Discover Hidden Secrets in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is well known for the natural beauty of rainforests located inside its National Park system, as well as, the excellent beaches which feature world-class sport fishing and surfing. However, many visitors are not aware of some of Costa Rica’s most hidden secrets.

Isla Chora

Playa Samara is a growing beach community located on the Nicoya Peninsula in Guanacaste. Many visitors do not know about Isla Chora which is a short swim or kyak ride off the beach.
isla-chora-costa-ricaHere you will find a secluded white sand beach. You can spend several hours on the beach, relaxing in the sun or snorkeling it’s calm and clear blue waters. There is a guided tour available that lasts about three hours. They normally schedule tours either in the morning or the afternoon, and try to coincide with low tide. You should plan on bringing a swim suit, underwater cameras, towels. The tour includes sea kyaks with paddles, a life vest, fresh tropical fruits. If you like to stand-up paddle (SUP), they can also provide you with a board and paddle.

Barra Honda National Park

barra-honda-caves-costa-ricaBarra Honda National Park is also located on the Nicoya peninsula and features a limestone cave system. To take this tour, you will need a guide and technical caving gear. You can also camp in the park, for about $6 per person. There are eight bunk beds inside a cabin and a campsite outside if you want to sleep in a tent. This is a tropical dry forest and your free to hike natural trails, view tropical wildlife and also explore the caves which feature stalactite and stalagmite formations. You are certain to see white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys and perhaps mackaw parrots. The caves have not been widely exposed to tourism,
so you can a very natural caving experience. Of the 42 caves in the system, only 19 have been partially explored. Perhaps you can discover something unknown in caves which have not been explored?


Great Hotels in the Nicoya Peninsula

You have easy access to both attractions from the following great hotels near Playa Samara.

Hotel Guanamar - $200 $110

This is a boutique hotel with 41 different rooms with air conditioning, refrigerators and private balconies. The hotel is not on the beach, but on the side of a hill which provides an elevated ocean view and spectacular sunsets. There is also WIFI internet and breakfast included in your stay.

 

hotel-guanamar-pool-costa-rica hotel-guanamar-room-costa-rica

Amenities Include:

✓ Pool
✓ Accessible bathroom
✓ In-Room accessibility
✓ Accessibility equipment for the deaf

Hotel Sol Samara – $96

This is a great 14 room hotel, with uniquely decorated rooms, located near Playa Samara and Playa Carillo. The hotel and rooms all have a very modern and fresh look. There is also a pool and rooftop terrace for that allow you to view incredible sunsets on the Pacific. There is also WIFI, a restuarant, a concierge desk and wedding planning.

 

hotel-sol-samara-costa-rica hotel-sol-samara-room-costa-rica

Amenities Include:

 ✓ Pool
✓ Internet Access
✓ Room Service
✓ Accessible path of travel
✓ Accessible bathroom
✓ Roll-in shower
✓ In-Room accessibility

 

The Ruins at Ujarrá

The ruins of Ujarrá feature Costa Rica’s oldest church. It was built between 1575 and 1580 by Franciscan missionaries as part of an effort to convert the local people into the Roman Catholic faith. The church is surrounded by natural gardens, which feature indigenous flora, in which is small creek flows through. ruins-of-ujarra-costa-rica The church had several different chambers with a school and cemetery. The front of the church is very clearly styled in a Renaissance fashion. There is also a legend associated with this old church. The local legend is that a native Huetar indian found a painting of the Virgin Mary in a box, which became known as the Virgin of Ujarrás. The church was built around this image. After many years, the painting earned fame due to the many miracles which it performed for many local villagers. In 1666, an English pirate named Henry Morgan came to loot the village, and legend says that the Virgin of Ujarrás protected the village.

Valle OrosiIn addition to Ujarrá you are located in an area of Costa Rica called Valle Orosi and Paraiso (Paradise or Paradise Valley). This a very picturesque area of Costa Rica, where you can see brilliantly colored flowers on mountains which frame a beautiful valley. This exact place is what people call Little Switzerland, and you will feel like you are in Europe. Because you are at a higher altitude, you should pack warmer clothing, and expect brisk winds. This is certainly a a great day trip which takes you about an hour from San Jose. There is also a great hotel, which is described below.

Great Hotels Near Ujarrá

Sanchiri Mirador & Lodge $70

Sanchiri Mirador and Lodge is an excellent escape from the noise of San Jose.  In addition to being close to the Ruins of Ujarrá, you are also close to the Lankester Botanical Gardens, a beautiful churched called Igelsia de San Jose de Orosi, and Parque Nacional Tapanti where you will find waterfalls, butterflies, birds and in 2009, two new orchid species were discovered.  All rooms include a breakfast plan.

sanchiri-mirador-costa-rica sanchiri-mirador-costa-rica-view

Mount Chirripó

Mount Chirripó is the tallest mountain in Costa Rica at 12,500 feet and located in the Talamanca mountain range south of the Central Valley. For many years, the local indian tribes considered the peaks of Chirripó for being sacred and left the mountain largely unexplored. It is rumored that man did not reach the peak until 1904.mount-chirripo-costa-rica In 1975, the government declared the areas around Chirripó a National Park and today it is 195 square miles of protected topical highlands, with plenty of bio-diversity. mount-chirripo-costa-ricaThe climate in the area varies greatly by slope and altitude. Temperatures across the peak do reach 32 degrees or freezing often times throughout the year. At night time, the peak experiences bitterly cold winds which exceed 80 KPH, so you’ll need to pack for both warm and cold weather. The trek to the peak includes a quick 3 day / 2 night tour. The climb is fairly challenging, however, no technical equipment is required to make it to the peak. There is a lodge located half way up, where you normally stay for the night. Plan on sleeping with very cold weather and do your very best to dry out any clothing that got wet along the way. The second day consists of the push the top. And the last day is the trek downwards.

Great Hotels Near Mount Chirripó

Oxygen Jungle Villas – $199

This hotel has 12 rooms which are nestled in the rainforest hills.  You are close several attractions, which include Playa Matapalo and Playa Hermosa (South), Marino Ballen National Park and Playa Domincal, which also has a bustling beach town.

oxygen-jungle-villas-costa-rica-room sanchiri-mirador-costa-rica-view

Amenities include:

✓ Pool
✓ Room Service

Hotel Cuna de Angel – $89

Hotel Cuna de Angel is located right in Dominical and has a high rating for its price of only $89 per night.

hotel-cuna-del-angel-costa-rica hotel-cuna-del-angel-pool-costa-rica

✓ Pool
✓ Internet Access
✓ Room Service
✓ Accessible path of travel
✓ Accessible bathroom
✓ In-Room accessibility
✓ Accessibility equipment for the deaf

 

River Celeste

River Celeste (Rio Celeste) is located inside Tenorio Volcano National Park, which is located north of Lake Arenal.rio-celeste-costa-rica This is one of the newest national parks in Costa Rica and should plan a day trip from Arenal or the La Fortuna area.  The river is famous for its luminescent clear blue water.  It is also surrounded by rain forest and natural biodiversity.   The blue color is a result of a chemical reaction from sulfur created by Volcanic activity and calcium carbonate. The river also features a beautiful water fall, not springs and boiling volcanic mud pits. The Indian legend is that God dipped his paintbrush in the river, when he was painting the sky. There are also several areas where you can bathe in the river, so bring some swim wear.  In all, you should plan a 5 hour day trip for Arenal. If you want to take a guided tour, they usually run about $65 from La Fortuna.

 

Great Hotels in Arenal Area

Hotel Arenal Lodge – $72 - Great Price!

This is a great hotel which also features hillside cabinas and excellent views of Arenal.  My family stayed here and we witness a cyroplastic blast that really caught our attention.  You are also close to many activities in Arenal which include nature hikes, ATV tours and the hanging bridges.

arenal-lodge-costa-rica hotel-arenal-lodge-costa-rica

Amenities include:

✓ Pool
✓ Fitness Center
✓ Babysitting
✓ Accessible path of travel
✓ Accessible bathroom
✓ Roll-in shower
✓ In-Room accessibility

Hotel Arenal Manoa and Hot Springs Resort – $170 $136 – Huge Savings!

This is another great hotel option which provides a different view of Arenal.  Here are you are close to the  to Arenal Natura Ecological Park, Baldi Hot Springs, Ecotermales Fortuna and Ecoglide Arenal Park.

arenal-monoa-costa-rica arenal-monoa-pool-costa-rica

Amenities include:

✓ Pool
✓ Room Service
✓ Accessible bathroom
✓ In-Room accessibility

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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