Costa Rica is a well known tourist destination because of its beaches, rainforests, volcanoes and the pura vida lifestyle. Although we were excited to explore Costa Rica, we were probably more excited to meet our friends Sarah and Kendall and have a bit of “normalcy.” Before we set out to San Jose, we enjoyed our first beach sunset in Costa Rica with our Dutch friends and departed ways the next morning.
Our next destination was Tenorio National Park. We highly recommend visiting this park if you ever decide to travel to Costa Rica. National parks in Costa Rica can be a bit expensive, especially for travelers on a budget, but we strongly suggest adding this affordable park to your list; the entry fee is $12/pp. The hike is not particularly strenuous although there are a few steep sections and during the rainy season the trail could easily become muddy. We enjoyed taking our sweet time and exploring the Rio Celeste waterfall which gets its coloration from a mixture of sulfur and calcium carbonate which are seeded into the water from the nearby volcano.
And yes, the water is even warm! There are natural hot springs in the area, but alas we didn’t have time to visit because it was time to visit our friends in San Jose.
Traveling is an amazing eye opening experience and camping in a tent allows us to have a unique experience in every location. However, we do get “camping burn out,” and that is why we are so grateful to Kendall and Sarah for allowing us to spend over ten days in their lovely home and recharge our batteries. During our recharge we went on a hike to “Tres Cruces, Austin rotated the tires, replaced the tie rods and actually washed Ol’Blue, we went to a movie, a dinner party, a birthday party, a local market and of course we found two great breweries, Cost Rica’s Craft Brewing Co. and La Chimbilaca Craft Ales.
We also watched the whole season of Stranger Things, ate popcorn and devoured at least two gallons of the most delicious ice cream – ChocoBon. We took hot showers, did laundry, slept in and enjoyed all of the luxuries of a modern kitchen. On our final day in San Jose, we found a lovely little restaurant run by a few expats from Texas; where Austin was able to enjoy a plate of his favorite breakfast meal, biscuits and gravy. Thank you Sarah and Kendall, we definitely owe you one!
After San Jose we were supposed to start traveling down south towards Panama because Austin’s parents were coming for a visit. However, our friend Steve kept posting beautiful photos of a free camp spot on Lake Arenal so we decided to surprise him and spend a few extra days in Costa Rica. Plus, on our drive to the lake we were able to capture an almost unobscured view of the Arenal Volcano.
We spent three glorious days at Lake Arenal at a free camp site right on the water. We swam, fished and ate copious amounts of fried local cheese. We also had an unforgettable evening at the La Fortuna hot springs in which we brought candles and sat in the springs for well over an hour, enjoying the water and the twinkling stars.
After three great days at the lake it was time to officially head south towards Panama. Before we crossed the border we had a few additional days at the beach and crossed the famous “Crocodile Bridge.”
Thank you Costa Rica for the great memories. There is still so much more to explore, so we will just have to return one day!