February 2014 & March 2017
Going twice to the same country is a waste? yes, that’s my opinion as well. But some places are so exceptional, that only one visit isn’t enough. Costa Rica is such a country – to me. The diversity in natural beauty is so big.. I’ve been here twice now and by far didn’t see enough (sloths) yet. I’m just addicted to rainforests and fluffy animals, can’t ever get enough of it! Add this up to very friendly locals and great public transportation.. it makes Costa Rica almost perfect.
one of the most touristy destinations in Costa Rica.If it wasn’t for the beauty of the nature, I wouldn’t recommend staying in this uncharming village. BUT , look at the header of this article and know why you can’t miss out on Arenal… This the Rio Celeste river in Tenoria Volcano National Park. A Park actually not very close to La Fortuna. The only way to get here is by own transport or with a organized tour, from La Fortuna. I did the tour for only $55 including lunch! I highly recommend it!!!
Another popular tour in La Fortuna is to visit the Cerro Chato lake (on the smaller Vulcano) combined with the waterfall and hot spring visit ($35). You can also hike by yourself through the area, park fee is $12 and I’ve heart you can cheat to walk around the kiosk, but I’m not sure if you should do that. Just so you know 🙂
Welcome to the second paradise. Even in beach lists of Costa Rica, the beauty of Cahuita will be admitted. ‘better than this, it will not get’. First of all, this is nót an overly crowded tourist destination. Second of all, on all of Costa Rica’s Caribbean side, there’s a very nice, laid back, reggae kind of atmosphere. And than the best part of Cahuita…. the Cahuita National Parque. Heaven on earth. Not only was the park the most beautiful place I had been in my life, it also holds plenty of wild life to discover . I saw here countless sloth’s, monkeys, racoon’s, squirrels, yellow snake, blue crabs and colourful birds. From Cahuita you can visit the botanical gardens and animal sanctuary tree of life. Also, north of Cahuita there’s a black sand beach which is rewarded for being ecological.
note: in Cahuita itself are no dorm rooms as far as I know. Therefore you can stay in the party neighbour Puerto Viejo. Which is also very close to the national park.
In 2014, this was my final destination, and it was wonderful. Of course you have to visit the national park. One of the locals offered to bring us there by little wooden boat. My boyfriend and he paddled together through the scenic rivers while our guide pointed out the animals around. It was great! Also the village of Tortuguero is lovely. There are a lots of small shops with local/handmade goods (souvenirs!). Also you will find nice Western oriented restaurants among local operations. We stayed at Miss Miriam II (great value for money) and were addicted to Budda Café. Breakfast we enjoyed at Miss Miriam’s and having diner at the Wild Ginger was an absolutely great experience. Try also Taylor’s Place. Ask around for directions, there are no streetnames.
After spending 3 nights in Cahuita, we wanted to go to Tortuguero National Parc. You will only find information about reaching the place from Limon or Moin by boat (expensive!) BUT you can also do it by public bus.
Take an early bus from Cahuita to Limon (really early like 7.00, $3, 1,5hr, 5 daily)). In Limon you walk one block west to Terminal Caribeno. From here, get the bus to Guápiles ($4, 2hr, hourly departures). In Guapiles the bus to Cariari (45 mins) was waiting for us. We jumped on and arrived in Cariari in time to catch the last bus to La Pavona at 15:00 ($2, 1 hr). Note: in Cariari you have to walk again to another bus terminal, from the new one to the old one! It’s 500 meters to the east. This last bus trip is very very nice, as it drives through banana plantations with banana bunches transported on a genious railsystem. I loved it! In La Pavona (not really a village) you buy your boat ticket at the restaurant ($3), go to the boat, sit down and relax. You made it! The moment you are on the water you will enjoy great views and spot crocodiles. Useful website with maps to make the chances of not getting lost bigger: Tortuguero by public bus
Our dear friend Lonely Planet, warns for Taxi drivers willing to only drop you of at one particular hostel in town, they tell you the hostel you picked doesn’t exist anymore or they say they don’t know about it. This happened to us as well! But just being firm and saying to take a different taxi, worked. We tried on Shakti, it looked good, but expensive. We continued to Costa Rica Backpackers, this one was full. Luckily the Guesthouse version on the opposite of the road had a spare room. And this was the best room ever!!! Kingsize bed, everything spacious and clean. Nice, relaxed atmosphere as well. Good Hostel. We Happy.
The last night we spend in Hostel Casa del Parque. This was the best end of the trip we could wish for, amazing rooms and a beautiful building in the middle of San Jose. From here we walked to restaurant El Balcon de Europe (calle 9), where the friendly owner served us nice dishes from our home-continent.
How to get from Nicaragua to Costa Rica