Costa Rica is the adventure capital of Central America and I recently made my 2nd trip to the country and adventure was on the menu daily.
Arenal is known for its sometimes active volcano and hot springs and is located about two hours from San Jose airport (SJO). Adventure-seekers can whitewater raft, zip-line, hike, bike, experience hanging bridges, and view wild and dangerous animals all over the area. Be sure to bring cool clothes and rain gear as the weather is warm and humid.
I stayed at Amor Arenal which is perfect for couples and adults since the minimum age is 13. Each luxury cabin has an open floor plan with either king beds or two queen beds, double shower overlooking the volcano, and an outdoor deck with jacuzzi also overlooking the volcano. Food is incredible and breakfast is included with your stay. I didn’t want to leave.
Families might want to stay at either The Springs which has large guest rooms and an on-site adventure center or Nayara Tented Camp which has 2 bedroom “tents” and is a luxury resort. Both are located near area activities.
We visited Arenal Hanging Bridges Park with our private guide who showed us poisonous pit vipers, tarantulas, bats, tree frogs, and sloths. The hanging bridges made me a little nervous since they swing and sway and are 100+ feet off the ground but once you went over the first one the rest were easy. The trick is to walk in the center as much as you can. The more you widen your gait the more the bridge sways.
After Arenal we crossed Arenal Lake and went up the mountain to Monteverde Cloud Forest. Since it’s a higher altitude the temperatures are a little lower. More adventure and activities await here since you can zip-line, hike, night walks through the parks, hanging brides, sky treks, bird-watching, and food tours (chocolate and coffee).
We zip-lined and did the night walk while in the area. During the guided night walk we saw more creepy and scary animals like pit vipers and tarantulas, but we also saw a gorgeous sleeping toucan. The zip-line was so much fun and the highest and scariest ones I’ve ever done.
I stayed at Senda Monteverde just above the main part of town. This resort is on several acres with views of the cloud forest.
Last stop was Santa Teresa for a little beach time. The town is up-and-coming with some celebrities owning homes while the rest of the residents can be found surfing. A lot of cute shops and restaurants are within walking distance of most of the hotels.
We stayed at Nantipa which is a good option for families and couples. The resort is small but has (2) 3-bedroom villas with their own pool right on the beach and several accommodations with plunge pools and some suited for families with daybeds and trundles.
Since it’s a surfing town I had to try surfing for the first time. Our guides did their best to work with us to help us stand on the board. I only made it up to my knees as the salt water was just too much for me (I’m a pool girl) but I was pleased. Next time I’ll work to standing all the way up.
Santa Teresa is several hours from the San Jose airport so we took a quick 20 minute flight from a nearby airport on a 12-seater.
The theme of the week was “out of my comfort zone”. I’m not very adventurous, don’t like snakes, and if I get in the ocean it’s only for a few minutes but this week I said yes to every activity and I don’t regret it.