Travel Thoughts by Kim
Let’s go on an adventure together….to Costa Rica!
I’m really excited to take you on a trip to Costa Rica that I was able to do a couple weeks ago – yep, I went on an actual recent trip. This was a very different trip for me than my usual jaunts. I have never been to Costa Rica….or anywhere in Central America, for that matter. I also stayed at an All-Inclusive resort for the first time ever! So, very different experience for me in a lot of ways.
I absolutely LOVED Costa Rica! It is a Central American country with a Caribbean side and a Pacific Ocean side. It is bordered to the north by Nicaragua and to the southeast by Panama. I was in Guanacaste province on the Pacific Ocean side. Spanish is their native language, but just about everyone I encountered also spoke English. So, other than a little difficulty with some of the strong accents, I didn’t run into much of a language barrier or problem communicating. Be sure to go to the blog link at the end of this article for more interesting information about Costa Rica.
Let’s talk about all-inclusive resorts. I always wondered about them, but figured I could never afford to go to one. But, I was talking to my cousin, Dawn, and she has been to several in the Riu resort line and couldn’t say enough about them – in fact, she once stayed at the same one I chose. So, I looked over their website and was very pleasantly surprised when I saw the prices and what they had to offer.
I stayed four nights (flew down on Monday and back on Friday) and it was about comparable in price to a five day cruise or maybe a tad less, depending on the cruise line and destination. I found Riu prices do vary based on the location – they have resorts all over the world, but, again, fairly comparable to cruises.
I stayed at the Riu Palace in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. There are two Riu resorts on the property and you have access to the amenities at both resorts while you are there. The Palace resorts are a little higher end and slightly more expensive than the regular ones – like the Riu Guanacaste next door to the Riu Palace Costa Rica. I think of it as Carnival vs. Royal Caribbean cruise lines – same company, different levels of luxury – both very nice, depending on what you want out of your vacation and your budget.
The resort had so much to offer – multiple beautiful pools, activities and fitness sessions throughout the day, wonderful entertainment each night, several bars – including a swim-up bar, and lounges. And, it is kid-friendly, as well. There is also a very nice beach on the ocean just off the resort property that you have access to, as well. And, I have to mention the food! They have an awesome buffet restaurant, multiple specialty restaurants, and pool-side lunch and snack bars.
I spent my first partial day and my first full day mostly in or by the pool and could have been very happy just staying right on the resort the entire time. But….I’m not that kind of a traveler – I like getting out on excursions/tours and seeing more of the area I’m visiting.
I booked tours for my last two full days. There are awesome tour company reps on the resort to help you pick the best tours. I decided on the first day to take a sunset catamaran cruise out on the Pacific Ocean. We were picked up about noon and sailed to a cove where we were able to swim or snorkel or just stay on the boat and enjoy the sun and views – that’s what I did. Then, we had a delicious lunch and put up the sails and soared out into the ocean where we saw sea turtles and dolphins and one of the crew caught an octopus for the crew dinner after the tour was over. Then, we sailed back at sunset – it was absolutely amazing!
On the next day, I caught a bus at 7:30 am and we went to Palo Verde National Park where we stopped at Lianos del Cortes Waterfalls – stunning!!! Then, we took a river boat cruise down the Bebedero River, where we saw all kinds of animals and birds and had lunch at the end of the cruise – amazing!!! We also did a Liberia City Tour – the capital of Guanacaste – and stopped at a large gift shop. It was an all-day adventure that was awesome!
One thing you need to be aware of if leaving the country right now is that everyone entering or returning to the USA is required to have a negative Covid test result within 72 hours of entry regardless of vaccination status. I have to say I was nervous about that – what if I got a positive test result? I wouldn’t be able to return to my own county until I quarantined for ten days.
The resort has medical personnel on site to provide the tests free of charge and if the guest tests positive, they provide quarantine accommodations at no additional charge for the 10 day requirement. But, still…..I was really nervous about that. But, it all turned out fine – my results were negative. The resort took Covid precautions VERY seriously – it was actually quite impressive everywhere I went, but especially so on the resort. And I….as well as everyone I saw…..had a fabulous time!
I can’t really do the trip justice in the space I have here, so I really encourage you to visit my blog post for LOTS of photos and stories and interesting information about Costa Rica: click here! There was so much more I wanted to do, but didn’t have the time….but, you know what that means….I have to go back and I absolutely will!