Pura Vida, Costa Rica

Six of my friends and I recently visited Costa Rica to celebrate my best friend’s birthday.  I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Costa Rica, but honestly, once we landed, Costa Rica totally exceeded my expectations.  Costa Rica is so beautiful and so full of life.

Pura Vida‘ is a phrase that means ‘Pure Life’ and you will hear it all the time in Costa Rica!  It’s used to say hello and goodbye and often said before you begin your meal.  Once you visit Costa Rica, you truly will understand what pura vida feels like.  It’s a happiness.  It’s a way of life.

We departed on November 29th and returned on December 4th with American Airlines. We had connecting flights in Miami both ways, with short wait times and flew into Liberia, Costa Rica.

We booked our shuttle beforehand, so when we landed we located our driver and started on our way to the Airbnb.  The drive from the airport to the Airbnb was about 2 hours, so we made a stop at a supermarket along the way to grab snacks and drinks.

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WHERE WE STAYED

Our friend Amanda booked the trip and found the beautiful Airbnb that we stayed in.  We stayed at a beautiful hillside villa (link here) in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.  We were basically in the jungle, surrounded by trees and nature.  We heard grasshoppers and monkeys all day!

The villa had a total of 5 bedrooms, 6 beds and 5 bathrooms, a kitchen, an outdoor grill, washer + dryer, massive living room, and an infinity pool with a hot tub.  (Head to my Costa Rica highlight on my Instagram to see a tour of the villa!)

Additionally, we had a guard that watched the house all day and night and personal chef services that we booked through the Airbnb host.  A chef (and his lovely wife) cooked two amazing breakfasts and dinners for us.  On the days that the chef wasn’t there, we cooked meals ourselves.  We honestly didn’t need to leave the house if we didn’t want to.  We had everything we needed.

GETTING AROUND + CURRENCY

Ubers are illegal in Costa Rica but they do exist.  A friend of mine who visited not too long ago mentioned that the drivers are just very low key about it and hide their phones when they pass by cops.

We didn’t use any Ubers while we were in Costa Rica.  We had a driver that we booked through the Airbnb host, to help us get around and to drive us to the excursions.  Gustavo was a sweetheart (and a hottie) and we were so grateful to have him as our driver, considering we probably drove him crazy half of the time!

Renting a car is another option but if you stay at the Aribnb we stayed out, be advised that the roads to the villa are very tough to drive on.  The main roads are smooth but once you start heading up the hill to the villa, it gets very rocky.

Costa Rica’s national currency is the colón but U.S. dollars are widely accepted.  You have the choice to either withdraw U.S. dollars or Costa Rican colones from ATMs.

Catamaran

WHAT WE DID

There is so much to do in Costa Rica – catamarans, snorkeling, hiking, horseback riding, visit beaches, zip lining and more.  We booked all of excursions through the Airbnb host, but like in any other country you visit, you can book excursions online as well.  For this trip, ATV tour, zip lining, and an afternoon catamaran were the excursions that we chose.

ATV

My friends did the ATV tour on Saturday afternoon.  I made the choice to not ATV because ATVing made me nervous.  I also had to be on call for work as it was Cyber Weekend, our busiest weekend of the year, so I had to stay back at the house.  However, my friends had so much fun!

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On Sunday, we did the catamaran and it was so much fun!  We had music, drinks and good food.  The men and women who were on the boat with us were so sweet and accommodating the entire time.  We were joined by another group on the catamaran, who were also visiting Costa Rica and had traveled from the U.S. as well.

Like I mentioned in my Tulum post, I don’t know how to swim, so naturally I am terrified of large bodies of water.  I am slowly working on overcoming that fear!  When we docked near a beach, all of my friends got in the water and my plan was to just sit and watch but they encouraged me to get in and made sure I was comfortable.  I was yet again, very emotional lol, but I am proud of myself for trusting myself and my friends.

The catamaran was overall a beautiful experience and I’m so glad to have shared it with my friends.  It was amazing day full of happiness, laughs and so much love.

Zip Lining

On Monday, we zip lined and it was out of this world.  I zip lined for the first time in Puerto Rico a couple of years ago and it was great, but zip lining in Costa Rica is way better.  I highly recommend it!

I would say there was probably a group total of 25, including myself and my friends.  The group of men who helped set up our equipment and accompanied us during the entire tour were so funny and attractive.  If you’ve heard that Costa Rican men are beautiful, you have not been lied to.

I really wish I had a Go-Pro with me because I can’t even describe how beautiful it was.  I was in awe the entire time.  We zip lined above the trees.  When you looked down, everything was so small!  It’s something you have to see with your eye own eyes!  I am definitely zip lining again the next time I visit Costa Rica.

Tamarindo

NIGHTLIFE

If you want to go out in Costa Rica, Tamarindo is the place to go.  Tamarindo is very similar to South Beach, Miami.  It’s near the beach with a bunch of bars, hotels, restaurants and shops.

We were about an hour (or more) drive away from everything, so we didn’t get to really experience the nightlife too much.  We did visit Tamarindo on Saturday night.  We didn’t make it to our dinner reservation but we did find a bar that kept their kitchen open a little bit longer for us to order some food.  It was a really cute surf bar that also played live music, which I love!

We walked around and stopped in a few of the bars on the strip.  There was a good variety of music (house, reggaeton, etc.) and every place we went to was so packed but looked like a great time.  However, everyone was still tired from traveling the day prior and from the ATV tours earlier that day, so we called it a night early.  Had we all had more energy, we definitely would have stayed out longer.  We were planning on going back on Sunday night but an unexpected power outage in the area kept us in for the night.

While on the topic.. the power outage was definitely scary since we didn’t know that outages do occur in that area.  We were also in such a big house with large windows and the way the power turned off (we actually have this recorded as Amanda’s phone was filming in the background), our minds went into scary movie mode and thought we were going to be robbed and killed lol.  We were a bit shaken up but we all stayed close and had each other’s backs.  We did get power back the next morning, so in total we were without power for about 14 hours.

Pura Vida

OUTFITS

The only two things I purchased for this trip was the green jumpsuit and the brown bikini.  Everything else was already owned!  I really didn’t buy anything new this time around as I was budgeting myself for the trip.  I also still had some clothes that I didn’t wear in Tulum and over the summer, so I knew I could bring them to Costa Rica.

There were also not too many OOTDs this time around as majority of the time was spent in swimwear, which I have zero complaints about. 🙂

Pura Vida, Costa Rica

Pretty Little Thing Romper

ZARA Sandals

Pura Vida, Costa Rica

Missguided Bikini

Quay Australia Sunnies

Pura Vida, Costa Rica

Riot Swim Bikini Top & Bottom

Pura Vida, Costa Rica

Pretty Little Thing Jumpsuit

Forever 21 Bag (Old)

Pura Vida, Costa Rica

Riot Swim One-Piece

Quay Australia Sunnies

Pura Vida, Costa Rica

Riot Swim Bikini Top & Bottom

PrettyLittleThing Cover-Up

Quay Australia Sunnies

Pura Vida, Costa Rica

ZARA Dress (Old)

Quay Australia Sunnies

 

Overall, this trip was the perfect balance of fun and relaxation.  We had beautiful weather the entire time and the excursions were amazing.  It was also such a great group that I would travel with again.

I would definitely visit Costa Rica again!  Of course I would love to stay in the same villa but the next time that I visit, I would like to be a little more local to do some more exploring, visit beaches, spend more time in Tamarindo and visit an animal sanctuary.

I hope this post was helpful!  If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram.

 

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