I graduated from my Tefl course last Friday. I was a great experience. I am glad I made the trip to down to take the course. The last week my fiancé and I traveled around Costa Rica exploring and applying for jobs. Let me tell you about the places we visited and what I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy about the places.
The first place we went was Isla Tortuga. We went through Calypso Cruises. The company picked us, along with other people up from San Jose and drove us to Punta Arenas, where we had breakfast. The breakfast was a typical Costa Rican dish, Gallo Pinto. After breakfast we boarded the catamaran boat and headed for Isla Tortuga. It is about an hour and half boat ride. They served fresh fruits and drinks. We could drink free water and soda, everything else we had to pay for. It was a nice ride. We sat on the netting on the bow and took in the breeze. They had music and a pool for your feet on
the boat as well. Once we got to the Isla we had a few minutes to get ready for a snorkeling tour. Everyone who wanted to go boarded boats to the middle of the water. They gave us snorkeling equipment and let us go. We snorkeled around the area and saw lots of beautiful fish. The fish were so close we could touch them. Apparently, there was a ship wreck we could see if we had went over to that side of the snorkeling area. We had about 45 minutes to explore before heading back for lunch. Lunch was a four course meal consisting of ceviche, chicken, salad, and dessert. I had the vegetarian option which was a plantain ceviche, a bean mixture, salad, and dessert. After that we had plenty of time to enjoy the beach. I was not a huge fan of the beach. I have been to nicer beaches so for me this is a one-time trip. The boat then took us back to Punta Arenas where we got our ride back to San Jose. The boat ride home was very rainy. There was an amazing thunderstorm that lasted the whole ride back. It was amazing to see the lightening and the rain on the water.
The next place we went to was Monte Verde. This is one of my favorite places in Costa Rica. It is up a dirt and rock road in the mountains. It is amazing to be in the cloud rainforest. It rained a lot while we were there which I love because the sound and rain is a wonderful thing here. We stayed right in town near our favorite places to eat. We love Stella’s Bakery and this little restaurant in the back of the co-op that were right next to our little apartment. We spent our time at the cloud rainforest reserve with our amazing tour guide. We saw two kinds of monkeys, the howler and the spider monkeys. We also saw the most magnificent bird! I don’t remember the name. (see the picture to the right) Our guide told us a great deal of things about the rainforest and the different flora and fauna. He was a Quaker born in Costa Rica. His father actually did a lot for the cloud rainforest. They built a bridge dedicated to his father.
Playa Ocotal is tied as my number one beach in Costa Rica thus far. It is a black and white sand beach not far from Playa del Coco. There is a really great restaurant right on the beach called Father Rooster. They have good cocktails, smoothies, and food. I have been here twice and both times I was not let down. The beach has some amazing soft
sand. The water is so clear and calm, it makes for a relaxing time in the water. There are some volcanic rocks that have pools you can sit in and relax. The sunset is an amazing one as well. It is a quiet beach with not many people. I really enjoy this type of beach. It is a MUST SEE!
Playa Conchal is the other beach that is tied for number one. It has really clear water, seashells for sand, and massages right on the beach. It is more of a popular beach which makes it busier. The water is great for snorkeling around and the seashells are great for finding the perfect ones. Since it is more touristy there are people all over the place trying to sell you beach chairs, massages, drinks, and whatever else they have that day. Again, a MUST SEE!
We stayed at a AirBnB between Samara and Nosara. We slept in a tent that had electricity and a fan. The family that owns the AirBnB were amazing. They had a little child that loved to play in the mud and explore the grounds. The lady was a wonderful baker.
She made some amazing bread that we had for breakfast. I would recommend staying there if you like peace, quiet, and the outdoors. It was a quiet place with very little tourist. The roads to get there were dirt and rock. Sometimes you had to drive thru a small stream to keep going. We took a trip to Samara while we were there. I was not a huge fan. The water was not clear at all and it was very rough. Samara would be a great place if you love to surf.
We went body boarding while we were there and it was a ton of fun. I could only imagine how great surfing would be.
We briefly stopped at other beaches such as Tamarindo, Playa Barco Quebrado, Playa Garza, and Playa Barrigona. I like the town of Tamarindo. It was a tourist town that had some life. The water seemed to be similar to Samara. The other three beaches I did not like at all. They were dirty and reminded me of beaches similar to Ocean City in Maryland. I came to Costa Rica for nice beaches so these were low on my list.
There are still plenty more beaches, volcanoes, and rainforests I have to explore. Hopefully over the next year while teaching I will be able to explore more. As I explore I will post some reviews!