We're back from our Honeymoon in Costa Rica (No Pix Yet)
alina Posted: Jul 21, 2003 11:25 PM+
alina MEMBER SINCE: 7/02 TOTAL POSTS : 4407 WEDDING DATE: Jul 05, 2003
Posted: Jul 21, 2003 11:25 PM
We're back from our Honeymoon in Costa Rica (No Pix Yet)Hi everyone:
We're back from our wonderfull 10 night honeymoon in Costa Rica, and I am here to provide the review for all those interested :-). We visited three areas (Arenal Volcano Tabacon Hot Springs, Tamarindo Beach in Guanacaste and Alajuela/San Jose area).
First we went to Tabacon Resort and Hot Springs, and stayed in Tabacon Lodge (the hotel affiliated with the resort). Although they were pricey, it was a well worth it experience. The hotel was very nice, with good furniture and rooms. There were two restaurants within walking distance from us, one immediately at the hotel, and another at the Resort - a short 10 minute walk away around the corner. We had dinner at each. The restaurant at the hotel serves a-la carte style and the food was significantly better than the buffet style restaurant at the Hot Springs Resort. Prices for both dinners were about the same, but the quantity of food of served of course made a difference.
The hot springs themselves were amazing, some really hot (about 40 degrees celsius) and some a bit cooler (around 25 celsius). It rained a bit at night and on our 2nd day, but the rain was welcome, given the hot springs and cooler rain. there was also an amazing 20 ft waterfall, inside which there were these caves that provided a sauna-like atmosphere for the visitors. There was also a spa onsite, and we enjoyed our treatments there.
We only saw a base of the volcano, due to clouds. We did the canopy tour there, and this is the only thing that I don't recommend about this place. There were only 3 zip lines, so it was short and sort of ridiculous. I think Monteverde has better options for canopy tours, but we haven't been there.
Overall rating: A+ and we would come back there again, on one of our anniversaries.
Tamarindo: We didn't really like this 'surfer's' town. Prices for food/drinks were similar to New York's and trips/sporting rentals were expensive and not very good. The beach was OK, not the white sand, but not horrible either. At night, crabs would come out of their halls and hustle around.
We enjoyed jumping up and down the waves, and swimming and one day even took a two person canoe into the ocean. There are many horseback riding outlets in the town and we had to watch carefully where we step while walking along the beach. Overall, the town gets a 'C' and I don't recommend visiting it unless you absolutely want to go to the beach while in Costa Rica, and/or enjoy surfing.
Hotel Capitan Suizo in Tamarindo gets an 'A-'. Overall, the hotel is a nice piece of oasis in an otherwise rumbly town. The breakfasts were not as good as at Tabacon, and we were particularly annoyed that they charged extra for eggs. But wonderful sweet pastries and assortment of fruit made up for our lack of hot items. The restaurant at the hotel is well rated in guidebooks, but everything on the menu is something made in cream sauce, so we only ate there twice (once for each lunch and dinner). We stayed in the bungalow, which was guite spacious and had an outdoor cold water shower in addition to the regular shower inside. We liked the rooms but felt that each bungalow was too close to one another. The swimming pool was nice at the hotel. Another attraction was the availability of wild life right in front of our 'noses'. We saw numerous iguana's who were not afraid of people, saw pretty orange squirels eating a cactus fruit, shared our breakfast with daring birds, who would come to the table, and heard howler monkeys around the sunrise...
We took 3 trips throughout our 6-night stay: One to Palo Verde National Park, on a boat, and saw many crocodiles and birds. The trip was Ok, and we felt we didn't get as much enjoyment out of it as we expected. We also visited a Monkey Park - an animal rescue center/mini zoo, which we enjoyed a lot. We saw a spider monkey addicted to coca cola, who was also quite narcisistic, as he observed himself in the mirror. We also petted some howler monkeys and a young porcupine. We saw some parrots and scarlet macau's and toucan's there and overall enjoyed the visit. We also took snorkeling trip, and the equipment kind of 's.u.c.ked' and we had to dive in order to see anything, which DH can't do due to an ear problem. After that miserable trip we were kind of turned off from any future daytrips in the country. On a plus side, we discovered a great restaurant - Pedro's - which specializes in freshly cooked seafood, and I had the most amazing red snapper two days in a row for dinner. It was cheap too, about $7-10 per dish!!!
Our next stop was Xandari Plantation in Alajuela, which truly was a great end to a honeymoon and a must visit for anyone staying in the San Jose area. The hotel itself get an 'A' rating. It occupies a large area just outside of Alajuela, Costa Rica's 2nd largest town near San Jose. When we arrived there, the beauty of the resort automatically made us even more relaxed than we felt before and killed any desire to go away for any daytrips. Its an expensive hotel, but its beauty well makes up for it. Although its located on a working coffee plantation, there were no free tours of the coffee fields, etc. and to be perfectly honest I thought the coffee didn't taste all that great, which was disappointing. Another reason why it wasn't rated an A+ is due to the not so great restaurant at the property. They try to cook gourmet type of meals, but I didn't like my dinner entrees on either of the two nights's we spent there (they were both fish, and not the freshest, cooked in a lot of vinegar). Lunch of avocado sandwich was quite tasty.
Otherwise, the villa's at Xandari were absolutely exquisite and private, and having alerted the staff that it was our honeymoon, we have received the only thatched conical roofed bungalow. All other villa's had plain cement ceiling. If you plan to reserve this place for your honeymoon, request 'villa #20'. The villa's were nice sized, with beautiful and calming decor. Each villa has its lown little patio to overlook the plantation. There are also two lap swimming pools on side and one jacuzzi and a spa (where we had a wonderful massage lesson). On our free day there between the two nights of stay we went hiking and visited the five waterfalls that are located at the property, the largest being 70 feet tall. Overall, from all the hotels, this was definitely a must visit for a honeymoon or any other special occasion. A, also a not to those with lower back problems, the mattresses at Xandari were surprisingly too soft, a mild disappointment to me.
With regard to driving, we didn't rent a car and were very much glad of it. As much as the private transfers were a huge expense, the potholes during the rainy season are out of control in costa rica, particularly in tamarindo area and near the approach to Arenal... Unless you plan to do a lot driving, I don't think rentin a car is worthwhile. Also, make sure to bring 90 or 100 % deet spray, as more mild versions are not effective against the wonderful insects.
I think that's all. We're glad to be back and so far are happily married. I'll try to post photos as soon as they are developed.
WithThisRing Posted: Jul 21, 2003 11:33 PM+
WithThisRing MEMBER SINCE: 11/02 TOTAL POSTS : 14142 WEDDING DATE: Sep 18, 2004
Posted: Jul 21, 2003 11:33 PM
Re: We're back from our Honeymoon in Costa Rica (No Pix Yet)Sounds like you had a wonderful time
Glad your back and cant wait to see pics
jags77 Posted: Jul 22, 2003 12:05 AM+
jags77 MEMBER SINCE: 3/03 TOTAL POSTS : 1395 WEDDING DATE: Nov 15, 2003
Posted: Jul 22, 2003 12:05 AM
Re: We're back from our Honeymoon in Costa Rica (No Pix Yet)i want to hear more about your trip! i'm going there in dec for HM. we are going to do to tabacon and xandari too. we were thinking about tamarindo but maybe we'll spend more time in manuel antonio instead. i can't wait to see pictures.
congratulations and welcome back!!
2003OCT10 Posted: Jul 22, 2003 01:41 AM+
2003OCT10 MEMBER SINCE: 7/03 TOTAL POSTS : 2630 WEDDING DATE: Oct 10, 2003
Posted: Jul 22, 2003 01:41 AM
Re: We're back from our Honeymoon in Costa Rica (No Pix Yet)Glad you had a blast!! Can't wait for pictures!! Congratualtions!
nrvbrd Posted: Jul 22, 2003 09:56 AM+
nrvbrd MEMBER SINCE: 10/02 TOTAL POSTS : 5249 WEDDING DATE: Sep 06, 2003
Posted: Jul 22, 2003 09:56 AM
Re: We're back from our Honeymoon in Costa Rica (No Pix Yet)Welcome back Alina!!!!
I CANNOT wait to see pics
Julybaby Posted: Jul 22, 2003 02:10 PM+
Julybaby MEMBER SINCE: 10/02 TOTAL POSTS : 2664 WEDDING DATE: Jul 05, 2003
Posted: Jul 22, 2003 02:10 PM
Re: We're back from our Honeymoon in Costa Rica (No Pix Yet)Welcome back! I enjoyed reading your review of Costa Rica. We were supposed to go there for vacation last year, but my DH decided not to go. I'm dying to go there in the near future.
shelzyp Posted: Jul 22, 2003 02:15 PM+
shelzyp MEMBER SINCE: 1/03 TOTAL POSTS : 7428 WEDDING DATE: Oct 12, 2003
Posted: Jul 22, 2003 02:15 PM
Re: We're back from our Honeymoon in Costa Rica (No Pix Yet)Welcome back, what a great review, can't wait to see pics.
mv1003 Posted: Jul 22, 2003 03:27 PM+
mv1003 MEMBER SINCE: 11/02 TOTAL POSTS : 1783 WEDDING DATE: Oct 19, 2003 WEDDING LOCATION: Lr.Sackville,NS,Canada
Posted: Jul 22, 2003 03:27 PM
Re: We're back from our Honeymoon in Costa Rica (No Pix Yet)Congratulations!!!! Sounds amazing!
Can't wait to see the beautiful pictures!!!!
AlisonMT Posted: Jul 22, 2003 07:28 PM+
AlisonMT MEMBER SINCE: 8/01 TOTAL POSTS : 1586 WEDDING DATE: Jul 06, 2003
Posted: Jul 22, 2003 07:28 PM
Re: We're back from our Honeymoon in Costa Rica (No Pix Yet)Welcome back, Alina! We also just returned from our honeymoon. Did you post wedding pics?? How was it?? I'd love to see....
mlp924 Posted: Jul 22, 2003 07:53 PM+
mlp924 MEMBER SINCE: 5/03 TOTAL POSTS : 6172 WEDDING DATE: Mar 12, 2004
Posted: Jul 22, 2003 07:53 PM
Re: We're back from our Honeymoon in Costa Rica (No Pix Yet)Sounds wonderful!
jd414 Posted: Jul 23, 2003 01:38 AM+
jd414 MEMBER SINCE: 7/03 TOTAL POSTS : 106 WEDDING DATE: May 07, 2005
Posted: Jul 23, 2003 01:38 AM
Re: We're back from our Honeymoon in Costa Rica (No Pix Yet)Wow. sounds like a great place. welcome home!
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