• Caitlin McAninch

Our Honeymoon: A Q&A of Costa Rica

We are back! Dylan and I just spent the past two weeks in beautiful Costa Rica for our honeymoon. Our trip has given me so much inspiration. I am inspired to write, inspired to change to a more healthy lifestyle, inspired to eat more fruit, and inspired to just love the life I live.

Costa Rica is unlike any place I’ve ever visited. I am continuously telling people it’s like living at a zoo. Costa Rica is filled with more than 500,000 species, which represents nearly 4% of the total species on Earth, making Costa Rica one of the 20 countries with the highest biodiversity in the world. Pretty impressive, especially to someone like me!

We were able to visit four parts of the country: mountainous La Fortuna, secluded and quiet Sarapiquí, beach paradise Puerto Viejo, and the capital San José.

I was trying to figure out how I could possibly summarize our trip into one blog post. It’s impossible. We did WAY too many amazing things. But I did think it could be fun to write a little Q&A about our Costa Rica trip!

These questions were submitted by my family (thanks mom & dad!). I hope they help in sharing a little bit of an overall insight into our honeymoon.

Q&A of Costa Rica

How was getting in and out of the country?

Easy. Customs entering Costa Rica was way easy. We landed, grabbed our bag, they scanned it, and we were out! Local retailers also surprised us as soon as we were driving away from the airport – there were multiple locals in the middle of roads trying to sell fruit to us. Even going as far as to knock on the car windows!

Getting home was just as easy. Sadly, we got to the airport WAY too early. We thought we would be going through a lot more to leave (as in, body search to make sure I wasn’t stowing a baby sloth), but nah. It was easy peasey.

Important note, on the way out of Costa Rica you must pay $29 tax per person and you must have cash! But. Depending on your airline, it might be included in your ticket price. We were on American Airlines and it was included.

How are the roads in Costa Rica?

We read that the road conditions were going to be rough in Costa Rica – I was really expecting all dirt roads. Not the case, at all! We were pleasantly surprised by smooth roads everywhere! Well, except in Puerto Viejo, but they have a lot of construction going on so I am thinking those will be great soon!

But. Drivers are a bit crazy in Costa Rica! The roads are very narrow, and most of the time I am surprised two cars can even fit (going opposite directions). There are many motorcyclists that cars swerve around, or slow wayyyyy down to ensure they don’t hit! Drivers also slow way down for the frequent speed bumps. I mean, we’ll be cruising at 60km/hour, and BOOM, car is stopped and barely rolling over the speed bump! It’s pretty entertaining, but if you get carsick easily, you might want to risk driving yourself around!

Here's a shot of me biking on the roads in Puerto Viejo. We LOVED renting bikes and riding around!

Did you see a lot of animals?

Like I said above, staying in Costa Rica is like moving into a zoo. We were woken by animal sounds every morning, from loud birds to alpha Howler Monkeys screaming at other Howler Monkeys.

My favorite animal from the trip is duh, a sloth; more specifically, the two toed sloth. They are so alien like and weird. Total, we saw over 20 on our trip – both two and three toed! But in all honesty, I was so surprised by how much I loved the birds! Seeing wild Macaws and Toucans was truly amazing. Dylan’s favorite animal we saw was the little toucans we saw on our riverboat cruise.

The following are photos of me with a three toed sloth, a two toed sloth, a toucan, and a macaw.

Where did you go?

We did 5 nights in La Fortuna, two nights in Sarapiquí, 4 nights in Puerto Viejo, and one night in San Jose.

This is a shot of town center in La Fortuna. You can see the Arenal Volcano in the background!

What were the people like?

The people and locals in Costa Rica were very kind, knowledgeable, and truly just great! Everyone was eager to help us, and everyone appreciated my “un poquito de español.” All of our tour guides were so on top of their stuff. Great at spotting animals, and awesome at taking care of us! Even the staff we met at local hole-in-the-wall restaurants was great! It’s definitely an awesome community down there.

How were the bugs?

I was very worried about the bugs before we left for our trip. Turns out, they wren't that bad as long as you wore bug spray! Right below are the bug sprays we took down to Costa Rica. I was obsessed with the Repel 100 spray repellent was a bit oily, but great for our arms and legs. I loved using the Ultrathon Repellent Cream as a lotion for my neck, hands, and feet when I was wearing flip flops. And I LOVED having the Repel Mosquito Wipes to get my face all covered. When we had bug spray on, we never had any issues. With only about 4 mosquito bites, I say the below stuff worked great!

BTW, I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, so some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Nice, right? Keep in mind that I link to Amazon and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases.

Favorite part?

My favorite part was our first hotel and hot springs. Oh and La Fortuna Waterfall, the night hike, and the baby sloths. And the beach. And all of it. OH! AND THE FOOD.

When I asked Dylan what his favorite part is, he said, “just liked being in a new place. Got a lot of relaxation and a lot of learnin’. Saw some cool stuff. I enjoyed the food.”

Here's a shot of his Volcano Rice (chicken, rice, veggies - total YUM!)

Least favorite part?

My least favorite part was the hotel with no A/C and the ceviche that I tried.

When I asked Dylan what his least favorite part is, he said, “the heat. Easy. I guess it was the heat mixed with the humidity. Walking outside you were just drenched in 10 minutes. Made it really uncomfortable. And sleeping at night with no A/C. Shoot.”

He’s so funny… hahaha!

Our "No A/C" hotel and the nasty ceviche!

How long to stay, and did you stay too long?

We went for two weeks. I thought it was perfect. Hell, I could have stayed longer, but work and all that. I think a two-week honeymoon is completely necessary for couples. I mean, we were exhausted with all the wedding stuff. Just leaving and enjoying each other’s company for two full weeks was awesome.

We don’t think our trip was too long, but we wish we could have altered how we planned it. We could have stayed longer in La Fortuna. One night would have been fine in Sarapiquí, or two nights would have been fine in a hotel with A/C.

Is it important to set up tours or do it yourself?

So we had guided tours almost every day. I really like it that way. Here’s why. So we went to Tirimbina Park by ourselves on a self-guided walk tour, we didn’t see any animals. Not anything. Empty forest. Weird since it’s a forest specifically for biologists to study wildlife and the biodiversity of the area…

But on every other hike we went on, with guides, we saw tons of animals. So, I think when you’re not an expert, it’s important to go with one so you can see the wildlife. I mean I can’t spot a snake. Amazing Eder, one of our guides, found us 3 snakes in one hike! Check out the photos below, the first is the snake hidden, and the second is the snake up close. With the snake at calf height, do you think you could have spotted him!?

How do locals make money besides tourism?

With a $1.92-billion-a-year tourism industry, Costa Rica was the most visited nation in the Central American region, with 2.6 million tourists visiting Costa Rica in 2016 (Wikipedia). The total number of jobs directly supported by tourism is 110,000.

Other major industries are agriculture – we saw TONS of banana, coffee and pineapple fields during our travels. Through my research of this question, I also found that common jobs are business owners and taxi drivers!

Truly, the pineapple we had on this trip was amazing. After seeing MILES of pineapple fields, it's no surprise they have the goods! Here's some pineapple we were served after a hike:

Do you think it was a good honeymoon destination?

Yes! When we were trying to choose a honeymoon destination we had two requirements: I wanted to see wildlife and Dylan wanted somewhere tropical. Costa Rica went beyond our expectations and we loved our trip. It’s definitely a great honeymoon spot for adventurous couples!

Learning more about Costa Rica

Like I said, we did a LOT in Costa Rica. Total we did 10-guided tours throughout the country, all very different from each other. We also spent time in very different areas of the country. So basically I have A LOT to write about.

Be sure to come back and check out all the blog posts I’ll be publishing about our trip. I have sixteen posts on the content calendar, and I cannot wait to share them all!

Costa Rica

Distance: 3,844 miles

Driving Time: 76 hours

#Abroad #WeekendGetaway #CostaRica