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Pura Vida!

Fishing in the Gulf of Papagayo, Costa Rica
My FIL with a nice tuna

For me the winter is long and pre pandemic my family tried to head somewhere warm to break it up. Our last trip was in April 2019, and I was chomping at the bit. Lucky for us we decided to make the leap of faith that we would be able to get away in 2022 and we booked a week in Cost Rica w my wife’s family.

When we booked in September it looked pretty good, then came another wave and in all honesty, I thought the trip would be cancelled. We kept an eye on the various advisories, trip boards and statistics and by end of January it dawned on me – I will be in warm weather in two weeks.

Fishing in the Gulf of Papagayo, Costa Rica
While I love this views, I was ready for a change

We flew into the Liberia Airport and got on a bus to take the 15 of us to the Riu Palace Costa Rica. After a scenic ride we pulled into our home for the week. The resort was great – good food, lots of amenities, gorgeous views, and a healthy dose of local wildlife. Keeping in line with the “outdoors” theme of Northern Jacks I won’t dive deep into the trip overall, but we did take a few excursions that fit (I think) At the very least it contains some great shots (I hope)

Riu Palace Costa Rica
Morning view at the Riu Palace Costa Rica

Riu Palace Costa Rica
Sunset at the Beach at the Riu Palace Costa Rica

Snorkeling, Caves, and some Fish!

We had booked a half day trip to do take a boat ride, snorkel, and visit a white sand beach (many of the beaches in Costa Rica are dark. Volcanic sand) Our chariot arrived, and we were pleasantly surprised. It was a beautiful 40-foot sailboat. As we got on board, I quickly noticed two trolling rods rigged up at the back. Our guide noticed my interest and let me know that we would troll on our way to the snorkeling spot. Send it! We had about an hour journey to our destination, Playa Huevo (Egg Beach) and it was phenomenal. We had a dolphin escort, saw King Kong rock and my father-in-law caught a nice tuna! Snorkeling was only okay – the area we were in was experiencing a red tide and water clarity wasn’t great. The beach was spectacular, the caves nearby very cool and the cold cerveza, priceless. We headed back and the fishing rod sounded again – my turn was up, alas it was a small tuna which popped free. 1 for 2. We brought down some Bass Pro hat's for our guides - they loved them! After chatting with the fisherman on the crew though next time I would pack some braided line, big rapalas and other plugs as apparently they are 3 to 4 times the price we pay!

Fishing in the Gulf of Papagayo, Costa Rica
Your truly looking for a monster but ended with Pepe Le Peu!

Off Road in The Jungle

I have never been a motorbike or ATV guy. I think it stems from flipping a bike when I was young. They make me nervous, and I prefer boats! Some family members had booked another half day excursion prior to our departure, an ATV tour where we may see some monkeys, travel through the jungle and visit a town. At the last minute I decided to join – what the hell. We ran on a mix of dirt roads, jungle paths and even did a long run down a small river. We visited Sardinal, toured the town, grabbed some cerveza's from the grocery store and enjoyed them in a small park. It was great – when I got back to the resort, I told my wife there was good news and bad news. Good news, the excursion was great. Bad news, I now needed to spend $10,000 on an ATV! In all seriousness it was a very cool way to try out an ATV and see some off the beaten path aspects of Costa Rica

ATV excursion at the Riu Palace Costa Rica
Getting ready to start our ride

ATV excursion at the Riu Palace Costa Rica
Your truly at the end of the ride, muddy, happy and potentially an ATV convert!

Some of you may be wondering why there isn’t an actual fishing excursion in this report. Trust me I researched it and, in the end, just decided to pass. On our snorkeling trip I talked a lot with our guide as he was an avid fisherman. When I told him I was looking a potentially doing a charter he wasn’t overly enthusiastic. In his opinion the red tide the area was experiencing was impacting the in-shore fishing and it wasn’t the best time of year to go offshore. I did notice a few shore fisherman around the resort and chatted with a few people. When I go back (and I will) I am going to pack a rod and a selection of lures based on the tips I got. It wasn’t going to be cheap and so I decided to pass Instead I enjoyed the pool and the cerveza (and the odd Pina Colada!)

Arenal excursion at Riu Palace Costa Rica
Waterfall in Arenal

Sloth at Riu Palace Costa Rica

Monkey at Riu Palace Costa Rica
Monkey on the beach at the Riu Palace Costa Rica

Iguana at Riu Palace Costa Rica
Iguana at the beach!

It was an amazing trip! Great to unwind, spend time with family and see some incredible things. I know how lucky I was to be able to experience it and I am very grateful. We felt safe and secure both from a Covid and travel perspective. I am a Costa Rica convert! This was our second time and we loved it. The people, the weather, the scenery, and wildlife are incredible. I am not expert, but I also believe there are just so many things to do and feel safe. In our group people hiked to a waterfall on a volcano, saw slots, went horseback riding and diving. Last time we were there we zip lined, visited a hot spring, and took a tour of a local beach town.

Moneky Head Rock Gulf of Papagayo. Costa Rica
King Kong Rock - not the best angle but from a certain vantage point it really does look like a gorilla



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