Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pura Vida

"Pure Life."

The law of the land in Costa Rica. The expression is used in many forms, from a greeting, to a synonym for "excellent." Costa Ricans follow this lifestyle and are some of the most wonderful people on earth. A synonym of "hakuna matata." Life is wonderful; enjoy it.

As I sit bundled up, looking at what is now probably 2 feet of snow, it feels that my vacation to Costa Rica was years ago. But it has been only a month since I returned home from paradise. 

Costa Rica is one of the most relaxing beautiful and friendly places on earth. Five years ago I had the pleasure of visiting while on spring break with my college roommates. Then, we stayed with family friends, Dawson and Bette, in their beautiful home just a short walk from the beach. This time, with my family, we stayed at Dawson and Bette’s newly open boutique hotel La Gaviota Tropical

La Gaviota is just steps from the beach.

And has the most beautiful view of the sunset from the rooftop infinity pool.

Each room has a beautiful view of the ocean, and the pleasure of waking up to the most hilarious sounding birds and monkeys. 

The food at Roberto’s, the restaurant on the first floor of the hotel, is outstanding. From the seafood soup, which is overflowing with fresh seafood of all kinds, to the classic arroz con pollo and tenderloin and rib specials, there was really no reason to ever leave the hotel. In fact, while we were there a large group left the all inclusive resort they were staying at to dine at Roberto’s.

Full crab in my seafood soup!

If you are not the type that is happy with just eating amazing food and drinking on vacation, there are plenty of awesome activities too. We visited the Borinquen for a spa day with volcanic mud and hot springs. They also have an amazing zip line canopy tour that I did my first time in Costa Rica, but the parents weren’t feeling it this time. We went on a riverboat cruise that got us really close to some adorable monkeys and much closer than I would have liked to some huge crocodiles. On our last full day we boarded a boat from the sand in front of the hotel and enjoyed some beautiful snorkeling.

There was also this, by far the best margarita I have ever had.

The friendly staff and the relatively small size (theres only 5 hotel rooms) make everyone that visits feel at home. My mom actually teared up as we hugged the staff and owners goodbye. 

The cherry on top of this amazing vacation was the affordability. A huge, very comfortable, clean and nicely decorated room for only $160 a night. The food was very reasonably priced and the activities were a bargain. 
2 hour private snorkeling with instructor? $25 a person
1 hour massage pool side? $30 

Did I mention the included breakfast and coffee that is absolutely to die for?

If your looking for a relaxing, adventurous, affordable vacation there is no place like Costa Rica and La Gaviota Tropical.