I had been intrigued by Costa Rica for many years but never made it there until this past July. I am already planning my next trip !
We began in Jaco on the Pacific Coast and within our first hour in the country we saw some crocodiles lazing beneath us as we stood on Tarcoles Bridge near a roadside tourist attraction and smoothie stand.
We drove quite a lot on this trip, covering one of Costa Rica’s seven provinces, Guanacaste, which is served by both San Jose and Liberia airports. We traveled from the town of Jaco to the town of Playa Coco – then south to Nosara and then north to Tamarindo.
Along the way, we saw iguanas, numerous pairs of Scarlet Macaws flying overhead in their unmistakable parrot formation in the sky; bats, butterflies, giant moths, iguanas galore and a pair of adorable baby raccoons. We saw an abundance of bird life from hummingbirds to large, aggressive blue jays adorned with fancy crowns on their heads.
We visited several sleepy beaches in the towns where we stayed and observed the scene – locals hanging out; masters of their smoky BBQs. On the horizon, we saw pelicans, islands and fishing craft.
We learned about and actually had a first-hand face-to-face experience with monkeys at a small rescue in Playa Coco. Poor little things get hit by cars and electrocuted by the power lines and there are quite a few good samaritans who have established rehab centers for these creatures to have a second chance.
Costa Rica is enchanting with so many adventures available to participate in. We enjoyed a two hour river tour surrounded by beautiful trees, rice fields, the occasional croc and swirl of muddy river banks and misty mountains in the distance.
Our final destination was Peninsula Papagayo, reached by driving by miles of dusty agricultural pasture lands. We saw a lot of cowboy country on this trip. Paradoxically, Peninsula Papagayo is home to the Four Seasons Resort and quite a few exclusive rental homes for those who are lucky enough to experience them. We stayed at Cielomar, which is an architectural masterpiece. From the outside as you enter the short driveway, first you see a garage which houses two golf carts and various kayaks and other toys. The house is fairly inconspicuous from the outside although the landscaping has just the right touch with grass and a pathway to enter the home; at least the white-faced monkeys thought so as they traversed the front yard from time to time.
But when you enter, oh my! You are met with this glorious scene:
You walk in and can either walk up a slanted plankway up to the left to reach several bedrooms or you can walk down a flight of floating stairs to the main living deck with dining table for eight, which is dwarfed by the curved roofline and expansive terrace.
At night we would sit overlooking the bright blue lit up pool and the inky ocean in the distance. Large – and I mean large – bats flew back and forth, up and down above the pool, I imagine scooping up bugs drawn to the pool light. Very entertaining.
The owners created a truly beautiful sanctuary. They used monochromatic linens for the sofas and chairs in luxurious colors with accent on blue. The kitchen is state-of-the-art, as are the media room and exercise room. The bedrooms have black-out shades and very comfortable beds. I loved the tile work in the bathrooms.
All in all – what a thrill to stay at Cielomar, a feast for the eyes and all the senses.