We went to the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica and stayed at the Paradisus Playa Conchal resort back in 2005. It is a part of the Melia hotel chain. It was a while ago, so I apologize for my lack of specifics. We were accompanied by close friends as well. I would definitely recommend vacationing with friends so long as everyone is easy going. We all loved the country, the food and the people. The locals were extremely friendly and just had a different perspective on life in general. As they say ‘Pura Vida!’ which means ‘Pure Life’. They take this saying to heart. The people also really care for their land. Every local we met was so friendly and spoke enthusiastically about their country and the importance of preserving it. We went in July, during rainy season. It did rain a good hour every day, and by rain, I mean torrential downpour. Other than that, it was hot and sunny throughout the day. The rain was actually refreshing. Also, going this time of year allowed us to see the beautiful green of the country. The other time of year is considered the ‘dry season’ and Guanacaste resembles a desert.
The Hotel had beautiful grounds and was very well kept. It was absolutely massive. You basically get around in golf carts. They also had bikes that you could use to get around. Neil loved the golf course. I loved biking on the resort and taking in the beauty. The pool is also the largest in Costa Rica (at least back then) and believe it or not, the food on the resort for the most part was great! I usually don’t like all-inclusive resorts due to the food, but we were generally happy. We did a lot of dinners off the resort, but the lunches and dinners at the resort were definitely above par.
Off the resort, is where we had the best food. We ate in the nearby towns of Brazilito and Tamarindo. I can’t recall the names of the restaurants we ate at, but all left us wanting more and reminiscing about the food for days to come. We had one of our best meals in Brasilito. We were seated right on the beach! Costa Rica has some of the freshest seafood I’ve ever had. We had lobster, grouper, shrimp , etc that were all so fresh, and so much tastier than the best seafood restaurants here. “Gallo Pinto” is pretty much everywhere . It’s rice and beans cooked with various spices. We came to love this side dish, and I haven’t been able to get a version of it since. Arroz con Pollo is also very common in Costa Rica. It usually consists of rice, sofrito, chicken and saffron. The combination is very aromatic and hearty. We had this at a lunch spot that we stumbled upon during our Canopy/Zip-line tour. That was one of our best lunches in Costa Rica.
While the food in Costa Rico exceeded our expectations, there’s obviously much more to do besides eat ...rain forests, waterfalls, zip-lining, snorkeling, atvs, monkey park etc. We did it all! My favorite activity was zip-lining. We did the canopy/zipline tour in the Rincón de la Vieja canyon, where we zip lined, rappelled, and climbed our way through the canyon. It was really an amazing experience. We found a local guy off the resort to take us to all our excursions. None of us were into doing an organized tour. So, we rented an SUV and took the local around with us. Some might find that a little sketch, but he was totally harmless. And besides, there were 4 of us, and I’m pretty feisty.
We thoroughly enjoyed Costa Rica, and there’s so much more of the country to see. Hopefully, I make my way back one day.
Until then, PURA VIDA !!!!