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    Central America

    Slow Down in Malpais Costa Rica

    A Step Back in Time

    Location: Malpais Costa Rica

    Slow Down in Malpais Costa Rica

    No matter how you spell it, it’s laid back.

     

    Getting here isn’t easy.  We found ourselves bumping along dusty dirt roads on the six-hour drive from Coco Beach.  With each passing mile we were transported back to another time.  A slower time.  Malpais is lost in time.  It’s time to slow down in Malpais Costa Rica.

    Slow Down in Malpais Costa Rica

    Rocky beaches

    Long just a fishing and cattle-farming village, Malpais (often spelled Mal Pais) has become popular among surfers and adventure travelers around the world. Recently, Forbes Magazine voted the beaches of Malpais and neighboring Santa Teresa as “One of the ten most beautiful in the world.”

    Slow Down in Malpais Costa Rica

    Our beachfront Airbnb

    Slow Down in Malpais Costa Rica

    Amazing sunsets

    I don’t know if I would put the beaches on my top ten beach list, but I would definitely rank it at the top for sunsets.  Our fabulous little hidden Airbnb offers a spectacular west-facing view of the Pacific and the nightly sunset show is sublime.

    Slow Down in Malpais Costa Rica

    Dusty roads

    Malpais means “bad land” or “bad country”, with the name originating from the dry dusty waterless conditions during the summer.  The town of Malpais is teeny, stretching only about 6km from the village of Santa Teresa to the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve.  Santa Teresa is about 2km from our Airbnb.  Because Malpais is so small (just a tiny convenience store, a church, a school and one restaurant), we walk to Santa Teresa for our groceries and restaurant needs.

    Slow Down in Malpais Costa Rica

    Surfer paradise

    This part of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula is often referred to as Malpais – inclusive of Playa Carmen, Santa Teresa and Malpais.

    Surfing is now king in the area, taking over from to the old days of farming.  Fishing still also reigns and fresh fish is available most days at the pier. Don’t ask what time though – when the fisherman come.  That’s what time.

    Slow Down in Malpais Costa Rica

    Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve

    In Santa Teresa shops and restaurants, hostels and a few hotels cater to the twenty-something surfing crowd.  Young kids outnumber us fabulous fifties 100 to one.  I can’t help wonder where are these kids all from and how do they sustain this lifestyle?

    Slow Down in Malpais Costa Rica

    Tide pools

    There is a long sandy beach at Santa Teresa (where most the surfing takes place) but in Malpais the beach is mostly of unique rock formations pocked with deep holes where both fish and humans soak the day away in the bathtub-like water.  Well, until the tide comes in and covers these pools until the next day.

    Slow Down in Malpais Costa Rica

    Tide pool

    No watch needed, your day consists of morning yoga, noon tide pools, dinner following the sunset.  Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?

    What do you do if you aren’t a surfer in Malpais?  Relax. Read. Soak in the pools.  Yoga at sunrise and drink gin and tonic at sunset.

    Slow Down in Malpais Costa Rica

    Howler Monkey

    Monkey watching is another favorite pastime.  Howler Monkeys are abundant (and loud) and a family of ten visit our Airbnb often.  White faced monkeys (smaller and squeaky) also make their home in the trees around the area.  There are butterflies and birds galore.  There are iguanas and many other lizards.  A fascinating collection of nature, including wild horses, pass through our little paradise.

    Slow Down in Malpais Costa Rica

    Moctezuma waterfall

    Paddle Boarding

    Fresh catch

    You can hike about 3 miles from Malpais to the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve and beach.  Or rent an ATV and go to Moctezuma on the other side of the Nicoya Peninsula and make a visit to the Moctezuma waterfall (a past Sport Illustrated Swimsuit Edition shoot location). Its’ a lot of fun to rent stand up paddle boards and have a fun day out on the water.  Maybe consider a guided beach horse back ride, ziplining or go charter fishing.

    Or you can do nothing at all.  Just slow down in Malpais Costa Rica.  And that’s alright with me.

    Fabuloso!

     

     

     

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    This is the incredible true story of the dawn of the age of radiation, a time where radium was considered a wonder drug.  And the untold hundreds of women who suffered.

    When the Curries discover the new radium element headlines around the world touted it as a beauty product, a health tonic and the bright new shiny life elixir of the 20th century.

    It was also the perfect element to illuminate clocks and dials and during WWI it was a boom industry in which thousands of women worked hand painting with the glowing dust paint in the radium dial factories.

    The painting process included putting the paint brush into your mouth, to tip it, before putting the paint on the dials.  The process continued for years, decades in fact, slowly poisoning those in the industry and the people around them.

    This fascinating book is the story of the brave women who fought to the bitter end for worker’s  rights and compensation, for US recognition of the radium poisoning and for new laws and protections against the former “wonder element”.

    The tenacity of these women and their story had never fully been told until author Moore became their champion.  The book is extremely detailed, and a bit slow in places, but worth the read to learn this unknown story of female courage in the early 20th century.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Four Stars for The Radium Girls

    Read last week’s review of Lots of Candles Plenty of Cake

    Asia Travel

    Seven Boats, Three Days, One Rare Bangladesh

    One for the record books – our visit to Bangladesh

    Location: Bangladesh

    Throw back Monday! Enjoy this one from a year ago once again. One of my favorite experiences.

    We would not have normally come to Bangladesh, except the opportunity was here because our friend Natalie is a teacher in Dhaka.  I preach frequently the need to visit less tourism developed places – and yet am guilty of wanting to see places like the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, Table Mountain.

    One rare Bangladesh

    Beautiful Bangladeshi dancer

    And so our decision to visit Bangladesh helped us make the leap to a place no one goes, except our friend Natalie.

    We connected with Deshghuri Tours – one of a handful of tour companies catering to the few Westerners who come here, mostly Canadians, Germans and

    One rare Bangladesh

    Fort Lalbagh

    Americans.  Because our time was short we booked a three-day tour with Deshghuri.  It’s difficult to see Bangladesh without a guide.  The cities are crowded and Dhaka is plagued with air pollution.  Driving here is, shall we say, daunting.  So a tour is a must.

    Our first day was to see the densely packed city of Dhaka – home to 20 million people.  Bangladesh is the 8th most populous country in the world and

    One rare bangladesh

    At the beautiful mosaic mosque

    Dhaka has a density of 23,234 people per square kilometer within a total area of 300 square kilometers.  We spent the day weaving in and out of traffic, but also enjoying getting in and out of the car to see some remarkable sites; mosques, temples, university, and the 600-year-old Lalbagh Fort that serves as a lovely oasis in the city.  It was here we really began to feel how unusual it is to have a westerner walking around Dhaka.  Bangladeshi

    One rare bangladesh

    From on board the Rocket Steamer looking at the busy port

    stopped and gaped at us, some asking for selfies, others discreetly taking our photo without asking.  Very strange.

    At the end of the day we arrived in Shadarghat, the steamer terminal and one of the busiest places in Dhaka (which is saying something).  Here we

    One rare Bangladesh

    Rocket Steamer

    boarded our first of seven boats: the 100-year-old “Rocket” paddle wheeler that plies the waters of the Buriganga River.  These boats were, in their time, the fastest thing to ever hit these waters (thus the name), but today faster and more upgraded ferries provide service.  The Rocket continues to work however, and tours often include a night aboard these vessels for the “experience”.  It was definitely an experience as we were on one of the oldest and most worn down vessels.

    On arrival in Barisal early the morning of day two of

    One rare banhladesh

    Nine dome mosque

    our tour we were met by our new guide Ontu.  After breakfast we went by car three hours to Bagherhat, a UNESCO world heritage city and one of the most historic cities in Bangladesh. On the way to Bagherhat we rode a very small and crowded car ferry which is boat number two.   On reaching Bagerhat we toured three remarkable mosques, built in the 15th century!  All still in use today. Two of these mosques were a

    One rare Bangladesh

    80 dome mosque

    remarkable architecture design of domes rather than minarets.  The first was a nine dome and the second was an 80 dome mosque.  Truly fascinating for the time period and in wonderful condition considering the climate and the years.

    We continued by car to Mongla, where we boarded

    One rare bangladesh

    Crossing the river

    boat number three:  a small wooden pirogue which we stood in to cross the very busy river.  On the other side we boarded boat number four, known as a country boat.  It was just the two of us with our guide and we sat back and enjoyed cruising the river on this small 20-foot boat.  We enjoyed a

    One rare Bangladesh

    The country boat

    traditional Bangla lunch onboard, then went ashore at the Sundarban’s breeding sanctuary where we saw deer and crocodiles and walked the mangrove forest.

    Back on the boat and back to Mongla where we

    One are bangladesh

    On the river

    met the car, returned to Barisal (including car ferry-boat number five) and to our hotel in Barisal.  It had been a very amazing day.

    Day three we were up early, and instead of car we were in a Tuk Tuk before the sun had risen, driving an hour from Barisal to the banks of the Shondha River. Here we would board boat number six, a long deep river dwelling vessel,  for what would turn out to be my favorite part of our

    One rare Bangladesh

    Floating vegetable market

    tour.  Cruising through the backwater region of the Shondha we enjoyed the floating vegetable market as well as seeing the river people going about their daily life – scratching out an existence on and in

    One rare Bangladesh

    Meeting the friendly locals

    the river.  The river is both highway and washing machine, bathtub and food source.  We got off the boat several times, including a visit to an ancient and scrabbled together Hindu village where the people were so kind and generous and interested in us.  When we tell them we are from

    One rare Bangladesh

    Meeting the locals

    the United States they say it is their honor to have us in their country.  This is the Bangladeshi way – welcoming, kind and generous; even if they have nothing to give, they will offer you a cup of tea.

    It was particularly interesting to me how astonished everyone – men, women and children – were with my white hair.  They found it fascinating and we felt like celebrities.  Very

    One rare Bangladesh

    Laundry

    humbling experience.

    We learned a lot about river life, about the kindness of strangers, about how important community is to this ancient way of life.  We learned about religion (Islam is the largest religion of Bangladesh; Muslims constitute over 90% of the population, while Hindus constitute 8.5% and Buddhists 0.6% are the most significant minorities of the country. Christians, Sikhs, animists and atheists form 1%), we learned about food, we learned about education.

    One rare Bangladesh

    River life

    But mostly we learned about how much we take for granted.

    Saying farewell to our boat driver we were back in the Tuk Tuk for the hour ride back to Barisal where

    One rare Bangladesh

    Iron workers at the market. They asked us to stay for tea.

    we had time to tour the market before our departure.  The market was remarkable to me mostly because not a single tourist item was there.  This was perhaps the most authentic market I have been to (except for Ethiopia and Burkina Faso).  In fact I have not even been able to find a postcard in this country – a sign of how small the tourism

    One rare Bangladesh

    Beautiful Bangladesh

    industry is here.

    We said goodbye to our wonderful guide and boarded a river ferry, faster and more modern than the Rocket, for the overnight return to Dhaka. Boat number seven.

    Seven boats, three days, one rare Bangladesh.  I’ll not forget my time here.  Unique, remarkable, rewarding and above all, humbling.

     

    Adventure Travel  --  Inspire

    Snorkeling Around the World

    Memorable Moments of My Fab Fifties Life

    Yesterday we spent the morning on a private snorkel tour from our beach here in Ocotal in Costa Rica.  We had a very enjoyable time on what was a really good value tour ($65 per person), and even though we didn’t see a lot of sea life, we did see a variety.  The water was bit murky but we saw a dozen or more varieties of fish, one eel, one sea snake, a puffer fish, starfish and lots of interesting sea anemones.

    Snorkeling Around the World

    Galapagos

    From the boat we also saw hundreds of “flying” devil rays, several dolphins and a turtle.  It was a lot of fun.

    It got me to thinking and comparing different snorkel tours we have taken over the years so I decided to  share about some of our various snorkeling adventures.  I’m not a diver but I really enjoy snorkeling and have enjoyed some

    Snorkeling Around the World

    Costa Rica

    wonderful opportunities in our travels.

    Here is our list of Snorkeling Around the World – Memorable Moments;

    Snorkeling Around the World

    Maldives

    Sand  Island Maldives – My favorite snorkeling day ever was our morning on the tiny (50×75 yards) sand island about an hour boat ride from the island of Huraa in the Maldives.  Known for the spectacular crystal clear blue water, the Maldives are a divers paradise.  Our snorkeling day rewarded us with a vast collection of sea life, but the more amazing part of this day was the stunningly beautiful coral reef.  I’ve never witnessed anything like it before or since.

    Snorkeling Around the World

    Australia with Wally

    Great Barrier Reef Australia – Memorable, iconic and expensive, our day on the Great Barrier Reef out of Cairns was fun.  An overcast day made for some murky water and rough seas but we enjoyed this once-in-a-lifetime experience with a nice selection of interesting coral and fish including the resident Maori Wrasse named Wally (see photo). Read more about it here.

    Snorkeling Around the World

    Galapagos

    Galapagos Ecuador – Everything about the Galapagos Islands is unique and memorable – both on land and in the sea. One of our favorite trips of all time.  The day we snorkled in the Galapagos was the only time I have ever swam with seals who danced a playful ballet around us as we swam. We also encountered baby seals, beautiful turtles and small sharks.  Just one remarkable event in a very remarkable place.

    Snorkeling Around the World

    Dhow in Zanzibar

    Zanzibar – possibly my worst sunburn in my life occurred the day I snorkeled with my sister in Zanzibar.  My sister’s first time snorkeling and in our excitement we both forgot to lube up.  The waters off of Zanzibar are incredibly beautiful, but we actually didn’t see that many fish. As memorable as the sunburn was the rickety Dhow boat (traditional Zanzibar wooden fishing boat) that took us off the beach out to the snorkel area.

    Snorkeling Around the World

    Galapagos

    Hawaii – I’ve been to Hawaii so many times I’ve lost track and it’s here I’ve enjoyed some of the best snorkeling ever.  We went to Hawaii a lot when our kids were small, and for family snorkeling Hawaii can’t be beat.  Our favorites are;

    Molokini (Maui) – our favorite island is Maui and when in Maui snorkeling at Molokini is a highlight. Depending on the time of day you go, it can be pretty crowded but you will see such a great variety of colorful tropical fish it’s worth it. And if you can, book a tour that also goes to Turtle Island so you can see these magnificent creatures.

    Snorkeling Around the World

    Australia

    Captain Cook (Big Island) – We have snorkeled in the Captain Cook bay on the Big Island twice. Once we came on a tour boat and once we did the steep hike down (and eventually back up) to the bay.  The bay doesn’t have much coral but lots and lots of beautiful fish make the bay their home.

    Snorkeling Around the World

    Hawaii

    Kona Manta Ray Snorkeling (Big Island)– one of the funnest, most breathtaking and most amazing things I have ever done was the nighttime snorkel in Kona to swim with the amazing and giant (up to 20 feet wingspan) Manta Rays. These gentle giants are graceful and harmless and truly spectacular. Read more about it here.

    Snorkeling Around the World

    Thailand

    Black Rock (Maui) – my son Dane and I had a remarkable experience at Black Rock while snorkeling

    just off the beach. We encountered a solo turtle which let us swim and follow him for more than half an hour.  Just me, my son and this beautiful creature.  I’ll never forget it.

    Snorkeling Around the World

    Zanzibar

    Koh Phi Phi Thailand – very crowded and somewhat overrated was our snorkel tour adventure to Koh Phi Phi in Thailand. Although the beautiful blue water is warm and fun to swim in, we didn’t see much of a variety of fish and there were so many tour boats there it was ridiculous. We did enjoy the water though and most of all having fun with our adult sons in the gorgeous tropical Thailand waters.

    Snorkeling Around the World

    Maldives Sand Island

    There you go, our list of of favorite snorkeling around the world sites.  Some of our most memorable travel days have included snorkelin

    I hope you too will have the chance to visit one or more of these beautiful and amazing snorkeling places.  I have no doubt you will remember it forever.

    Fabulous!

    Manta Ray image from Pixabay

    Note – double click on any photo in this blog for a larger version!

     

     

     

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Quindlen, now in her sixty’s, has been writing about motherhood, womanhood and feminism for decades, and Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake goes a step further, exploring ageism and the maturing woman.

    Well of course I’m interested in that.

    But – there was some of the book that fell flat.  And some parts I just didn’t agree with, such as statements on religion’s role in fulfillment or needing to have a girlfriend you talk on the phone to every single day.

    Those aren’t things I need for happiness in my mature years.  But there was a great deal of the book that could have been me talking –  Quindlen literally taking my thoughts and putting them into her book.

    Looking back at how we thought we knew everything when we were young.  Watching our grown children also thinking they know it all.  And all the while knowing what we know we can’t impart that knowledge to them, they must learn it with time.

    Quindlen writes about letting go of “stuff” (me again), career moves that slow your heart rate even if they lessen your bank account (me again), women needing to work twice as hard to get noticed on the career ladder and then becoming essentially invisible once you reach your fifties (me again).  It’s okay to find happiness in being alone.  Some solitude often is the stuff of clear mind and healthy soul (me again).

    I did not learn anything from this book, but my beliefs were certainly reinforced and I enjoyed reading that.  In fact, this statement really narrows it down for me, and is what I liked best about the book.  She writes;

    “There comes that moment when we give our children custody of their own selves or blight their lives forever, when we understand that being a parent is not transactional that we do not get what we give.  It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: we are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.”

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️Three stars for Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

    Read last week’s review of Educated

    Asia Travel

    Korean Spa – Some Like it Hot

    Re-visiting a Favorite Past Blog

    Location: Korea

    Korean Spa – Some Like it Hot

    On the 5th Anniversary of this particular blog, I thought I would share it again.  One of my all-time favs!! Enjoy!

    I’m discovering the Korean people love to be hot.  Setting the temperature in our hotel room lower than 80 * Fahrenheit is nearly impossible.  The toilet seat is heated and so are seats in the car.korean-spa

    And they love their hot baths and saunas.  And now I do too.

    I was a little apprehensive about going into the sauna the first time.  Only apprehensive because I’m not used to walking around naked with people I don’t know. This apparently is not a problem for the Koreans.  And frankly why it is for Americans I don’t know.  We do obsess a great deal about our bodies.  God knows mine is far from perfect.  But what is perfect anyway?  Wouldn’t it be great if we all just were satisfied with ourselves?

    I tried to think like this in the sauna.  No one paid any attention to me here.  You shower first, then choose between three different pools; hot (44 C), medium (41 C) and cool (21 C).  There is also a 95 C dry sauna, a 73 C wet sauna and a sun lamp room in addition to several stations to wash and scrub yourself.

    After two days of visiting the spa I decided to tackle the massage and body scrub.  I was met by a tiny little lady,

    This is not me. I found this on the internet.

    the only person in the spa wearing a bathing suit (or perhaps it was her underwear, I’m not exactly sure). She motioned me into the small room adjacent to the spa and encouraged me to get up on the bed face up.  She spoke only Korean except for the word “okay” which she used to show me I was following her instructions correctly.

    She then proceeded to scrub the hell out of my skin.  Using what I think was mitts on her hands that were abrasive and using some abrasive concoction she scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed.  With my eyes closed I had the image of me in my kitchen at home using my Brillo to scrub away baked-on macaroni and cheese. She scrubbed every nook, cranny, crevice and crease of my body, and I mean every crease and crevice – she was very thorough and diligent in her task.  For an hour she scrubbed away years of dead skin, old suntans and crud.  She even tried to scrub away a few scars. I have a permanent mark on my sternum where my running bra abrades me.  She did her best to scrub that sucker away.

    I wear a patch on my belly that is hormone replacement therapy.  I hadn’t even thought about the patch, but she scrubbed that away too.  I have no idea if she knew what it was but I felt it rip off and I laid there mentally calculating how many more I had with me, hoping the loss of one wouldn’t make me come up short before I headed home to my pharmacist.

    She scrubbed my armpits and I was wishing I had shaved that morning.  She scrubbed my breasts and I opened my eyes to peek and make sure my nipples were still there.  She scrubbed my neck, my ears and every toe and finger.

    She then soaped me up and I nearly shot right off the bed like an oiled pig for being so slippery…she tossed large tubs of hot water all over me and I nearly drowned.  And I loved every minute of it.

    “Okay, Okay” she said and sent me off to shower and soak in the pools while she cleaned the room and spaprepared for my massage.

    I returned and she was waiting for me and I laid down again, top up.  She rubbed me down, starting with my face with an oil that smelled of the sea, fresh but also of seaweed.  She used another implement that was wood and covered with nodules to rub my body head to toe.  She occasionally would throw a bucket of hot water on me and then begin again.  She covered my face with a hot towel and then I heard her scraping something.  It sounded like my kitchen grater…and then the unmistakeable smell of fresh cucumber.  She grated and grated and then proceeded to artistically cover my entire face with the freshly and finely grated cucumber mash.  And suddenly I was hungry.

    While lunch sat on my face she continued my massage.  She found the knot in my neck where my massage therapist at home has spent a lot of time and energy.  My Korean masseuse was hell-bent on un-tieing this knot and she worked and worked it.  It was both painful and pleasurable.  She even massaged my belly, almost as if she was trying to manipulate my liver and kidneys.  Oops, and my bladder.  I hoped she would avoid that area or else I wasn’t gonna make it through this torture without a potty break.

    Finally she removed the salad from my face, lightly washed and dried my face and then it was time for dessert.  Yes I said dessert.  She drizzled honey all over my face and rubbed and patted it into my skin before saying “Okay okay” and had me roll over to my belly.

    And then she started on my backside.  During this 30 minutes she made my sciatica feel fabulous and my lower back feel young again.  She used a pumice stone on my feet and scraped away the dead skin and calluses.  She kneaded my neck further and worked my shoulders and arms.

    “Okay okay” and I rolled over again, thinking we must be done, but no.  She washed my face again, poured more water all over me and then had me scoot all the way to the top of the table where she proceeded to wash my hair and scrub my scalp.  Really, when has your masseuse ever done this?

    Finally, after nearly three hours, “Okay okay” and I am done.  Off to the showers I was sent.

    My day at the Korean spa was not just a body scrub and massage, it was a facial and a hair care and pure ecstacy.  My inhibitions are gone forever and I am now a super fan of Korean Spa Life.  I will absolutely do this again.

    And by the way, three hours and all this only cost me $75.  Wow. I’m really starting to enjoy Korea.

     

     

     

     

     

    Central America

    La Fortuna Costa Rica on a Budget

    Low cost ideas in beautiful La Fortuna

    Location: La Fortuna Costa Rica

    As full-time travelers we are very cognizant of staying on budget.  We always say we are not on

    La Fortuna Costa Rica on a Budget

    Toucan

    vacation…this is our real life.  And to continue living in this manner, we must stay within our means. So we were looking for low-cost ideas in Costa Rica, and we found you can enjoy La Fortuna Costa Rica on a budget.

    Here in beautiful La Fortuna Costa Rica there are dozens of guided tour options to some really amazing places.  Everything from Bird Watching to Ziplining.  From Cycling to River Rafting.  Our entire Costa Rica budget could be blown here in our first stop.

    La Fortuna Costa Rica on a Budget

    Beautiful Arenal Volcano

    Since we practice frugal travel, we came up with this list of less expensive and almost free things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica on a budget.  If you too are a budget traveler, you might find these suggestions useful;

    Hike to La Fortuna Waterfall – From our Airbnb we walked about 4 miles to the La Fortuna Waterfall  it’s a pretty steep road and it was a great workout.  We were blessed with clear blue skies and spectacular view of the volcano, which rarely comes out of the clouds.  Arriving at the waterfall our entrance fee was $18 but worth it to walk down the

    La Fortuna Costa Rica on a Budget

    La Fortuna Waterfall

    500 steps and enjoy the cool waters of the falls.

    Sloth Watching/Bird Watching Tour  – We paid $60 for an early morning guided tour to search for sloths. The great thing about this tour is you have a guarantee that you will see sloths and if you don’t, you get all your money back! And the tour

    La Fortuna Costa Rica on a Budget

    Smiling Sloth

    includes a full breakfast! We saw four sloths and one baby too.

    Breakfast at Arenal Oasis with Bird Watching – have a breakfast for less than $5 at this hidden oasis and enjoy a spectacular display of birds while you eat.  Arenal Oasis has strategically placed feeders and we saw a huge variety of amazing birds including Toucans while we ate. Arenal Oasis also has a night

    La Fortuna Costa Rica on a Budget

    Toucan

    walk that sounds fun, but we didn’t do that.

    Tabacon Thermal River – just outside of La Fortuna in the small area known as Tabacon you can find a FREE hot springs experience in the thermal river.  This river completely changed after the last eruption of the Arenal Volcano and now is a flowing thermal river. Read more.

    Springs Resort with Tubing on the River – For $68 we enjoyed a full day at the gorgeous Spring Resort.  Rooms here cost a minimum of $500 a night – way out of our price range – so getting a day pass was much

    La Fortuna Costa Rica on a Budget

    Tubing on the Arenal River

    more within our budget.  A day pass provides you access to all the dozens of thermal pools as well as use of their changing rooms and showers.  Oh and the view! Wow! Worth a million dollars.

    La Fortuna Costa Rica on a Budget

    The Springs Resort and Spa

    Tubing at Springs Resort- For an additional $35 at the Springs Resort and Spa we had a blast tubing down the Arenal River with a guide and other guests.  Super safe with just enough “rapids” to make it exciting.  The River was very warm and we really felt it was worth the money.

    Self guided cycle tour – there are many options for GUIDED cycling in the area, but if you are an experienced and confident cyclists you can set out on your own with a bike rental.  Several kinds of bikes are available for rent around La Fortuna for one day or longer treks. Read more.

    Sodas – no this isn’t a drink.  A traditional fast food and delicious restaurant in Costa Rica is called a

    La Fortuna Costa Rica on a Budget

    Lunch at Soda Del Rio in La Fortuna

    soda.  Here you can get the choice of the day, or one of several “typico” plates that will include your meat of choice, rice, beans, vegetable, salad and probably a fried banana .  All for about $6.  You can’t beat it.

    Yoga – Looking for some zen while in La Fortuna? Take one or more of the amazing yoga classes with Amanda at La Fortuna Yoga .  For $10 I enjoyed  one of the best yoga classes I have ever had.  Amanda offers multiple classes most days including Vinyasa and Hatha.   I went to four classes during our week in La Fortuna.

    People come to Costa Rica for the beaches – but spending some time in the beautiful rain forest and the small town of La Fortuna is a great way to enjoy the amazing nature of Costa Rica.  And you can do it on a budget!

     

     

     

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