Rich and Yun, April 2015

Rich, dad of 3 and 4 yr olds traveled with his family and his parents
10 day Volcano, Rainforest, Beach tour with combo lodging
We had a great trip.  We loved waking up to the sounds of the wildlife in the mornings, especially in the rainforest at Sarapiqui.  When we got to the Boston airport around midnight last night, our 3-year-old Marc’s first comment was, “I miss Costa Rica.”  So the kids enjoyed it too.  They especially enjoyed the beach, which was not a surprise!  They also loved the butterfly garden at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.  I hadn’t ever seen quite so many butterflies in a single butterfly garden before – there were times when three or four of them would land on the same person at the same time.  We loved traveling with Luis.  He definitely made it easy to get around and choose places to visit and restaurants at which to eat.
The hot springs right at the Silenio del Campo resort were great.  It was nice that we didn’t feel like we had to go elsewhere and pay a small fortune to swim in the hot springs.  True, there are no slides or anything along those lines at the hotels, but we were happier without the crowds, and the hot springs were perfectly pleasant.  Both times we went in them, we had one of the springs entirely to ourselves.  We took a walk in the national park at the volcano and went as far as the viewpoint, but didn’t complete the whole loop, just because the kids seemed to have had enough.  We explored the town and had gelato early that afternoon.  The gelato there was quite good, and we stopped at the grocery store and also bought a few souvenirs.  We went to a wildlife reserve the next morning and saw a sloth, caimans, some neat birds, and other wildlife.  That was an enjoyable stop.
At Sarapiqui, we went swimming in the pool the first day and ate in the Italian restaurant in the resort.  Luis said that the other restaurant served more typical Costa Rican food and was expensive for what you get.  He said you could get food just as good at other places for less, so he recommended the Italian place, which was quite good.  (And the kids love pizza and pasta, so there were no complaints about the food from them either.)  The next morning, we went for a boat ride on the Sarapiqui.  Luis said that he preferred to do it on a private boat as opposed to the official tour, because it was slightly cheaper and we would have the whole boat to ourselves.  So that’s what we did.  It was $60 per hour for the whole boat, and we asked to go out for 2 hours.  It was a nice trip, because we saw several groups of monkeys and lots of birds, lizards, and other wildlife. It rained a good bit while we were on the boat, but since it was covered, we didn’t really get too wet.  We took the kids back to the resort for a nap in the afternoon.  My parents stayed with the kids and my wife Yun and I went zip lining, which was also fun.  It was just the two of us with two guides, and they were really nice guys, so we enjoyed it.  I’ve spent a good bit of time on rope as a cave explorer, but I had never been zip lining before, so I enjoyed it, as did Yun.
The beach was certainly a relaxing way to end the trip.  We loved the blue cottage.  We weren’t sure whether we should use the mosquito nets or not.  In the end, we didn’t use them, since we felt cooler without being covered by the nets, but we weren’t sure whether that was the right choice or not.  We certainly didn’t seem overly bothered by any insects.  We might have had a bite here and there but not lots of them.  We walked to Cahuita National Park our first full day there and enjoyed the white sand beach there.  But we actually liked the black sand beach right across from the guest house even better.  It was quieter, and it didn’t seem like you had to be as concerned about rip tides there.  The water temperature and waves were perfect.  We had a fair bit of cloudy weather, and it rained a lot at night an in the early morning, but in general, the rain didn’t stop us from doing anything.  It was generally mostly dry during the days.  We tried different places for the meals.  We tried the reggae bar right near the guest house the first night, a pizza place right on the beach close to town the second night, and the other restaurant right across from the reggae bar the third night.  We love the crepes at the place right in town.  Their Cahuita crepe with fresh fruit and chocolate sauce and a scoop of ice cream was fabulous!  (Though a few of the ice cream flavors were not particularly good.  It’s possible that some were homemade and some weren’t, because we had both good and bad ice cream there.)
Thanks for your help!  I’ll certainly recommend using you (and Luis) if I hear of anyone else looking to travel to Costa Rica in the near future.