Shilamida Travels

Costa Rica {Shilamida Travels}

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This trip is one that was out of my normal comfort zone.  I am usually a beach girl, not much of the adventurer type, but this trip is a must see, once in a lifetime type trip!

The flight into San Juan was pretty painless.  I’m sure it helped that we were in first class and the mimosas were flowing. We were delayed around 45 minutes and the pilot still got us there on time.  Customs was pretty easy and there was a duty free shop right when we got off the plane where we got some vino for the hotel.

Our tour driver Brian, from Jacamar Tours, greeted us.  He was super nice and friendly. He walked us to the car and let us know if we wanted to stop for drinks or food he would be happy to stop.  He also informed us that the ride would be 2 ½ – 3 hours with no traffic.  This did not make me happy, especially the thought of no Wi-Fi for that long!  As we started driving he gave us some history and about 15 minutes into the ride he informed us we did have Wi-Fi!  Music to my ears!

About 45 minutes into the drive we made our first stop in Los Angeles, the City of Angels at Mi Rancho restaurant.  The weather was foggy and rainy.  We were able to order up some ceviche and margaritas to go.  Brian warned us the next lap of the trip would be up and down some windy roads.  This did not make me happy as I get a little car sick, but we trooped it for the next hour.  The weather patterns changed within every town and region that we went through.  It was pretty cool.  Along the way we passed by sugar cane plantations, coffee crops, plantains, pineapples and so much more.  It was incredible to see how another country produced crops.  

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Our next stop was at a little fruit stand.  The produce was colorful and so fresh looking.  We quickly cracked open a couple of coconuts and picked out some fresh produce.  2 bananas, 2 passion fruit, 2 coconuts, 1 watermelon, 1 papaya, 1 mango and 1 water were $8.41.  Mind Blown!  We were definitely not in Jersey anymore!

La Fortuna was about 35 minutes from the fruit stand.  As we entered the town you could see the Arenal volcano up ahead covered in clouds.  The town seemed lively with tourists and restaurants.  A little out of down town we approached Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa.  Our Lovers Weekend was about to begin.

We were greeted at the door and led to the front desk where we were given hot towels and lemonade.  The front desk attendant was super friendly.  We checked in and headed to straight to the spa where we had already booked an Idyllic Couples Massage.  We grabbed a bus that took us down to the spa.  If you were the hiking type, this would be a nice walk for you.  On the way to the spa you pass by the buffet style restaurant, a gift shop and a couple of pools.

At the spa the attendants greeted us.  They went over our package and gave us a variety of massage creams to choose from.  When we were finished at the desk we were greeted by Jeffrey.  He led us to the locker rooms where we were provided with a locker and bathrobes with flip-flops.  Locker rooms were stocked with all kinds of amenities, razors, combs, mouthwash, qtips, and lotions.  The locker room was clean and quaint.

We were invited to use the hot springs but you need a bathing suit and we were not prepared so we sat in our robes and while we waited we were brought over a couple of healthy shakes made of pineapple, cucumber and mint accompanied by water.  When it was time. we were picked up by our massage therapists and led down to our private bungalow, which was right by a waterfall.  It was SPECTACULAR!  The views, the sounds, the ambiance…  The therapists went over what would happen, a massage, a facial and a foot mask followed by a private Jacuzzi tub filled with a milk oatmeal substance accompanied by fruit and champagne.  The massages were AMAZING!  So relaxing and serene, a perfect way to start our trip especially after traveling so much.  Our favorite part was the private Jacuzzi tub.  It’s not often that my lover and I get to be naked in a hot tub by ourselves with the sound of the waterfalls behind us.

When our spa session was over we were ready to check into our room.  As we drove up to our room in our golf cart we were greeted with a Happy Anniversary banner on our door.  Everyday is our anniversary and we love to celebrate wherever we go.  As we entered our room we were greeted by towel swans that were adorned with roses and a bouquet of beautifully fresh cut flowers that lay on the bed.  On the table there was a bottle of champagne with 2 glasses and a plate of dark chocolate covered strawberries.  As the door closed there was a Happy Birthday sign, as it was Lover’s birthday.

The amenities in the room were top notch.  I’ve had the privilege of staying at some pretty high-end resorts and Tabaco really took pride in what they put out there.  In the bathroom there were 2 sets of slippers with travel bags, a toiletry travel bag with all of your travel needs, q-tips, razor, lotion, shower cap, sewing kit and more.  The towels were big and lush.  There were 2 robes that hung in the closet.  There were complimentary waters in the bathroom.  In the dressing area there was an espresso machine, with bottles of water and snacks for purchase.  We were very happy and excited to start our Costa Rican adventure.

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That evening we dined at the restaurant on premise, El Tuscanes.  It was pretty easy to get a reservation, considering the hotel was at full capacity.  Our waiter who was very accommodating greeted us.  I am gluten and dairy free, they had no problem accommodating our needs.  The first course was an appetizer from the kitchen, compliments of the chef, they quickly took it away as it had soy in it.  They caught the mistake before we said anything.  They quickly replaced it with a small serving of ceviche.  I ordered the plantain appetizer and lover ordered the ceviche.  We both ordered the sea bass dish for dinner.  When our food arrived, there was an error.  The waiter thought my questioning the snapper, that I wanted that as an appetizer.  We ended up keeping it as an entrée.  The food was delicious and the organic wine that we ordered to accompany it was a home run.  There was a live guitarist playing music as we ate dinner.  The mood was lively and we truly were enjoying it.  The last course we were surprised with a fruit medley and a dish with coconut cookies, and truffles and a candle for a Happy Birthday wish.  After dinner we retired to our room.

The next morning we were greeted with breakfast.  We were both tired so we did not get up right away to eat.  Within 15 minutes of breakfast arriving the door knocked again.  They had made a mistake on our breakfast and wanted to replace it.  When I looked at the time it was 8:24 and I realized that breakfast was ordered for 9am.  Since this was our first morning without kids in a long time it was a little disappointing especially since it was raining!  I called down to the desk to let them know.  They apologized and wanted to confirm our tours for our stay.  Apparently there was some kind of confusion with that as well.  With all the chaos we were still happy to be together and away.  Lover went down and spoke to the manager and she kindly offered us a second breakfast on the house for the following day and a $100 resort credit.  This was so nice and unexpected.

We decided to head up to the hot springs and check that out.  The area that we arrived in was spectacular.  Greenery like I’ve never seen before, waterfalls and just a serene feeling.  At the foot of the springs there were locker rooms where you can leave your stuff, a bathroom and towels that you could sign out for the day.  We headed straight to the first hot spring, and took a dip.  So incredible, so powerful.  So grateful I was feeling in that moment.  We knew that at the top of the path there was an adult only area called Shangri-La, so we decided to go for a walk.  On our walk up we were truly wowed.  The scenery was gorgeous.  Bamboo trees grew green and red; with each corner that we turned there was a different area to take a dip.  Each hot spring was it’s own temperature and had it’s own energy.  As we made our way up to Shangri-La we were greeted with little casitas and fresh towels.  We quickly went to the hottest spring and there was raindrops falling on our face.  It was so romantic, so beautiful, and so spectacular.

Lucky for us a casita opened up and we claimed it for the rest of the day.  It lightly rained throughout the day.  We had a lunch included in our package and we decided to eat it right in that area.  The margaritas were floating and the relaxation level was incredible.  There was nothing to do and nowhere to be but in this beauty.  Lucky for us we chose to do another couples massage that day; since it was raining we canceled our horseback tour.  We stayed there until about 6:30pm and went back to our room to get ready for dinner.

Dinner was included in our package that evening.  We were picked up at our room and driven to a private bungalow in the jungle where were greeted by Christian and our chef.  As we approached there was a heart of rose petals on the floor that was made for us.  We were quickly poured a glass of champagne and our dinner was to begin.  We had pre-ordered dinner with a menu that we received prior to arriving in Costa Rica.  The food was outstanding.  The colors of the vegetables were so fresh and delicious.  They made accommodations to our dietary needs.  The sounds of the animals amongst us were so romantic.  We had Beef wellington for our main course; the meat was so tender and delicious.  We ended our dinner with a desert that was so rich and decadent.  It was a meringue type mousse with herbs and edible flowers and a side of guava sorbet with fresh fruit.  My heart was so full of love and gratitude.  What a beautiful moment.  If this night couldn’t get any better, when we arrived back to our room and opened the door there were rose petals all over the floor with candles that lit up the room.  On the bed there were love swans again covered in roses.  On the table there was a small Happy Birthday cake.  Romantic was an understatement.  Tabacon got a homerun 5 star performance for their romantic bliss package!

On Sunday when we woke we called room service and asked if they could bring breakfast earlier.  They were super accommodating.  Breakfast was covered in red roses and was just as delicious as it appeared.  The sun was shining and we were excited to head back to the springs.  This time we got a lounge chair in the sunshine and a casita.  The view of Arenal volcano was clear and incredible.  Truly something out of a textbook.  Today we explored some more of the springs.  We found cooler ones amongst the hot ones.  Another relaxing day!  We ordered ceviche to snack on while we relaxed.  At 2:30 we headed back to our room to get ready for our sunset cruise.

We headed down to the lobby where we were greeted by Daveed.  He would be our tour guide for the cruise.  We got in the van and headed towards Lake Arenal.    On the way to the cruise he gave us some history of the volcano and the area.  When we arrived to lake we headed to our cruise.  To our surprise we were the only 2 on this cruise!  We started slow riding the parameter of the water.  Daveed had a set of binoculars and a bird book so that we could explore the sights.  On the lake it was quiet, maybe 2 other boats and a bunch of kayakers.  It was breathtaking.  As we got closer to the volcano we were informed that we were in a national park.  So serene.  When we arrived at the volcano Daveed set up a table for us with wine and cheese.  We looked at the birds and took lots of pictures.  It was amazing.  Since it was just the 2 of us we were able to have control over how long we stayed.  On our way back we watched the sunset.  Daveed was a great paparazzi capturing our love moments on camera.  When we arrived back to the land we asked the driver to take us straight into town where we dined at Don Rufino, which had the reputation of having the best chef on the island.

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The level of technology within the restaurant was more sophisticated than back home. The food was delicious and they were very accommodating to my food sensitivities.

The next day we headed into the city of San Jose to do some business. I have to say I could’ve done without this leg of the trip. The city was busy, not that clean and there was not much to do.+

Tabacon, was a very magical place, that I would gladly return to!


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4 thoughts on “Costa Rica {Shilamida Travels}”

  1. I love Costa Rica! Im glad you liked it so much. Tabacón is gorgeous, and the whole Arenal and La Fortuna area is just beautiful. Did you eat any “gallo pinto?” I’m hoping to post a gallo pinto recipe soon…

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