I loved Costa Rica so much that I knew I had to return there and that too for our honeymoon! Here's our Costa Rica family vacation itinerary.
North AmericaCosta Rica, Nicaragua7 days / December 2014
Highs & Lows
The rainforest, wildlife, beautiful culture, delicious cuisine, gorgeous beaches.
I really can't think of even one!
We wanted to honeymoon in Costa Rica and knew this would be our place of choice way before we got married. I love an adventure packed holiday while hubby loves a relaxing all-inclusive kind of vacation. Neither of us wanted to budge on what we wanted to do on OUR honeymoon so we decided to do two weeks with a mix of both.
We booked an all-inclusive trip from Toronto to the Dreams Las Mareas in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica for one week. This area is really beautiful and is known for their beautiful beaches. The resort we booked was fairly new and had only opened up a few months back. We went during Christmas time and knew it would be busy but this did not bother us. We did a day trip from the resort to Nicaragua - neighbouring country!
We forfeited our return flight and asked the shuttle that was going to drop us off at the airport to drop us off at the local bus station. They were kind enough to fit in our request and dropped us off right at the entrance of the bus station, even though this is not something they typically do - perks of being on a honeymoon. We took a local AC coach bus from Liberia to San Jose and paid fraction of the price than what we would have paid had we rented a car or even rented a private taxi. I always love taking local transportation when we go somewhere (before we had the girls) because it is so much more cheaper plus you get to drive through the countryside - and you cannot go wrong with the views.
We stayed our Costa Rica family itinerary in San Jose and explored the areas around and did some day trips and also roamed the city. I was excited to get in my kick of adventure this second week but I will not lie! The first week at the all-inclusive was nothing short of a dream. And hubby agrees that the second week of adventure was way more exciting than the first. When you are in a country like Costa Rica, there is so much to see and do and spending time on an all inclusive can seem like a waste of time.
The Dreams Las Mareas had only opened a few months before our visit. To top it off, this was the only resort on the entire strip that had up until now, been a ground for sea turtles to come and lay eggs. When I found this out, I was on a mission to find some sea turtles every single night. The first night, we had no luck. Then we did some research and BINGO! We saw sea turtles laying eggs every single night after that. After sundown, we walked on the beach with our flashlights on and there they were, tons of them!
One time we even rescued a baby sea turtle that was stuck in the pool and went in the wrong direction after hatching. I found it and I helped take the baby sea turtle to the ocean and this was such a small yet such an exciting experience for me.
Because we were on a honeymoon package, we received a couples massage at their luxurious spa! This was one of the best spas I have been to. The entire zen ambiance inside was so magical and the areas so beautiful and relaxing. We literally spend half the day there.
One night we had a private dinner in the middle of the pool in a cabana with a private butler. This was such a different experience for us because we had never done anything like this before.
This resort definitely knows how to really pamper their guests and go above and beyond!
When I visited Costa Rica on my solo volunteer trip, I had visited this park and knew we had to go back. The La Paz waterfalls are some of the most gorgeous waterfalls I have yet seen. This park has so much to offer than just the waterfall.
We got a chance to see so much wildlife in this beautiful park. My husband and I love wildlife and we travel so much to see wildlife. This was definitely paradise for us. The park houses a Hummingbird garden and I love hummingbirds (I even have feeders for it at home in Canada). Toucans are another favourite bird of mine - their vibrant colours and beak really attracts me to them. We got a chance to hold Toucans and feed them right off our mouths - YES! you read that right! We were given a treat hold in between our teeth and the Toucan does not shy away from snagging it right from there.
We also got to hold Pythons! It was such an exciting moment for us and one we still talk about. We would never keep a pet snake at home but we both love the thrill of holding a snake and it was a fun feeling!
The entry fee includes lunch and we enjoyed their hot buffet in the middle of the jungle. We spend over half a day in this park and left with some wonderful memories.
Q & A
What would you have changed?Next time we visit Costa Rica, we will definitely be visiting the Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio. Two visits and we still haven't made it there. We would also not recommend doing an all-inclusive in Costa Rica because you do really miss out on seeing all that this beautiful country has to offer. If you are looking for a few days of relaxation though in the Guanacaste region, definitely consider Dreams Las Mareas!
Anything go wrong during the trip?We had no solid plans when we left and wanted to be spontaneous and plan in the moment. Because of this, we had nothing going wrong this trip or maybe we just can't remember amongst all the fun we had?
Restaurant recommendations?The food was phenomenal! I absolutely love the Costa Rican cuisine specially their bean and rice. They offer bean and rice even for breakfast so you bet I may have indulged on that. Another must try is the chocolate covered coffee beans in all the different flavours they have. Costa Rica is known for its rich coffee and these chocolate covered coffee beans are a specialty there.
Tips you would give a friend?If you love to see wildlife, this is the right place to go. If you love to see rainforest, this is your place. Costa Rica is a country that has it ALL - beaches, mountains, rainforests, active volcanoes, hot springs, wildlife and the list goes on. Two times to Costa Rica has not been enough and this is one of those places I have and will in the future break my own rule of not travelling more than once to the same country.
Packing tips?Because there is an all-inclusive resort stay, I would definitely recommend to pack some evening dresses for the a la carte dinner.
Transportation Tips?Local transportation is the best if you do not have to worry about kids. It is cheap and you get to see the real countryside when you travel like locals. When we left Toronto, we were unsure of how we would make our way from Liberia to San Jose. We even though of paying the 800$ to get a private taxi. What we did, was end up paying a total of 10$ for both of us for a comfortable ride.
Any surprises?None at all!
Booking details?We booked the all-inclusive resort with Air Canada Vacations through www.itravel2000.com and we booked the hotel in San Jose through the website. All excursions were booked through the hotel or resort.