5 Reasons I Fell Madly in Love with Costa Rica

zip line in Manuel Antonio

After visiting Costa Rica the first time, I knew it would not be my last trip. A little over a year later, we took another vacation to a different part of Costa Rica and I only fell more in love with this wonderful country. Their motto is”Pura Vida”, which means pure life. The people truly live this motto and you can not help but feel it. There are many reasons I love Costa Rica, these just sum up what truly won my heart.

Monkeys

Depending on where you stay will determine, to a degree, how much monkeys will play a part in your trip to Costa Rica. We have visited twice, each time staying in different areas. The first trip we stayed in Tamarindo, Arenal and San Jose. The only time we encountered monkeys on that trip was while exploring the Arenal Hanging Bridges, which is located in the canopy of the rainforest. The monkeys seen this trip were Howler Monkeys. We saw quite a few, including a mom carrying a baby, but had to look carefully into the trees to see them. Hearing these guys is a completely different story. You can not miss the howl/barking sound that they make.

Howler Monkey and baby

Howler Monkey Mom carrying baby in Arenal

Our second trip was much different. We stayed in Manuel Antonio, much higher into the trees in an open concept style house. Our house was a playground for monkeys. On the roof, on the balcony rail, in the trees, on our couch, in the living room, the monkeys were in no way afraid of us. We saw Howler Monkeys this trip, but mostly we saw Squirrel Monkeys and Spider Monkeys.

Spider Monkey Costa Rica

Spider Monkey came into our living room and was checking out the scene.

Monkey stealing beer in Costa Rica

Hey! That’s my beer!

monkey hanging out in the trees in Costa Rica

Squirrel Monkey chillin’ in the trees

Mom and Baby Monkey Manuel Antonio

baby Squirrel Monkey hitching a ride with mom

Birds

More than 800 species of birds call Costa Rica home. The vibrant colors of some of these birds are truly incredible. After seeing so many beautiful varieties while visiting, many other amazing birds have now made my “must see” list. Getting photos was not easy, but I managed to catch a few shots.

bird Costa Rica

Blue-Crowned Motmot

Motmot Costa Rica

Motmot

Blue Macaw Costa Rica

Blue Macaw

Red Macaw

Red Macaw

Great Kiskadee - Costa Rica

Great Kiskadee

Adventure

Whitewater rafting, ATVs, hiking, surfing, zip lines, rappelling, hanging bridges, kayaks, there are endless opportunities for adventure in Costa Rica and options for all ages. My entire family aged 3 to 63 did a zip line tour in Manuel Antonio and everyone had a blast. My father even tried out surfing for the first time (at age 63) and decided that he is too old for surfing and that he can officially check that off his bucket list.

zip line in Manuel Antonio

zip line in Manuel Antonio

zip line Costa Rica

zip line at age 3

ATV on beach near Tamarindo

checking out the sunset while on ATV at a beach near Tamarindo

Arenal Hanging Bridges - Alajuela, Costa Rica

Arenal Hanging Bridges – Alajuela, Costa Rica

Details

It’s the details that can really make or break a place. In Costa Rica, the details are plentiful. Flowers are bright, trees hold bananas and mangos, monkeys greet you for breakfast, Red Eyed Tree Frogs lurk in the trees and when you least expect it, you may see a Toucan flying across your path.

Banana Tree

Banana Tree

Flowers in Arenal

Flowers in Arenal – Anyone know the name of these?

Red Eye Frog on rain forest night tour

Red Eyed Tree Frog on rainforest night tour

Views

Whether you are lying on the beach or swinging through the jungle, incredible views are to be enjoyed all over Costa Rica. Sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the views and sounds might be one of the best parts of this country.

sunset on Playa Langosta - Tamarindo

sunset on Playa Langosta – Tamarindo

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

beach Costa Rica

beach

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio

Have you been to Costa Rica? I would love to hear your thoughts and what you did or did not like about it. It’s a matter of time before I make my way back to this fascinating country.

Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

Sailing is the one adventure we undoubtedly knew we would embark upon while visiting St. John. My dad has always wanted to sail through the Caribbean, and has yet to do it, so this was the perfect opportunity to make that happen. We opted to do a private charter on a regular sailboat, versus a catamaran, which proved to be an excellent decision. Cloud 9 Sailing Adventures is the company we used and chose a sailing trip to Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands, which included a snorkel stop in Lovango Cay.

We started in Cruz Bay and headed to Lovango Cay, where we snorkeled for a little while before sailing to Jost Van Dyke. This was my 4 year old’s first snorkeling experience. She can swim but since she was not able to tread water for a long time, she used a mat to float on while checking out the beautiful tropical fish. This was awesome.

St. John, US Virgin Islands - Lovango Cay

Snorkeling in Lovango Cay, St. John, US Virgin Islands

When we arrived on the island, we first went through customs then walked to the world famous Foxy’s for lunch. Foxy’s has so much character! It is also worth noting that the Chicken Roti at Foxy’s is unbelievably delicious!

Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

Welcome to Jost Van Dyke, Britsh Virgin Islands

Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

Customs – Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

Foxy's - Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

Foxy’s – You must try the Chicken Roti

Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

Swinging in the tree outside of Foxy’s while waiting on lunch

Great Harbour - Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

more of Great Harbour – Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

When finishing lunch we sailed over to White Bay and swam to the beach. It was a beautiful day to bask in the Sun and be entertained by an interesting crowd. After a few painkillers at the Soggy Dollar Bar, we enjoyed a calm and perfect sail back into Cruz Bay.

Caribbean Sailing

Sailing back to St. John in the beautiful Caribbean

My dad had a perma-grin on his face the entire day, we all had a blast and the trip turned out to be one we will never forget.