All posts by costaricarios

Costa Rica’s Turtle Island – It’s Heaven on Earth!

Our Costa Rica adventure vacations are aimed at those who want to squeeze as much and excitement as they can in just a single week in our magnificent country. Yet many times, our beloved guests do have a few more days to spare and often ask us what other destinations they could include in their itinerary. Given that Costa Rica is a powerhouse of exceptional highlights the options are nearly endless. One of the most popular is Turtle Island, a heavenly speck of wilderness floating just off the southern tip of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. One of the more remote tourist destinations in the country, this hidden corner of Nicoya does require a bit of time and effort to reach yet if you have the time and love the challenge, rest assured you’ll be handsomely rewarded.

Costa Rica’s Turtle Island really is heaven on earth.

An idyllic day-trip destination to cap off an unforgettable adventure tour of Costa Rica, Tortuga Islands offers seaside relaxation and wildlife-watching galore, all in a tropical wilderness setting that’s out of this world. A side of Costa Rica not many get to see and one of the most beautiful places on earth.

What to see and do on Tortuga Island

Part of the Biological Reserve Islas Negritos, Turtle Island is a fiercely protected nature reserve both for the marine treasures found in its sapphire-hued seas and its pristine wilderness which attracts a multitude of migrating birds.

As such, overnight stays are not allowed yet there’s plenty of infrastructure to cater for the needs of day-trip visitors: this includes sundeck chairs and umbrellas which you can rent for the day on stunning stretches of glorious beach, kayaking rental and glass-bottom-boat rides. You’ll also find plenty of food stands offering refreshments and can join impromptu volleyball games on the beach in the afternoon. Inland, there are various hiking trails to follow and you’ll be delighted to know that the country’s epitome activity – zip lining atop the forest canopy – has also found its home here. There’s a great little gift shop that’ll delight you and a banana-boat ride that’ll thrill the kids. With free Wi-Fi to boot, the main beach is a wonderful place from where to post that drool-worthy Instagram pic!

The main treasures of Tortuga lie underwater, however, and this is one of the prime snorkeling and SCUBA diving spot in Costa Rica where avid marine adventurers can spot turtles (of course!) manta rays, enormous octopus, dolphins, reef sharks and a vast array of colorful tropical fish, especially on diving excursions to e one of the three sunken shipwrecks just off the island’s coast.

Overall, Tortuga Island offers a dreamy escape for the day and if you’re an avid diver you’ll find plenty of outfitters on the mainland offering comprehensive day trips to explore the underwater world here. If not, then rest assured that planning to spend an entire day on Costa Rica’s Turtle Island, soaking up the rays and frolicking in the sea, will make for some unforgettable travel memories.

How to Reach Turtle Island

Getting to turtle islandThere’s no airport on Tortuga Island which means you can only reach it by boat. There are several services running from various seaside towns on the mainland, the most popular options being Puntarenas (1 hr) on the eastern Pacific coast and Montezuma (50 minutes) on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula.

The wonderful convenience of being reached by boat both from the mainland close to international airports and from the Nicoya Peninsula itself, makes Isla Tortuga a doable side-trip no matter how many spare days you have at the end (or the beginning) of your Costa Rica adventure vacation. During the most popular tourist month, boat services run daily.

The boat trip across to Tortuga Island is a great chance for wildlife spotting with whales, dolphins and turtles often seen on this stretch of sea. The Gulf of Nicoya is teeming with marine life and the protected coves make for fantastic and very rewarding explorations.

Fantastic attractions near Costa Rica’s Turtle Island

Turtle Island boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica and is a particularly great option for family adventures – we find the snorkeling here to be very family-friendly.

If you have time to explore further, you’ll find a wealth of outstanding beauty to discover in the Nicoya Peninsula and the area around Puntarenas, the main springboard on the mainland.

Isla Alcatraz – Just north of Tortuga is Alcatraz Island, also part of the Islas Negritos Biological Reserve. Many organized tours make a stop around Alcatraz for excellent snorkeling and diving.

Refugio Nacional Curu’ – Costa Rica’s Turtle Island is just a few miles off the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula and right across it is where you can find this exceptional wildlife sanctuary. This stunning eco-tourism hub is part of a vast protected reserve which allows for the migration of wildlife from the high-peaks in the interior to the coastal mangroves and beach below. This place is teeming with wildlife and offers a blissful disconnect from modern life. A fantastic destination for bird lovers, Curu’ boasts hundreds of exotic bird species and an array of other creatures in its five distinct ecosystems. Walking trails abound (as do warning signs for crocodiles near the estuary) and the park also offers a restaurant and a few modest cabins to spend the night. A stay and meal must be booked in advance if you’re planning to visit.

Playa Pochote – Further south along the coast from the Curu’ beach is where you’ll find this idyllic family-friendly beach. Pochote is delightfully calm, with crystal clear calm waters and few visitors.  A stunning, clean and glorious beach in which to spend an entire day. Pochote is a small fishing hamlet on the Ballena Bay and even though the bay is slowly being set up to attract tourism it still remains a laid-back, unspoiled and authentic seaside hub with just enough services – like kayak rental – to make a full-day stay totally enjoyable for visitors.

Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve – the southernmost tip of the Nicoya Peninsula comprises one of Costa Rica’s most pristine reserves, right between Malpais and Montezuma. An absolutely stunning park for hiking and wildlife-watching as you follow a relatively challenging 6-mile return trail that starts at the park’s entrance and ends at a small, remote and spectacular beach on the southern tip. If you’re touring around the Nicoya, Capo Blanco is well worth a stop for a few hours. The hike is a true jungle experience and you should be prepared with enough water and ample time. The rewards are more than spectacular!

The exciting options for Costa Rica adventure vacation add-ons are limited only by your imagination. Simply tell us what else you’d love to see and do and we’ll do our best to help you plan a comprehensive and utterly unforgettable experience. At Costa Rica Rios, that’s what we do best!

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Costa Rica For Bird Lovers – The Hot Spots You Shouldn’t Miss

Costa Rica is a bird lover’s dream with the luscious country home to 850 distinct species, more than 600 of which are native to the country.

That’s an impressive concentration of feathery treasures given Costa Rica’s compact size and, in fact, more species than found in all of North America. Given this forested paradise lies in the heart of the corridor of bird migration between North and South America, moreover, even the migratory birds tend to spend considerable time here, further enhancing your chances of spotting a wide array of birds.

For birds and bird-lovers alike, Costa Rica is an idyllic destination.

You need not be an avid ornithologist to enjoy a stint of bird-watching in Costa Rica. Head here on an adventure vacation and we guarantee half your time will be spent just looking to the skies and the trees: colorful, exotic and magnificent birds are simply everywhere. Although if you do happen to be an ornithologist, there are also plenty of dedicated guides who’ll help you seek and identify the species in some of the most revered birding hot-spots. A good Bird Guide to Costa Rica can help you get acquainted with the species you’re likely to see and a local knowledgeable guide can be an invaluable source of information once you’re actually here. You’ll want to pack a pair of binoculars and, to immortalize your unforgettable finds, a good camera with a zoom.

Costa Rica’s Most Impressive Birds

With a birding population that numbers in the hundreds, it is impossible to list them all yet some species have become ‘world famous’ either due to their colors, size or rarity.

Resplendent Quetzal – An elusive bird that’s said to have been revered by the ancient cultures which inhabited these lands, the Resplendent Quetzal is majestic, colorful and incredibly difficult to spot. Your best chances to spot them is during their mating season, in April, when they are at their most active. If a dedicated ornithologist heads to Costa Rica on a bird-watching expedition, it’s usually the quetzal he/she seeks.

Scarlet Macaws – The Costa Rican bird equivalent of a resplendent rainbow, the Scarlet Macaw is not just impressive in color but also in size: this is the largest parrot in the world. Macaws mate for life and can live for over 50 years. Unfortunately, they are also victims of illegal wildlife trade and are avidly protected here.

The Keel-billed Toucans – The bird with a boat for a beak is a fascinating sight and wonder to hear sing. They travel in groups, are immensely colorful and are quite easy to spot all over Costa Rica.

The Motmot – There are six species of Motmots in Costa Rica to look out for, with the blue-crested kind, with its long green tail, being perhaps the most distinctive and definitely the most prolific.

Hummingbirds – Costa Rica is believed to be home to more than 50 distinct species of hummingbirds and chances you’ll see them are super high, especially once you learn to spot feeders and some of their favorite fauna on which they feast. Being so energetic and relatively small, however, the hummingbird can be difficult to photograph so include a visit to one of the many hummingbird gardens in the country.

Red-capped Manakin – The Manakin is renowned worldwide as the bird that does the Moonwalk when it’s trying to attract a mate, a spectacle that’s awesome to see. With its vibrant red head and silky black body, the Red-capped Manakin is a magnificent specimen to spot in Costa Rica.

7 Hot Spots for Bird Lover’s in Costa Rica

La Selva Biological Station – Home to more species of birds than any other spot in the entire Central America region, La Selva is a one-stop-shop for bird-lovers in Costa Rica. Almost half of the native and migratory birds in the country are found in these verdant tropical rainforests, making it ideal if you can only set aside one destination for bird-watching on your adventure tour. Moreover, La Selva is easy to reach, boasts great walking trails and is and home to a fantastic resource center, making it an invaluable addition to any itinerary.

The cloud forests of Monteverde – The country’s prime cloud forest is undoubtedly the best place to see the most birds, home to almost half the overall species. Over 90% of Monteverde is unspoiled prime forests and its unique landscape boasts several distinct ecozones, home to endemic birds not found anywhere else on earth.  One of the best places to spot the Resplendent Quetzal, Monteverde is also home to over 30 species of hummingbirds.

Rancho Naturalista – This private reserve is aimed at attracting bird-enthusiasts, something it does with superb ease given the sheer concentration of birds in its astonishing property. Bird feeders attract guests (both human and feathered) in the early morning and walking trails to water holes offer great chances of seeing many different species. The Ranch organizes bird-watching tours to several national parks in its vicinity as well, maximizing your bird-watching adventures.

The Talamanca Mountains – The varied elevation of the Talamanca and the fact the range stands directly on the birding flight path in Costa Rica, make this a stunning spot to enjoy a bird-watching tour. During the peak of migration, it is not unusual to see upwards of 200 distinct birds here in just a single day!

Manuel Antonio National Park – The reason Costa Rica is such a great bird watching destination is that you need not go out of your way to see an impressive array of birds. Every single park, in every single corner of the country, offers sensational chances for bird spotting. This is definitely the case with Manuel Antonio, the #1 tourist destination in the country and the park everyone will visit at some point in their journey. What makes MA so special is that it boasts mountains, rainforests and beaches, offering safe shelter for a wide variety of birds.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens – This gorgeous place boasts its own private aviary and hummingbird garden, an absolute must if you want to photograph these tiny treasures up close. Over 25 distinct species of hummingbirds, and dozens more birds, feats on the fruit and seed feeders here, all day long.

The Osa Peninsula – Renowned for being home to the most remote and pristine rainforests on earth, the Osa Peninsula is off the beaten tourist path but definitely not off the birding flying path, making it perhaps the best destination for bird lover’s in the entire country. Bird watching in the Osa Peninsula is an adventure in its own right and here you can see more than 350 distinct species of birds, along with a wealth of other exceptional wildlife. If you have the time, include a stay in an eco-lodge in the Osa and plan on early morning wake-ups for bird-watching extravaganzas.

At Costa Rica Rios, we organize fantastic adventure tours which always combine plenty of wildlife watching to boot. Contact us to know more about the places we go and the thrilling adventures we offer, as well as how to best incorporate a bird-watching excursion into your itinerary.

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NEWSFLASH – Costa Rica Flooding Update

As the whole Caribbean region recovers from the recent Costa Rica flooding during the hurricane season, we take a look at the most up-to-date news in regards to traveling and holidaying in the country.

What happened…and when?

Severe rainfall has wreaked havoc in several Central American countries at the beginning of October (4th and 5th), causing widespread landslides and road blockages, as well as damaging bridges and houses. In Costa Rica, over 3000 people are currently living in shelters after homes and villages were left without electricity and running water. In total, 25 people lost their lives during the storm.

Which areas were hardest hit?

The Pacific and Central regions of Costa Rica bore the brunt of the storm and flooding and severe damages were reported in the Nicoya Peninsula and the San Jose region, where an average 30cm of rain was recorded in just a single 24hr period. These are the areas that are usually affected by rains this time of year (during the Caribbean hurricane season) when low-pressure fronts on the Atlantic side cause heavy rainfall over the Pacific. Vacationers who were traveling on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica managed to avoid the deluge, as this region is usually the driest in the country at this time of year.

How much infrastructure was damaged?

Many roads and highways were blocked off by landslides as is most often the case. Local authorities have just managed to reopen the highway that links the capital, San Jose, to the southern region of the country.

Is this an unusual occurrence?

Not at all. Costa Rica has its rainy season between May and the end of November, each year. Given the sheer wilderness of the country, it is not unusual for there to be landslides and flooding although some years (like Tropical Storm Nate in 2017) are particularly brutal.

What should you do if you’re planning an adventure tour to Costa Rica?

Should you be in the midst of your journey right now then it’s fair to say you have all the updated info for the region in which you’re traveling. If you’re reading this update, however, it’s likely your adventure tour is upcoming.

The first point to remember is that the beginning of October may have already cemented the month as the rainiest all year yet things calmed down pretty quickly. The National Hurricane Centre is detecting no cyclones or severe storm warnings right now and it will hopefully remain that way until the end of the rain season in a month or so. The National Hurricane Centre runs its website from the 1st June until the 30th of November, with updates given 4 times a day. This is one of the most trusted authorities on climatic happenings in the region and the one most weather channels refer to when they’re making predictions. If you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica during the wet season, the NHC is a great reference point to keep updated.

What you should always keep in mind when traveling to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a land of immense geographical diversity, a country of varying ecosystems and microclimates where the climate can change drastically just a few hundred miles either way. No matter what month you travel to Costa Rica, there will always be one region that’s at its driest best but remember that in such a tropical and lush country, rain is always a possibility. That’s why the country looks like the verdant treasure it is. So rain, in general, doesn’t disrupt travel plans but landslides and road blockages can. That’s where the government and trusted tour operators – like us here at Costa Rica Rios – come in.

Whilst the government busies itself clearing road blockages and re-establishing essential services to the people, also restoring the infrastructure needed to keep its much-needed tourism going, we plan our tours with safety and the best climate in mind, knowing exactly where to take our valued guests for the adventure of a lifetime. We also know how to re-plan our trips should unseasonal rain disrupt our itineraries. We have been voted one of the Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth by National Geographic and pride ourselves in giving not only exceptional adventure vacations in Costa Rica but also invaluable advice and help from the very beginning. We know Costa Rica well and run our trips in various regions, depending on the time of year.

Want to know more?

Visit our Costa Rica Rios page for fantastic travel inspiration and check out the awesome adventure tours we create for honeymoons, family trips, off-the-beaten-path tours and week of river madness fun. Moreover, we run our popular blog to offer all kinds of fascinating insight into the natural, cultural, historical and even culinary delights that Costa Rica offers, as well as plenty of informative guides on destination weddings, honeymoons, adventure tours and family vacations.

Your one-stop shop for all the latest, coolest and greatest Costa Rica adventures?

We think so too!

Contact us, right here, to know more.
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Costa Rica’s Best Amusement Parks For Family Fun

Costa Rica’s best amusement parks for family fun are a fabulous way to inject some exciting quality time into your adventure vacation. Whether it’s water slides, zip lines or theme park visits that your family loves, you’ll find the ideal fun day out destination, no matter where in Costa Rica you travel.

Here are the best spots you shouldn’t miss:

Parque National de Diversiones, San Jose

A wonderful way to get your family adventure vacation in Costa Rica off to a relaxing start, the capital city’s amusement park may not be as insane as some of those in the US but it is immensely entertaining, nonetheless.

Especially if you have tweenies and younger kids in your tribe who get bored easily. The rides are numerous, varied and fun and there are plenty suitable for parents who want to go along for some stomach-churning ride as well. Parque Diversiones is just off the General Canas Highway, in La Uruca, and is usually only open from Friday to Sunday but check the website for opening times during local school vacations. This isn’t the bestest amusement park in Costa Rica but for a 1st-day of holiday thrill, it’s more than worthwhile. Plus, proceeds go towards the city’s children’s hospital so by visiting you’ll be supporting a worthy cause to boot!

Kalambu Hot Springs Water Park, Arenal

What do you get when you combine thermal springs with a bunch of super fun water rides? Kalambu! A swim-up bar and plenty of thermal pool soaking delights for adults, thrilling water slides and a kid’s play area that’s ideal for younger tots

All in all, La Fortunas’ Kalambu combines the best of both worlds: offering the hot spring pleasures for which Costa Rica is world-renowned AND plenty of adrenaline-pumping water rides to entertain. With such names as Cyclone, Avalanche and Tornado, the water slides at Kalambu are incredibly fun and, considering this is the only amusement park in the area, it’s an unmissable highlight if you love your family vacation in Costa Rica to be fun and relaxing. You can spend an entire day here as the restaurant serves some great fare as well. A wonderful alternative to the nearby stunning but more sedate Tabacon Hot Springs Resort.

Rainforest Adventures, Jaco

Ideal if you’re traveling with kids of all ages, Rainforest Adventures offers your family the chance to explore hanging gardens and verdant tropical forests, both in a thrilling and a more sedate way.

An open-air aerial tram lets you and younger children slide through the forest canopy in comfort whilst, for the more adventurous teens, there are canopy zip line rides that’ll blow their socks off. This wonderful eco-tourism project is just a few minutes’ drive from Jaco Beach and covers an area of over 90 hectares of pristine primary and secondary forests, home to a flurry of wildlife including monkeys, birds and so much more. A café and plenty of walking trails (don’t miss the beautiful butterfly garden) means spending a whole day here is both easy and rewarding. The naturalist guides are knowledgeable and friendly and are a much-needed necessity as spotting wildlife, in a forest, can be tricky business!

Dino Park Blue River, Rincon de la Vieja

With glorious views of Volcano Rincon and a dinosaur-theme that’s set to thrill younger kids and anyone who loved Jurassic Park, Dino Park Blue River is brimming with fantastical animatronic dinosaurs which move and growl as you meander through the park – something all kids absolutely love.

Educational and wildlife-enriched (the forest is home to sloths, monkeys, hawks and more) the one-hour guided walk through the park is interesting for adults, as they learn about the unique flora and fauna of the forest, and great fun for young kids. Dip your toes in the waterfall, enjoy the leisurely and safe trail through the forest and, why not, giggle at the cheesy dinosaurs! A wonderful inclusion on any family adventure vacation in Costa Rica. Dino Park is part of the Blue River Resort and Hot Springs.

Black Stallion Eco Park, Tamarindo

Thrilling zip lining, horseback riding and ranch-style cuisine are the main drawcards of Black Stallion, an eco-park just a 10-minute drive away from the beach at Tamarindo. This family-owned adventure park is set in an expansive private ranch, whose glorious forests are inhabited by a myriad of wildlife.

On half-day visits, you can do it all: enjoy an adrenalin-packed adventure on a new 10-platform zipline course, enjoy a thrilling horseback ride and cap your day off with a delectable BBQ feast, Tico-style. If you’re travelling in a larger group, the guys at Black Stallion can organize a private fiesta. Wonderful walking trails to elevated viewpoints serve up sensational views over the Pacific coast and the valley below and mountain bike trails let you explore the property at your leisure. Just a beautiful place in which to spend a day and an enthralling day of fun and amusement for the whole family.

Ponderosa Adventure Park, Liberia

Just a short drive out of the Liberia Airport in northern Costa Rica, the Ponderosa Adventure Park is a multi-sport amusement heaven, offering canopy zip lining, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking and – the best part – an African wildlife safari!

Offering great value for money, Ponderosa makes for a fun-filled day out and offers so much to kids and adults of all ages. Children luuurve feeding the giraffes and parents always enjoy the day too, especially as day passes include a delicious lunch. If you can, avoid the busy weekend period and come during a weekday instead: you could just about have the place (and all the animals) to yourselves.

At Costa Rica Rios, we offer adventure family vacations that combine the best fun activities the country has to offer, over multi-day tours. Experience Costa Rica’s incredible wilderness with us and you won’t just be visiting an amusement park for a day…you’ll be living one instead! We organize group tours for honeymooners, solo travelers and families and can create a bespoke itinerary for your group alone, to include all the activities you love best. Choose from kayaking, whitewater rafting, canyoning, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking…and so much more!

Visit our Costa Rica adventure tours page and contact us to know more.

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7 Great Places to Learn Spanish in Costa Rica

Turn your immersive adventure vacation in Cost Rica into an unforgettable cultural experiences by adding one of the country’s top language courses to your itinerary

Aside from being the best country in all of Latin America for exceptional adventure vacations, Costa Rica also happens to be one of the best for learning Spanish. From intensive immersion schools to casual classes and workshops, the best places to learn Spanish in Costa Rica offer you the chance to not only learn a new language (which, apparently, keeps you young!) but also the chance to experience a glorious part of the country in a slower and more authentic way. The overwhelming majority of Spanish schools are near and around San Jose, although there are a few brilliant options in every province.

When selecting our top places to learn Spanish in Costa Rica, we were keen to give you plenty of different options, to showcase the sheer variety of language schools and colleges in every province the country.

  1. Tico Lingo, Heredia

An immersive program for serious Spanish language acquisition, Tico Lingo prides itself on its professionalism, integrity and reputation for providing a non-touristy, culturally-immersive experience. Aside from language classes, which run in the morning, you also get the chance to take fun add-ons like cooking, dance and yoga classes, all locally-run and all offering an added dose of culture enlightened and Spanish practice. Course start at just under 500 USD per week (includes a modest homestay) and the guys who run the place go to much effort to ascertain your Spanish level so as to place you in the correct class. A wonderful option and addition to an adventure tour, Tico Lingo is an excellent choice if you’d like to stay close to the capital, San Jose, and in a more urbanized setting. The school is relatively new but is already making a name for itself in the Spanish-learning scene.

  1. IPED Language Plus, Puerto Viejo

IPED run two language schools in Costa Rica and their digs in Puerto Viejo are perfect if you want to a seaside location. As opposed to Tico Lingo, IPED offers a plethora of different experiences: from immersion to daily classes, homestays or not, classes for the whole family and even classes for the over-50s. Basically, you choose how immersive you wish your Spanish course to be and, in-between it all, you get to surf and enjoy the marvelous beaches of Puerto Viejo. Want more choice and greater variety? IPED in Puerto Viejo offers it all. Located on the south-eastern coast of Costa Rica – the Caribbean side – Puerto Viejo is revered by surfers and anyone who craves a beach vacation off the beaten tourist trail. Wetlands, tropical rainforests and wildlife-brimming mangroves will be at your front door.

  1. Morpho Spanish School, Orosi Valley

Set in the verdant Orosi Valley in central Costa Rica, Morpho is a small and dedicated Spanish-teaching school where you’ll get a very personalized and rather immersive experience. Enjoy the opportunity to stay with a local family (or take a long-term rental) take daily Spanish classes (kept to a maximum of 3 students) and enjoy life in a laid-back country town which offers copious chances for outstanding hiking. The landscapes and nature here are just stunning so if you’re after a quieter and more remote place to learn Spanish, and a tailored language course, then Morpho Spanish School is ideal. Close to Irazu Volcano, the Orosi Valley is close to San Jose yet feels like a million miles away. The stunning scenery of verdant hills is resplendent and the entire valley is dotted with characteristic villages and historic towns you can explore. Nearby, the Tapanti National Park offers hiking in rainforests combine with plenty of wildlife spotting.

  1. Perfect Sunset School, Playa Hermosa

The name of this language school really says it all: wonderfully located on the beach at Playa Hermosa, Perfect Sunset offers surfing and language classes for all levels and ages. A more laid-back scene and a great chance to improve both your Spanish and surfing skills (among so many other activities) in one of Costa Rica’s most sought-after seaside hubs. Win-win! A beautifully communal atmosphere, the school manages to integrate the students into the local community at the get-go, something all the student appreciate immensely.

  1. Istituto Chac-Mool Spanish School, Turrialba

A fabulous setting in a gorgeous location, Istituto Chac-Mool offers full immersion classes for all language-levels, as well as a great collection of extracurricular activities all aimed at improving your Spanish whilst giving you wonderful insights into the more cultural aspects of the country. Children and adults welcomed and extra private tutoring offered, free of charge to students.

  1. Spanish by the River, Turrialba

Running for over 15 years now, Spanish by the River is one of the best-rated, small-sized Spanish schools in Costa Rica, with classes often held on their luscious property’s balcony, overlooking the luscious landscapes and peak of Turrialba Volcano. Learn Spanish whilst spotting wildlife, enjoy life in laid-back Turrialba and a choice of excellent activities. How cool is that? Classes start on Mondays and cater to all levels and you also have the option of choosing 1-on-1 lessons. The school runs its own hostel so you can also stay here if you want the full experience.

  1. Nosara Spanish Institute, Nosara

Customized classes and courses mean you can dedicate as much (or as little) to your Spanish learning as you wish, whilst enjoying a comprehensive array of activities like surfing, yoga and cultural excursions. Highly rated for their personalized service, the guys at Nosara Spanish Institute offer the kind of bespoke language courses everyone loves: tailor0made to suit your schedule, skill-level and interest, so learning Spanish is varied, fun and totally rewarding.

When it comes someone wanting to learn Spanish in Costa Rica, the options are nearly endless.

Want to add a language course to your week of exhilarating adventures? Ask us how!

At Costa Rica Rios, we run the best multi-adventure tours in the country (National Geographic said so!) and specialize in family, honeymoon, off the beaten path and tailor-made adventures.

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Costa Rica Honeymoons – Best Seasons, Destinations & Know-How!

Discover why Costa Rica honeymoons are rated the best in the world – with our insider’s guide to all you need to know…

Adventure honeymoons are among Costa Rica’s most popular offerings. Considering the country is idyllic all year long and offers a wealth of stunning destinations hand-picked for active honeymooners, it’s no surprise the country is among the world’s most beloved destinations.

Starting to plan your own unforgettable honeymoon in Costa Rica?

Then here’s all you need to know!

Best Time for Costa Rica Honeymoons

Honeymoon season kicks off with a bang at the beginning of the year in Costa Rica and lasts until about May. Given the popularity of Costa Rica as a fabulous northern winter vacation hub, the first three months of the year are the busiest and the ones requiring more advanced bookings, leaving April and May as absolutely ideal. You get all the pros minus the big crowds and more expensive costs of high season. Having said that, this small yet geographically diverse country offers something special at any time of year: destinations that are dry and idyllic at a time when others are experiencing their yearly rains. Check out our Costa Rica Wedding – How to Plan it Right guide for more details on the kind of climate you can expect, year-round.

Someone say…wedding?!

You Can Combine Your Wedding & Honeymoon in Costa Rica!

The reason this marvelous country of ours is so popular with honeymooners is that it’s actually one of the world’s best destination wedding hubs of all and what better way to enjoy a special, unique and unforgettable experience than by combing both a wedding and a honeymoon here! Read our guide to planning your dream Wedding in Costa Rica and see how easy it is to luxuriate in this incredible paradise with your loved ones and have an amazing adventure to boot.

What You Can Expect From a Costa Rica Honeymoon

Abundant adventures in pristine wilderness sprinkled with lashings of romance and relaxation and culinary delights: this is what Costa Rica does best.

Anyone who vacations here – first-timers in particular – usually wish to combine it all and it’s not that difficult to achieve in even just a single week of well-planned adventures. Honeymoons differ from family adventure vacations in that they usually include a little more down-time in luxury resorts and eco-lodges, be they in tropical jungles or some of the country’s dreamiest beaches. No matter where you go, however, you can expect to be overawed by Costa Rica’s natural beauty, by its array of fun activities and incredible wildlife and by its immensely warm people. From your Costa Rica honeymoon, you can expect to be overwhelmed with experiences and sensory overloads, a balmy climate that is perfect for enjoying the great outdoors and a choice of magnificent activities you simply won’t find anywhere else.

A unique travel experience for the most unforgettable vacation of your life: this is Costa Rica honeymoons in a nutshell!

The Best Honeymoon Destinations in Costa Rica

The most popular destinations are in the areas of the Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenal Volcano, the stunning Pacific Coastline gems of Tamarindo and the outstanding Gulf of Papagayo. These regions offer the best of Costa Rica for honeymooners: there’s plenty of whitewater rafting, canyoning, kayaking, zip lining and mountain biking action, as well as oodles of barefoot beach-side romance, hot-spring indulgences, waterfall swims and a glorious array of luxuriously exclusive adults-only resorts and eco-lodges. All of these offerings in the heart of tropical wilderness filled with magnificent creatures…and all doable in just one, totally remarkable week. And, because we know that every couple is different – and all have distinct tastes – we also offer tips to the Most Romantic Costa Rica Getaway Locations of all, for those who wish to explore further afield.

Learn About Costa Rica’s Culture

It goes without saying that Costa Rica simply wouldn’t be the treasure it is without its unique and endearing culture and any vacation here is made all the more special by understanding and delving deeper into this aspect of the country. Aside from the world-renowned natural attributes and array of adventures, Costa Rica also boasts an interesting history, varied regional culture and delectable culinary fare. Costa Rica honeymoons broaden cultural horizons and showcase its many stunning aspects (like the country’s historic love-affair with coffee) even making souvenir shopping a very unique experience. The more historical side of Costa Rica and array of interesting national monuments also offer discerning couples a chance to explore all of the country’s many facets whilst they enjoy their sensational honeymoon.

Indulge in Costa Rica’s Varied Cuisines

On the gastronomic side of things, Costa Rica is a wonderful place for foodies too, with every region offering unique and delightful specialties. Read about our favorite Foodie Tours in Costa Rica, learn about the Slow-Food Movement that’s taken over the country, the Best Dessert Places to try and – when you’ve returned home – how to best Recreate the Flavors of your phenomenal Costa Rica honeymoon vacation.

Get Insider-Tips & Help From the Experts!

At Costa Rica Rios, we specialize in fun, thrilling and romantic adventure honeymoons, helping couples from all over the globe get their wedded bliss off to an unforgettable start. We know everything the country has to offer and how to best combine exhilarating fun with romantic moments, days of adrenaline-pumping activities in jungles, forests and beaches, all the while showcasing the best of the country’s culture and cuisine. And because we’re old guns at this, we know how to create tailor-made itineraries that include your most dreamed-about activities and experiences.

Our Costa Rica Honeymoon Vacation page is our collection of honeymoon experiences, be they Luxury and Adventure, Hot Springs and Wildlife, Off-the-Beaten-Path or Barefoot Romance Adventures, Volcanoes, Jungles and Beaches escapades or…a Build-Your-Own adventure! We listen to you, stay on budget and deliver simply the best Costa Rica has to offer.

Contact us right here to know more.

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Feasting in Costa Rica – Your Guide to a Typical Soda Experience

Want to go feasting like a local on your next adventure vacation in Costa Rica? Then get the lowdown on sodas, the most traditional eateries of all.

Indulging in a country’s culinary specialties is one of the most revered travel experiences and, when enjoying an adventure vacation in Costa Rica, you shouldn’t miss visiting the country’s best sodas. Low-key, family-owned joints, sodas are the country’s traditional restaurants, usually serving up regional fair you won’t find anywhere else.  Sodas always boast plenty of authentic charm and even more authentic cuisine, offering unrivalled Costa Rica culinary experiences for very little money.

Spicy, varied and inexpensive!

Sodas do more than offer great food at great prices: they’re a genius way of tipping one’s toes into the local cuisine as many offer buffet-style meals which means you can pick and choose what entices you most and try a little of many different dishes. Ideal for families or groups of friends traveling together, sodas offer amazing variety of food. Moreover, they totally contradict the mistaken assumption that Tico food is not spicy. Taking center stage on most soda tables are jars of spicy pickled vegetables, called chileras, which complement every dish beautifully. In Costa Rica, chili is often considered a condiment, to be added (or not) to your liking, so if you wish to spice things up then chilera-away to your heart’s content!

What we also love about sodas is that they are, quite literally, on every street corner and even in the middle or roads seemingly leading nowhere, in Costa Rica. No matter where in the country you choose to enjoy your unforgettable adventure vacation…you’re bound to come across a myriad of sodas.

See a soda sign? STOP and feast away!

In contrast to average restaurants, sodas usually don’t offer menus (you get whatever the daily specials are) although the recent rise in their popularity among foreign visitors has also seen a rise in sodas offering menus or, at the very least, chalk-boards detailing the daily specials.

What kind of dishes you should expect to savor in a Costa Rica soda

Typically, Costa Rica’s sodas serve a ‘menu of the day’ consisting of an entrée (entrada), traditional plates of rice with beans (gallo pinto), rice with chicken or seafood (casados) and main courses (platos fuertes) which are usually main-course sized fish, steak, chicken or whatever special ingredient has been bought fresh on the day. Many sodas also offer buffets which tourist seem to love most, because, as said earlier, it gives them a chance to try a flurry of different dishes. Do note that these are not your usual eat-all-you-can deals: in Costa Rica, you pile your plate from a buffet and pay by weight. The typical drink offered in a soda is fruit juice, either blended with water (naturales) or milk (batido).

Hearty and inexpensive meals, cooked the traditional way that is sure to satisfy even the pickiest eater!

Don’t speak Spanish? No problem!

If you’re Spanish isn’t all that crash-hot, don’t be scared off! Ticos love their food, love their sodas and love nothing more than a tourist who wants to try them out, so you’ll find staff members always willing to help you understand the ‘menu of the day’. In a Costa Rica soda, you’ll be welcomed with open arms and treated like family and if this is the kind of culinary and cultural experience you’re after then you’re assured of much more than a sensational meal.

GALLO PINTO

Gallo Pinto, the country’s national dish, is rice cooked with beans. Enjoy your Gallo Pinto the way locals do, with a serve of scrambled eggs for breakfast.

 

 

CASADO

Casados are whole meals onto themselves, usually including multiple starches with chicken, beef or seafood, served with a fried egg or salad, and side serve of sweet plantains. One of these bad boys, in a typical Costa Rica Soda, will set you back just a couple of dollars.

Catering primarily to locals, sodas open early (7am) and close after the dinner rush, between 9 and 10pm.

The Best Sodas in Costa Rica

It’s literally impossible to list all of the country’s very best sodas and you will invariably find hidden gems on your travels that we’ve yet to try out. Nevertheless, give these amazing popular sodas a try if you’re in the area and come eat like a local, and get a glimpse of authentic Tico life, on your next visit to Costa Rica.

Soda Tipica Las Palmares, Montezuma – Combining sensational coastal views with mouthwatering guacamole and an impressive vegetarian casado, Las Palmares offers huge servings, great service and super yummy food. Its idyllic location atop a hill overlooking the sea really makes Las Palmares a must-try.

Soda Tapia, San Jose – Tapia is a San Jose institution and seems to have been here since time immemorial. They also never seem to close – like, ever – so whatever time of day or night you’re attacked by the munchies, you can be guaranteed a fabulous feast here. Great tamales, awesome sandwiches and friendly service translates into an excellent cheap and cheerful meal when exploring Parque La Sabana.

Soda La Perla, Playa Samara – A great alternative to the at-times overpriced touristy restaurants of Samara, La Perla is, as the name suggests, an absolute pearl. The outdoor eating area makes you feel like you’ve stepped into someone’s private garden and that really epitomizes the Costa Rica soda experience. Huge portions of delectable local specialties, lots of seafood delights and arguably the best fruit smoothies around. A fantastic choice either before (or after) a long day enjoying the stunning beach of Samara.

Soda Ranchito Dona Maria, Uvita – One of the peskiest sodas to find, Dona Maria is a hidden gem in Uvita and rates as one of the best sodas in the region. Traditional and super tasty meals, a variety of options and an incredibly charming joint to top it off. Homemade food, huge servings and that ubiquitous friendly service that makes this a beloved local delight.

Soda el Buen Comer, Tamarindo – Being one of Costa Rica’s most touristed destinations means that Tamarindo is certainly not short of food options. Great restaurants and trendy cafés abound as does an array of international cuisines. For amazing local meals that won’t cost a fortune, however, you can’t walk past Buen Comer. Offering superb local food, friendly service and inarguably the best value for money in town, Buen Comer is a great option if you want to indulge in traditional Tico fare downtown. The menu is not overly extensive but what’s served is, hands-down, always delicious!

Want to explore more of Costa Rica’s culinary side? Then go ahead and peruse our selection of culinary blogs.

Our Costa Rica adventure vacations serve up the best Tico experiences of all…traditional food included! So come indulge your taste buds and enjoy superlative action-packed adventures in Costa Rica with us. We specialize in multi-adventure tours for families, honeymooning couples and solo travelers and can tailor-design an itinerary to suit your tastes and budget. We always endeavor to offer more than just a lot of incredible fun experiences and aim to give you a taste of true Tico life, combining authentic cultural and culinary experiences that showcase the uniqueness of our beloved home.

Contact us here for more info.

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Guide to Costa Rica’s Fabulous Guanacaste Province

The Guanacaste Province encompasses the northwesterner corner of Costa Rica and is framed by the vertiginous Guanacaste mountains in the east and the stunning Pacific Ocean in the west. For many, this region is all about spectacular beaches, luxury coastal resorts and wicked surf. Although it can’t be denied that here you will discover one of the country’s most glorious stretches of coast, there’s a lot more to enjoy than just sun, sea and surf.

With its magnificent volcanoes, its remote rain forests brimming with wildlife, its sensational snorkeling and diving, not to mention its comprehensive array of resorts and eco-lodges, Guanacaste does a stellar job of offering a little of all the amazing things that make Costa Rica such a special and unique travel destination.

No matter which side of Costa Rica you’re after – the cultural, wilderness, wildlife, adventure or relaxing side – trust that you’ll find it in Guanacaste.

Why Guanacaste?

Guanacaste ProvinceHome to the second-largest international airport in the country (Liberia) and stretching over an extensive portion of the country’s western half, Guanacaste is the ideal playground for families, honeymooners and solo adventurers alike.

The ease of access and sheer concentration of accommodation and activities make this a firm favorite destination for North Americans looking for a quick getaway, most especially in the dead of the northern winter. Guanacaste boasts an ideal warm and dry climate just about all year long and boasts more sunny days, on average, than all other regions. This region is certainly idyllic and utterly stunning and, combined with modern infrastructure and a host of fun activities, makes it a revered spot for tourist and expats alike. The Guanacaste is also one of the country’s most popular choice for 2018 destination weddings.

Loved by active visitors looking to hike, horseback ride, snorkel, zip line, SCUBA dive and kayak, Guanacaste also offers abundant chances for relaxation in what can only be described as some of the most breathtaking beaches in the whole country. Add to the mix a heady mix of all-inclusive resorts, excellent eco-lodges and gorgeous hotels, and it’s easy to see why Guanacaste is so popular.

That’s why Guanacaste, in a nutshell!

Highlights of the Guanacaste Province?

The beaches – There are very good reasons why Guanacaste is beloved among beachgoers the world over. When you’re home to such popular hubs like Tamarindo, Nosara, Playa Conchal, Playa Hermosa, Playa del Coco and Playa Grande, among so many more, you’ll certainly develop an international reputation for being THE premier beach destination in the country. Whilst the prominent regional beach hub of Tamarindo is perfect for both sunbathing lovers and surfers alike, most beaches in Guanacaste entice particular visitors, be they beginner or advanced surfers, families with small children, sun worshippers or snorkelers. Some are perfect for honeymooners looking for remoteness and privacy, whilst others are renowned for their vibrant crowds and loads of exhilarating experiences. If it’s startling tropical beaches framed by luscious forests that you’re after, then do hone in on this region when planning your Costa Rica adventure trip.

The national parks – Guanacaste is home to some of Costa Rica’s most prized national parks, including Las Baulas, Rincon de la Vieja, Santa Rosa and the homonymous Guanacaste NP. Combined, these priceless protected reserves cover the gamut of natural treasures for which the country is so renowned: from vertiginous active volcanoes to glorious beaches, turtle nesting sites and waterfalls, mountains, cloud forests and tropical rainforests, with all the splendid wildlife typically found in each unique ecosystem.

The Nicoya Peninsula – The northern portion of this striking mountainous peninsula belongs to Guanacaste (whilst the southern tip is in the Puntarenas Province) and offers adventure seekers excellent chances for zip lining, hiking, mountain biking, snorkeling and diving. A lesser developed corner of Costa Rica, the Nicoya Peninsula hides a vast array of waterfalls, wildlife refuges and a few very special eco-lodges immersed in resplendent wilderness. Come discover this hidden corner of Costa Rica and we’ll guarantee you’ll fall in love with the Nicoya Peninsula!

The wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets and comfort levels – From 5* luxury honeymoon resorts to rustic lodges seemingly lost in the heart of remote wilderness: Guanacaste has an accommodation choice to suit every traveler, which is inarguably part of its incredible appeal. No matter your budget or desire (private villa on the beach, perhaps?) you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in this province. From world-class golf courses to exceptional restaurants, great nightlife and fantastic shopping, Guanacaste offers the discerning traveler a modern, vibrant and very comprehensive experience whilst still offering oodles of Costa Rican authenticity.

Adventure sports and activities galore – More than anything else, Guanacaste offers the active traveler a host of active pursuits including surfing, sailing, ATV touring, sport fishing, horseback riding, snorkeling, diving and sooooo much more. For those who prefer to DO rather than just see, Guanacaste really is tailor-made and, because of the sheer choice in both destination and accommodation, this province suits honeymooners, families and those looking for a short and sweet adventure.

Guanacaste is one of Costa Rica’s most popular and rewarding destinations and arguably offers the greatest range of activities and accommodation choice in the entire country.

Want to know just how much fun you can have in Guanacaste? Then visit our adventure tours page and contact us for tailor-made itineraries in Guanacaste and everywhere else in Costa Rica, all designed to suit your budget and desires. At Costa Rica Rios, we bring you the very best of Costa Rica so all you have to do is pack your adventurous spirit and come along for the thrilling ride of a lifetime.

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Ceviche, Tamales & Tres Leche – Recreate the Flavors of Costa Rica Food at Home

Feasting on local gastronomic delights is undoubtedly one of the best things about taking an adventure vacation in Costa Rica. The country’s love-affair with wonderfully organic, wholesome, fresh foods infects all who visit, avid foodies particularly. Even more so when you’re planning to spend days on end swinging from treetops, kayaking raging rivers and scaling the vertiginous heights of some of the country’s most impressive volcanos. You’ll be needing some serious epicurean feasting to keep your energy levels up!

Yet the best Costa Rica food treats can also be easily replicated at home and what better way to channel your inner Tico holiday-maker than by preparing three of the country’s most revered flavors? Ceviche, tamales and decadent Tres Leche: a delectable trio of delight no visitor to Costa Rica will ever forget.

Here’s how to bring all the wonderful flavors of Costa Rica to your family’s dinner table.

Costa Rica Ceviche

Flavors of Costa RicaA staple along the country’s seemingly endless stretch of coast, ceviche is in-arguably one of the most mouth-watering dishes you’ll ever savor in Costa Rica. Freshly-caught fish is marinated in an abundance of freshly-squeezed citrus juice which literally ‘cooks’ it when given enough time. A deceptively simple dish to make, ceviche gains its wicked success from the freshness of its ingredients and it’s the simplicity which makes it stand out from the Costa Rica food crowd.

Ceviche takes barely 10 minutes to make, a few hours to marinate and, if you’re anything like us, mere seconds to devour.

Make this a day ahead for a greater taste infusion.

COSTA RICA CEVICHE – Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1-pound fresh fish with a firm white flesh (mahi-mahi, marlin or sea bass) cut into cubes
  • 1 red onion, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1 chopped sweet red bell pepper
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 red chili, or jalapeno, finely sliced
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the salt and black pepper in a ceramic bowl (avoid stainless steel or any metal bowl as it reacts with the acidity of the juice)
  2. Make sure every ingredient is covered by the juice (add some water if not), cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator overnight if possible, or for 4-5 hours at the very least
  3. Every few hours, or as often as you remember, take the bowl out of the fridge and give everything a good stir, ensuring the ingredients continue to soak up all the flavors

When ready to serve, season to taste and serve with warm tortillas to soak up the marinade and balance out the spiciness. In other parts of Latin America, ceviche is served alongside sliced of warm steamed sweet potato, which does a fabulous job of toning down the chili and adding a sweetness to the taste balance that is simply divine.

Costa Rica Tamales

Flavors of Costa RicaIf you’ve ever been lucky enough to enjoy an end-of-year Costa Rica adventure vacation then you’ve also probably been lucky enough to savor Costa Rica’s scrumptious tamales. These boiled pockets of meat and vegetable yumminess are combined with a cornmeal paste and wrapped in banana leaves before being boiled in water and stock. Traditionally, they are usually only made at Christmas-time although restaurants in some of the country’s most renowned tourist-spots offer them all year long. As opposed to ceviche, tamales are quite labor-intensive yet the rewards are simply sensational, least of all for the fact that once you get cracking on these you’ll want to make a big batch so your hard work can be rewarded for days on end.

A traditional and quite historic dish, tamales are believed to have been around since the days of the Aztecs and are commonly found all over Latin America. Source out some Maseca Instant Mix for Tamales to cut a huge corner out of the preparation: this is really as good as one made from scratch but takes out a bucketload of work.

Ready to try out these bad boys? Then source all the ingredients, get some friends together for a day of traditional Costa Rica food cooking and enjoy unwrapping your steaming and totally delicious creations.

COSTA RICA TAMALES – MAKES 30 TAMALES

When it comes to seasoning, you’ll need to taste each portion of the recipe as you go along and add as you see fit. The tamales dough mix is not extremely flavorsome so you’ll want the meat, rice and potatoes to be tasty of their own accord and add spiciness to your liking.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs Maseca Instant Corn Masa Mix for Tamales (like this one, which you may also find at your local Mexican food grocer)
  • 5lb banana (plantain) leaves (you can use corn husks but, if using, remember that you’ll have to steam the tamales and not boil them)
  • 3lbs pork shoulder or butt, chopped to bite-sized pieces (looking for a lighter version? Use boneless chicken thigh fillets instead)
  • 4 cups rice
  • 2lbs potatoes
  • 5 lb sweet bell pepper
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion
  • 1 teaspoon each of cumin, black pepper, oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), divided in two serves
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups stock
  • Sturdy cotton string

 

Method:

  1. DOUGH: Follow the instructions on the Maseca packet to prepare your dough, set aside
  2. MEAT: Brown the meat in half a cup of oil, adding the garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, black pepper and cumin in the last few minutes, before adding the water, covering, and simmering for 3 hours. Let cool and adjust seasoning if needed. Drain the meat and reserve the liquid stock
  3. RICE: Heat one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, add the dry rice and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the onion, red pepper, saffron and remaining coriander, stirring for another couple of minutes. Add the 3 cups of stock, cover, lower the heat and cook until done (about 20 minutes). Let cool and adjust seasoning if needed
  4. POTATOES: Peel and boil with salt, oregano and 1 serve coriander until tender. Drain, let cool and chop into small cubes

When it’s time to prepare your tamales, you’ll want to have your banana leaves washed and dried. Place one on a clean table top, top at the center with 3 tablespoons of masa mix and 2-3 pieces of pork and potatoes, a tablespoon of rice and anything else you wish to add, like a couple of raisins, olives or sliced boiled carrot. All these are traditional additions found all over Costa Rica.

Fold the tamales lengthways first, twice (like you would a paper lunch bag), then tuck the sides in and tie with sturdy cotton string, making a compact and sealed pocket. Make bundles by tying two tamales together as they cook much better when tied in pairs. Cook the tamales in gently boiling leftover stock with added water (enough to cover the bundles) for about an hour.

The final step: drain, unwrap and enjoy with your loved ones!

Costa Rica Tres Leche Cake

Costa Rica’s decadent desserts are a wonderful way to end any meal and if you’re looking for a full recreation of an authentic Costa Rican gastronomic experience then you really can’t drool past Tres Leche, the country’s national sweet delight.

A soft and spongy cake infused with three different types of milk (hence the name) Tres Leche is traditionally topped with whipped cream and crushed nuts although you could drizzle it with melted dark chocolate and a few sliced of chopped fresh strawberries too. The cake is relatively easy to make and considering it needs time to sit and set firm, is best made 1-2 days in advance, which makes it a super convenient option if you want to serve it after the ceviche or huge feast of tamales. Rich, sweet and totally decadent, Tres Leche is that Costa Rica addiction you never knew you needed in your life!

COSTA RICA TRES LECHE CAKE – MAKES 12 SERVES

We recommend you use an electric stand mixer for this recipe as mixing by hand just doesn’t cut it, especially as you’ll need to whip egg white until a stiff peak form. This is what gives the cake its divine sponginess. Traditionally, the cake is sold in local bakeries topped with frosting but as the cake is sweet enough on its own it barely needs a thin layer of whipped cream and some fruit or nuts, in our humble opinion. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup white sugar

Wet Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, at room temperature, white and yolk separated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk, at room temperature
  • 5 cups heavy cream
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

Topping:

  • Whipped cream
  • Chopped strawberries and crushed nuts, or as you wish

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F, butter and flour the base and sides of your cake form
  2. In a dry bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt until well mixed, set aside
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and start adding one egg yolk at a time with the mixer still running. Gradually add the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and beat for 10 minutes, until fluffy
  4. Turn the mixing setting to low and gradually add half the flour mix then the milk (slowly) then the remaining flour mix, until cake dough forms
  5. Bake the bake for 25 minutes and let cool, on a rack, for at least half an hour
  6. Whilst the cake is baking, pour the heavy cream and evaporated milk in a small saucepan, add the cinnamon stick and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for a few minutes, turn the heat off and cover and set aside
  7. In a separate bowl, pour the condensed milk and add the remaining vanilla and cinnamon powder and whisk well. Strain and add to the pot with the cream and milk
  8. Once the cake has cooled, place in a serving form and poke holes all over using a fork or the thinner end of a chopstick. Pour the milk infusion all over the cake, cover and refrigerate overnight.

For best results, add the whipped cream and your toppings just before serving.

Buen provecho!

Ready to come and taste the real deal? Visit our Costa Rica Adventure Vacation page for sensational travel inspiration and, as always, contact us for bespoke, family or honeymoon tours.

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Four Dreamy Wedding Venues for Your Costa Rica Event

One of the first priorities when planning a Costa Rica destination wedding and adventure honeymoon is finding the perfect dreamy venue to share your ‘I dos’.

Considering our beloved balmy paradise is one of the world’s most popular wedding destinations, you’ll find an exciting array of gorgeous resorts, lodges and hotels in just about every province, all offering unique wedding packages and distinct experiences, be they in the heart of a luscious jungle, cloud forest or, perhaps the most popular choice, along a pristine stretch of stunning beach.

Choosing the right venue for your Costa Rica wedding will ultimately come down to your personal preferences yet considering every couple does share a few things in common (doesn’t everyone dream of a unique and unforgettable wedding?) we think our choice of 4 dreamy venues will tickle anyone’s fancy.

Read our guide to planning your perfect 2018 Costa Rica wedding and then check out the following 4 sensational venues that are sure to make for a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime adventure for a couple looking to get their wedded bliss off to a fabulous start.

1.   Nayara Springs, La Fortuna – for the ultimate in luxury and exclusivity

The Nayara group of luxury hotels barely needs any introduction: this is one of Costa Rica’s most exquisite boutique hotels group, revered for its attention to details, impeccable service and magnificent properties. If you’re a couple looking for a unique, upscale and totally private experience, then the Nayara Springs is the one you ought to check out. This adults-only hotel is set within the luscious landscapes of the Arenal Volcano tropical rain forests.

It boasts stunning private villas, plunge pools, indoor and outdoor showers, an in-house spa that’s won a ton of awards and, best of all, some of the most outstanding views in the whole region. Private gardens adorned with hammocks, gorgeous terraces that are ideal for some R&R, yoga classes to help you relax, sensational food at the in-house restaurant and plenty of pampering services for you, your dearly beloved and all your wedding guests.

The accommodation is drop-dead gorgeous as is every detail of this incredible hotel. Over the last five years alone, Nayara Springs has been awarded top honors from some of the most prominent travel institutions around, including Conde Nast Traveler and TripAdvisor. Ideally located in the heart of the Arenal region, Nayara Springs is an excellent choice if you want to inject some serious luxury and exclusivity into your wedding celebrations and have the best of Costa Rica right at your doorstep.

2.   Cala Luna Luxury Boutique Hotel

Cala Luna may not be as grand as Nayara Springs but it is by no means any less enchanting. This glorious property is set along a beautiful stretch of beach in Tamarindo and its understated elegance and luxury offer couples just as much comfort and beauty but in a much more intimate setting.  The laid-back vibe perfectly suits its seaside location and if it’s an intimate beach side ceremony you dream, with all the bells and whistles of a world-class boutique resort, then you won’t be left disappointed.

The service and amenities are top-notch and the staff friendly, accommodating and professional. Private villas offer you and your guests the utmost privacy with a host of outdoor spaces where you can enjoy some togetherness and joint relaxation. Have a dip in the pool, enjoy a yoga class, a revitalizing massage and an array of exhilarating activities either before or after your wedding day. Cala Luna caters to couples with varying tastes and budgets and can literally take care of every aspect of your wedding day. Visit their Wedding Page to know more.

3.   La Paloma Lodge, Osa Peninsula

Remote, secluded and incredibly good value for money, the luxurious Paloma Lodge offers an all-inclusive adventure wedding experience you won’t find anywhere else. This is the kind of place you head to when you have more time up your sleeve, a bit of extra funds in your pocket and a fervent desire to get away from it all and enjoy a truly special vacation in your life with the most beloved people in your life.

Sitting atop a steep cliff and overlooking one of the country’s most inspiring bays on the Pacific Ocean, just a few steps away from the Corcovado National Park, La Paloma Lodge is an absolute dream venue for a Costa Rica wedding. The property seems infused with the natural surroundings, with every material sourced to perfectly blend with the wilderness. The sanctuary that is your private villa comes with the comfort of air-conditioning and the kind of rustic chic décor that befits the lodge’s image.

A brand-new 3-bedroom beach house has just been completed and if you’re planning a very small family affair, for your Cota Rica wedding, this could just be the kind of exclusive and private venue you’ll love. Every aspect of this amazing lodge is designed to enhance the beauty of the Costa Rican wilderness whilst offering 5* service and amenities to its very, very lucky guests. Rates for La Paloma Lodge may seem steep but do note that they include a host of amenities and excursions so actually make for fantastic value.

4.   Hotel Belmar, Monteverde

Nestled in the heart of the wonderful cloud forests of Monteverde, the Hotel Belmar oozes romance and decadence at every turn, making it an ideal Costa Rica wedding venue for couples who seek a unique experience immersed in pristine mountainous nature. A selection of stunning and spacious chalet rooms, all beautifully decorated and infinitely cozy, can cater for large wedding parties and the added treats of hot tub, wellness spa and a terrace affording breath-taking forest views will surely captivate you all.

What sets these guys apart, however, is their incredible desire to please, seamlessly catering to every couple’s whim and creating the kind of dream wedding they desire. Nothing is too much trouble, no hurdle too difficult to overcome, no last-minute change of plans too bothersome. This kind of exceptional service is the peace of mind many seek and if you’d love that, coupled with a sensational stay in a superlative lodge, then the Belmar will certainly hit all the spots.

At Costa Rica Rios, we offer incomparable adventure vacations, be it for your honeymoon, your family vacation…or just some ‘me’ time!

Visit our Activities page and contact us for more details.
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