Costa Rica Escape

By Linda Wright

My husband Marvin and I have been escaping the cold winter in Ontario to enjoy the Caribbean, sun even for just a week. Over the years we have visited many of the Caribbean islands, most of the time staying in all inclusive resorts and on one occasion we cruised the eastern Caribbean.

For this years escape we were looking for something a little different. We like staying at the smaller resorts, although some of them may not carry a 5 star rating, we prefer the intimacy of the smaller low-rise buildings to a hotel tower. Our Travel Agent suggested the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and the Barcelo Langosta Beach through Sunquest for our vacation. We booked and were excited for the opportunity to have a new experience in a destination we had never been. Just arriving back to Canada, WOW what a trip, there wildlife is incredible here including this howler monkey Marvin photographed.

Costa Rica, which means Rich Coast and is located in Central America bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to southeast, Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. We arrived at the newly opened Liberia Costa Rica International Airport and then hopped on the bus for our 45 minute transfer to Tamarindo and Barcelo Langosta Beach.The resort sits on Taramindo Bay which is a popular surfing destination and just 2.5 km to the village of Taramindo with additional restaurants, bars and nightlife.

The rooms have all recently been renovated and are well appointed with either 1 king or 2 queen beds, a mini fridge with refreshments that is refilled daily, a desk area, sitting area, balcony,  and we were delighted every day to discover another creatively folded towel with fresh flowers in our room. The resort is focused on cleanliness and catered to our needs, and also features a spa, nightclub, restaurant and internet room.

The resort has a great range of daily activities including dance lessons, water aerobics, water & beach volleyball, ping pong, chess and surfing. There is a large pool, kiddie pool, hot tub and the magnificient Pacific Ocean. We loved watching surfers and holding hands to venture out to have the surf toss you around .  Playing in the Ocean proved to be our favourite daily activity. Get up early, or send your husband down to the beach to reserve your lounge chairs for the day. Never have we experienced such spectacular,  perfect weather with constant temperature around 28 degrees.  No need for sweaters- bring big hats and all the sunscreen you can carry.

Eating & drinking is endless.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner were served buffet style in the main dining room.  We found the food quality to be great with a variety of offerings throughout the week, with chicken, pork and beef available daily. For us there was just so much food that we opted to lunch at the pool bar where we especially developed a liking for the chicken wings and chips.  Our package included an a la carte fine dining evening at the restaurant at the resort, which we enjoyed, especially the service.

A vast array of Daily Tours (at extra cost) were available at the resort.  Canyon zip line, Rappelling & Tubing, White Water Rafting levels III & IV Arenal Volcano & Rainforest Walk, Hanging Bridges in the Rainforest, Rincon de la Veja National Park Hike, Nicaragua: Lakes, Volcanoes and Colonial Cities.

Given all the daily tour options, we were excited about the choices we made.  First, we joined 14 other tourists for a night excursion to see the black turtles come ashore and lay their eggs.  This feat of nature is one we will never forget and were fortunate enough to be able to photograph.

Our second tour included a long bus trip where the travel guide (with degrees in history, biology, anthropology) explained the history of this terrific country, their major crops which include sugar cane, watermelon, cantaloupe and talked of how critical tourism is to them.  We then enjoyed a one hour boat trip to Palo Verde National Park to observe aquatic birds, crocodiles, white-face monkeys and  numerous lizards.

This vacation was amazing – next year we should book for 2 weeks!