FINALLY I’m getting around to writing about our Honeymoon! Scott and I chose Costa Rica for our 10 day honeymoon because it offers adventure, romance and relaxation all in one. We started this adventure September 5th which is actually during Costa Rica’s rainy season. We took a risk going during the low tourism season, but it paid off! Not a single activity was interrupted by weather and we felt as if we had beaches, bars and restaurants all to ourselves! We chose three distinct regions of this gorgeous country and each was so full of unique experiences that they warrant their own posts. Our first stop was the Pacific Coast, specifically the Guanacaste province.
We flew United airlines without incident from Seattle to San Francisco to a hurricane ravaged Houston and finally to Liberia, Costa Rica. After picking up our rental car, it was about an hour long drive to our hotel in Tamarindo. The drive was AMAZING and we knew right away that we would love our time here. There were tropical farms, colorful houses, and crowded neighborhoods to view along the sides of the highway. We had to stop for sheep in the road and dodge crazy Costa Rican drivers.
For our time in Guanacaste province, we stayed at Cala Luna Boutique Hotel in Tamarindo. We were greeted with a hot towel and some of the most delicious lemonade I’ve ever had. While our room was prepared, Scott and I took our exhausted butts to one of the hotel restaurants to enjoy tropical drinks and some ceviche.
Of course, we were beyond tired from a full day of travel, so once our villa was ready, we took a long and well deserved nap. One of the best things about our hotel was that they offered free sunset cocktails on their stretch of beach. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to see our first Costa Rican sunset so we headed to the sand. On our way we had our first of many wildlife sightings: a tiny tropical skunk.
Since Costa Rica is so close to the equator, the sun sets at around 6PM every day regardless of season which was hard to get used to coming from a Seattle summer. However, we loved seeing the beach at twilight. There were heavy clouds, massive volcanic rock formations, crabs and seashells. The most interesting part to me was how the beach backed right up to a dense jungle. Definitely not what I’m used to from the beaches in the United States or even Europe.
After sunset cocktails, we took a night swim at the pool and I saw my first lightning bugs all throughout the night sky. They were followed by actual lightning warning of the storm to come.
After our swim, we got cleaned up for dinner and had some more tropical drinks and tropical seafood. We watched two resident cats politely beg for scraps and saw lizards scurrying over the walls. Half way through our meal we experienced a total power outage and we knew we were in for a pretty decent storm. Later, as we snuggled up and watched People of Earth on our iPad, we heard the most insane thunderstorm of our life! We tried to capture video of the massive rolling thunder and super bright lightning, but it was a challenge. In the end we really only have a selfie to show for it.
The next day we had our first planned activity: paddle boarding! After breakfast at the hotel (with amazing tropical fruits and Costa Rican French press coffee), we went to Playa Tamarindo and picked up our paddle boards from Kelly’s Surf Shop. We found out that the locals call this area “Tama-Gringo” because it has some of the best surfing in the world which draws thousands of tourists during peak season. Being September, we were some of the only “Gringos” around. After a super nice Costa Rican man who sells coconuts helped me carry my paddle board to the surf and Scott lost his sunglasses to the waves, we were finally out in the bay and able to see a whole new side of the beach.
After a couple of hours of paddling around the bay, we returned our boards and walked along the beach. We found tons of pristine sea shells and some crazy blue crab claws. Then we bought a coconut from the man who helped me (DELICIOUS) and had some beers at Volcano Brewing Co. I recommend the Tropical Golden Ale, it was sublime.
The towns of Costa Rica were so quiet, it was hard to use our usual method for choosing a place to eat: go wherever there are the most people. So, we had to use a new technique: our noses. While walking around Tamarindo we smelled Longboard BBQ and ended up getting some mojitos, ribs and smoked fish tacos there before heading back to the beach and body surfing until we were reading to go back to the hotel. When we returned to our hotel we saw monkeys swinging through the treetops surrounding our villa (the jury is still out on whether they were spider or howler monkeys).
If possible, the sunset the second night was even more breathtaking. Unfortunately, sunsets are one of those things that a camera just can’t do justice to, but Scott sure tried!
The next day was our last full day in this region and we took full advantage of it. Rather than take the surf lessons we had planned, we ate breakfast at our hotel and then began an hour and half long drive inland to Diamante Eco Adventure Park. The roads were washed out, steep, winding and super dangerous. We even drove straight through two rushing rivers. When we safely made it to the park, we were relieved to have a shuttle pick us up in the parking lot.
We then did a multi-stage zipline that included a free fall and a super long, face first portion with views of the coast line and jungle.
The zipline adventure was followed by a tour through the animal sanctuary. We arrived JUST in time for feeding-time for Lucy the sloth, got a private tour of the jungle cats (jaguars, margays, pumas and ocelots), and spent some time in a massive butterfly enclosure.
The park served us an amazing lunch (arroz con pollo, yummmmm) and we started the scary drive back to Tamarindo. Once back on the coast, we explored the town stopping at juice stands, shops, restaurants and bars and ended our last day with dessert at our hotel. I had some incredible passionfruit mousse while Scott had caramelized bananas with caramel ice cream.
The next morning we had insanely good coffee at Nordico Cafe in Tamarindo and started another long drive to our next destination! Writing about this reaffirms my convictions that this was not our last trip to Costa Rica. The people, coffee, and activities were all wonderful and I can’t wait to return.