It has always been a dream of mine to visit Costa Rica and when I was able to make that dream a reality, I was blown away at how much better reality was than compared to my dreams. Costa Rica was beyond amazing and the beauty of the country was simply breath taking and exquisite. A week may not have been long enough to take in the vastness of the volcano ranges or the ample rainforests to explore, but I sure packed in a week of amazing activities and sight seeing.
For my trip I tried to minimize the gear I wanted to bring. I only packed two lenses, my 12-24 and my 70-200. I really didn’t want to be walking all over Costa Rica with tons of gear on my back. Instead of bringing my Gitzo tripod and Really Right Stuff ballhead, I opted to bring my Joby Gorillapod SLR Zoom tripod. The Gorillapod is small and compact and it fit perfectly in my backpack and it was flexible enough to wrap it’s legs around trees and railings etc.
When it came to finding a place to stay for my trip, I didn’t want some ordinary hotel etc, so I booked a villa at the Hotel Villa Caleta located in Herradura. The Hotel Villa Caleta was nestled on top of a mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean as well as overlooking the rainforests below. What drew me to want to stay at the Hotel Villa Caleta were the photos on their website, but once I arrived there the photos did no justice to how spectacular the hotel truly was.
If you ever visit Costa Rica, this is the place you need to stay. The staff was incredibly accommodating and amazing. The Hotel Villa Caleta was well maintained as it seemed every morning when I walked to breakfast, the staff was constantly cleaning the grounds and always greeted me with a “Buenos Dias” or “Hola”.
Costa Rica has a bevy of activities you could partake in. I went horseback riding and ATV riding with Ocean Ranch Park one day and that was out of this world. Imagine riding a horse through the rainforest, crossing streams on your way to a waterfall. The vista and views were phenomenal as our guide was as well. The best part for me was taking my horse, Charlie, and galloping at full speed through the forests and across streams. It was exhilarating and exciting at the same time.
But my real reason for visiting this amazing country, besides business of course, was to zipline across the canopy of the rainforest and I was able to do that with Rainforest Adventures. It was liberating to zipline across a half mile a couple hundred feet above the ground. I felt free and that is probably the best way to describe it.
Being an avid bird watcher, Costa Rica was an ideal spot for me as well as Costa Rica has 1/10th of the world’s bird population. I woke up every morning to toucans feeding out side of my balcony as well as watching hummingbirds move from banana tree to banana tree. The abundance of raptors also enticed me as I was finally able to get my first view of a wild caracara. We have caracaras here in FL, their numbers are dwindling to near extinct levels and I was just so happy to cross that bird off my checklist.
Of course, who doesn’t want to see a monkey in Costa Rica? I was able to see howler monkeys, white faced capuchins and 3 toed sloths as well as several types of crocodiles, lizards, frogs and snakes. I was able to visit the Manuel Antonio National Park which gave me the perfect opportunity to see all those animals in the wild. I may have hiked 6 miles over the park to see them, but it was well worth it. It was incredible to have white faced capuchins running only a mere few feet from me. And if you don’t watch your stuff the white faced capuchins will make sure they will.
I truly did not want my adventures in Costa Rica to end, but I know I will be back to this amazing country again in my lifetime. You have to visit Costa Rica to truly appreciate it’s beauty, it’s wildlife and the friendliness of its people. It may be a small nation in Central America, but it’s big enough for me to want to go back and explore every inch of it. It as the locals like to say, Pura Vida.