Saturday, May 14, 2016

Costa Rica Diary - Last Stop San José

My dear readers, today you get to see some last Costa Rica photos. I hope you liked all the pics of our three-week trip through the country. Costa Rica is such a vast, marvelous country with so many different facets and beautiful places. I loved spending every day with my boyfriend exploring waterfalls, volcanos, forests, beaches, cities and much more. We had so many unforgettable moments together and really enjoyed our vacation. My wow moments were definitely swimming in waterfalls and hot springs and seeing wild animals in their natural habitat. Now more than ever I feel closer to mother nature and know how important it is to protect our beautiful earth and live consciously.

So here are some photos of San José, Costa Rica's capital. It's surely not the most beautiful city I've ever seen but has its own charm. We found a few cool corners with graffitis and also visited San José's most famous places like the National Theatre. We stayed at a hostel called Gran Imperial which is located right next to the colorful Mercado Central where you can literally buy anything from food and cosmetics to clothes and souvenirs. We spent an entire day walking around and exploring the city a little. It's really crowded and very commercial with loads of shops and restaurants. There are a lot of American places like KFC, Hooters, Starbucks and so on, which really surprised me. It's just a very touristy and loud city so we didn't mind staying only for two nights there before leaving Costa Rica.

Before ending my Costa Rica Diary I wanna leave you some tips. Who knows, maybe you got into the pura vida mood and already plan your Costa Rica trip ;-)
We flew with Iberia from Palma de Mallorca to Madrid and from there directly to San José. On the way back we had one more stop in El Salvador. We were pretty content with the airline, the flights were always on time and the service was fine.
Once we arrived in Costa Rica we took a bus from the airport to the centre of San José. There's a bus called Tuasa, that takes you for only $1 to the city, so don't worry about expensive cabs. We only stayed one night in the capital and took a public bus to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica the next morning. I got so many recommendations from friends who had been to the country before but I think we always chose right, all in all we visited ten different places and loved every single one. So after spending a couple of days on the Carribean coast we visited the middle part of the country where it's a little colder an where we explored the rainforests, volcanos and waterfalls. After that we spent the rest of our vacation on the Pacific coast, we loved the beaches there and of course the Manuel Antonio national park.
We never booked a hotel or hostel in advance. Once we arrived at some new place my boyfriend took a walk to check the hotels or hostels in the area and always found really good ones for reasonable prices. We always had a private room but if you travel alone or prefer low-cost you can get a dorm for like $10-$20 per night. Sometimes we had a private bathroom, if not we shared one with the other guests which was totally ok, the bathrooms were always clean and never crowded. Most of the time we didn't have hot water, which is very common in Costa Rica but honestly, with that heat I didn't mind a cold shower.
Most of the time we traveled by public bus which was perfectly fine and very cheap. If you plan on taking the public bus get ready for a hot ride, there's no air condition with about 40 degrees celsius outside, only open windows. I personally loved these buses because we met loads of backpackers there and also very nice Costa Rican people called Ticos. If you prefer a more comfortable and independent way of getting around you should definitely rent a car though.
We only took one bigger suitcase and two smaller backpacks with us which was totally ok. Since we only packed summer clothes we could take a lot of stuff. Make sure to take lots of sunblocker, mosquito spray and some really good hiking shoes or at least comfortable sneakers for the forests and national parks.
If you're intereted in animal photography make sure to take a  bigger lens with you. I used a 300mm lens which let me take fantastic photos of the monkeys, sloths and other animals that were far away or up in the trees.
Last but not least, we always paid in colones, the traditional Costa Rican currency, and never in dollars. You will notice that in dollars you pay more for food, souvenirs or rooms.
I hope these tips were helpful, if you plan on traveling to Costa Rica, don't hesitate to contact me :-)
So that's it, our unforgettable Costa Rica adventure is over, time flies way too fast. Next year my boyfriend will choose our destination for a longer trip, he mentioned Japan or China so we'll see where we'll end up. I really hope you liked all the photos and my personal stories.
Have a fabulous weekend, lots of kisses and pura vida!

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