1Our 10 day Costa Rica Adventure

Where did we go in 10 quick days? - Really 8 days since 1 complete day is spent getting to Costa Rica and another day spent leaving. We were in the areas with white dots - numbered 1, 2, & 3, in that order.
costa rica map 
How did we end up in Costa Rica?

                      & Mark Drake Bay Costa Rica
We hadn't flown anywhere since our Honeymoon in 1993.  So for our 10th Anniversary we wanted an amazing adventure. One of my dreams was to swim with dolphins in their natural habitat. So a search on the internet began. A link to Delfin Amor Eco Lodge in Drake Bay Costa Rica came up. We didn't know much about Costa Rica, but after a few days of net research we were hooked! This county offers SO many amazing sights, from rain forests, palm treed beaches, rare flora, amazing animals, several active volcanos. Our Anniversary was Sept. 18, but this is Costa Rica's VERY wet season, we preferred to go in their dry season. So we planned our trip to be over Valentine's Day! Feb. 10 to Feb. 19th 2004. We created our own itinerary from the numerous tourism websites on Costa Rica. By doing this ourselves we got to see and do things we were interested in.  I began emailing our first choices of where we wanted to stay and when. I was 8 months ahead of myself! So there was availability.

palmtreeEveryone should feel comfortable making arrangements themselves for the places you are interested in. I'm not a "all inclusive resort" kinda girl. Mainly because I want to see as much of a country and experience as many new adventures as I can squeeze in. I feel a bit restricted just staying in one location. I know there are plenty of lay on the beachers, not move for a week type people out there and that's fine, I'm just not one of them.

macawsMark's only request was to have others drive us around in Costa Rica. Which is very easy to arrange thru van shuttles like Interbus. We only needed a vehicle ride from Alajuela to Arenal (Tabacon) and back again to fly home. Tabacon actually arranges this shuttle, which is 3 hours one way. After reading people's complaints of CR roads we didn't know what to expect. This stretch of road is great, new paved highway the whole way. The road is very twisty, so a slow travel speed is required, but it was a smooth journey. Delfin Amor arranges your Sansa flights, Land Rover drive to the beach where a boat meets you to take you to their Eco Lodge.

Photos of Costa Rican life

                    & cows




Our Experiences / Advice...

  • No need to exchange money into the Costa Rican currency Colones. U.S money is widely accepted. Make your own little conversion chart and keep it in a calculator.
  • As of Feb. 2004 the departure tax is $26 U.S. (since this was a few years ago, please note it is probably MORE now!)You pay this at the airport BEFORE you get in your airline line. There's at least 6 people at desks ready to take your money so its not too long of a wait.
  • The main Juan Santamaria International Airport appears to be relatively new. Its clean and nice with a few food options like pizza. About 4-5 large gift shops with great stuff. We didn't have many opportunities to souvenir shop during our trip (too busy admiring nature to be in stores and in Drake Bay there are NO stores!) So we did most of our shopping last minute at the airport! And got great stuff :)
  • Volcano areas seem to be clouded over frequently, but the areas are still beautiful and worth the tour. A rain poncho will be handy, we got ours at our local $1 store.
  • Weather varies across Costa Rica. Check the weather sites to get an idea of what to expect and pack.
  • Do use guides, they know where the animals are and can find the smallest things like tiny frogs under leaves. Their knowledge is great.
  • Costa Rica gets dark by 6 pm every night, every day, year round! Really cuts into sight seeing time, its light by 6 am so early starts are a must.
  • Spanish not required for most things, but is appreciated if you try, so bring a book.
  • At the suggestion of our local travel immunization clinic, we got vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Typhoid Fever and a Tetanus shot. We took 2 doses of stuff for travelers diarrhea and cholera 2 weeks and 1 week before we left. We also took Malaria pills, we started those a week before we left, took them while we are away and for 4 weeks after we returned. 2 pills at once BUT just once a week.. All our medications were covered from Mark's work so it wasn't a big expense. We had no side affects from any of them.
  • Mosquitoes were not a problem during our visit in the areas we were in. But our pills were only $11 for 12 pills, so taking them to be safe might be wise.
  • Do try to pack light! Sansa Air (flights WITH IN Costa Rica) have a 25 pound luggage limit. To get there, we flew with Continental, Detroit to Houston, Houston to Costa Rica, about 7½ hours with plane exchanges.
  • Digital cameras - They have been known to just stop working in the more humid areas such as the Osa Peninsula. Ours is a Canon and it was fine, thank goodness! But we did meet people who had their camera quit.
  • Read what others have to say from travel websites such as Fodors and Trip Advisor message board, you can get answers to your questions from people who have recently been. Great for info. on places to stay, things to see etc. Click on "next" at the bottom of this page to get links.

Costa Rica flowers, some Heliconias and others

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(Pura Vida Hotel) (Highlight Tour) (Sansa Air) (Delfin Amor Eco Lodge) ( Dolphin Tour) (Corcovado National Park) (Cano Island) (Tabacon Resort & Hot Springs) (Arenal Volcano)  (CR Links)

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Carla and Mark

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