Thursday, May 9, 2013

costa rica: part two

Costa Rica part two

The second part of our Costa Rica trip was an absolute dream. After spending two days by the Arenal Volcano getting our adventure on, we headed over to The Westin Golf Resort and Spa in Playa Conchal--an all inclusive resort over by Tamarindo that we 100% fell in love with (and the main topic of this blogpost) but more on that in a second!

Above is route from the Arenal National Park to the resort and along the way we decided to do a little bit of site seeing. This drive was quite impressive, because we went through very green, heavily vegetated 'rain forest' type areas, across dry plains and fields, and then on to the green and breezy coast. We truly saw the good and bad of Costa Rica (I won't go into detail about the experiences we had trying to stop in the not-so-touristy-areas, just know that it  was a blessing my husband speaks fluent Spanish)

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On our way around Lake Arenal, my husband decided to do a little exploring (on an incredibly sketchy dirt road up a mountain) but as usual--it really paid off because he found this amazing lookout point where he celebrated his freakish amounts of strength and flexibility with his famous toe touch.

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We stopped at a couple different lookouts. This is one of the reasons we LOVE renting cars as opposed to taking tour buses. We like doing our own thing, having random little side adventures, and being able to explore. Granted, it sometimes adds some additional stress but we love doing it this way. I would feel comfortable recommending a rental car to anyone going to Costa Rica. Just make sure you have a GPS.

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Just one of the many gems of Costa Rica we saw on our drive over to Playa Conchal. Impressive, right? Reminds me of my old college days. Moving from one apartment to the next. Ohhhhh the good old days.

Okay, now onto the good stuff.

We arrived at the Westin around 7:00 pm and were greeted by one of the most beautiful firework shows I have ever seen. No, but really. We pulled up and there were fireworks going off over the ocean, light acoustic tunes were playing over the speakers, the valet came out and took our car, and we were then asked if we'd like a beverage. Live like a celebrity much? Because I felt about as hot and important as Jennifer Aniston in that moment.  Come to find out, the President of Costa Rica herself was actually staying at the hotel attending a wedding that evening and the fireworks were actually for that event....but was the perfect start to a perfect weekend at this heavenly all-inclusive resort.

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We started our morning with a yoga class on the beach. There were only four of us in the class, and the instructor was awesome. A dreamy way to start the day.

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We spent a lot of time at the Royal Beach Club pool. Luckily, Roberto is a Starwood regular and has worked his way up in the we got to hang out at the private pool where you have people waiting on you and lots of quiet time to relax. We get spoiled by Starwood.

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And he spoils me. Big time.

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So relaxing.

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The sunsets out there on Playa Conchal were to die for. Some of the prettiest I've ever seen in my life! I  love this picture of Rob. We had such a fun, relaxing time away from reality and away from all the stress. I feel like this picture captures how happy we were this whole trip.

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So stress-free. I miss it already.

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The next day we spent some time out on the beach. Rob did some swimming with his GoPro. He loves that thing.

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We ended up chatting with this elderly couple in front of us. They were a hoot. They spend half their year in California, half in Florida and come to Costa Rica whenever they feel they need more sun. Ha ha, I don't know how you lack sun living in SoCal and the sunshine state but hey, I support their choices in life.

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Because this Westin is all-inclusive, you have your choice of places to eat for lunch and dinner. This was our favorite lunch spot out by the main pool. Of course, with my diet coke there in the corner.  We enjoyed the different food, especially the Pad Thai we had our last night there.

My husband is such a gem.

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If you can't tell already, we loved this place. The staff was was wonderful, our room was lovely, and the resort is to die for. We were able to book our stay there completely on Robert's travel points and though I'm pretty sure he was already, after our experience there he'll be Starwood for life.

We met some lovely couples both young and old. Enjoyed so much time relaxing and unwinding. And were genuinely sad to leave our spoiled little lives at the Westin Resort in Playa Conchal.

It was just another perfect addition to our time in Costa Rica.

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Last but not least, we spent our final evening in the town of Tamarindo (which is very close to the Westin and is a very popular tourist spot) We enjoyed some time on the beach and dinner at Nibbana right on the sand, and it was delicious. Definitely try it if you're in that area.

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It was tough saying goodbye to these sunsets, but I have a feeling we'll go back someday. Costa Rica had us at hello (or possibly the firework show that we still like to believe was meant for us) ;)

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Pura Vida Y'all!


  1. Great trip! Thanks for writing about it! I'm trying to plan a trip to CR during the holiday and I'm hoping to you can help me a bit - if you're comfortable with it would you mind sharing your budget for and during this trip?

  2. Hi! Sadly, I'm not going to be much help in this category for this particularly trip, because we actually booked a lot of this trip on Flight and Hotel Miles. However, I definitely recommend using TripAdvisor to find your hotels. You can find nice, clean hotels (that may not be super fancy) for great prices. We stayed in one by the Arenal Volcano that was fairly inexpensive but we loved it and they served us a delicious breakfast. It was nothing fancy, but we loved it--and we found it through Trip Advisor. We also rented a car, which was probably one of the most expensive things we did (because most of the other accommodations were on points) If you do decide to rent a car--you may not need to keep it for the whole time. We kind of wish we had just rented a car for the first part and then took a shuttle back for the second half, but shuttles can be fairly pricey as well. Let me know if you have any specific questions I can answer! Sorry I'm not more of a help in that area!

  3. Just reading through all of your travels! I've officially put Costa Rica on my list! Looks awesome! :-)

    1. Melissa! So glad you have put it on your list! To this day it's probably one of my FAVORITE vacations--it was the perfect mix of tourism, adventure and relaxation. I cannot recommend it enough! :)