I’ve been offline for the last week or so…I know, it’s contrary to my last post about staying connected.  But there are times when it’s nice to completely disconnect from all the “screens and gadgets” and reconnect with actual people.  For the last week I was at Lapa Rios, a remote eco lodge on the Osa Peninsula.  No telephones, no cell service, no email, internet, facebook, texting, instant messaging…Nada. (well, okay, I admit a few times I was able to get an internet signal through my phone service and checked facebook…but it’s for my job!).

But for the most part, it was just me and a friend, hanging out in a tropical rainforest with beautiful views of the green, lush jungle, the Golfo Dulce and the Pacific Ocean.  At any given moment, wildlife could be found.

We saw dolphins in the Golfo Dulce, visited the Cana Blanca Animal Sanctuary, went horseback riding, played in waterfalls. We hiked around the property, both during the day and at night (really cool animal sightings at night – the jungle truly becomes alive).  Drifting off to sleep at night, we’d hear the sounds of thunder, tink frogs and crickets which was followed by waking up to a 5:00 a.m. sunrise with the howlers and birds.  Thank goodness for their early morning coffee delivery service to our bungalow!

But before going to Lapa Rios, we went to Arenas del Mar, a beachfront, rainforest resort in Manuel Antonio on the Central Pacific Coast.  Two completely different experiences but both so worth having.  At Arenas del Mar, you’re situated in a resort where the beach is in front of you and the rainforest can be found above, behind and all around you.  But it’s a new resort, opened exactly 5 years ago (we were there to celebrate the Anniversary), so it has all the technological amenities you would expect to find in a new hotel.  We went hiking to waterfalls, saw monkeys falling from the sky (well, okay, they were jumping from our roof to the trees) and I once again faced my fear of heights on the hanging bridges and zipline tour.  I even swung like a pendulum (AKA Tarzan Swing) across two platforms about 120 feet above the ground and rappelled down two long ropes.

After Lapa Rios, we went to Hacienda Tayutic.  A new place for me – out in the central valley near Turrialba Volcano, about 2 hours east of San Jose. Located on top of a mountain with beautiful views of the valley below, it is a place to be treasured.  To completely relax and let go.  I learned how they make brown sugar and got to take a fresh bag home with me – my neighbors will be so excited to hear this as they know what will be made with it…chocolate chip cookies!  I also finally got to see the red berries of the coffee bushes – always I’ve only seen the white flowers and the green, unripe berries.  But it’s finally harvest season here and the red berries were all brightly shining against the green leaves of the coffee plant.  The Inn also produces macadamia nuts so I might just be making some chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies in the very near future as well!

Unfortunately, it rained every day we were there but we still worked in a few fun activities.  And while I was told the active Turrialba volcano was in front of the Hacienda, the fog and clouds never subsided so I never got to see it.  Next time though…

While not actually a vacation as all of the above was technically work, it was an amazing trip and so great to have found a new travel partner.

More stories from these trips to come in the future.  For now, enjoy the slideshow of incredible wildlife and beautiful scenery.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pura vida…Chrissy

Note: While I am now paid and/or receive comped services at many of the places I visit, I will always offer my unbiased opinion to you, my readers.  Fortunately, I almost always have experiences that exceed my expectations.