Just Back From… Costa Rica With Anthony Vaquero
Where have you been?
Have you been before?
How did you get there?
We flew on the direct flight from London Gatwick with British Airways to San José. It’s a great service, cutting down a good number of hours and transit time.
How long were you there?
San José — Pacuare – Tortugero — Arenal — Rafiki — Mañuel Antonio.
Which was your favourite…
Place: Pacuare. This place is amazingly beautiful. Arriving by raft is just spectacular and there are lots of activities on offer: exploring nature; hiking to the surrounding communities; dipping into the waterfalls; kayaking; water-rafting; zip-lining; and when you want a bit of down time you can relax at the spa or in your hammock. They can also arrange breakfast at the "nido" which is fantastic!
My second favourite was Tortuga Lodge – they have very different activities and yet you still get the same feeling of being close with nature and wildlife. Incredibly friendly and knowledgeable staff too!
Hotel: Pacuare Lodge
The setting of this lodge, in the middle of the jungle, and the position of the rooms made it a perfect place to feel at one with nature and still amazingly comfortable. That said, it is their staff that made our stay so incredibly relaxing, enjoyable and unforgettable!
Excursion: Aqua-hike at Rafiki - I particularly enjoyed the variety of this excursion, which included a short water-raft, hiking to the top of the surrounding hills, river-walking to the waterfalls and hanging bridge.
Appeals to which type of traveller?
Adventurous people of all ages.
What did you pack?
Lightweight clothing, insect repellent (jungle grade!), sun screen, DSLR camera, travel guide.
Any good food, drinks, restaurants or bars recommendations?
The food was exceptionally good everywhere we went, particularly at Pacuare Lodge and Tortuga Lodge with their homemade cooking style - amazing soups (just to mention one dish) in Pacuare and mouth-watering shellfish rice in Tortuga Lodge, almost as delicious as the paellas that my Andalusian grandmother used to make for me as a child!
Also the seafood at Si, Como No (Mañuel Antonio) was superb.
My favorite cocktail place was by the Manoa hotel hot spring Jacuzzi.
I’d also recommend My Coffee Lounge for a great coffee and homemade chocolate and Snappers House (where locals go) for excellent fish and seafood, both in "La Fortuna".
Room for improvement?
No! The whole trip was extremely well put together, all transfers and excursions were very slick and well organised. All staff and tour leaders very friendly and knowledgeable. In particular the teams at Pacuare Lodge and Tortuga Lodge were excellent.
How would sum up your trip in a sentence?
An amazing trip where I got to experience Latin American culture and the truly exceptional beauty of Costa Rica’s unique surroundings and wildlife. I can't wait to go back!
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Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
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