! Geologically, Tabacon Resort's thermal natural springs are 97% rain-based and 3% magma-based. Rainwater enters the earth through fissures on the surface and is then heated by magma found in the earth's core. Once heated, the waters rise to surface, taking with them minerals found in the earth's rocky stratus. There are five different springs that exist throughout the property, with temperatures ranging from 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). We had a lovely time swimming in the pools, going down the water slides, and just spending this romantic moment together.

Pacific Coast Sunrise

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