Our trip to Costa Rica was life changing. It really solidified how we would run out business. Both Antonio and I knew we wanted to travel, which would be impossible with a regular 9-5 job. It would also be impossible with my regular 9-11, 7-10 days of schlepping wines throughout NY & NJ. I had never been to Central America, so we figured...what the heck.
Antonio booked us at Los Altos De Eros. Go...go now! The owner Jacqueline is an incredible person, she is the reason that year after year Los Altos de Eros gets rave reviews from travelers everywhere. I'll tell you a little about our experience a little further into the post.
Jacqueline and Calvin, our hosts at Los Altos De Eros purchased a mountain and built their lovely resort on top of the mountain. It is small and exclusive, there are only 6 rooms in the resort, which guarantees you privacy and high quality of service. When you walk in, it feels like you are walking into your rich uncle's home, not into a hotel or bnb. The first thing one sees upon entering is their gorgeous infinity pool looking over the Costa Rican jungle. Stunning. Las habitaciones están construidas de una manera que usted tiene total privacidad de cualquier otra pareja que se alojaban allí. Teníamos baños de leche en Los Altos de Eros en el aire libre, sipping on Champagne, and checking out the howler monkeys in the mountains. We also took a Yoga class outdoors in the morning. The place is close to paradise.
To say Guanacaste is under-developed is an understatement. Their main city has touches of Colonial architecture, but development has not really hit. The beauty of the country is seen once one heads out of the city and into the jungle.
While we were there, we spent plenty of time at the beach. Es más de la playa de los surfistas con fuertes olas. Hay dos principales playas; Tamarindo Beach which is more popular with tourists. If you are looking for miles of sand with nobody else around, you will want to visit Playa Avellanas. In Playa Avellanas there is a lovely restaurant (also...the only restaurant) called Lola's. It is named after the cutest pig who lays in the sand enjoying the sunshine. They have great pizzas. Make sure to check it out when you are there (It has been a few years since I visited...so I'm hoping Lola is still around).
También fuimos a Rincon de La Vieja. It is an active volcano. The legend associated with the name is that a young girl's lover was thrown into the volcano by her father. It is said she lived the rest of her life in the volcano. The place was gorgeous. I assume the active volcano means super fertile land, which probably explained the large number of people we encountered living there. I cannot imagine living on a volcano that erupted last in 2011. As we drove up the volcano we found makeshift toll collectors...townspeople who set up spots to collect a dollar or two from tourists. We were probably cheated, but frankly...who cares. This is their land and if one of my dollars makes their life a little better, I'm all about it. There are hot springs (which we dutifully used), waterfalls, and mud baths that are said to purify the body (I felt great after my mud bath). Se dice que hay un montón de animales allí como perezosos, tapirs, pumas, jaguar, and howler monkeys, but I saw none on my visit.
This was no issue. I saw plenty of critters at Los Altos De Eros. Jacqueline asked me to keep that on the DL, as to not scare away tourists, but I think this is a huge part of the charm of the place. I would see humming birds, orb weavers, howler monkeys and tons of other little animals all over the property. We even saw a harlequin snake (totally harmless and seriously beautiful).Oh yeah, traffic in this part of the world is defined by flocks of goats, and "mean" bulls...you can tell who they are because trouble making bulls have a stick tied to their horns.
Jacqueline even set us up to attend a classical concert at a private development. It was one of those moments when you think...Uh Oh...they're going to try to sell me a time share, but, nope...it was just a concert overlooking the beach in a beautiful spot. Just goes to show you how jaded one can become.
On the date of our departure, we waited at the "airport". At the time this was a strip of land off a farm. We waited with some Canadian tourists who we had struck up a conversation with. Suddenly we were told that our flight was cancelled due to an upcoming rain storm. We called Jacqueline to see if she had room for us (and our new friends) for the night. She told us yes and sent a car to pick us up. We had a wonderful dinner, a great night's sleep, and the next morning when we woke, we found Jacqueline on the phone working out our flights with the airline. We made it safely home thanks to Jacqueline and her wonderful team.
Writing this, I think I'm ready for a return visit.
- Rent a jeep - it rains (sometimes a lot) and what once was road can quickly turn into a river. A jeep will guarantee that you can hit the pedal and make it through the newly created river and back to your destination
- Bring a good camera - the flora and fauna in Costa Rica is divine
- Keep an eye on belongings - do not leave your backpack with your passport in the car. We had nothing stolen from us, but met plenty of people who did