Our Excellent Costa Rican Adventure – Final

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Final Days

We’ve now arrived at the final destination of our Costa Rican Adventure, now located very close to Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica. From our balcony, we have a nice view of the ocean and we’d also discovered on the first morning that we’re also on a monkey route, getting visits on our balcony from these white-faced monkeys

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The Climate

I haven’t talked much about the weather while we’ve been here. In the three locations we’ve been to so far we’ve experienced three very different climates. In the Arenal area where we first started, I found it to be the best climate so far, being warm around 30 degrees and slightly humid but never uncomfortable. In Monteverde where we just came from, it was considerably cooler since it was at around 1500m elevation. While there, it got down to 16 degrees at night and for the first time I was wearing a fleece that I packed in my suitcase and thought I would never be wearing while in Costa Rica. The daytimes in Monteverde were quite comfortable, usually going up to about 25.

But it’s at our current location, here near the national park and the ocean that it’s by far the hottest, stifling hot and humid. We’ll both be in shorts and t-shirts the whole time we’re going to be here and likely not wearing many clothes more than once. It’s quite possible we may run out of sunscreen and may need to buy some more as the sun really beats down in this region. Being in this part of Costa Rica reminds me of the high humidity on our trip to Sri Lanka in 2019 and the need to change shirts regularly, sometimes twice a day.

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The Driving

As part of the planning that went into this trip to Costa Rica, we made the decision to not rent a car and rely on drivers to get from place to place. In hindsight, I think that was a mistake and having a car would have been a big benefit given that in most cases we were staying at places that were off the beaten track and getting to another restaurant or just exploring the area was a lot more complicated. Having a car would have allowed us to be more spontaneous, exploring at our leisure and definitely stopping whenever and wherever we wanted. We knew that there were to be about 4 days of long 3-4 hour travel so we avoided that by not driving but I think that overall the benefits would have outweighed the negatives.


You may have noticed that there are a number of photos of me in our collection on my photo website. This is not coincidental. There have been many trips we’ve taken in the past where I don’t appear in a single photo, at best in the occasional selfie. This is a byproduct of my being the main photographer on our trips and this results in the rare photo taken of myself. What’s changed? Leading up to this trip, Barb bought a new iPhone with the goal of being able to take lots of photos of the wildlife, the byproduct of that is I’ve gotten my photo taken considerably more than in any 5 other trips. I guess this makes me part of the Costa Rican wildlife. 🙂

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Early Mornings

We’ve done a fair amount of early morning wakeups for a variety of different tours, generally going to some place to see the wildlife. In some cases, this is unavoidable as some varieties of birds and other animals are only up and visible in the early hours. Barb and I have significant differences in the tolerance of the number of these kinds of early rises. For me, when I’m on vacation, I’m content to have my coffee in the morning and roll out of the room for breakfast by 9 or 10. Don’t get me wrong, some of the morning tours we’ve gone on were spectacular but to me, there’s nothing better when on vacation than just having no specific schedule, taking things one day at a time, with far fewer early mornings

Speaking of which, on Saturday morning we have an insanely early flight leaving Costa Rica, departing at 6 AM so I expect that the night before we’ll get little sleep having to wake up pretty early to get to the airport. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get some sleep on the flight but this rarely happens so I expect we’ll arrive back home on Saturday night pretty tired.

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And Finally …

I’ll be posting this final chapter in the hotel near the San Jose airport for our final night in Costa Rica. As mentioned earlier, we have a very early morning flight tomorrow and wanted to stay as close as possible to the airport to minimize the time it takes to get there.

Costa Rica is a beautiful country that is safe and welcoming and compared to some of its Central American neighbours a very stable political environment. Tourism obviously is a large part of the Costa Rican economy and many visitors like us come here to see the astoundingly varied wildlife or just to relax, getting away from our Canadian winters. Over the past two weeks here, we’ve met quite a few Canadians and this is consistent with the number of people back home who we know have travelled to Costa Rica.

The big question that is always thought of before we leave a country is if we will return again on another trip to Costa Rica. For me, the answer is a strong “yes, but”. I’d definitely love to return to Costa Rica in the future but perhaps not to all the same areas, Our third destination, was by the ocean, and with it a crushing humidity where we were sweating almost every time we went outdoors. I definitely loved the first two locations, around the Arenal Volcano and Monteverde and I can definitely foresee those being on our travel list again.

We’re flying home tomorrow morning and we’re both a bit sad to be leaving Costa Rica. While we’ve both been to Mexico several times, Costa Rica is so much different and has a really special feel to it. We both can’t wait to come back again.

By now, all of our Costa Rican photos have been uploaded to my photo website here.

For once, we don’t have a lot of clarity on where we will be going next. 2024 will be our 30th anniversary so we will have that in mind when we start planning our next big Excellent Adventure.

All the best,