Costa Rica

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“Pura Vida”! This is the greeting you will get everywhere in Costa Rica. It’s a Spanish phrase that means “pure life”. Now how can you not love a people that great you literally everywhere with this phrase? It makes you want to be a better person.  I even greeted people this way for a short while when I got back to the states. A very short while – I got some strange looks.

Costa Rica is one of the top vacation destinations in Central America. Vacations planned to Costa Rica usually need to be booked well in advance – months, or sometimes up to a year can be essential. It’s only April, yet space is already getting hard to find for Christmas in some of the beach destinations and rainforest resorts.

Costa Rica has coasts on both the Pacific and the Caribbean. The water is always warm and the beaches are beautiful. Most beach areas have good infrastructure, hotels, restaurants, and night life. The area of Manuel Antonio on the Pacific has the well -deserved reputation of being one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  And nearby Playa Dominical is known worldwide as a surfer’s paradise. On the Caribbean side, the beaches of Tortuguero are famous for their unspoiled beauty and biodiversity. If you’re really lucky you may spot a nesting sea turtle.

The most popular beach destination for US travelers has been the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. This Provence (the region is known by the name of the Provence) is in the northern part of Costa Rica on the Pacific Ocean. The JW Marriot and the Westin Playa Conchal are two luxury resorts right on the beaches of Guanacaste. Guanacaste is also the driest part of Costa Rica, which, put together with the beautiful beaches, helps to explain the area’s popularity with US travelers.

The highlight of our recent trip to Costa Rica was the Pacuare River Lodge. The journey into and out of this amazingly beautiful spot is an adventure all its own. Although you can get to the lodge by 4 wheel drive vehicle, the preferred method is by raft. The rafting trip in to the lodge is about an hour and a half through some class 2 and 3 rapids, and your departure is a 4 hour raft trip through class 2 ,3 and 4 rapids. We always felt safe, and the guides in the rafts were really fun. They even spoke English.

The Pacuare River Lodge is a luxury resort. The suites, ranging from the 3767 square foot Jaquar Villa to the 670 square foot river suites, come furnished with canopied beds, sitting rooms, decks, and hammocks. Our Linda Vista suite had an outdoor shower and a plunge pool. There is no electricity in the suites so you will spend your evenings after dinner in candle light. There is electricity in the dining hall and internet is available at the lodge office.

The food at the Pacuare Lodge is prepared by locals. They are not trained chefs. However you would never know this from the quality of both the presentation and the taste of the meals. The food was really good. The lodge also offers a romantic dinner by the riverbank complete with candle light. My wife and I ended up sharing our riverside dinner with some friends we met at the lodge. There is also a bar where guests gather prior to dinner and after to share their days with new friends.

White water rafting to get to the lodge isn’t the only adventure activity offered at the Paquare Lodge. The lodge has a great canopy zip line which ends in a thrilling rappel just steps away from the main lodge.  We also booked a waterfall rappelling adventure. You rappel in steps through waterfalls in the side of a canyon starting with a simple 6 foot decent and ending in an amazing 65 foot decent to the base of the canyon. This was really great. There are also birding hikes for early risers and excursions to indigenous villages.

You can end a day of adventure and hiking with a Spa treatment at the Jawa Ju Spa. They use local natural products to invigorate the body and soul. The Spa will bring you back to Pacuare Lodge even if the rainforest isn’t your thing.

Finally, Pacuare Lodge is committed to a vision of tourism in harmony with the lush rainforest that surrounds the property. They are dedicated to maintaining a sustainable environment while catering to the discerning traveler. The lodge is working to protect the indigenous people in the area, and to help preserve their way of life. All of the employees of the Lodge are locals. And their love for the land and river is evident.

Don’t forget to great everyone with “PURA VIDA”!

Paquare Lodge, A 5 star experience with no electricity in the middle of the jungle.

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