Costa Rica is beautiful with lush greens and spectacular sunsets. In Guanacaste, on the Pacific side, there are still beaches left uncrowded and some local people are genuinely friendly. If beaches and sunsets enjoyed from a comfy beach chair with your favorite beverage are your perfect vacation, Costa Rica may be for you. Of course, surfing and boating go along with beaches and sunsets but those are not my personal favorites.
As my trip was a family visit (with my sister who moved there several years ago) to Tamarindo on the Pacific coast side, touring time was more relaxed than a commercial tour. We engaged a local driver and so were able to choose our travel destinations and times. The multiple beaches we visited were all beautiful and several were exceptional for shells. Visitors need to know that the government prohibits taking shells unless the shells are used in artwork, jewelry, or other commercial production. Fortunately, my sister is a shell artist and so I was able to bring back some of her whimsical works.
Moving inland to visit Diamante Eco Adventure Park, was my “ah.” Zip lining, my first ever, was great fun. My favorite of the three zip lines was the "superman" - it really feels like flying! Rescued Costa Rican creatures populate the animal park. Two-toed sloth, Lucy, is a fan favorite. Luckily, we were there at feeding time when Lucy was at her most active. "Active" for a sloth means being awake, hanging off a tree and munching sugar cane. The jaguars and puma were also active having just been fed. If you ever do visit, the 10 am time frame is when the animal park is at its most active.
Howler monkeys were entertaining if everyone was careful to stand a proper distance away. Hint: male monkeys are in the habit of quite literally pissing on tourists. Bird species are abundant and if you are a birder, be sure to take binoculars for a great time spotting birds to add to your list.
As a senior traveler, it’s wise to consider your personal fitness level as well as need for creature comforts or luxury experience level when choosing how to visit Costa Rica. There are high end resorts, as well as golf resorts. As more of an adventurer, and having the luxury of physical fitness, my approach was adventurous. That doesn’t work for everyone. A few of the mature travelers on the estuary boat ride struggled on the foot path to see the monkeys.
In addition to visiting, there is a large community of international retirees and snowbirds. If you are looking for an alternative to Philly winters, Costa Rica is worth considering.
Clare Novak travels far and near. She started her travel website and blogs in 2018, seeking to share the world’s beauty and delightful experiences. Ms. Novak is an international consultant in Human Resources, Gender Equality and Leadership. She has published business books and articles and speaks on those topics for international Conferences. When at home in Pennsylvania, she travels locally to discover interesting places. She is a frequent blog contributor whose past stories can be found in the Archives.
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