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Trip Report

Pura vida in Costa Rica

Several weeks in Costa Rica living la Pura Vida

by géraldinelatteurAtlasGuru Contributor

North AmericaCosta Rica19 days / November 2021

Highs & Lows

The wildlife and the preserved nature, jungle lifestyle!

Very touristic in some places, and very wet (end of rainy season).

Itinerary Overview

My first stop in Costa Rica was the Pacific coast, in Uvita. This place is amazing because it has the national park where you can possibly see whales (depending on the season). Even though I was there during the rainy season, I had the pleasure of visiting the waterfall and jumping from it! Strong sensations guaranteed! Uvita is quite quiet, walking on the black sand beach is really great. The sunsets are also incredible! I stayed at the Karandi hostel near the sea, but I would definitely come back to try another hostel more in the jungle. The town of Dominical is very close and worth a visit too. The surfing vibe and the Nauyaca waterfall climb are a must.

I continued my trip to Costa Rica by going north to Montezuma in the Nicoya Peninsula (a bit tricky to go there you need to take some buses and cross with a ferry in Puntarenas, or you can pay a bit more and take a private shuttle). This place is beautiful, very peaceful too, beach and yoga atmosphere (you can find a lot of yoga classes in some schools or in hotel). I spent 5 nights in the Luminosa Hostel, overlooking the sea, with a private beach! There are beautiful sunrises in Montezuma and the colors are breathtaking. I spent a whole day discovering also Cabuya (walking distance but you can always rent a buggy) where you can eat really good « Casado » or  « gallo pinto  » (typical Costa Rican lunch). I spent a day climbing to the waterfall to cool off and trying jumps from the different waterfalls. The walk is really easy even if there is a part a bit more complicated. I even extended my stay in another hostel (the Luz del Cielo) because I liked the atmosphere of the city so much.

Finally I crossed the whole country to visit the Caribbean side; Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. The atmosphere is very different from my other stops in Costa Rica, more Jamaican vibe and quite touristy too. I stayed in a really cool youth hostel (Kalunai Hostel). I rented a bike to get around more easily and to visit the Manzanillo park. The beaches of Cocles and Punta Uva are also very beautiful. You can also find really good spots to surf, depending on your level, and renting a board is quite cheap. Puerto Viejo is also famous for its parties and bonfires on the beach. There is another small village 20 km from Puerto Viejo; Cahuita. Quieter, Cahuita is famous for its national park, which is based on donations. This is a great opportunity to see a sloth, monkeys, raccoons and a lot of beautiful birds! I loved to walk around this relaxing « pueblo » and to drink a nice « batido natural de maracuya » (passion fruit smoothie).

  • 6 Nights: Uvita
  • 7 Nights: Montezuma Beach
  • 6 Nights: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    I would perhaps have come a bit later in the year (December for exemple) because in November it’s still very rainy and wet!

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    I was a bit disappointed that a lot of nature is not free. You have to pay for everything in Costa Rica, each waterfall, each national park,… requires an entrance fee.

  • Any surprises?

    Animals are living with you in the hostels, in the streets, it’s amazing! Don’ be afraid they are part of the country and are more afraid of you. Just don’t leave food outside or in your dorm (raccoons love to steal)!