Costa Rica: Arenal and La Fortuna

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The first international trip Matty and I took together was to Costa Rica, many years ago. It is important to note that it was many years ago, as these photos were taken with a point and shoot (I think I had a pink flip phone at the time)?, and it was way, wayyy before the era of instagram. Also, we look like we are 12.

While Costa Rica has seen tremendous growth in tourism since we visited, I would still very much recommend both of our hotels and all of our activities. One of my closest friends is traveling to Arenal for her honeymoon this June (!), and staying in a newer hotel, which looks beautiful. Be sure to follow her time there if you want some more up-to-date travel tips for the region.

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When: March 2009

Where: Arenal and La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Stayed: Tabacon Grand Spa + Thermal Resort

Instagram: #wellsfamilytravels

We stayed at Tabacon, an eco-friendly hotel with a huge landscape of naturally occurring hot springs. It was a playground for adults! Our room was minimal and comfortable, with lizards and bats greeting us each night. The staff was excellent, even packing us a cooler full of Imperial for our 5 hour trip to Islita upon departure.  The spa was wonderful, with bungalows in the middle of the rainforest, and volcanic mud treatments and massages. It was our first true spa experience, and it remains one of the most memorable.

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Here are a few must do’s if you visit Arenal and La Fortuna:

Stop for an authentic meal somewhere between San Jose and La Fortuna. The chorreadas and corn tortillas were the best.

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Find some hot springs! Whether it is Tabacon or elsewhere, just sit and soak and enjoy.

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Go zip lining with Sky Trek in La Fortuna. So thrilling and so, so, so fun.

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Walk around La Fortuna town, and grab dinner at just about any spot – the food in Costa Rica is unbelievable, and THE COFFEE IS THE BEST. Also, be sure to try a cacique guaro. Not sure if newer cocktails have taken their place, but we drank them by the pitcher!

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Hike the volcano. Flora and fauna abound.

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Ride a horse to La Fortuna waterfall, then hike down to the actual falls for an icy dip!

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Spot some awfully cute wild coati.

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Split your time between the rainforest and the beach – and enjoy the ride there. You will see so many colorful creatures and spaces along the way.

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Lauren