Costa Rica hosts a variety of adventures, boasts natural wonders and beautiful beaches….
…AND I speak a little Spanish or whatever
So, finally deciding to pull the trigger on this Central American country was muy fácil!
I traveled to Costa Rica to kick off my 30th Birthday Celebration and as I discussed in my last post, I was originally supposed to venture with a raggedy travel group. Instead I traveled with my little cousin and we had a blast! Here is our complete 3 day itinerary, I wouldn’t trade a thing–except lodging.
When I let friends know I was staying at RIU Guanacaste, they left me excited! I had heard so many great things about the hotel. Unfortunately, I was left disappointed and left the most detailed and negative review before I could even get off the property. See below.
“Overrated. Dated hotel rooms. We took a Uber here with no issues but oddly there were no cars available for pickup upon departure. It’s like the hotel refuses to allow you to take advantage of any outside transportation option and literally blocks any outside vendors from doing business. I saw someone else comment in their review that the hotel felt like a prison camp and impossible to escape from and I agree. Food was subpar (breakfast was the worst option). I noticed quite a few staff cooking without gloves. Including a young lady flipping french toast with her bare hands. Barf! Restaurants at capacity for dinner every evening, with a wait of over an hour. Was feeling under the weather one evening and discovered there was no option for room service, what! Was told I would have to change my clothes at dinner one evening (I had on a swimsuit and long sleeved cover up down to my knees). I didn’t complain nor did I challenge Ruz, but the way he spoke to me didn’t sit well with me at all. I also noticed this policy may depend on your body shape. I saw a less curvier girl wearing a crop top with no issues. Ruz approached me with no greeting and demanded “you need to change.” When I asked him if I could leave my plate at the table and come back for it he’s like “please. It’s dinner. You need to change”. Again, I didn’t challenge him, nor am I complaining about their policy. They may have it for good reason. It’s the way Ruz handled the situation and how he spoke to /treated me. He ignored my guest and I all evening. He barely looked our way until he noticed I had a completed survey at our table with bad comments. Richard saved the day. He apologized on Ruz’s behalf and got us into an alternate restaurant that we had previously been waiting for an hour to get into. I really appreciate his service. Check in was nice. I appreciated the welcome drink (it was juice). The water activities get extremely busy. A heads up that you should book a day in advance would have been nice. The pool closes at 6! No late night dips at this hotel. And the WiFi is weak and constantly asked me to re-sign in. You get a lovely view of the beach from the hotel but otherwise I’d have to recommend staying somewhere else.”
I had never been to Panama, so when I saw Copa Air had affordable flights to Costa Rica with an overnight in Panama, I was instantly sold!
I’m so glad I stopped in Panama. It’s a cheap destination and the food was great, but do not fly Copa. My little cousin’s bag was completely destroyed! She reached out to an agent at the airport who noted that the wheels on her bag were completely broken and that the damage was done by the airline, but after reaching out to them via email and social media, we heard nothing.
Because our time in Panama was limited, I don’t have much to say, but I do highly recommend you dine at El Trapiche. The food was delectable and affordable. I had the steak and onions and eggs, tomatoes and pork crackling.
Be mindful when you use Uber in Panama. We had to dispute almost every trip. The drivers refused to stop the trips in a timely fashion and we’re extending our trips, sometimes doubling the cost every time!
Back to Costa Rica
Other than lounging around the resort and getting much needed R&R, we did two activities in Costa Rica that are worth mentioning.
FULL Day of Adventure
For our first day in Costa Rica we booked The Canyon Adventure Combo Tour excursion and it was AWESOME! We started out with zip-lining, tubed down the Colorado River and ended the day with a scenic horseback ride.
The lunch was the absolute best meal I had on during our entire trip, pics below!
This tour is not for the lazy! It’s FULL of adrenaline. I crashed after this excursion at 7 PM that night (I know, is that really saying much for me?) but seriously, it is exhausting, but so much fun.
The tour comes with roundtrip transportation from your hotel and the tour guide even stopped at a souvenir shop for us on the way back, no regrets!
By now you all should know, I love a short and sweet catamaran. Let me get off and swim a bit, feed me, give me drinks, and take me home! The Sunset Boat Ride we booked in Costa Rica did all of that and more. It was perfect.
I am totally a review junkie, so when I saw zero reviews for this excursion I had to go with my gut, and I’m glad it told me to just book it! The ride was about five hours and included lunch, scuba equipment and floaties.
I’d like to apologize in advance, I barely took any pics! I was too busy having fun! I jokingly told the chef that I’d take him back to America as my personal food preparer because again, the food was delicious!
We had rice and chicken, a salad, fruit and pound cake. The drinks were plentiful and I was showing off and had a few cocktails. We stopped over to a beach and just swam and had girl talk.
We ended the evening with a beautiful sunset and the tour was again money well spent.
I know there are stories popping up about the alcohol being tainted in Costa Rica too (fix it Jesus), but if this gets resolved and even better if you don’t drink, I do highly recommend you take the trip.
Costa Rica is a beautiful country and has a lot to offer. I also spent less than $100 the entire weekend. My excursions were pre-paid, we stayed at an all inclusive resort and I really only had to spend money on airport transportation, a few Uber’s and a couple of souvenirs.
Thanks for reading and…PURA VIDA!