I was thrilled to be invited by Costa Rican tourism board to spend a week in their wonderful country getting to know some more of the lesser known and off the beaten track places and staying in a couple of unique and super special lodges along the way. I was promised I’d get to experience eco-tourism, adventurous thrills within nature, great food and the friendliness of the welcoming locals. This would be my first time here so it was impossible to say no to the invitation.
coffee, waterfalls, rolling hill hotels…
Whilst it was nice to get a taste of San Jose it definitely suited me to get out of the city. Within just an hour we were driving through rolling hills, tons of green nature, trying to spot sloths at the side of the road and passing coffee plantations all the way to the stunningly hillside located Chayote Lodge. The entrance, with its tall Tuscany style trees and stunning blue flowers, made for a great first impression. We all got to stay in individually attached cabins which hung over the cliff, all with views over the local hills, each designed to look like traditional Costa Rican coffee storage houses.
On the way to a local waterfall we stopped off for a fascinating coffee tour with Espiritu Santo Coffee Tour company. From learning how the coffee is grown, picked, dried and then roasted. We got an indepth tour of the whole process along with our very own tasting and chance to try coffee as an exfoliant!
By late afternoon we made it to one of Costa Rica’s most dramatic waterfalls, and at 90m Catarata Del Toro, was most certainly dramatic. Its a good old hike down to the bottom but its truly rewarding and you can get so close that the waterfall mist cools you down… and gets your camera lens nice and foggy. You have to be quick taking those pics! On the way down to the waterfall there are tons of hummingbird feeding stations and lots of incredible plans. Some of which I have back home in Berlin! It was fascinating to see plants such as Calathea out in the wild.
Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula has been on my “I must go there ASAP” lists for a very long time. I knew this was going to be a highlight for me. A chance to see some great animals up close and walk along the black sand beach front and into the jungle.
During the walk we spotted all four of Costa Rica’s varieties of monkey (spider, howler, squirrel and white-faced capuchin), coatis, agoutis, macaws, Halloween crabs, and learnt all about the park’s impressive trees, sea turtles and more.
For two nights we were generously allowed to stay at what Nat Geo call one of most unique hotels in the world. Truly a dream come true moment. If you’re coming to Costa Rica please consider checking this place out.
South of San Jose, Orosi is where you will find rainforests, volcanoes and powerful rivers. The oldest Costa Rican Catholic Church is based here and has beautiful architecture and an interesting garden. This region is apparently a lot quieter that other regions and is not yet experiencing the mass tourism and is a great place to escape the crowds.
We went to nearby Tapanti National Park (the wettest spot in the country with rain 360 days a year, eep!) and half the group went hiking whilst Chloe and I decided to try level 3 white water rafting! This was the first time I had ever tried this and saying I was excited was a massive understatement .
Orosi is also a wonderful peaceful region and the last spot was my favourite; Hacienda Orosi. This place is a set of thermal mineral baths with delightful spectacular views. ITs high up in the hills, with lots of cloud reminding me cloud forests I have visited in South America, and several of the pools. We all enjoyed unwinding here after the previous days adventure sports.