• Misty D

Costa Rica, Arenal Volcano

Updated: Jan 4

I have had several people ask me, "Which vacation was your favorite?" My answer is always, "Costa Rica."



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Airport

San Jose International Airport


Transportation

We took the private van that the hotel referred, and it was little on the pricey side, since it's a 2 1/2 hour drive from the airport. Be prepared the drivers in Costa Rica drive dangerously fast. The roads are scary with lots of twists and turns. I spoke with several hotel guests who said it was cheaper to rent a car and drive to the hotel. I honestly can say there is no way we could have done that. The roads are scary and not easy to navigate. The people we spoke to that rented vehicles said it was 100% a scary drive to the hotel.


**If you have some extra money to spend then you can splurge on a private plane the hotel offers. It's only a 30 minute flight to the hotel. **


Money

We used American currency the entire time. It's accepted in Costa Rica.


Hotel

Nayara Spa and Gardens in La Fortuna- My absolute favorite hotel! This hotel is breathtaking!

Awards

Trip Advisor- Nayara Springs voted Number 1 Luxury Hotel in The World

Travel+Leisure- No.2 Resort in Central and South America Top 100 Hotels in the World

Business Insider- No. 3 Hotel in the World

This is an adult only hotel. So leave those precious kids with their grandmother. lol

The entire time you're walking around the hotel you feel like you are in the middle of the jungle, not on a resort.



Sloths & Bats

We had a three toed sloth mother and baby that loved to hang out by our villa. Also, one of the employees showed us bats that were hanging under a plant that we passed by everyday. We had no clue the bats were there.


Can you find the sloth?

Here are the adorable bats.



Rooms

This hotel does not have rooms, but individual villas located in the middle of the rain forest. These villas are huge, starting 856 square feet and up to 1500 square feet. There is two sections to this resort, the Rain Forest Villas and the Spring Villas. Spring Villas is the "Club Level" with it's own private section, restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. The Rain Forest Villas are around 856 square feet and include outside Jacuzzi on the patio while the Spring Villas are 1500 square feet with your own individual private pool outside the villa. We stayed in the Casita Delux (lowest level) in the Rain forest villa section and at 856 square feet which was massive.

They leave the most adorable animals towel characters on your bed everyday.

Look at this bathroom. It is huge and luxurious. You can fit 5 people in the shower, plus you even have a large outdoor shower.


We had a jacuzzi and hammock outside our villa. I enjoyed looking at the jungle, while I sipped on my morning coffee. Sadly, we did not have the volcano view... but the view of the beautiful jungle is relaxing.


Included with your stay is free breakfast buffet, which is located outside and this is the view. I had to pinch myself when eating breakfast, because the view looks like a fantasy. It's absolutely stunning!



My husband said the breakfast is the best he has ever had. I loved how you can just grab a coconut off the buffet and drink it. The coconuts were great to hydrate up before a big excursion.

Day 1

Lava Fields Walk & Ecotermales Hot Springs

You start the day hiking around the Arenal Volcano and lava fields .

You get a first hand experience of the beautiful Costa Rica landscape. Pineapple is a flower.. who knew?

You will get a good workout. These trails are not for amateurs. Luckily, we are from Texas so we were used to the humidity.


You will get to see amazing views of the Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal.

After the sweaty hike to the lava fields, you get to swim in the refreshing thermal waters of the Arenal Volcano. OMG it felt amazing! The EcoTermales is an oasis of 5 thermal pools set amidst the beautiful rain forest. My husband is at the highest pool closest to the volcano, which is super hot but full of minerals.

I personally liked to stay at the pool furthest from the volcano where it was nice and cool. Oh, you can order drinks at the hot springs. You will feel like you need to pinch yourself as you look around at the beautiful rain forest and feel the heat from the water. The scenery is breathtaking.


Dinner

Asia Luna Restaurant at the Resort

Lunch was not provided on this excursion so we had dinner at the resort. Sadly, this was the only restaurant on the resort we got to try. The food was really good and it was very romantic. You will not see very many people at the hotel, yet the restaurants will fill up fast.

Day 2

We started our morning taking a Free yoga class in the jungle that the hotel provides each day. The views are amazing! The yoga balcony is hanging off the side of the mountain. I'm afraid of heights so I tried not to think about being suspended in the air while doing yoga.

It really is relaxing.


White Water Rafting down the Sarapiqui River

We spent the next two hours navigating 12 kilometers of clear mountain water with over 40 different rapids, including the famous “Dos Locos” and “The Terminato". I honestly was not excited to try white water rafting, but I had the time of my life. I couldn't believe I was in the Costa Rica jungle rafting down the river. Sadly, we were having so much fun we didn't take any pictures.



After the white water rafting, our tour guide took us to local restaurant which was included in the excursion price.

Look at this food! It was delicious! I love eating like a local!

Nostalgia Wine & Tapas Bar

We were full from Lunch so we headed over to the bar for our complementary wine tasting. If you are looking for free buzz, then the wine tasting is perfect for you. We had a blast sampling all the local wines.


Day 3

La Fortuna Waterfall, Hanging Bridges & Lunch

We started the morning with the Mystic Hanging Bridges tour, which takes you on a 3.2-mile hike that includes 10 regular bridges and 6 hanging suspension bridges.

I'm extremely afraid of heights, but I did not want to miss out on this experience. I had to suck it up and do it. I have pictures to prove it! lol



Here are some animals we saw during our tour,















Next, was the La Fortuna Waterfall. You start at the top and have hike down to the waterfall.

While hiking to the waterfall you get to see Costa Rica up close and personal.

The best part of the day was getting to end it by swimming by the waterfall. The water temperature was perfect after a hike. They have lifeguards stationed at the waterfall area because it can be dangerous. Sadly, people have died from slipping on the rocks.



Again, our tour guide took us to a local restaurant which was included in the price of the excursion.

Yummy!












Final Thoughts

Maybe you are like my husband and you believe vacations must include beaches. If so, you should still give this place a chance. It was by far my most memorable and my favorite vacation. I personally couldn't believe how much fun I had at a resort that didn't include a beach. It was peaceful, romantic, and a truly authentic experience of Costa Rica. I'm so thankful my husband and I adventured outside our comfort zone.


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