Thank you to Ali Swank at aligoesthedistance.com for this great post and pictures about her recent trip to Costa Rica! Ali is one of my friends I met in college and she is very much into living a healthy and active lifestyle and helping others do the same. Now she has her own personal training business and teaches fitness classes in the Tampa area. If you are interested in running, workout tips, healthy recipes, or personal training definitely check out her website & blog.
Fitness, Food, & Fun in Costa Rica!
I recently just took a vacation with my family on our first trip international trip to Costa Rica! Among a few other similar destinations, we chose Costa Rica for the many activities it offers such as hiking, stand up paddle boarding (SUP), the diverse wildlife, and their beaches and laid-back lifestyle. The food was fresh and healthy yet simplified, and very tasty. We ate at local “sodas” known as diners. Sodas and most restaurants are known for serving rice and beans with a choice of meat or a Casada, which includes rice and beans, meat, small salad or coleslaw, plantains, and a vegetable. These sodas were found through the country so we definitely got our fill of these!
We started our trip driving to La Fortuna, a small kind of touristy town near the Arenal Volcano. The area has a lot of history and culture, being settled near the Volcano, of which one of the peaks is still active. We did a self-tour in the Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, a park with six hanging suspended bridges among the rainforest canopy. It was also a botanical park with a variety of plants, flowers, and trees as well as birds and insects. They had beautiful walking trails throughout for a self-guided walk or the option to take a tour.
The next day, we also did a toured hike along the volcano and of La Fortuna Waterfall with a lunch provided by a local Costa Rican family. The waterfall was absolutely breathtaking to say the least! We even got to take a dip in the seventy-five degree water—so refreshing! We had lunch, than took the hiking tour with our group. We saw a mother and baby sloth, toucans, a variety of insects, birds, plants, and trees.
After three days spent in the La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano area, we then drove to Monte Verde, a small town in the mountains known for farming. There we toured a coffee plantation and farm, which was especially interesting! We learned the process of how the coffee trees are grown and harvested and completed the tour with tasting! Their coffee is amazing so I made sure to bring some back.
From Monte Verde, we drove down the Pacific coast to Puntarenas. Here, we were no longer in the mountains and got to see another beautiful aspect of the country—their beaches! Their beaches are known for their black sand due to the lava having erupted from the volcanoes. We drove down the coast to see a small, yet popular surf town called Jaco. They had great surf (from afar) and delicious coconut ice cream. Driving back to Puntarenas for the night, we got up the next morning to see the last part of our trip, a trip to Manual Antonio National Park, but a beautiful and primitive park. We hiked various trails and we’re able to take a dip at a couple of their beaches. We saw white-faced monkeys and raccoons on the beach!
To top off the trip, we did a boat tour of the mangroves in Damas, right outside the national park. We saw crocodiles, more white-faced monkeys, and birds. We learned about ecosystem of the mangroves, which was especially interesting. The best part of the tour was that we got to feed the monkeys on our boat ride—definitely a fun and exciting way to end the trip.
Looks like it was a great trip! Have you been to Costa Rica? What did you see when you were there? Let us know in the comments!
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