This was a week long girl’s trip with bestie Megan and two mutual friends, Maddie & Alex. Maddie and Alex had been staying in Costa Rica for a month already before Megan & I flew out the see them. 

Although this was the best trip of my life so far, I almost didn’t make it because of some holdups at the airport. I arrived about 45 min early for my 5am flight, thinking there wouldn’t be many people or problems this early in the day, middle of the week. I had my passport, covid card (it’s 2022), n95 mask, and -thought- everything I needed for my trip. When I go to check in with the front desk, they asked where my international travel insurance was, which they informed me had recently been required because we were still towards the end of Covid. I panicked, knowing I didn’t have that or where to start. The attendant was very nice and helpful. She had me scoot over, but stay within earshot for questions and advice. By the time I had found, bought, and confirmed my insurance, I had about 25 minutes before boarding my flight. The attendant wished me luck and rushed me away.

I run to security, get my bags up on the conveyor belt- and what do you know- they find a gun in the bag of the man in front of me. Of course, all hell breaks loose, and they’re asking ‘doesn’t he know he can’t have a gun in his carry on’. People are panicking, he’s yelling he ‘didn’t know it was a problem’. They come over, cuff him, temporarily shut down bag check, and start redirecting security traffic. So, everyone behind me starts getting their bags and into new lines, now in front of me. I beg someone to let me in front of them, which they do, and I rush to get through security. I SPRINT to my gate and when I get to there, they were last-calling my name for boarding. I was the very last person to board, but made it just in time, nearly in tears. I’ve never felt more grateful or stressed. I didn’t even have time to panic text any one about any of it until I was on the plane. Bestie and I connected flights in Florida and flew into Costa Rica together.

We arrived in Costa Rica at the Liberia (or Daniel Oduber Quiros) International Airport late afternoon. Getting through international customs was anxiety inducing, especially when your native tongue isn’t being spoken. I will say, I had a couple years of Spanish in school and was dedicated to duolingo in the months leading up to the trip, so I thought I’d be able to communicate some, but nothing can really prepare you for actual spoken conversations. It was hard for me to dissect people’s spoken word, but I could definitely navigate signs and menus. We made it through customs and exchanged our money at the airport. I was in awe at the beauty and detail of their cash. It had lovely illustrations, colors, and transparent details. We rented a car from the airport to get to Playa Grande, which is where the girls had been staying. It took us about an hour to get there from the airport.

The drive was hot and dusty, but lush. Plants were full and green and the ground was really dry, chalky dirt. We ended up seeing multiple wildfires throughout the entire trip because of how parched the earth was. There were lots of fruit stands and vintage Coca Cola signs along the way. By the time we made it to the Playa Grande, got margaritas with the girls, and walked to the beach, we saw the most spectacular sunset our eyes have ever feasted on. The way the tide came in long and shallow created the perfect mirror for the sky and you truly felt immersed in its blazing beauty. We stayed and watched the sky turn from deep burning orange and pink to cool lavender purples and blues. To this day, it’s the most breathtaking sunset I’ve ever seen. I took one of my favorite photos ever of bestie dancing around in its glory. 

We stayed at the place the girls had been renting for a night. It was a common room with a bunk bed, little hot plate, a fridge, a bathroom, and a tiny gecko that screamed at night! We were woken up by him making himself known a couple times. Once I finally saw him in the morning, it was surprising how loud of a sound such a little lizard body could make. That day we planned to set off to our next exploration destination- La Fortuna, more inland rainforest vs. beach town- but not without breakfast first. Of course, we stopped by a local restaurant, called Pots & Bowls. One of the coolest details I noticed about Costa Rica was literally all the restaurant seating everywhere we went was outside or open air because the weather was so nice. We drank fresh pressed juices and ate smoothie bowls, then headed off.

On our drive, I saw a volcano (one of many on this trip) and coatis (basically cute Costa Rican raccoons) for the first time. We got to our airbnb, called the Sloth house, and entered through the gate by the pool, which was the reason we chose this place. The tile work was DREAMY. The neon green walls and carpet inside though, was a different story. We girlboss grilled out by the pool that night. We made kabobs with pineapples, mushrooms, onions, garlic, peppers, and chicken- we honestly impressed ourselves with that one (not gonna lie it took us forever to get the grill lit). Of course, we blended up some fresh margaritas to drink in the pool and hammock too. 

In La Fortuna, we fueled up on egg, tomato, and sprouts, avocado toast at Cafe Arabia before heading to the National Park. From breakfast we left for the Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio, the Tenorio Volcano National Park. The trail was hyper lush and humid- everything was wet to the touch. We saw a rare species of small toucan and some huuuge iguanas in trees- new fear unlocked. The star of the hike was the Rio Celeste, the Celeste River Waterfall. It was the bluest cyan water I had ever seen naturally. No swimming was allowed here, but the beauty of the view was well worth it in itself. A little further up the trail was a wide open view of two more volcanos that inhabit the land, along with a bright blue lagoon. We wrapped up the hike with fresh smoothies from the cafe at the head of the trail.


We swapped dream pool Airbnb for dream property Airbnb. Our next place, listed as the Dragonfly House, was a little commune with 5 or so pastel colored tiny houses on a luscious property that shared a pool and outdoor kitchen. There were avocado, banana, papaya, and lime trees on the land. The groundsmen would pick fresh fruit and flowers and leave them in the community kitchen for everyone. Two friendly outdoor cats lived here too and quickly became our good friends. They liked to do yoga with me by the pool in the mornings and sneak inside to snuggle in the evenings. Just when you thought it couldn’t get better, outside our door we had a spectacular view of the local volcano. Every time I saw volcanos on this trip I was awestruck. I mean, you walk out of your front door or the grocery store and a massive volcano is the backdrop of the city. It made me think of the first cultures to establish here and experience and eruption for the first time.

Red Frog had filling breakfast burritos, packed with rice, beans, and avocado- with a side of fresh fruit. The star of the show was the banana bread and fresh juices though. The bread was insanely flavorful, moist, and topped with fresh banana. The juice was fresh pressed guanabana, something I had never tried, but delicious nonetheless. You could taste its freshness.

That day was spent exploring the town and hiking to the La Fortuna Waterfall. It was a bit of a trek- over 500 stairs just to get to the bottom of waterfall- but well worth the journey. There were encouraging sloth signs along the way with inspirational messages that helped boost moral. The waterfall was over 200 feet tall and the walls of the pool were flourishing with ferns and moss. We swam around in the water like mermaids and I asked a local to take a video of us swimming. After a long trek back up the 500 stairs, we bought well deserved souvenirs at the gift shop.

We decided to zip line over the rainforest next. I was pretty hesitant because I have a fear of manmade heights- but I’m not one to let my fears get the best of me. It didn’t help, though, that while the instructor was strapping me onto the first line at the top of the jump tower, I told him I was nervous because it was my first time, to which he energetically replied, “Me too!” as he sent me on my way. I screamed halfway down and my voice echoed over the treetops. It was thrilling- and jarring- especially ‘landing’ on the other side. If you’re coming in hot you do get a little whiplashed by the stop pad. Then there were sometimes people who didn’t even fully make it to the platform and had to pull themselves the rest of the way. We rode seven lines and by the end I was a pro, flying like a bird and yelling for joy.

We grabbed elote off a street food cart leaving zip lining and that night we went out on the main strip for tacos and margaritas- three spicy jalapeño mangos and a hibiscus one from Spectacoular. The next morning I did yoga out by the pool and the communal kitties joined me. I got up pretty early everyday because I didn’t want to waste a second. It was peaceful being up before everyone. I enjoyed listening to new bird sounds and even saw a pair of parrots fly overhead one morning- apparently they mate for life. 

The last day in La Fortuna, we went to Baldi Hot Springs Resort for a spa day with a volcano view. They had 25 hot spring pools to relax in, massages, caves, water slides, pool drinks, and an included meal. Bestie and I decided to do massages- we were in the same room which was funny and wholesome. After the massage, we got exclusive access to the massage hot spring. It was a private pool at the top of resort- and had the best view of the volcano. We met back up with Maddie and Alex at the water slides- their suggestion… probably not my smartest idea to go right after my relaxing massage, but yolo right? Well, what I didn’t know is there aren’t water slide safety regulations in Costa Rica. So, I full send it down this giant water slide, and get whiplashed around so hard that I couldn’t see straight and was bracing for impact! When I came flying out of the mouth at the end, I was fully sideways, nearly upside down, and skipped across the water like six times, like a rock. I didn’t even know what just happened when I opened my eyes, but I knew I had a bad crook in my neck. So much for my massage... Watching the next couple people -and kids!- come skidding out with the same look of shock and terror on their face made me want to warn people on the way up. I’m shocked nobody has gotten really hurt on that thing. 

Our last morning in La Fortuna, Bestie and I decided to go on a sloth tour since we still hadn’t seen a sloth on the trip. The other girls opted out since they had been in Costa Rica a while and seen their fair share. We had a very friendly guide and saw a handful of sloths thanks to him because sloths are a pretty hard to spot without binoculars/telescope or knowing where to look. They were so cute, furry, and slow. We also found some tiny bats who were sleeping in a giant palm leaf. To top it off, we stumbled upon a pink banana tree! They were a little shorter and thicker than a regular banana, and a deep pink. Apparently that’s a toucans favorite snack. At the end of the tour, they had a freshly picked and sliced plate of pineapple and watermelon for us. 

We met up with the girls for breakfast at Cafe Mar Azul before leaving town. This place had the best breakfast burritos of the trip and beautiful artisan tree stump tables and chairs. The burritos were rice and black bean heavy, packed with egg, pico de gallo, and avocado with a splash of Lizano Salsa- the best salsa I’ve ever tasted. 

On our way back from La Fortuna to Playa Grande, we stopped by Tamarindo, another beach town about 45 minutes up from Playa Grande. Maddie and Alex said they had attempted to walk to Tamarindo from Playa Grande and they noticed the two beaches were separated by an estuary (where a freshwater river meets the ocean). The girls figured they could just walk through the water because it wasn’t too deep, so they did. On the way back when they went to cross, a small boat stopped them and told them this part of the water is off limits to foot traffic- due to high volumes of caimans (basically crocodiles) coming down the estuary! We couldn’t believe they casually strolled through caiman infested water.

Tamarindo was definitely the most touristy town we went to. Tons of people, commercial business, and hustlers selling stuff. We decided to take a local pottery class at Guaitil Studio. They used local clays and natural dyes in their work. The four of us were joined by another woman who had been taking classes here during her visit she told me. The instructor came from a long lineage of clay artisans. Although he was knowledgeable, he did get pretty touchy on all of us and definitely offered us drugs. The clay needed time to dry before it could be painted, so we went to the beach for a while. We were hoping to lay out in the sun and maybe swim some. The beach was busy. We setup a spot. I applied sunscreen off the bat. The wind was blowing feverishly, spraying tiny sharp sand grains with every gust. If you weren’t in the water or fully clothed it was actually kinda painful. So, we didn’t even stay on the beach a full hour because of the sand pelts, but somehow I still managed to get a gnarly sunburn. One of the worst I’ve had. Ginger girl 0 equator sun 1. We grabbed some fresh, cold juice to help with the heat and finished up our pottery.

Since it was our last night in Costa Rica, we headed back to Playa Grande and Maddie and Alex rec’ed we go to their favorite taco shop on the beach. So, we had Taco Star and it did not disappoint. Best tacos of the trip for sure, so you know I had to stick a MADDHOUSE sticker in remembrance. Taco Star was followed by a palm tree beach sunset- I’m not sure how it gets much better than that.

The next morning it was time to fly home, but we all had a ton of anxiety because you had to pass a government issued Covid test in a tent outside before you could even enter the airport. Which wouldn’t be a problem if Maddie and Alex’s upstairs neighbor- who they had become friends and hung out with the day before we arrived- hadn’t texted them saying he tested positive the night before. If you didn’t pass your Covid test at the airport, you had a required ten day stay in a government assigned hotel where you could not leave the room for the length of the stay. Room service and medical assistance would come to you. I was terrified for any of us to have to do that. So, of course, we were a nervous wreck at the airport, but luckily we all passed our Covid tests with flying colors and made it home safe.  

Overall, this was an epic time and I would definitely recommend going on an international trip with a group of gal pals- just laugh, explore, and figure it out as you go. I’ll be looking forward to the next time I get to see Costa Rica’s beauty.


To Go: Playa Grande, La Fortuna, Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio, La Fortuna Waterfall, Sloth House Airbnb, Dragonfly House Airbnb, Volcan Arenal, Baldi Hot Springs Spa

To Eat: Cafe Mar Azul, Cafe Arabio, Taco Star, Tiquicia, National Park Cafe, Pots and Bowls, Spectacoular, Red Frog, Tierra Mia’s


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Wow! What a trip!!! You descriptions, humor and detail was excellent. You made me feel as if I was there. I felt your anxieties and fears of getting on the flight going to CR and also fears of not passing the Covid test and being lock in a hotel for ten days. But the beauty, great food, experiences CR was well worth the trip. I love all the pictures. Thank you for sharing.


Reading your blog made me feel as if I was along with your besties and you. I also enjoyed your humor and the travel tips at the end. My fav pic, which was difficult to select since so many gorgeous ones, is of you doing yoga by the pool.

I can’t wait for your next installment.


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