Is there any better escape from the Chicago winter than a short trip to Costa Rica? The country is blossoming with beaches, animals, and adventure around every corner. There is something for everyone, be it lounging along the beach with a umbrella-embellished cocktail or kayaking through alligator infested water.
The Banana Azul Hotel, with a fantastic beachside location in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
The hotel offered many fantastic adventure activities (such as white water rafting) and served up amazing huevos rancheros
I spent hours lounging on the perfect beach just steps from our hotel room. I’d recommend going for a morning run down the beach, the sunrise is unbeatable.
The cocktails weren’t too shabby either. I feel obligated to buy a fruity drink whenever I’m in the tropics.
Puerto Viejo was just a short walk along the coastline.
My travel buddy and I were entranced by the views.
The little town was as colorful as the flowers of the rainforest.
Time slowed down there. It felt like all the worries of the world faded away to a simpler life.
The Jaguar Rescue Center was just a short drive away, and we had the pleasure of playing with a group of baby monkeys!
Lola the parrot wasn’t going to miss out on the fun. She showed us all her favorite toys.
My favorite little critters were the swaddled baby sloths.
We couldn’t touch them because they’re sensitive to the oils on human hands.
Another day was spent on a cacao farm learning about the chocolate making process. Food is more enjoyable when you understand the process behind it.
The forest stretches across the hills for miles, offering a multitude of hiking trails for the more adventurous sorts.
A short hike brought us to a waterfall not far from the road. A small stand sold us coconuts to drink milk out of.
People were jumping off the rocks alongside the waterfall into the pond below. There was a blend of locals and tourists enjoying themselves in the sun.
I’d recommend kayaking along the peaceful rivers to feel like you’re truly one with the rainforest around you.
The rainforest is full of fantastic beasts. I was glad we were safe from the alligators in our kayak.
Life bloomed out of every corner of Costa Rica
When the golden hour hit Tortugero, the town became a gorgeous rainbow
The little town mainly relies on of the turtle-based tourism. Turtles lay their eggs along the shores and people travel from all around the world just to watch the baby turtles’ journeys to the sea.
The trip inspired me to live a more “pura vida” every day.
On the other side of Tortugero, away from turtle beach, are fantastic little restaurants and bars along the water.
We met a wonderful group of people at a bar who recommended a nightclub just down the road…
But the sun hadn’t set yet. We walked off our lunches through the forest. It felt like we were miles from any town or sign of civilization.
But be warned if you go exploring, poisonous snakes hide in the trees.
But if you can brave the snakes, you might just come across the cutest critters hiding in the treetops.
Marlaina Fancher is an intern with Classic Chicago Magazine an English major at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She loves capturing the world around her through images and words.