I wanted to start this post by saying that it’s been a while since I’ve been someplace exotic, but then I remembered that in July we went to Alaska even though it was for only a couple of days. Working for an airline makes it easier to visit places near and far.
So last week we went to Costa Rica for the entire week. I’ve never been that far south. Before we left I looked up the weather and it showed clouds and thunderstorms all week. I was worried. Packed rain jackets. Wasn’t sure what to expect. But my worries were not worth it. Yes it did sprinkle, here and there, and we got rained on once (so much for packing rain jackets), but it was far away from what I was imagining: a Seattle-like, non-stop type of rain.
We stayed at a guesthouse type of accommodation called Mango Boulevard, similar to AirBnB that I picked from Booking.com It was great! With traditional Costa Rican breakfast of rice & beans, scrambled eggs, fried plantains and cheese. It was walking distance to food, shopping and a movie theater (We saw Thor on cheap night, Wednesdays as we learned is 2 for 1 night, so it cost $11 for the four of us). We used Uber and taxi a couple of times for further in town attractions. We had two rooms with a shared bathroom and mainly the second floor was ours. We hired one of the guys that worked there twice for a tour and transportation to La Paz Waterfall Gardens and to Manuel Antonio National Park. It was more than if we rented a car ourselves, but well worth to have everything taken care of.
What we visited:
Museo de los niños – Children’s Museum
If you are traveling with kids this is a must. It’s by far the biggest children museum I’ve been to. The kids’s favorite part was a tilted miniature house, where it was all about gravity and illusions. Magic like! You roll a ball and it goes up because of all the different tilts between floor/table and other objects, so the gravity created an illusion.
And then also a front of a house that was build on the ground (as in the front of the house was the floor) while an angled mirror wall created an illusion that you are walking on the side walls (like Spiderman)
There were all kinds of other attractions, from planetary science, dinosaurs, excavation projects, food an nutrition, shopping….I mean we spent most of the day at this place and the kids were happy (except for the part where we attempted to find this place by foot and after 1.5hr of walking we got a taxi).
This little paradise is about 1.5hr outside of San Jose. It’s a beautiful nature park and sanctuary for animals that for various reasons cannot survive in the wild on their own. My husband was familiar with the trail from the exercise machines at the gym, hahaha. Here we saw toucans, monkeys, a jaguar, exotic frogs, snakes, spiders, a butterfly sanctuary, beautiful greenery, orchids and a few waterfalls.
Manuel Antonio National Park
This is where I first saw a monkey and a sloth in the wild. The sloths were hard to spot, but the monkeys were EVERYWHERE. The park is about 3 hr drive from San Jose. On our way there we also spotted a river of crocodiles (also my first time seeing crocodiles in the wild)
When we arrived at Manuel Antonio National Park our bags got searched for any food that is not fruit or a personal sandwich. No other food was allowed (like chips and crackers etc.). This is to prevent people from feeding the animals. But….people sneak in food anyways, I saw a guy with a plate of fries. The animals know about this. They demand human food. A raccoon tried to steal a bag ha ha ha.
I suppose if you are used to see monkeys all around you all the time they’d be a nuisance. You know in a way pigeons are nuisance. But it was quite interesting to watch them come around, try to get you to give them food, bring friends, climb high up, come back down, eat a banana peel they got out of tourist. If I wasn’t interested in their shenanigans or try to make sure the kids down drown, I may have enjoyed laying on the beach.
The kids were a bit bored on the day that we visited The Jade Museum, The National Museum and The Museum of the Central Bank. They are all next to each other and you can get a pass for all three. Luckily there is a big Artisan Market right next to the Jade Museum where the kids got some shopping for souvenirs.
They museum of Jade and the Central Bank have archeological artifacts, jade figurines, gold coins, jewelry, pottery etc. The National Museum is housed in an old military fort and barracks and it has artifacts from pre-Colombian time, also some weapons and cannons, some pottery as well as more contemporary set ups like a room where my kids saw a rotary phone for the first time. I guess it’s not that contemporary as we had to show them how to use a rotary phone.
We saw an entire pedestrian walkway where the walls on each side were painted by artists. This was in close proximity of the Jade Museum and the National Museum.
We also stumbled upon the Museum of Contemporary Art by chance. We were looking for the Children’s museum. This was a cool treat. Apart from being free and seeing art from contemporary artists, the building used to be the old airport. Sooo cool!!
The week came to a close very quickly (well it was 6 days including travel days). I would have like to see one of the volcanoes, but there is only so much time and money and traveling with kids who despite the many adventures they have been on, often complain about how they are bored (in nature) or their legs hurt (from walking).
When it comes to walking, I miss living in a city where you can walk or use public transport with ease. Where little mom and pup shops are just across the street and you know the owners. Where the playground is behind your house. Where you are a regular at the local restaurant because it’s not a chain and your other neighbor is the cook. For me being in an environment like that makes people experience human connection just by being there, passing by another human being, waiting for the bus together, sharing the sidewalk on the way to work. All of that is enough to feel a connection to another human without ever speaking a word. I miss that a lot.
Cheers till the next adventure!!