vacation Archives - HRG Costa Rica Vacations


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Where to Vacation When You Already Live in Paradise


Paradise Has Plenty – Expat Mini Getaways within Costa Rica

Many expats live in or near Los Sueños Resort because it’s been their dream to live in the tropical paradise that is Central Pacific Coastal region of Costa Rica. While it’s hard to imagine anywhere better, variety is the spice of life. We have some suggestions to spice up your next local getaway, when you already live in paradise.

In Begaces, just north of Palo Verde National Park, locals are friendly and the countryside idyllic. It’s perfect for side trips to Arenal, Río Celeste or Palo Verde. If you fancy a bit of hiking or cycling, the canyons near the forest trails that are ripe for an afternoon of exploration. You can also tour the canopy via zipline. Swimming and sunbathing afterward at Begaces Waterfall (aka Llanos de Cortés) will refresh you.

Las Hornillas Hot Springs is a 35-minute drive north of Begaces, at the base of the Miravalles Volcano. After hiking the trail—via suspension bridges—up to the waterfalls, rejuvenate with a mud bath spa experience. Later, choose from natural pools of warm, hot or cold water to complete the treatment.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest is one Costa Rica’s outstanding wildlife sanctuaries. On the Continental Divide, it extends down the Caribbean and Pacific slopes. Variable climate and terrain support extremely high biodiverse wildlife populations. Admission to the reserve includes a choice of tours, including one for birdwatchers. If you’re more independent, there are plenty of trails to choose from—difficulty and length vary to suit your abilities. You can also tour the canopy via bridge, tram or zipline for a view of life at the top.

Arenal puts on a spectacular show of fumaroles, flows and pyroclastic emissions. By night, even from a long distance, the fiery red lava flows are clearly visible on the mountainside.Arenal Reserve offers spectacular views of the volcano and Arenal Lake. You can try hiking trails flanked by an abundantly lush landscape filled with exotic animals. Other trails close to the volcano will give you a chance to experience the sights and sounds.

Be sure not to overlook the Caribbean Coast, with its Afro-Creole influences. In September and October, it’s often dry when the rest of Costa Rica isn’t. The food isn’t typical Tico fare: jerk, curried goat or chicken, seafood and spices fill the menus. Its rivers and national parks include stunning scenery and an abundance of wildlife. The beaches and coral reefs shelter an abundance of marine life with excellent surfing, snorkeling and diving. Leatherback, hawksbill and green sea turtles frequently nest on the southern beaches.

Residents and wildlife live side-by-side on the Osa Peninsula, where scarlet macaws and white-faced capuchin monkeys are an everyday sight. Corcovado National Park, home to 2.5% of the planet’s total animal species, encompasses virgin rainforest, deserted beaches, jungle-edged rivers and vast, inaccessible swamps. Many tiny, unnamed beaches and several well-known sandy stretches are ideal for swimming, boogie boarding and body surfing. Whale watching never gets old and Golfo Dulce is a prime spot for it.

While life is good at home on the Pacific coast, it’s fun to get a different perspective on paradise in Costa Rica. Besides, even those of us who already live in paradise need a little vacation once in a while.

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A Must-See Guide to Costa Rica’s Capital, San José

Mountain meadows

Los Sueños is Just Over an Hour Outside of San Jose- There is Much to See and Do in Costa Rica’s Capital

Depositphotos_18871429_sIf you are interested in a great Central American vacation, Costa Rica’s capital city, San José, is the perfect choice. Combining the best of civilization with old-world charm, all a stone’s throw from a lush tropical rainforest environment, San José has a little something for everyone. Take a look at few of the must-see spots in the Costa Rican capital below.

Historic Sites

Museo Nacional de Costa Rica: To really get an understanding of the history of the Costa Rican people, spend an afternoon perusing the artifacts here. The museum is located in the historic Bellavista Fortress, the army headquarters throughout the 1948 civil war. The evidence of war can still be seen in small and large dents in the building from artillery. However, after the civil war ended, Costa Rica abolished its army, and remains one of the few nations without a standing army to this day. Some of the most interesting pieces include pre-Columbian artifacts from archeological digs, the pen used by President José Figueres Ferrer when he signed the nation’s constitution in 1949, and period furniture from when the fortress was used for private residences.

Catedral Metropolitana: Located just east of the Parque Central, this Renaissance-style cathedral features neoclassic architecture, Spanish-tile floors, and more stained-glass windows than you can count. The cathedral was actually rebuilt in 1871 following a massive earthquake and features handmade Christ figures throughout the sanctuary from around the world. The cathedral is a breathtaking sight for both the devout and non-practicing alike.

Barrio Amon: Spend some time living the good life by checking out this affluent community of the 19th and 20th centuries, where coffee growers’ mansions still stand guard. There isn’t just one leading architectural design here; you will see a sampling of many techniques, including art-deco and Victorian structures. Not all of the mansions are still residences today, though. Many have been converted to multi-purpose buildings that house restaurants, hotels, offices, and retail stores—making it a great place to wander, stop in, and take pictures.

Places to Eat

La Esquina de Buenos Aires: The old-world Spanish style of this restaurant is reason enough to stop in—and the delicious cuisine is an added bonus. Argentinian influence can be spotted in much of San José culture, making this restaurant a good fit for the Costa Rican city. La Esquina de Buenos Aires is best known for its steak dinners, served with a glass of Malbec. There are other options too, including homemade pastas and empanadas. Enjoy a glass of South American wine by candlelight while the familiar tune of a tango hums quietly in the background.

Mercado Central: If you are looking for an inexpensive meal during your day of touring San José, be sure to wander to Mercado Central. There is something to meet the tastes of everyone in your party, from ceviche to sugar cookies to cinnamon frozen custard. Where else can you find fresh seafood available next to a tamale stand? If you are looking for a variety of the best food that San José has to offer in one spot, Mercado Central should definitely be on your list.

Restaurante Grano de Oro: If you are looking for a fine dining experience, the upscale Restaurante Grano de Oro is a great place to make reservations. It offers the best of Costa Rican fusion cuisine, from caramelized figs to seared duck to coffee-marinated pork loin. There is also a full wine list with local and global selections, and a unique dessert menu that infuses the best of Costa Rican decadence for an after-dinner treat.

Recreational Activities

If you want to stay in the San José city limits:

Tropical Bungee: For the thrill seekers, this daily plunge off the towering and scenic Río Colorado Bridge in Grecia is a vacation must-do.

Salón Los Patines: If you’re interested in a blast from the past, spend a few hours roller skating at this 1970s-style rink. Located just east of the rotunda in San Pedro, you can integrate it with an afternoon of sightseeing or make a night of it, complete with disco music playing in the background.

Barrio Bird Walking Tour: These tours give you a ground-level view of the city of San José from a historical and fun perspective. You can choose the type of tour based on your interests, whether you want to see architecture, drink a few glasses of wine, or visit the best urban art spaces in the city.

Some of Costa Rica’s best recreational activities are just a few hours from San José. If you are interested in a day trip outside the city, give these spots a try:

Volcano Visiting: If you are willing to venture out of San José for the day, be sure to take advantage of the country’s vast volcanic areas. Costa Rica is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, and has 200 volcanic formations that go back 65 million years. Only five of these volcanoes are classified as active today, but the others are still spectacular to see. Spend a day trekking up the summit of the most accessible volcano, Poás Volcano, where you can see a vivid turquoise sulfuric lake in the crater on a clear day. The Irazu Volcano is also known for its breathtaking panoramic views of the country. Climbers can see both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans on a clear day from the top.

Canopy tours: Another great day-trip outside of San José is provided by the ever-popular canopy tours, which make use of ziplines to repel through the Costa Rican rainforests. There are many places you can sign up for these tours, but the most scenic are in Monteverde or Arenal (though both are a half-day drive, so you may want to make plans to stay overnight). In addition to the zipline options, there are also many bridges and skyways that allow admiration of the diverse landscape on foot.

Scuba diving: The marine life of Costa Rica’s coasts is some of the most diverse in the world. Sign up for a scuba diving tour to really immerse yourself in this whole new world lurking just below the surface. Some of the best places for marine life visibility include Playa Ocotal, Playa Hermosa, and Playas del Coco, where it is not uncommon to see sharks, manta rays, and other brightly colored tropical fish.


With so many wonderful things to do in San José, we hope you have at least a week here! Even better if you can experience a little of all that Costa Rica has to offer by venturing out beyond the city’s borders for a true taste of true pura vida.



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Costa Rica Vacation Tips

7 Reasons Why You Might Not Have a Perfect Costa Rica Vacation

And How to Fix That

Costa Rica Natural Diversity CollageCosta Rica is a vibrant, warm, and exciting place to visit. However, sometimes people come to Costa Rica and have a less-than-stellar trip.  If this has happened to you, there is good news. You don’t have to give up on Costa Rica.

Here are 7 common reasons why people don’t get the most out of their vacations, and advice on how to have an amazing trip the next time around.


Lack of research.

To ensure that you have the trip you want, you’re best off looking into everything beforehand. Think about where you want to stay, what you want to see, and what activities are available, so that you can build a picture in your mind of what your ideal trip would look like.   
Poor planning.

There are a ton of things to do and see in Costa Rica. If you don’t plan out your trip carefully, you might end up either trying to do too much, or not doing much of anything because you’re not sure what to do. You don’t have to micromanage everything – just figure out the things you most want to do, and create a priority list. Schedule the highest priority things in first, then add in the rest of the less-important things around them.
Omitting details.

Maybe you planned to go zip-lining with the family, but realized when you got there that your children had to be at least 10. Or maybe you booked a hotel on the beach only to realize that the water there was too choppy for swimming. Finding out small, but important details about the location you’ll be staying and the activities you’ll be doing will help you avoid frustrating surprises.  
Poor time management.

When you create your priority list, don’t forget to balance each activity against the amount of time you have. Find out how long each activity will last, factoring in travel time between activities, to make sure you’re not going to be rushing anywhere. And make sure to fit in some downtime so you don’t overdo it and end up exhausted.

Budgeting unwisely.

Find out what everything will cost you beforehand. Don’t forget to include tips, deposits, and pocket money. Then add a generous cushion for the unforeseen.

Packing the wrong items.

The last thing you want is to try to trek through the rainforest in the wrong shoes, be at the top of a chilly mountain with no sweater, or miss a scarlet macaw sighting because you forgot your binoculars. Pack thoughtfully and carefully for your trip.

Coming at the wrong time of year.

Costa Rica may be warm all year, but that doesn’t mean the weather is the same year round. Some activities and locations are only accessible at specific times of year. If you plan to lie on the beach for most of your trip, come during the dry season However, if you’re looking to go whitewater rafting, the wet season is your best bet.   

That being said, Herradura Bay where Los Sueños Resort and Maria is located is easily accessible and the weather is fine year around, even if it is green season and a little rainy during part of the day. Many find that green season is actually the very best time of year to visit as everything is so lush and green.

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