If you're adventurous, appreciate nature and free spirited, down to earth people, go to Costa Rica. It is Pura Vida and this is a suggested itinerary on how to have a vacation where you can chill out at the beach and adventure the rain forest in a weeks stay.
- Fly into Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica.
- Rent a car, the insurance company is a monopoly and most US coverage doesn’t extend while in Costa Rica. Call your credit card provider.
- No need to exchange USD for Colones, the American dollar is well accepted.
From San Jose travel 1.5 hours to the Pacific Coast province of Puntarenas to the DoubleTree. This all inclusive resort has great food, alcohol, pool setup and service. Staying in this area will allow you to visit multiple cities in one trip without spending a ton of hours in the car. The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal is another great option with slightly more drive time. The beaches are beautiful here and it is near the bustling surf and nightlife town of Tamarindo. Make this part of your trip all about R&R at an all-inclusive resort, a worry free zone.
After you've had all the food and drink you can handle, drive to La Fortuna. It's one of the best places to visit in all of Costa Rica. There are endless activities to do during the day in this natural playground and at night you can go into town to unwind over good food and drink.
Must-do activities in La Fortuna:
- La Fortuna Waterfall, $15pp to enter the park, it is magnificent.
- Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, $26pp to enter the park.
- The Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort , $70pp for a 1/2 day pass with lunch included gets you to the best thermal hot springs & spa and back drop of the volcano.
- Arenal Volcano National Park, $15pp to enter, walk on lava rocks around the base of the volcano.
If you want to zip line, raft or horseback ride, purchase these guided activities in town. Lava Lounge in La Fortuna is a local restaurant, favorite to many. Reggae sounds take the stage at night, the pitcher of Sangria is cheap and delicious and the food is pub style mixed with “typical food” or Costa Rican flavor. Go to Nenes for an upscale meal or Anch'io for pizza. For meat lovers, everywhere we went the steak was always delicious. So is the water, it's safe to drink in Costa Rica.The best store in La Fortuna on the main street is Cianikal, you'll find handmade jewelry and Costa Rica funk tie died tee-shirts and tank tops. Other than this, don’t vacation here to shop.
The lux Royal Corin is an 18 room resort that is super nice and romantic and is dedicated to sustainable cleaning, wake up to stunning views . Otherwise, lodging in La Fortuna is plentiful, ideally you won't be spending much time in your room!