May marks the transition from the dry season to the rainy season in Costa Rica. As a result, crowds are slim, prices are low and it makes for a great time to travel to this beautiful Central American destination. It also happens to be my birthday. The weather is a bit of a gamble, and if you plan on getting wet during most of your excursions, a bit of rain here and there doesn’t hurt. This year Costa Rica was on the map for my birthday weekend, which fell in the middle of the month, and my boyfriend and I had quite the experience.
The guys over at Soul Spearfishing took us out for a full day on a Panga center console out of Playa Herradura where we speared in the morning and did some fishing in the afternoon. Prior to the trip, we stopped at a local bakery and loaded up on yummy empanadas and fruit to keep us going all day. As a novice spearfisherwoman, I appreciated Armel’s time and patience in making sure I speared enough fish to take home. The guys were down to earth and really knew what they were doing. You can check them out here.
Our Airbnb was in Orotina about 45 minutes from the Jaco area, but the drive was worth the two days in the Pacific Central region. The house was built by hand by the owner and situated on a quaint old mango plantation. We had our own flat on the second floor and Mike cooked up our fish while we drank wine and swam in the pool as the sun was setting. The owner was unfortunately in the hospital at the time, but his friend who was running the place welcomed us with mango margaritas, joined us for dinner and had breakfast on the top floor in the mornings. You can check out the listing here.
Hertz rented us a car at the San Jose airport and it was a pretty easy ride up to Arenal as long as you have four wheel drive. Some of the roads are wet and rocky during the rainy season, and since the weather is on and off, it was good to have the reassurance. It took about 4 hours from Orotina to our Airbnb in Arenal, but we stopped several times along the way. Renting a car allowed us to stop and check out things we normally wouldn’t have with hired transportation.
Arenal is an active volcano about 90km northwest of San Jose. It is situated in the province of Alajuela, canton of San Carlos, and district of La Fortuna. The volcano is located at the center of Arenal National Park, which is about 10 miles outside of La Fortuna. Most of the stores and restaurants outside of the hotels and hostels will be found in La Fortuna. There are a handful of things to do and it’s nearly impossible to see everything in a few days.
Some popular excursions:
White Water Rafting
The Airbnb was just inside Arenal National Park. We had an incredible view and were very close to a lot of the excursions, which we could book then and there. A lot of avian and insect friends wanted to stay with us, but a quick trip to the store for citronella incense cones helps keep them out. The Airbnb can be booked here.
Tabachon hot springs were reportedly the best hot springs to relax at. We had checked out Baldi, which was vegas style and unnecessarily expensive. Check out Tabachon for a more local and natural feel that is free to access.
For a four day trip, we were able to see a lot, however there is a lot to do still in beautiful Costa Rica. Overall the people were friendly, tourism was at a minimum, and it is a short flight from south Florida.