Last year August we started planning our holiday to Costa Rica. It was to be a family holiday with Mom and Dad. They are huge bird photographers and Costa Rica was a bucket list destination for this reason. Costa Rica also has tropical rain forest, mountains, volcanos, rivers and beautiful beaches, so we knew there would be plenty to do there.

We used Trello to plan the holiday. For those who don’t know what Trello is, it’s a browser/phone application that is both easy to use and flexible, with checklists, attachments, labels, due dates, sharing, and drag-and-drop. You can use it to organize and track just about anything. One can add people and teams to the board and they can add cards, comments and attachments. It is an absolutely fabulous, easy tool for organising stuff.

The Plan

Given Jo and I could only take two weeks holiday we wanted to see as much of Costa Rica as possible, which meant we would have to hire a car to get around, so we broke the holiday into three regions.

  • 4 nights in the La Fortuna area, which had the Arenal volcano, Lake Arenal, tropical forests, hanging bridges and bird parks.
  • 3 nights in the Jaco area, which had the crocodile river tours, the beaches, zip lines, ATV and the boat tours.
  • 5 nights in the Quepos area, which has the famous Manuel Antonio National Park, beaches and even more tropical rain forests.

On the 22nd of March we flew out of London Heathrow to Miami, where we hopped onto a short haul flight to San Jose international airport in Costa Rica. We breezed through airport security and a shuttle took us to the car hire company a couple of miles away from the Airport. We hired a lovely big 4×4 automatic Toyota Prado, which had plenty of space and comfort.

Casa Victoria

Mom & Dad were already at Casa Victoria B&B in the Alajuela Province a few suburbs away from the airport, as they had arrived in Costa Rica two nights earlier. They had a much longer flight from South Africa via a couple of different countries and needed a couple of days to recoup. Although after our welcome and pleasantries it sounded like they had done very little resting, instead had explored the neighbourhood, found a pizza joint nearby and had visited a few places during the day. They had already taken loads of photos of butterflies, birds and a sloth that just happened to be climbing slowly down a tree. 😉 Casa Victoria was a simple, cheap B&B that we opted for, because of its close proximity to the airport and car hire. The rooms were large and clean and the host was friendly and helpful, although spoke little English.

Chachagua Rainforest Eco Lodge

The next day we drove North West of San Jose for about 120 kilometers along a very winding, tarred road towards the town of La Fortuna. There was hardly any traffic and the views from the road were incredible, with forest and rolling hills along the route.

About 20 km before La Fortuna we turned off the main road and headed up into the tropical rainforest. There were lots of narrow bridges over white water rivers. We had to fetch the keys from the local housekeeper who spoke no English and we no Spanish. There was a lot of sign language, head nodding and thumbs up waving, which seemed to do the trick. There was a short drive up to the Chachua Rainforest Eco Lodge and then down a very stoney path, past a dam, a stable and up a very bumpy rocky road. Thank goodness for the 4×4’s big tyres. The house was situated up on a steep hill, surrounded by a variety of trees, canopies and a beautiful gardens.

There was a long driveway with trees and flowers on either side and a lovely car port at the end next to the house. The house was a wood cabin and it was perched on stilts high above the surrounding garden. It had a large open plan kitchen & lounge with two double bedrooms at the back. The lounge had large windows and doors leading onto a massive wooden balcony with a table and chairs and two hammocks. The views from the balcony were spectacular. There were a couple of very large trees within touching distance of the balcony and they were full of different birds. Some might say “It was paradise” 🙂 A perfect place to chill out and take in the nature and surroundings.

End of Part 1.

In the next post we’ll tell you what we got up to in the La Fortuna area.