Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My Favorites of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a top tourist destination, and with good reason.  So, I feel like after living in Costa Rica for nearly a year, I should let others in on what some of my favorites of Costa Rica are.  Some of these responses you may expect, and others you may have never even heard of. And remember, these are just one girl's opinion. Keep asking around and compare to pick what to do and where to go when you get to CR!
  • Local Beer: Domingo 7
    • Domingo 7 is a craft beer and a little harder to find, but when you do DEFINITELY try it! It's one of few beers in Costa Rica bursting with flavor. It's a slightly hoppy golden ale, perfect for those hot beach days
    • When you have the basic options (Imperial, Imperial Light, Imperial Silver, or Pilsen), always go with Pilsen
    • Honorable Mentions: Bavaria Dark, Bavaria Gold
  • Typical Dish: Chifrijo
    • Chifrijo is a typical bar food that quickly became a favorite of mine in Costa Rica. It's made up of white rice, stewed red beans, chicharrones (crispy twice fried pork pieces), pico de gallo, avocado and served with tortilla chips. I always topped mine with a little hot sauce and pair it with an ice cold beer.
    • Honorable mentions: Ceviche, gallo pinto (typical breakfast), patacones (twice fried plantains)
  • San Jose Activity: Feria Verde
    • The Feria Verde is an organic market that gets set up every Saturday in the Aranjuez neighborhood of San Jose.  They're open early morning until 1pm and serve the best breakfast I've had in all of Costa Rica! You can also get yummy specialty goods while you're there like chocolates, nut butters, and fresh pasta!
    • Honorable mentions: Grabbing a beer at "Craic," Coffee or lunch date at Cafe Rojo
  • Beach: Punta Uva - Puerto Viejo
    • Everyone's got a different favorite beach in Costa Rica, and I knew it immediately when I found mine.  I love Punta Uva because it's small, a little hidden (not very crowded, unless it's a holiday), calm (no waves or riptides), has beautiful blue water and white sand and is lined with palm trees (which means lots of shady spots!). Also, if you're lucky you can spot monkeys and sloths right from the beach!
    • Honorable Mentions: Playa Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio (not just Playa Manuel Antonio, there's a BIG difference), Playa Hermosa (Jacó)
  • Must-do Activity: Zip-Lining in Monteverde
    • There's a bazillion places to go zip-lining (or as ticos call it, canopy) in Costa Rica, but the best place is by far Monteverde.  Monteverde is a cloud forest with dense trees and lots of tropical birds.  What better way to see it that flying through the tree canopy? I went through a company called Selvatura and loved it, but there's many other places to choose from. Also, while you're at Selvatura, check out the hanging bridges too!
    • Honorable Mentions: White Water Rafting in the Pacuare River, Surfing in Santa Teresa, Going to a fútbol game whether a national or local game
  • Beach Town: Samara
    • Yeah, yeah. I'm biased because I lived there for a month, but it's still my favorite.  It's  not (yet) overrun by mass tourism and maintains the true air of tico culture.  It's got a great beach, lots of great little restaurants, and friendly locals. What more could you want? Also a great place to visit if you want to try surfing for the first time!
    • Honorable Mentions: Puerto Viejo, Santa Teresa
  • Waterfalls: Nauyaka 
    • The Nauyaka waterfalls are just a short drive from Uvita, but unfortunately no local buses go there so you'll need to take a taxi or a personal car. Once you get to the path, it's still a four kilometer walk to get there, but it's totally worth it. These waterfalls are awesome because you can swim in them! The water is perfectly cool on a hot Costa Rican day.
    • Honorable Mentions: Montezuma, La Paz
  • Volanoes: Arenal
    • There are many volcanoes in Costa Rica. Some you can just see from a distance and others you can walk right up to the crater. I like Arenal because it's surrounded by natural hot springs where you can relax while you enjoy the view.  I recommend "Baldi Hot Springs." It's a little pricey, but totally worth it (and they've got water slides too)!
    • Honorable Mentions: Poas, Irazú
  • Secret Spot: Natural Pools of Carillo
    • Sorry to say, but the only way to get here is to find a local that knows where it is. So, if you're ever in the beach towns of Carillo or Samara, ask a taxi driver to take you to the "piscinas naturales de Carillo." When the tide is high in Carillo, waves crash over the top of these rocks and they trap the water and create a 3-4 foot deep pool of water. A few tropical fishes usually make it up there too. I'd recommend going around sunset
    • Honorable Mentions: None
Natural Pools of Carillo
Keep in mind, these are just my favorites. If you want to figure out what yours are, then you better get exploring!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! Now I want to go back and do all the things I missed!