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Travel Logs: Instagrammer’s Guide to Costa Rica

Travel Logs: Instagrammer’s Guide to Costa Rica

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Travel Logs: Costa Rica 5 Things to Know Before You Go


We’re making the most of my Southwest companion pass this year and hitting some new vacation spots in the eastern hemisphere.  Our first choice was unanimous; Costa Rica.  Honestly, before we decided to go, I really didn’t know anything about the country except for its reputation for great surfing.  But after everything we’ve learned about the country and how awesome our first visit was, I know we will return again and again.  Below you’ll find our top five tips we learned on our travels.  I hope the pics inspire you to plan your next vaca to Costa Rica.



Soak in the Hot Springs

This is the first time that I have visited hot springs that were truly hot. Most of the time I arrive at hot springs and they are lukewarm at best.  Not in Costa Rica! The springs are heated by the  Arenal volcano and they are steamy! Several resorts are built around the Volcano take full advantage of the natural springs on their property.  If you don’t want to stay in the resorts, you can stay at a hostel in town and just buy a day pass to the springs. We opted for option A and stayed at Tabacon Resort and Spa.  {Due to a slight snafu with booking, we found ourselves upgraded to the two-bedroom master suite and it was amazing!} 

Tabacon Springs are gorgeously manicured with several waterfalls and cascading pools throughout the 900-acre property.  Locker rooms service the springs, but it’s just basic lockers and showers.  One perk of being a resort hotel guest is a private “Shangri La” Garden with a dedicated bartender and your own wading pools and lounge areas.

The Instagrammers Guide To Costa Rica | Photo-Ops in Costa Rica | Hot Springs
The Instagrammers Guide To Costa Rica| Photo-Ops in Costa Rica | Travel
The Instagrammers Guide To Costa Rica | Photo-Ops in Costa Rica | Tabacon Hot Springs

Spend Some Time in the Wild

So I have to be honest, initially, a hanging bridges tour just didn’t sound that amazing to me.  However, we found an ecotour that included a hike through the Mistico Park rainforest, hanging bridges, and a swim in the waterfalls.  Since the tour had ridiculously high reviews, I decided to take a chance on it and I’m so glad I did.  First of all, our tour guides were outstanding.  They were so knowledgeable and friendly.  Second,  we had opted for the small group tour {a necessity due to my terrible hearing} but the other couple didn’t show up. So, we had our guides all to ourselves!

The hanging bridges were actually more thrilling than I’d imagined. It’s a bit like being in a bouncy house…a really slippery, metal bouncy house strung over a cavern. But they give you a chance to see the rainforest, waterfalls, and wildlife from all angles. Being a rainforest, there were a couple major downpours during our tour! But I had ordered these raincoats for us and they kept us completely dry!  During our tour, we saw spider monkeys, howler monkeys, countless species of birds, and even a tarantula.  

The Instagrammers Guide To Costa Rica | Photo-Ops in Costa Rica | Eco Tourism
The Instagrammers Guide To Costa Rica | Photo-Ops in Costa Rica | Eco Tourism
The Instagrammers Guide To Costa Rica | Photo-Ops in Costa Rica | Eco Tourism

Get Your Java Fix

If you have been on this blog before, you know we are huge java junkies.  When we saw the opportunity to do a coffee tour, we were all in.  The North Fields Coffee Tour only takes a couple hours but takes you through the entire process from picking the beans to roasting.  It was enlightening to see all the different stages along the way and hear what coffee farmers think of some of our coffee drinking habits.  Also, did you know that dark roast coffee is dark roasted because it is typically a lower quality bean?  AND it’s the least strong???  That’s the total opposite of what I had always believed!  If you enjoy a good cup of joe, this is a really enjoyable excursion. **A note for families- I think being out on the farm would be fun for little ones, but the latter part of the tour about the dring and roasting process might lose their interest.

The Instagrammers Guide To Costa Rica | Photo-Ops in Costa Rica | Coffee Tours
 The Instagrammers Guide To Costa Rica | Photo-Ops in Costa Rica | Coffee Tours
The Instagrammers Guide To Costa Rica | Photo-Ops in Costa Rica | Coffee Tours

Day Trip it to Tortuga

Get me a tropical drink and a white sand beach and I am the happiest of girls!  If this goes for you too, make sure you include a day trip to Isle de Tortuga on your itinerary.  Tortuga is in the Gulf of Nicoya.  It’s a quick trip from the Guanacaste peninsula or Jaco, so excursions leave from either location.  We booked the tour with Costa Cruises and they were outstanding! They’re a fairly new company…but these guys delivered the absolute best service. We didn’t go 15 minutes without someone from the crew checking to see if we needed anything or refilling our drinks.  They were so great!!

When you arrive on the white sandy beach, lounge chairs and umbrellas are lined up perfectly under the palm tree waiting for you.  Not long after you drop your things in the sand, you’ll be offered a complimentary rum punch or margarita.  OR you can have someone climb a tree, cut a fresh coconut, pour in some rum and have the freshest, lightest version of a pina colada….guess what I opted for?  We also encountered some local fisherman who made us ceviche from the catch they just pulled out of the ocean.  This place is literally my version of heaven.  You can choose to be lazy on the beach all day or go out for some snorkeling, hiking, banana boat rides, or just frolic in the ocean.  We chose all of the above!  This day trip is a must, must, MUST do.

The Instagrammers Guide To Costa Rica | Photo-Ops in Costa Rica | Tortuga Day Trip
The Instagrammers Guide To Costa Rica | Photo-Ops in Costa Rica | Tortuga Day Trip

Engage With the Locals

Hands down this is the most welcome I have ever felt on any vacation, domestic or abroad. The people of Costa Rica really do live the Pura Vida lifestyle and I love it. Costa Rica has a 97% literacy rate…partially because they don’t have an army. So more tax money is spent on schools and education. Everyone we encountered was happy to share with us and educate us and I cannot wait to return.  Enjoy the natural beauty and laid-back vibe that so often escapes us in our overly connected lives.

The Instagrammers Guide To Santorini, Greece | Photo-Ops in Santorini, Greece | Blue Doors
The Instagrammers Guide To Santorini, Greece | Photo-Ops in Santorini, Greece | Oia Blue Domes
The Instagrammers Guide To Santorini, Greece | Photo-Ops in Santorini, Greece | Church Domes

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About The Author


Not one to settle for status quo, Holli has spent her 20 year career shaking up the multifamily industry. From creating unheard of building amenities to designing lounge-like leasing centers, to major Pinterest fails in the kitchen, she is ever experimenting. It’s no surprise that she created a new way to match apartment renters with their perfect home. Holli is a featured speaker and session facilitator at regional and national industry conferences. When she’s not brainstorming the next marketing campaign, you can find Holli testing the limits of bottomless brunch or climbing the Peloton Leaderboard!

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