My oldest brother Jay and I had been planning a Spring trip for months. Our aim was to find an exciting place to celebrate my last Spring Break and his 30th birthday. We wanted to include our other brother, Brandon, but he informed us that he could only get a weekend off. That is when genius struck. We would spend a weekend in Fort Lauderdale with him before we headed further south to Costa Rica.
Jay and I flew out of DTW at 7:30 am and were greeted by the beautiful Florida sun, the musty smell of America’s basement, and our sorely missed brother (who rented a brand new Cadillac to pick us up). After a little reckless driving we checked into our corner room at the Marriott. This place was awesome! It overlooked the beach and the pool. Once we got settled Brandon called our attention. With grandeur he announced that he secretly bought tickets to Costa Rica and would be flying with us out there! We celebrated with what turned out to be $28 margaritas that were as big as my head.
Given our adventurous nature, we all wanted to explore. We walked down the beach on the hunt for something to do. For unknown reasons we could rent everything under the sun except surf boards. Naturally, that is what our hearts were set on. After a bit of searching we asked a local who worked at the bike rental shop where to find some boards. He informed us that there was no place close but that he personally had 3 boards he could rent us! We accepted with no hesitation. He soon presented 3 very small boards without any leashes. This was a bit bizarre but we took them anyway.
As we braved the 20 mph winds on our way to the shoreline I began to wish I had a leash for my first attempt at surfing. It turned out that the lifeguards felt the same way. Before we got even waist deep we were promptly kicked out of the ocean. It was a bummer, but I guess we were too gnarly for Fort Lauderdale Beach. Thank god we were headed to CR!
We flew into Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) and prepared for a 3 hour drive down the coast to our hotel in Manuel Antonio. Eager for lunch we made a pit stop somewhere along our route at an outdoor bar along a dust road. This place was small and sweaty but their tacos were unreal! They came topped with mango salsa and 3 types of hot sauce. They paired great with an ice cold Imperial, the beer of choice in CR.
Further down the road, we made a stop at an overlook in Jacó to catch the beginning of the sunset. The view did not disappoint.
That night I experienced that most amazing sunset of my life. Check this out.
After hiking around the park with our new monkey friends, we were excited to find that the beaches were just as breathtaking. They are all tucked away in protected bays that allows the water to settle, making them the perfect place for a refreshing dip!
On our last day one of the locals we met gave us the tip on a nearby waterfall. It cost only $2 to get in and it seemed to be the local “chill spot”. People were sliding down the waterfall like a slide and others were jumping from high ledges that surrounded the pool below.
After a couple hours hanging by the water, we reluctantly packed our car and headed toward the airport. However, rather than arriving early for our flight we decided to check out downtown San Jose, the country’s capital and largest city. From research I knew to avoid certain areas but we wound up finding ourselves driving right through some rough parts of town (thanks to Waze). Once we got outside the city, we could see the city lights that were spread all across the valley. We stopped to check it out before heading to the airport. Our flight was at 2:30 am, so we kept the car an extra couple hours to get a little sleep. After a few red-eye flights we arrived back in Detroit around 2:30 pm.
All-in-all Costa Rica is an adventurer’s dream come true. There is constant excitement to be had and breath taking sites at every turn. I look forward to visiting again one day.
Want to know more about any thing specific? Let me know, I am more than happy to help!
-Michael J. Flora