Tag Archives: Costa Rica

Costa Rica Part Tres: Manuel Antonio

Well folks, here we are. Part 3 of my 3 part series from my trip to Costa Rica. Don’t worry though, I still have a trip video that will be coming out shortly. (Caitlin Nancy–if you are reading this…I am coming for your video footage) This last leg of the trip was more low-key so I have decided to format it just a tad different.

We spent our time in Manuel Antonio, mostly playing in the water, but, on our way there we stopped to tour an organic coffee farm. It is hard to think about coffee while you are sweating in Costa Rica but, as I sit here and type this post with a coffee in hand, I now appreciate the knowledge that I gained from this tour.  Not only did we tour their coffee factory (all outside) we also got to witness the making of sugar cane liquor and take a short hike through their property. Special shout out to my Mom, who just this morning, texted me regarding how much she was enjoying the coffee I brought back for her. Please email me regarding where you can send my daughter of the year award.  🙂

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Once we arrived in Manuel Antonio we went straight to the beach, where we watched the sunset. This was the first time I had ever touched the Pacific Ocean or watched the sunset over the water. I am an atlantic coast girl, we wake up at 5am to see the sunrise on the water. It was a surreal moment and luckily, the water was warm.

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The next day we came back to the beach where we entered Manuel Antonio National Park. We had fun playing in the water, eating coconuts, climbing along the rocks and shopping around the local town. Seeing mountains and rock formations along the coast was a new sight for me. In North Carolina the coast is at one in of the state and if you drive 5 hours west, you will be in the mountains. Here I was hiking and playing in the water all at the same time. Dream come true? I think yes.

That same afternoon we went on a snorkeling and boating excursion with Iguana Tours. Even though it was raining we had a great time. We took a 2 hour boat ride where we danced, ate fruit upon fruit (go figure) and even caught a cat nap. Boy do I love falling asleep to the sound of the waves. It was beautiful. As the sun was setting we were served dinner and had an opportunity to snorkel and jump/slide off the top of the boat. If you give me a water slide, I can be occupied for hours. The rain cleared just in time for the sun to set and it was picture perfect. Shout out to our friend Thomas that posed as an enthusiastic tour guide and pal for our tour.

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As I wrap up this 3 part series I have been able to reflect on this incredible trip. This Blog has given me the opportunity to share and remember all of those special moments. Rain or shine Costa Rica is a beautiful country with so much to offer. As I look out the window in the library and see nothing but snow and ice, I have enjoyed reflecting on the warmth of Costa Rica. Hopefully i have helped convince you to get your tails down to costa rica!

Thanks for reading friends! Movie coming soon!

peace out–HAYUP

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Costa Rica Part Dos: Sarapiqui

Sarapiqui, Costa Rica is the location of my 2nd leg of my trip to costa rica, and probably my favorite. It was a smaller town but offered lots of fun tours and excursions along the sarapiqui river.

La Quinta, Sarapiqui Country Inn and Eco-Lodge (no, not the franchise):

La Quinta is a Country Inn and Eco-lodge that has been nationally certified by the Costa Rican Tourism Board with its Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST).  La Quinta strives to have little, to no negative impact on its immediate environment and that is evident in every aspect of their property. The local owners have spared no expense to ensure that their quaint lodge is held to the highest sustainable standards. Complete with a butterfly garden, river bank, a pond )that serves as a home to 3 caimans), 2 swimming pools, a small farm, beautiful landscapes, a delicious restaurant and housing for both families, couples and large groups, La Quinta was my favorite Eco-Lodge that I stayed at through-out my trip.

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Activities/ Excursions/ Tours:

Finca Corsicana Pineapple Farm: According to their website, they are the largest organic pineapple farm in the world. We went on a tractor ride through their 3,000 acre pineapple farm and even got the treat of seeing a baby sloth with its mother and a family of howler monkeys (we heard them long before we saw them). Every few feet our tour guide would hop off the tractor, pick a pineapple, cut the pineapple with the machete knife he kept in his pocket and then pass it around to all of us. He did this time and time again, fresh pineapple after fresh pineapple. Coming from the girl that cannot afford fresh pineapple and buys it from the can, this pineapple was incredible. At the end of our tractor ride we were greeted with fresh pina colada, a treat so delicious and fresh it can only be further described by a picture.

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White Water Rafting on the Sarapiqui River: I cannot get enough of white water rafting. This was actually my first time and I was glad that I saved my first time for Costa Rica. Before we even got in the raft we were taken to jump off this little ledge. My friends and I had so much fun doing this while the guides took our pictures. The water was refreshing, the sun was out and the rapids were just adventurous enough. Our raft guide, Carlos, really made the experience for us. He kept things fun and adventurous. He would splash us, throw us out of the boat, let us ride on the front of the raft (he called it cowboying), pointed out the wildlife and told us all about himself. Half-way through the trip we stopped for…guess what…a fruit break. Complete with watermelon and pineapple. After our pineapple farm tour the day before I stuck to watermelon.  Even though some of these pictures make it look like I am disgusted, I was actually having a great time.

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Chocolate Tour: Costa Rica is home to the Cacao Tree which produces the beans that are used to make chocolate. This tour was located in the rainforest, where we trecked across one of the longest suspension bridges in Costa Rica. Even though it was raining on this day, there was something surreal about being in the rain forest while it was raining. The cacao beans that we tasted were bitter, bitter, bitter but it was a good feeling knowing that I was eating the kind of chocolate that was actually good for you. We sat in a small gazebo where we were taken through the start to finish process of how chocolate is made. From the cocoa plant to sipping liquid chocolate we tasted every process in between. Even though I still prefer a hershey bar, I enjoyed tasting and learning about this organic chocolate. I even met a friendly couple from Belgium.

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Thanks for reading friends! Part Tres coming soon!

Costa Rica Part Uno: La Fortuna

Hey Friends and happy tuesday! My day started bright and early this morning as i made my way to my 8am class….in the rain. As many of you know, I just got back from a 10 day journey through Costa Rica. I felt so much support while I was gone and many of my readers have expressed a lot of excitement to read all about it. I visited three primary areas and stayed in 3 different hotels/Eco-lodges so I have decided to break up my posts into 3 parts. My first stop was La Fortuna where we spent 3 nights and 2 full days.

Lodging:

I stayed at Finca Luna Nueva Lodge in La Fortuna. Finca Luna Nueva is both a sustainable rain forest ecolodge and a certified organic biodynamic farm. I had never stayed any place like this before and it was an incredible experience. Over 50% of the food we ate at every meal was from their on-site farm. The owner will even personally give any guest a tour of the farm and show them around their luscious property. My group and I went on a tour and without realizing it, 3 hours had gone by. The owner was so passionate about his farm and his career and it was evident in the way he spoke and educated us. We spend an entire afternoon sitting by the pool and enjoying the property. It was a great feeling knowing that it was in the negatives back home and all of us were in bathing suits! They have many hidden hammocks and opportunities to relax and escape your everyday life.  I would highly recommend this lodge to any traveler that wants to be surrounded by Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity and natural environment. I ate breakfast with sloths every morning and fell asleep to the sounds of the rainforest outside my window. You can’t buy a machine that makes those sounds people!

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Activities/ Excursions/ Tours:

Arenal Volcano National Park: This volcano has recently been dormant but, it still provides a beautiful back drop. We hiked through its surrounding national park and got both a view of the volcano and its neighbor, Lake Arenal. It is pretty rare to get a picture of the top of the volcano because it is almost always surrounded by clouds or steam but, it cleared out just in time for us to have the perfect view of the entire volcano.

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Baldi Hot Springs: This place is very commercialized but, we had a really fun time. The hot springs are at the base of the Arenal Volcano and the geothermally heated mineral water is provides numerous hot springs throughout the resort, all different temperatures. Baldi Hot Springs is a Resort, Hotel and Spa but, you can gain entrance, a meal and access to the bar if  you are not staying there. P.S Don’t miss out on the waterside at the top of the highest hot spring. I didn’t bring my camera into the resort because it isn’t waterproof but, i managed to grab this shot before I went inside.

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Arenal Mundo Aventura: This is a local adventure company providing many different excursions around the Arenal Volcano. Through this company we Zip Lined, got a presentation from the Maleku Tribe and rode horses. I worked on my camps climbing tower and zip line for 2 summers but, i had never been on a commercial canopy zip lining tour. I felt pretty confident zip lining…too confident. In fact I got stuck on the second zip of the 12 zip lines and the guides made me get “taxied” for another 2 zips. It was humiliating to say the least but in the end all of the tour guides started to love me. We had incredible views of the luscious canopy of the rain forest, waterfalls and of course the Arenal Volcano. It was one of those moments in life where you feel like you have to pinch yourself because you can’t believe it is real.

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Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 of my Costa Rican Adventure, Hoping that you all are having a great week and staying warm.

Peace Out–  HayUp

Things I’m Looking Forward To

As the end of the semester approaches and i feel myself getting trapped in a never ending cycle of school work and sleep and then more school work (and some blogging). The thing that is motivating me through these dull times are the EXCITING things that I have coming up in the next few weeks and months. In no particular order here are some things that you can look forward to reading about in the near future.

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SNOWBOARDING

I go to school in the Mountains of North Carolina so snowboarding is pretty popular, not as popular as up North or out West but popular none the less. My freshman year in college I even got to take snowboarding as a PE credit. Unreal I know. Last year I got a snowboard for my Birthday and spent the majority of my winter hitting the slopes every chance I got. The mountain opens any day now and I cannot wait to be back in action and snowboarding with my bestfriends. Another added excitement to this is to finally get to wear my early Christmas present, a new snowboarding Jacket. Having my old pink one since the 7th grade I finally decided to ask for a new one this Christmas. I found this beautiful blue Dakine jacket for 50% off at a local sale.

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Getting to see my Family

Ever since I have left for college I spend very little time back at home in Wilmington. I go to school across the state and have spent my past 2 summers in Maine so my time at home is limited to holidays and extended school breaks. I haven’t even seen my brother-in-law since May so I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas with the ENTIRE family.

Getting to see my Friends

Like I said, I spend very little time at home and when I do it usually doesn’t correspond to when my friends that attend other colleges are home. Christmas break is the one-time throughout the school year that almost all my friends I grew up with are home at the same time! This year I will be hosting my 3rd annual Christmas cookie party and will get to see all of my closest friends from highschool. Which brings me to my next exciting thing…

BAKING

When I was younger, okay to this day, I love to bake. I always love a good excuse to bring out the apron and my kitchenaid mixer (that was my christmas gift when i was 14) and whip up a batch of cookies. Because I am in college, have a very tiny kitchen and frankly can’t afford to buy ingredients I only get a chance to bake again around the Holidays. I can’t wait (and neither can my friends) to get back in the kitchen to whip up some of my favorite recipes. Definitely recipes and pictures to come.

COSTA RICA

Yes, I said it, COSTA RICA!! I just made my last payment so it couldn’t be more official! I am leaving on January 2nd for a 9 day trip through Costa Rica where I will be touring and learning about eco and sustainable tourism efforts in Costa Rica while having TONS of fun along the way. I am so excited not only to travel somewhere new but also to learn about an industry that I would love to work in one day!

Leave a comment and let me know what you are excited this upcoming holiday season and Winter!

Peace Out–HAYUP