Looking out the window of the 757, I could already see the familiar surroundings of the country I once called home.
It was July of 2010, and five years since my family and I moved away from the most beautiful country in the world.
From the secluded surf spots to the hot spring spa at the base of a powerful volcano, Costa Rica has more options than any regular vacation spot. Whether you’re looking for the famous tourist attractions or you want to experience authentic Costa Rica like a local, you’ve come to the right place. Besides traveling to the “Switzerland” of Central America last summer, I spent the first ten years of my life living there.
There are many hotels in the capital, San Jose. If you want to stay near the airport I would suggest the Marriott Hotel. The café, Casa del Café, has delicious baked goods and wonderful Central American drinks. As you sip your coffee, you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery that covers this rich-soiled country. Did I mention they have some of the best coffee in the world? After all, Costa Rica does translate into “Rich Coast.”
The first couple of days that my family and I stayed in the capital, we visited some of our old favorite spots. We went to the pastry shop blocks away from the University of Costa Rica, Giacomin. It has an assortment of chocolates, baked foods, and other delicious Italian goodies.
Later, we headed out to my favorite restaurant, La Cascada Argentine Steak House. There, you can experience fantastic dining service while enjoying delicious food.
Speaking of food, for those of you who are a bit timid of eating food from third world countries, fear not my friends, most Costa Rican cities are full of recognizable food chains such as McDonalds and Burger King.
For the more adventurous type, Costa Rica is full of some of the most exotic fruit. Not adventurous? Apples and bananas are in the next aisle.
Soon, we were heading to the Northwest corner of the country. Along the way, there are many great detours before you arrive at the world-class surfing region. Flying over the rainforest at 20 miles an hour on a zip-line is exhilarating. And of course stopping by Volcan Arenal is a must. The hot springs spa is relaxing, and fun for the whole family. You can sit back, and sip your tropical fruit drink while gazing at the exploding volcano.
Soon, we landed at the spot where my family and I went every year, Flamingo Beach.
It’s a great vacation location and a very private resort. But if you like to party, down the street is Playa Hermosa, a great surf spot.
Regardless of what different parts of Costa Rica you experience, living up to the Costa Rican motto “Pura Vida” (pure life), will make your trip life changing.
Needless to say, the passion this country has for life is admirable, and it’s contagious to all who visit this beautiful paradise.
What did this trip do for me? It awoke the side of me that yearned to be back in the place I once called home.
Whether you live in this unique country for ten years, or you take just a short visit for a few days, you’ll find yourself enamored with this country from the moment you glance out of that 757.
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