Semana Santa in Costa Rica

monteverde, costa rica, monteverde cloud forest reserve, hotel el establoSince Thursday and Friday were holidays in El Salvador for Semana Santa, Kail and I took advantage of the long weekend for a trip to Costa Rica. We did a little hiking, a little ziplining, a little scuba diving and a lot of having an amazing time.Similar to our three-vacations-in-one trip to Hawaii, this experience in Costa Rica was like two vacations in one — from the mountains to the beach. We literally went from up in the clouds one day to 60 feet underwater the next.monteverde, costa rica, monteverde cloud forest reserve, hotel el establoWe Kail drove a lot (like 500 miles in total a lot). We flew in and out of Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose, where we rented a car. We spent half our time in Monteverde, where we visited the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, and stayed at the super-nice El Establo hotel recommended to us by our friend Phil. We took a slight detour on our way to Monteverde. And by “slight detour” I mean we accidentally missed a turn and drove TWO HOURS out of the way up, around and down an entire mountain. And that is only a slight exaggeration.monteverde, costa rica, monteverde cloud forest reserveWe then drove to Playa Junquillal, a small beach on the Pacific Coast, and stayed at the Hotel Iguanazul. On Easter Sunday, we went on our first “real” (in the ocean) buceo at Playas del Coco. I’m going to write in more detail about all of this (remember all my posts about Hawaii? Well this trip was only five days but it was packed with activity!) but for now I’m just sharing the highlights and some photos.monteverde, costa rica, monteverde cloud forest reserveI had originally really wanted to visit a beach on the Caribbean side because I have never been in the Caribbean Sea! But after doing a little Google Mapping, I realized that Costa Rica is huge (at least compared to El Salvador) and not easily drivable in its entirety in five days.playa junquillal, costa rica, hotel iguanazul, sunsetI definitely wanted to get the hiking/forest/wildlife experience and I definitely also wanted to get in some beach time, so I started looking into (slightly closer, but still a three-hour drive away) options on the Pacific Coast. I looked into Tamarindo and some beaches nearby, but many of the hotels and VRBO/Airbnb rentals had three- to seven-day minimums for the holiday week. Eventually I stumbled upon Hotel Iguanazul and it fit the bill.playas del coco, costa rica, buceo, divingBuceo also changed our itinerary. I started planning this trip before we started buceo classes (basically right when returned from Hawaii, in my post-R&R depression); had I booked our hotels later, we might have stayed at or closer to Playas del Coco.Monteverde-Costa-Rica-49Other than Belize, which we unfortunately will not have a chance to visit during this tour, we have now visited all the countries in Central America (at least once, and some more than others)! If we end up back in Latin America one day (hello, priority bidding from Afghanistan) we’ll definitely be hitting up Belize and some other new countries.It’s funny because one of my former colleagues at my previous job in Washington had told me — before I gave notice that I was leaving to move to El Salvador — that I just had to honeymoon in Costa Rica because it was the most amazing vacation he had ever been on. And I remember thinking, I’m going to basically live in Costa Rica (which is not true at all, since this was our first and only visit and we’ve lived in El Salvador for a year and a half). If we end up back in this hemisphere for a tour we may visit again, but there’s always so much more to see …How was your Easter?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

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