Just returned from a wonderful 9 day trip to Costa Rica--my husband and I and our 12-year old twin daughters- our first time and hopefully, not our last! We flew from JFK on Taca Airlines through San Salvador. No problems-- arrived at 4pm and had arranged to be picked up by Danny Jimenez, but he sent Oscar to get us. Oscar drove us to Lost Iguana, about 25 minutes away from La Fortuna. I was very glad we didn't drive at night. That mountain road was crazy and we were so exhausted from the travel. We arrived at Lost Iguana around 8pm.
We loved Lost Iguana-- we had a Celebrity Junior suite with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a great deck with jacuzzi tub overlooking the volcano. We ordered room service and got to bed early to recover from the trip. The next day, we enjoyed the great buffet breakfast (included with the room) and waited for our rental car to be delivered to the hotel. Once it arrived, we drove to the La Fortuna waterfall. Loved it despite the steep hike back up-- we all swam and hung out. Then went to lunch in town at La Choza de Laurel--had a delicious late lunch and then drove up to Hanging Bridges (very close to Lost Iguana). We did the Hanging Bridges hike-- lovely, but mid afternoon is not the best time for wildlife viewing. Also, the kids were tired so we didn't take as long as we might have. Returned to the hotel to enjoy happy hour drinks in the warm pool with the volcano view. Had dinner at the hotel. The food was fine-- not terrific, but we were glad to enjoy the atmosphere and not drive anywhere.
The next day we had reserved whitewater rafting the Rio Balsa with Desafio. Drove to Desafio and joined that trip. We had a fantastic time. Not a long drive from La Fortuna which was good with the kids. They really run a great tri[p-- rafting was lots of fun and the provided lunch was actually delicious. The staff was just great. I'd highly recommend them. After rafting we went to Ecotermales for the evening. Loved it there! Perfect atmosphere for us--not crowded, peaceful and very relaxing. We enjoyed drinks and a long soak and then had dinner there. We thought the food was really good and plentiful. If you are expecting gourmet, you'll be disappointed-- but a good salad, rice and beans, tortillas, delicious chicken-- all good.
Next day we headed up to Leaves and Lizards for a horseback riding trip. We ride at home so wanted a real ride, not a nose-to-tail trail ride. I had read reviews of riding at Leaves and Lizards and e-mailed Debbie (one of the owners). They arrange rides for people who aren't guests there and we set it up. We also let her know we are experienced riders. And what an amazing ride-- we were out for something like four hours, through incredible country, swam in a waterfall--lots of opportunities to run the horses. She is a commited horsewoman and the horses are really terrific. We had a mare on the ride whose foal accompanied us--so sweet. And our guide Enrique was terrific. I highly recommend this ride for anyone who want to see lots of beautiful back country and have a real ride. We were glad not to be staying there-- really off the beaten track down bumpy dirt roads. But well worth the trip for the ride! We returned to Lost Iguana and my husband and I enjoyed terrific massages in the spa before drinks in the warm pool.
We felt like we could have spent lots more time in the area--We had 4 nights and 3 days. I honestly can't understand why people feel like just a couple of days is enough there. So much we didn't get to do and it is really beautiful there. Loved the climate-- but we were particularly fortunate to have warm, sunny days and clear views of the volcano!
Next morning Danny pick us up to take us back to San Jose for our flight down to Puerto Jimenez. Danny was terrific and we learned a lot about Costa Rica and its history on our drive. Flight down to Puerto Jimenez on Sansa was beautiful. We were met by Bosque del Cabo and driven the 45 minutes to BdC on the crazy bumpy road! Got there are were greated with fruit juice and an offer of a late lunch. Loved Bosque del Cabo. Gorgeous setting, comfortable accomodations, delicious food and drink. It was hard for us to adjust to the heat and humidity, but we settled into it all. We did some great activities-- Day one we just relaxed a bit and did a couple of hikes. A morning birding walk with Carlos was wonderful. A hike down to Pan Dulce beach-- beautiful warm water and lots of scarlet macaws! Got picked up to get back to BdC. Lunch, a nap and then out for a walk on the Titi trail. Next day we went on a trip out on the Golfo Dulce to see dolphins, visit the Animal Sanctuary and out on the Rio Esquinas. All great-- lots of wildlife. Next day we had another amazing horseback ride -- through the jungle and onto the beach for some wild running the horses. Then a dip in the tide pools and some fresh coconut before racing back on the beach and heading through the jungle. My girls were thrilled.
Next day was our last-- we took the Pacific Trail hike at low tide and loved hanging in the tide pools. Afternoon my husband and one daughter did the canopy zip line which they enjoyed alot. And we walked the Creek Trail for a refreshing dip in a deep creek pool. Overall, we loved Bosque-- so much wildlife to see--birds, monkeys, etc. And hanging with the other guests at happy hour and dinner. We loved the food--fresh, delicious--. Service was friendly and incredibly helpful. All is a bit rustic in the cabins, but quite comfortable. We were sad to leave after 5 nights. Could easily have spent a week or more.
Thanks to all who helped plan the trip-- we just loved Costa Rica and hope to return to see more of the country (although we'd also love to go back to Lost Iguana and Bosque del Cabo)!