Costa Rica Continued

The second day of my Costa Rica adventure with Under30Experiences included more stunning views, a new favorite spot in town and yet another coastal sunset. We began our day with a pretty tough hike through the rainforest. Though the steep and rocky path wasn’t easy to climb, we were definitely rewarded with turquoise waters, a hidden beach, and beautiful foliage along the way.

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After our hike and a quick dip in the pool to cool off our group headed to one of my favorite spots on the trip, Café Milagro. Not only do they make their own premium, single origin, estate grown, micro milled coffees (I was lucky all the coffee I bought fit in my luggage!), they have the BEST fish tacos. I started things off with a double espresso for that little afternoon pick me up and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.SauvignonBlue-CostaRica-750-3

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After lunch we headed into Quepos where we toured the waterways on a local boat and caught the most beautiful rainbow over the river. Just in time we stopped at on land to catch our 3rd colorful ocean sunset of the trip.

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Costa Rica- Manuel Antonio National Park

I had no idea where we were staying in Costa Rica until maybe a day before my flight, not even joking! People thought I was a little crazy, some said I would go missing, but in reality I was too busy keeping up with work in the days leading up to the trip to go over the exact itinerary. Traveling with Under30Experiences was also amazing because I didn’t have to worry about any accommodations or transportation ahead of time. They took care of everything for you so you can almost just show up in San Jose ready to go.

We arrived to our new home at night, so it wasn’t until the next morning that I could really take in the scenery of where we would be staying. Villas Mymosa was such a wonderful place to spend our time in Costa Rica! The plants surrounding you are beautiful (like almost all places in the area), the pool felt amazing after some long uphill hiking, and the Mymositos outside Restaurant and Bar was the perfect place for us travelers to spend time getting to know each other more over breakfast, dinner and drinks.

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Our villas were about 2.5 miles down the road from Manuel Antonio National Park, so we hopped on the city bus and headed that way after breakfast. Whenever I travel I am drawn to a more local experience than a lavish resort, so exchanging my dollars for colones to pay for a bus ride was something I really enjoyed… even if our bus ride back consisted of being completed smashed in between people, while a couple very awkwardly exchanged aggressive gestures towards each other in the seat near us. Gotta love the little things, right!?

We arrived at Playa de Manuel Antonio and walked to the park entrance where we were greeted again with some coco locos. The group chose  to stay hydrated for our hike instead of the rum filled coconuts  (look how responsible we are!), and made our way through a gorgeous hike.
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Playas Gemelas was our first stop off the trail . The turquoise blue water combined with the black rocky shoreline and green foliage was stunning. Following a  30 minute photo shoot on the largest rock area (hello, we all had to get our selfies in with no one in the background… with 15 people that takes time!) we made our way back to the path.SauvignonBlue-CostaRica-23 SauvignonBlue-CostaRica-24

Another thing on my check list for this Costa Rica experience was seeing some wild life, and we definitely lucked out big time during our hike! At one point an entire group of capuchin monkeys crossed our path so close you could reach out and touch them if you really wanted (and if they didn’t attach to your arm when you did). Along with the capuchin monkeys, we were fortunate to also spot the howler monkeys and squirrel monkeys, but they typically keep their distance from hikers.

Our path then led to a beautiful lookout on Playa Puerto Escondido, a slightly tough uphill walk back up but totally worth the view.
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On our way back to the entrance of the park we came across the cutest smiley faced slow poke– a sloth. That little guy was maybe 8 feet from our path and he was so fun to watch in slow motion.

After exiting the park we walked up the road past some colorful bohemian little shops (always my fav!) and stopped at El Sol for lunch and to cool off from the humidity.
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Another home run for the restaurant picking by Under30Experiences by choosing lunch at El Sol ! My frozen passionfruit margarita cooled me right down from our hike and was complimented with some delicious tacos de pescado. El Sol is definitely a place I would stop on my next trip our to Manuel Antonio. Looking around the table there were so many other amazing dishes I’d like to try. After lunch we walked across the street to the the beach where we spent the rest of our day.
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Some of the group took surf lessons while a few of us ladies hung back and enjoyed some relaxing beach time (well, despite that one wave that completely took me under and almost took my swimsuit with it, eeeekkk). We stayed oceanside long enough to see yet another bright Central American sunset.

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Day 1 came to a close with Ladies Night up the road from our villas. When almost your entire travel group is made up of girls, Ladies Night is a great perk! A few vodka sodas and pool games later we ended the night with a life-size Jenga game where we discovered this U30X sticker from a previous travel group (shout out to the Nov 2015 group!).
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Next up for Costa Rica on SB– hidden beaches, local places, boat rides & more!

Costa Rica, Aren’t You Pretty

On Thursday December 10th, I arrived at the San Jose Airport in Costa Rica to begin my Central American adventure with an amazing travel group for young adults called Under30Experiences. This was my first group trip with total strangers and I absolutely loved it! Others came with friends or significant others, but just like the other half of the group I was set on doing this completely solo. I think when you go alone to something like this you’re more likely to step outside your comfort zone a little and get to know others. Not only was I looking forward to experiencing an amazing new country, but also connecting with people from all different places and backgrounds.

We introduced ourselves outside the airport, packed up the van, and headed out to our first stop of the day- cocolocos and crocodiles!
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Something I liked about Costa Rica right away was all the little random shops on the side of the road, especially the ones serving coco locos ;-). I’m slightly addicted to coconut water already, so getting to drink right out of the coconut itself and get a little rum buzz while doing so was a great way to start the trip.

Coco locos in hand we walked just down the road to the Tarcoles Bridge to checkout some huge crocodiles and take in our first out-of-van views of the area.
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Next stop was Playa Hermosa, whose name literally means “Beautiful Beach”. The black sands of Playa Hermosa were so unique and almost made the ocean waves and sunsetting sky pop more than usual. To say we enjoyed a “pretty” sunset would be an understatement, it was absolutely gorgeous. SauvignonBlue-CostaRica-5 SauvignonBlue-CostaRica-7 SauvignonBlue-CostaRica-8 SauvignonBlue-CostaRica-9

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After watching the colors turn from bright blues to warm orange and pink we continued taking in the view over dinner at Bowie’s Point. Another benefit of traveling with Under30Experiences was all of our dinners were included in what we already paid for the trip! This made things even easier for all of us travelers, and I enjoyed my first taste of Costa Rica with a Pilsen beer and Tuna Poki. Perfectly ripe avocado pieces mixed with super fresh local tuna over rice, it’s making me hungry just thinking about that dinner!SauvignonBlue-CostaRica-12 SauvignonBlue-CostaRica-13

The group then packed back in our van and drove through Quepos towards Manuel Antonio to our home for the next few days. After settling into our rooms a few of us grabbed a bottle of wine and enjoyed a glass and conversation with our toes in the pool.

Next Up: Day 2 of hiking, monkeys, beaches and ladies night, stay tuned!

Costa Rican Countdown

Today marks my 7 day countdown until I’ll be exploring beautiful Costa Rica! People have been asking me, “who are you going with?” every time I bring up my trip, and they’re typically surprised when I say, “myself”. Although I do love a good solo vaca any day, I technically am not actually going totally alone… just with a group of total strangers.

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I’m excited to go on my first adventure with a group called Under30Experiences, a travel group for young adults & young professionals. One of my biggest roadblocks with international traveling is having someone to go with! Apparently not everyone is up for taking the time away for getaways like this. Being a single lady myself I’d prefer the safety and companionship of having someone with me for those farther away destinations. Under30Experiences makes this happen by pairing you with a group of people to share the experience with and connect with; plus they take care of most of the trip details to make everything easy and stress-free.

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After holding myself back from signing up for Bali or Iceland (the ones I REALLY wanted!) I decided to dip my toes in by signing up for the Starter Costa Rica trip. After all, this girl’s still on a budget and can’t go totally crazy here! I’ll be meeting up with people from all over the continent at the San Jose airport, where we’ll then head to Playa Hermosa, Manuel Antonio National Park and Quepos.

Our 5 days in Costa Rica will include ocean sunsets, hikes in the rainforest, iguanas, monkeys, local food, drinks with new friends and clear blue Pacific water. Plus I have a few extras in mind like zip lining and boat rides ;-).

Check back in to see photos from this solo/not solo adventure! 7 days and counting.

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