Traveling to Costa Rica has always been on my top places to visit, mainly because it would allow me to cross a couple things off of my “Travel Bucket List” all in one place. Zip lining through the rain forest (while it’s drizzling), seeing a whale, and actually four wheeling through the jungle being a few of them. Whenever you decide to travel anywhere, especially on vacation with a group, it’s really important to all be on the same page. You want to make sure you can all agree on what you want to do, when you want to do it, and what times you want to execute your plans. You never want to waste a second of your time trying to make plans while your in a different country (or anywhere). If the pictures alone are not convincing enough, Costa Rica is an absolutely stunning and fascinating place to visit. If zip lining through the Costa Rican jungle is on your bucket list too, do it! You will not regret it at all!
Just a little bit of history to brush you all up on this majestic country. Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the North (you can do a day tour to Nicaragua from Costa Rica it is THAT close). Panama is to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean is to the West and the Caribbean Sea is to the east. If you’re looking for a real adventure I highly encourage you to visit Costa Rica.
During my stay in Costa Rica, I stayed at the ever so fabulous Occidental Papagayo All Inclusive Resort in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. I want to stress that this is on the complete opposite side of San Jose which is the capital of Costa Rica, it is about a good 2 and a half hour drive (by car)… I know this because my passport expired during my stay in Costa Rica…. (travel tip: CHECK PASSPORT EXPIRATION DATE BEFORE TRAVELING!) The Occidental Papagayo is located along the beautiful Gulf of Papagayo near the Pacific. This hotel is exclusively 18+ only and has tons of different activities to choose from every day! This all inclusive hotel offers 2 international restaurants to choose from, as well as a buffet that changes it’s “food theme” every day. There is also a pool, spa, and state of the art fitness facility within the resort.
INSIDER TIP: I would highly suggest opting for the Premium Level program, inside you’ll find that the spirit selection is a bit more upscale, and the service is second to none. Another great benefit if you are working while traveling, the WIFI is MUCH stronger & faster in the premium lounge area (if you are wanting to avoid roaming fees while abroad this is SUPER important).
PRO TIP: A lot of the times all inclusive hotels that have exclusive restaurants available as part of the experience have more upscale dress codes, offer a limited selection menu, and typically require reservations for select meal times. Always be sure to check with the front desk about this, you can also view the menus ahead of time.
Occidental Papagayo Resort
If you are wanting to really make the most out of one of your days in Costa Rica, Vandara Hot Springs & Adventure is basically a one stop shop for all of your adventure desires. I was able to cross two things off of my Travel Bucketlist in just one of their adventure packages. The adventure package that I chose to partake on is their Premium Adventure Package. This package consists of a horseback tour, canopy tour (zip lining), water slide adventure, hot springs and volcanic mud bath, a light lunch, and a organic farming tour which takes you through how their top of the line coffee is made. Zip lining was absolutely incredible, if you are wanting to get some great footage I highly suggest bringing along a go-pro if possible! Refer to my “What to Pack- Costa Rica” post.
I think you will see a lot of me posting about getting out into the water if you are in any type of tropical paradise. I am a huge advocate of seeing the ocean in different places, although its all still water I think each place has different marine life to see. One of the main reasons I would say to get out in the water is that you truly never know what you may see. During my vacation in Costs Rica it had not dawned on me that seeing a WHALE was a possibility. FUN FACT: Costa Rica is extremely well known for its whale population, in fact there are tours that actually take you out into the water to see these majestic creatures! My family and I just so happened to be out sailing when our tour guide told us that there was a whale in the distance. Seeing a whale in it’s natural habitat may have been one of the most thrilling experiences ever. My heart was pounding when I saw the tail of this gigantic creature flop into the air. I could not even believe my own eyes. Just as a formal time frame for when you can see whales in the ocean, I was in Costa Rica during the end of August.
A couple other really cool things– we stumbled upon sea turtle mating season, we got to hold octopuses, and we saw a whale. Pretty surreal for just a boating trip out into the ocean. Hence, why I stress to ALWAYS get out into the ocean if possible.
I love to always try to provide you guys with a general list of things to do when possible, this really helps so much when trying to figure out your itinerary abroad. My perspective is typically centralized around where I am staying at the time. I will also try my best to throw in the actual companies that we used when I can. Here is a great list of things to do when you are visiting Liberia, Costa Rica. The distance from these tours is from The Occidental Papagayo Resort. If you are staying in Liberia, I would check the distance from your location, everything is relatively close in proximity.
- Mardigi Tours – 0.6 miles
- Playa Hermosa – 0.7 miles
- Marlin Sailing Tours- 2.8 miles
- Playas Del CoCo- 3.2 miles
- Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica Golf Course- 2 miles
- Tio Leo Coffee Tour- 5.8 miles
- 4×4 Tripping off Road through Jungle– 5 miles (we did this)
- Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts- 3.3 miles
- Playa Ocotal- 4.6 miles
- DAY TRIP TO NICARAGUA ! (check your local area tours)
- Whale and Dolphin Tours (check local tour areas)
- Vandara Hot Springs & Adventure – 19.8 miles (it is a little bit of a hike and will take an extra shuttle to get there– but I highly recommend it!