Costa Rica

Photo of macaw by Luis Jose Parajeles.

Spectacled Owl, Osa Peninsula

February-March 2019

Arnie and I traveled to Costa Rica, one of our favorite countries, in winter 2019.  We divided our time between two  ecolodges run by the Cayuga Collection, eight independently owned resorts in Central America.  Our first stop was Arenas del Mar in Quepos, near Manuel Antonio National Park, with a 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean from every vantage point.  The hotel owns part of the beach for surfing and part for swimming, the latter with tables, benches, and hammocks for recreation and lunch.  Our second stop was Lapa Rios on the Osa Peninsula, in a magnificent rainforest. (Continued below.)

George, Black Iguana, “Mascot” at Lapa Rios, About to Jump into the Pool (Photo by Arnie Offner)

The collection protects more than 1500 acres of rainforest. As sustainable hospitality pioneers, Cayuga’s mission is to break new ground in eco-luxe travel. In 2018 we stayed at Jicaro Ecolodge on a tiny island in Lake Nicaragua, which has nine two-story casitas, delicious food, interesting excursions, and hospitable staff.

These resorts offer a wide variety of nature-focused tours with excellent guides, with the level of difficulty ranging from easy to moderate to difficult.  (For the adventurous traveler, there are activities such as rappelling down a waterfall offered by Lapa Rios.) Here are the Lapa Rios tours for your perusal. And here are the Arenas del Mar tours for your reading pleasure.

Lapa Rios also invites local craftspeople to display their wares in the entry way to the dining room.  One example is  Sarocra Arts, Boruco, Costa Rica, which specializes in hand-carved and hand-painted masks such as the one below:

Mask Made by Sarocra Arts, Boruca, Costa Rica (Santos Lazaro)

We  loved the cooking classes at both resorts and learned how to make ceviche and empanadas:


View of the Beach and the Pacific Ocean from Arenas del Mar


Teaching Guests How to Make Ceviche



El Lagardo, Open-Air Barbecue Restaurant, Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Short Drive from Arenas del Mar


There are many iguanas walking around the grounds at Arenas del Mar


Sunrise Over the Pacific Ocean at Lapa Rios


Glorious Outdoor Shower, Lapa Rios


Macaw Near Its Nest, Seen on Beach Walk, Golfo Dulce, Lapa Rios

There is a terrific crafts shop next to the Puerto Jimenez Airport,  Jagua Arts & Crafts, which is chock-a-block full of reasonably priced stained glass objects, baskets, pads made of handmade paper, mobiles, and jewelry made by indigenous people:

Costa Rica is a rich and varied country, with warm people, delicious food, abundant birds, trees, monkeys, iguanas, and other wildlife, exquisite scenery, and activities and adventures for people of all ages and interests.  We highly recommend exploring Costa Rica.

Image result for map of costa rica

Homeward bound on a small plane coasting over the mountainous green landscape.

Pura Vida!

A Beautiful Vista!

The Crew & A Couple of Passengers