I was lucky enough to be invited on a trip to Costa Rica over the Christmas holiday.
I've never been anywhere that tropical, so it was quite the experience!
The way our trip was planned was the perfect mix of activities and lounging by the beach — here's how I'd suggest you plan your trip.
Start in Arenal for your 'jungle experience'.
Since we went in later December, we were at the tail end of the rainy season, which meant it rained 4-5 times a day. And, in the middle of the night it would really storm. I've been through a fair number of rainstorms in my life, but never have I heard rain as powerful as this.
We stayed here and I cannot recommend it enough! Casa Cielo is run by a lovely family, who will help organize all of your excursions and prepare beautiful breakfasts for you each morning. We stayed in the Casa Tuanis house and it was perfect!
Any of the more adventurous activities can be done in the Arenal/La Fortuna area (ziplining, white-water rafting, hiking, ATVing).
Although La Fortuna is a fairly large tourist spot, you do get the chance to start learning about the local culture as soon as you get there. The guides on the activities are all extremely friendly and eager to share about their culture!
From here we headed to Quepos in Manuel Antonio — one of the Costa Rican national parks where you can hike around and see wildlife up close (if you're lucky!).
Besides the park and beaches there isn't a whole lot to do. All of the boat tours, surf lessons, and other activities seemed so overpriced, and we were happy to walk along the beach and jump the waves.
I'd definitely recommend going to El Avion for the sunset, which is absolutely stunning!
With our timing, we were left with an afternoon for San Jose, which was perfect for heading to the National Museum and learning more about this beautiful country.
Needless to say, Costa Rica was quite the experience! Have you been or is it on your list?