Set in the mountains in rural northwestern Costa Rica, the Rio Celeste (Blue River) and waterfall is a breathtaking natural wonder that one has to see to believe. The brilliant blue water, which seems altered at first blush, gets its show-stopping azul hue from a chemical reaction between volcanic minerals. A walk through Tenorio Volcano National Park will take you along the river bed, where you will see (and smell) the Rio Celeste turn from clear to vivid turquoise.
The Rio Celeste is a wonderful addition to your itinerary if you’re visiting the Arenal Volcano area or any of the beach towns in northern Guanacaste. Below we share the essentials for planning your visit.
Through our website and book, we have connected with lots of different people, from tour operators, authors, and bloggers, to people visiting Costa Rica or thinking of making the move. But even we were surprised when we found out that one of Jenn’s college classmates had also written a book with Costa Rica in the title. What are the chances?
Pick up an old guidebook on Costa Rica, even from just a few years back, and you’ll read that the area known as the Costa Ballena is difficult to access and offers little to travelers. Fast forward a few years and you’ll discover that this is no longer the case. Located just an hour south of the popular beach town of Manuel Antonio, the Costa Ballena, or Whale Coast, is slowly becoming famous for its pristine beaches and rolling green mountains that teem with wildlife.
Below is our guide for one of the most up-and-coming destinations in Costa Rica, the Costa Ballena.
Today marks our six-month anniversary of living in Costa Rica. There is a lot we could say about our time here so far but we’re going to lighten things up a bit and focus in this blog on the fun or interesting things we’ve learned.
We started researching our big move to Costa Rica a couple of years in advance. We read all of the books, guidebooks, moving books, retirement books, basically anything we could get our hands on about Costa Rica. We joined some online expat forums like ARCR and Expat Exchange and started following expat blogs to get a feel for what was in store. After all of this research, we had a very good idea of what to expect in terms of culture, climate, environment, cost of living, infrastructure, etc. But, of course, we’ve had many surprises along the way.
Set along the turquoise Caribbean Sea in southeast Costa Rica, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a laid back beach town with a distinctly Caribbean feel. With residents of both Afro-Caribbean descent and indigenous descent, Puerto Viejo offers a unique culture that can be found only in this part of Costa Rica. Here, coconut rice, Reggaeton beats, colorful homes, and a laid back attitude dominate. And with beautiful beaches, lush jungle, great surf, and an array of restaurants and nightlife, it is no surprise that Puerto Viejo is becoming a popular tourist destination.
Below are the essentials for planning your visit to Puerto Viejo.
We’ve been in Costa Rica for five months now, through some big holidays, first Thanksgiving, and now, Christmas. Christmas is an important holiday for both of our families back home in the United States, filled with traditions going back for generations. We weren’t sure how Christmas would be for us here in Costa Rica since we would be on our own, away from our families and all of the familiar traditions. Christmas ended up being a little different, of course, but special in its own way.
If you’re visiting one of Costa Rica’s many beach towns on the Central Pacific Coast, like Manuel Antonio, Uvita, or Dominical, check out Los Quetzales National Park for a chance to see the cloud forest. Even though it’s only a short distance from the Central Pacific, Los Quetzales offers travelers a whole different kind of experience. The climate is cool and fresh, and due to its location high atop the Talamanca mountains, the park is typically entrenched in a haze of thick clouds. Moss-covered hardwoods, alpine plants, highland birds, and other flora and fauna that live only at such extreme elevations frequent the park; though the main draw is the chance to spot the park’s namesake Resplendent Quetzal, an exotic crimson and iridescent green bird with flowing tail feathers.
Los Quetzales National Park isn’t well covered in the guidebooks so we wanted to share our experiences to help you plan your visit.
In our last post, we told you about all of the traditional ways we’re trying to learn Spanish, like using books and online learning tools. Now we’re going to get to the fun part: movies. You can only study with books so much so whenever we can we fit in a Spanish-speaking movie. Sometimes the Spanish is so fast that we pick up only a word or two but hearing the words and seeing the translation in subtitles seems to be helping. Although I’m sure we’re learning Spanish with all of the films we’ve seen—both good and bad—some of them are really, really bad. Terrible acting, plots that don’t seem to go anywhere, silly love triangles, we’ve seen it all. Hence this post. Here are some of our favorite movies for learning Spanish.
We’ve been living in Costa Rica for about four months now and are really starting to adjust to daily life here. We have a routine for work, have figured out what to eat and how to cook it, know where to go to run errands, and are even getting to know some people in town. There’s one area though where we still have a long way to go: learning Spanish.
Matt and I both took French in school thinking it would be good to learn since our grandparents are native French speakers. But despite what people say, knowing the basics of one romance language doesn’t always help you learn another. When we got to Costa Rica we were more or less starting from scratch. We did take an intro course back in the States but that only got us as far as, “Hola, me llamo Jenn” (Hello, my name is Jenn), “¿Dónde está el baño?” (Where is the bathroom?), and “Queiro una cerveza, por favor” (I’d like a beer, please)—many of the essentials indeed and probably good enough for vacation but certainly not enough for living abroad.
Costa Rica tends to lure people in. The beautiful landscape and temperate climate get them here, and the people and culture draw them back for more. One visit often leads to another and, for many people like us, even plans of relocation.
We recently crossed paths with a fellow Costa Rica lover, Alden Jones. Jones is a writer who teaches at Emerson College in Boston. Her new book, The Blind Masseuse: A Traveler’s Memoir from Costa Rica to Cambodia, shares her travels around the world. We always love reading about other people’s perspectives on Costa Rica and are thrilled to share her story with our readers.