Well it’s been eight years and we were excited to come back. This time we decided to stay in a house on the opposite side of the central valley than Santa Barbara where we were last time. We chose Atenas because it was rated by National Geographic as having the best climate in the world. Sadly I think that was before Al Gore’s projections on global warming are coming true; Atenas is hot and sticky so having a house with no air conditioning is less than amazing. But thankfully it does cool off at night and we have a pool during the day. Trips to the mountains and volcanoes also mean cooler times.
We visited Zoo Ave again and it’s still a sweet little zoo with lovely foliage to walk through. Expensive visit though at $20 per person for about an hour and a half. After the Merida, Mexico zoo visit was free this is hard to fund!
The Poas Volcano and park are pretty neat to see. They are doing work on the park so all the hiking trails and picnic area are closed but we got to see the crater before the clouds rolled in. No lower prices for the park even though most of it is closed — $15 a person.
Another day saw us at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. This really is a great place. They have a lovely butterfly garden that is filled with all types but we love the blue morphos the best. The toucans are fun to see and the jaguars impressive.
After visiting the various animals and traditional house there is about an hour’s walk down through the forest where you can see various waterfalls. Lots of steps but good handrails and pretty easy to navigate (although we were a bit out of breath toward the end) and this time was much easier not having a 2.5 year old to carry! This place is not cheap either at $40 for adults and $24 for children.
We did the requisite coffee planation tour but this time skipped Britt and did the Doka Estate one. I think this was less cheesy than Britt and a bit cheaper ($22 for adults but hey free unlimited coffee – kids were a bit shaky after it).
Tried to go to Inbio Parque again but sadly we drove 90 minutes to discover it has just recently closed due to new management/bankruptcy. Nothing mentioned on the website though which was a tad frustrating.
One new spot was Freddo Adventura Rural which is actually a lovely farm up on the slopes of the volcano. We spent the afternoon milking cows, watching calves play, riding in a wagon around the farm, walking in a cloud forest, and learning how they make cheese there (and sampling much of it plus the strawberries they grow). The kids were a bit uneasy at drinking the milk fresh from the cow but Grandma and I enjoyed it. Frothy and warm and full on cream as these were Jersey cows!
Another day saw us at Jaco Beach. While we love our beach time, this one is not a favorite given the black sand. It’s not volcanic black as in Hawaii but rather dirt from the many rivers that run into the ocean so it sticks to you like dirt from the garden mixed with sand. But it was wide open and pretty from a distance!
We also visited Heredia and Alajuela. Sadly after loving the town squares in Mexico, we found Costa Rica’s to be lacking. Just not a cafe culture so no outdoor cafes or places to eat at.