I visited Costa Rica to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday with my family from Peru and Germany.
It was my first time in the destination and my first time in a private villa with a chef!
As a travel agent I am used to going to all- inclusive hotels whenever there is one available, but this time my brothers preferred a villa instead of a hotel to just spend time together with no strangers around.
When you take your group to a villa, the experience is super intimate, there are no shows, no restaurant options, bar tenders, etc; but on the other hand this experience will let you deepen the bond with the people traveling with you.
In our case the villa came with a chef , Luis Arias that pampered us in many ways and with three cleaning girls: Tatiana, Cherys and Mayra. They kept the villa impeccable and even did our laundry!
Our concierge was fabulous, Ruddy Munoz Abarca, he did all the arrangements for our excursions and transfers.
We stayed in Quepos,which is located 2.5 hours from San Jose airport, if there is traffic it will take you at least 3 hours to arrive there.
The area is super nice and safe, you can go out walking to restaurants and bars. The beach is not easily accessed by walking,it is better to take a taxi or the local bus to go there, the closest beach to our villa was Biesanz Beach but is rocky on the left side so make sure that you just swim on the right side.
On this beach you can also do kayaking and snorkeling.
The food in Costa Rica is awesome, we enjoyed Gallo Pinto, fresh fruit, cheese, and avocado in our first breakfast and our chef prepared Caribbean Chicken on our last day that was spectacular! We ate grilled meats, fish, Costa Rica style ceviche and all the food was super yummy!
We enjoyed days on different beaches: Espadilla, Manuel Antonio and Biesanz. Each one is completely different.
Espadilla is a big beach where kids can run the waves in boggie boards, the waves are strong and even good for surfers.
Manuel Antonio was my favorite because is small, intimate and has white sand. Lovely for young children because it has no waves.
Biesanz beach is where you can do snorkeling and kayaking but the beach itself is rocky, you can get in the water to swim only on the right side but still have to wear swim shoes because of the small rocks.
The locals suggested that we go to Campesinos Eco Lodge instead of Rainmaker because we didn’t want my dad to walk long trails. The place was espectacular, just a short walk to the hanging bridge and another short walk to the waterfalls where you can swim.
For families with kids and elderly parents is highly recommended!
If you are in Manuel Antonio National Park area, visiting this park is a must! To see the wild animals it is better to go very early in the morning or at night with a guide, they know where to find them.
I enjoyed so much the diversity of flowers, the monkeys chasing us and the thousands of blue crabs!
Friday nights they have a small farm trade show in downtown, there you can buy specialty coffee, bread.
We just tried one restaurant that has a lovely location on the oceanfront , is called Mira Olas. Located in Central Avenue, just to the left of the name “Quepos” that is shown on the boardwalk that goes around the beach. The food was superb and we pay $13 dollars for 2 meals with natural passion fruit juice. The meal was a choice of meat: chicken, pork or fish, rice and black beans.
Costa Ricans also known as “Ticos” are extremely warm, happy and caring people, they do everything they can to make you feel welcome and they will go the extra mile to make sure that your stay in their country is enjoyable!
As my friends there say, “ Hasta la vista, PURA VIDA!!
Author Rossana Jeri
Bilingual English -Spanish Travel Agent