My mom loves to travel, and because of her I have had many great experiences. We have traveled all over the world, but my best vacation memories come from a family trip to Costa Rica we took in 2008.
We landed in San José, the capitol of Costa Rica, late in the afternoon. The airport was out of cars that would accommodate our five-person family plus luggage so we rented a white fifteen seat airport van, which us kids immediately fell in love with. We did not have time to make it far due to the time we landed, so our first night was spent in San José at a nice hotel called the Maria Alexandria. My mom enjoys going a bit off of the beaten path and avoiding popular tourist resorts, so the next morning we set out on some back roads to our next destination: an area called La Fortuna. The roads were rainy, so progress was slow, but we made the five hour drive interesting by visiting small local villages, checking out everything from their quaint, beautiful churches to their fresh roadside fruit markets. We saw fruits we had never even heard of before, and tried them all before our journey was done. When we arrived in the La Fortuna area, we checked into a small bed and breakfast called Termales del Bosque, which literally means “Forest Springs”. The name could not be more fitting; we spent much time the next few days in the most relaxing natural hot springs you could ever imagine. We also found many other ways to enjoy our stay in Costa Rica while we stayed at Termales del Bosque; we took a zip line tour through the jungles. There were an amazing amount of jungle animals while zipping across gorges and through the foliage, monkeys, sloths, and a rainbow of frogs graced us with their presence.
Our next stop was the Arenal Lodge, a hotel near a volcano of the same name. The rooms were nice, and out back was a negative edge pool with a fantastic view of the volcano, which was erupting at the time. Lush green fields uninterrupted by civilization and a blue sky framed the volcano, and at night you could clearly see the bright red lava. We took a day trip to go close to the volcano and get pictures, and even there we got to see some wildlife. As we were driving up a small mountain road towards the lava flows, we encountered what appeared to be a traffic jam, but people were getting out of their cars and walking down the road. As we did the same, we saw a few ringed tails poking straight up above the hoods of the cars. We came around the cars and saw a small group of animals we would later learn were called coatimundi, which resemble ring-tailed lemurs somewhat. There were three or four at first, but when a tourist tossed a piece of food to them, they all came out of the woodwork. Five, then nine, then fifteen, then twenty-five, they just kept coming. Within a minute there must have been forty of them running around, it was a hilarious spectacle. That night we went to a very fancy resort called Tabacon. it had many more hot springs than Termales del Bosque, but also many more people. We just stayed the night at the springs, but it was a great time.
Of all of the trips I have taken, Costa Rica was by far the best, and I recommend it highly to thrill-seekers and relaxation enthusiasts alike.
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