Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Travel Tuesdays: Costa Rica - Part IV

If you're just tuning in, this is the fourth and final post recapping our honeymoon in Costa Rica.  If you missed parts 1-3 you can find them here:
Costa Rica Part 1 - San Jose
Costa Rica Part 2 - Arenal
Costa Rica Part 3 - Monteverde

After our stay in Monteverde, we headed off to the last stop of our honeymoon.  We got to enjoy some scenic viewpoints along the way to Manuel Antonio: 

When we arrived at our hotel we were thrilled with the accommodations.  Gaia Hotel and Reserve is a small luxury hotel set upon a beautiful wildlife reserve.  I just love Costa Rica's commitment to preserving nature.  We were able to enjoy the beautiful native orchids and wildlife right at the hotel.  Staying at Gaia was a bit of a splurge, but totally worth it.  We had a beautiful hotel room
 and even our own personal concierge who sent us complimentary wine and fruit each night!

We loved everything about Gaia.  The infinity pool and pool bar were amazing,
the restaurant had delicious food and gorgeous views

and check out our view of the sunset from our balcony!

We also pampered ourselves with an aromatherapy steam bath and couples massage at the spa while we were there.  If we spent our entire time in Manuel Antonio at the hotel I'm sure we would've had a blast.  But there is so much to enjoy in Manuel Antonio.  My favorite part of our stay was definitely our tour of Manuel Antonio National Park.  This is another one of 20 parks that Costa Rica has preserved for total protection.  It is home to the most adorable creatures including monkeys, deer, and sloths!  I had been waiting to see a sloth our entire honeymoon, and I definitely got my fair share of sloth sightings on the hike!

Most of them just slept in the trees the whole time (as you can imagine sloths do) but we did see a few of them move.  We even saw one climb from one tree to another, and the guide told us that after that effort he probably wouldn't move for days!  Aren't they just the cutest things ever!  The monkeys were pretty cute, too:

Our hike ended at the National Park's beautiful beach.  We spread out our towels and enjoyed the rest of the day on the beach in total peace and happiness.
 Manuel Antonio also has a public beach in the downtown area.  We went there the day before and had a great time, but it simply could not compare to the beauty and serenity of the beach in the park. 

We celebrated New Years during our stay in Manuel Antonio.  Gaia hosted an awesome New Years Eve party that included dinner, cocktails, and entertainment.  There was live music, dance instructors, and party favors galore!  They also had Native Costa Ricans demonstrate traditional Costan Rican dances. It was a really cool experience.

After an awesome night ringing in 2010, we spent our last day in Costa Rica lounging around the hotel pool and getting some much-needed r&r.  We had such an incredible time in Manuel Antonio, and absolutely loved everything about Costa Rica.  There are some places you travel to just to cross off the bucket list, and other places you fall in love with.  Costa Rica is one of the places we completely fell in love with, and look forward to going back again and again.

Saturday, January 28, 2012