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Captivating Costa Rica

Author: Diana Ziemniak
Date of Trip: February 2013

My friend and I spent two weeks traveling through Costa Rica in February, 2013. We had diligently planned our trip so that it would take us to various parts of the country….and we were so glad we did. After talking to another friend who has built a house in Samara, Costa Rica and lives there half a year,our itinerary included staying in Manuel Antonio, Arenal where the famous volcano is located, Flamingo beach on the Guanacaste coast and Samara with my friend for three days.

I decided to book my trip through Pacific Tradewinds who were extremely helpful in choosing our lodging, transportation and tours. Because it was our first time traveling to Costa Rica, and there were so many legs of our trip, I felt more secure working with a travel company….and again, we were glad we did. Everything was excellent including the Eco lodges we stayed in, the prompt private transportation we opted for to get us from one area to another. Thank goodness we opted for the guided tour at Manuel National Park as the naturalist found various animals with his spotting scope where otherwise we could see only thickly leaved trees. Our group got so excited when we spotted a mother sloth and her baby. The beaches were so beautiful and beyond my expectations – and we visited many. The sand was soft and white and I never knew the Pacific ocean could be so warm and inviting. One of the highlights of our trip was our visit to Arenal. While we were very impressed with the volcano which can be viewed easily from everywhere,we were elated to swim in the warm natural mineral springs that were part of the swim up bar at the lodge where we stayed. When the server asked if we would like to have our dinner there also, without hesitation, we both said “Yes.” We ordered from the restaurant menu and she brought it to us right there. Such decadence.

This was my first trip with my brand new camera, and with such beautiful flora and fauna, I took over 800 photos to capture our memories of the White face monkeys in front of me at the beach, howler monkeys just above me, colorful macaws soaring the skies, toucans and a variety of so many other birds – a nature lover’s paradise. The flowers were so colorfully vivid, reflecting the lushness we experienced in the rainforest.

Our last three days were spent in Samara, a small but vibrant beach town that contained all the necessities you may need yet, offering a local village feeling with its beach side restaurants, an Intercultura language school and a full grocery store. Once there, you could easily walk to everything so you would not need a car to get around. I enjoyed myself so much that I have already reserved a return trip to Samara for three weeks in January where I will also study spanish at the school.

The Costa Rican people are very friendly and helpful. Our drivers would stop between travel when we wanted or point out sites of interest. Costa Ricans are very close to their families and will not hesitate to talk to you about their kids.

To escape the winter snows in Pennsylvania, I am so looking forward to my return trip to Costa Rica in January where the temperature averages around 93 degrees. Between the ocean waters and the pool where I am staying, I think I will be quite comfortable. I recommend traveling to this largest Central American country to see and experience for yourself the boundless beauty of Costa Rica.

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