7 Days in Costa Rica

We spent 7 days in Costa Rica hiking to waterfalls, spotting wild sloths in the jungle, soaking in volcano-fed hot springs, and exploring our way through this amazing country. On this trip we flew in and out of San Jose and bookended our trip there. We spent two nights in Arenal and two nights in the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

Take this exact same trip by following our Costa Rica Itinerary – download the PDF guide now!

Hotels we stayed at on this trip:

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7 Days in Costa Rica – Episode Transcript


Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. Today we’re taking you to the popular Central America travel hotspot, Costa Rica.


This was an OG Squad trip and included Xena.

Our last OG squad trip was to Ecuador a couple years back, so it was really nice to have the original 4 back together for this awesome adventure.

Yeah, we spent a week in Costa Rica.

We landed in San Jose, then we spent a few days in the LA Fortuna region, which features the amazing R&L volcano.


And then from there we went to Monte Verde, where we explored the Costa Rican cloud forest.

You know, I wanted to go to Costa Rica for a really long time.

It had been on the one of the top 10 on my bucket list for travel.

Heard a lot of really good things.

Beaches, volcanoes, Hot Springs, cloud forest, all of that sounded so amazing and some of it was so, so good.


Just so happy with those experiences.

I feel like I’m a little bit of a resort girl now.

‘Cause you’re getting old, you know.

I’m going to agree with Kim because did I not say on this vacation especially, and we’re going to get into this further into the episode, the resorts and hotels that we were staying at were like really nice.


And I was telling Kim, like, I’m so agreeing with you now with the travel style that you’ve been saying that you’ve been a part of for three years now.

Just take it slow.

Like, yes, we were adventurous and I’m still all about that.

But I need some time too to enjoy the luxury of the resort places.


Yeah, staying at take it slow, just enjoy the ambiance.

So Kim, I’m I’m gearing towards your style now and now that we’re like 2 out of three, we’re going to be like pushing Brittany to really follow that for our squad trips in the future.

Not going to happen.

It really depends on what you do, and for this trip we were able to lean into it really well.


So we took this trip in April of 2024.

We went to San Jose is where we flew into Arnold the volcano area, Monteverdi Cloud Forest.

We did a little day adventure in Hako.


So most people know where Costa Rica is, but while we were there, we were actually talking about the geography of Costa Rica and where it lies on the map.

And Costa Rica is actually a relatively small country in Central America.

It’s bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the South.


The Caribbean Sea is to the east and the Pacific Ocean is to the West.

And we were able to do this trip where we we’re able to go to both oceans, but that would have been really cool.

We only went to the Pacific side, but to be able to do both on the same trip I think would be really cool for a future trip.


It would be really cool and just in general, spending more time at the beaches in Costa Rica would be amazing.

I mean, we did a lot of interior jungle things.

You could spend a whole week just on one side of the coast in Costa Rica.

So many more trips to come to experience that part of it.


It’s in the country’s name, Costa Rica.

You got to know a little bit of Spanish to kind of figure it out of what it means.

So yeah, we had the one spot in the coast when we went to Hako.

But you’re right, lots more to go back to and experience.

But really excited to dive right into this episode and tell you all about our adventures.


So let’s just slide on in with the tips.

First one that is a very very convenient tip is that they take U.S. dollars.

I did not exchange money at all.

I used my credit card and U.S. dollars the entire trip.

We did end up exchanging because, you know, you said you had read that Kim, like when we first landed and we went to the ATM at the airport.


I pulled some out because I always feel like I like to have some.

And I read conflicting reviews and things online saying, oh, you should have some.

Some places don’t accept dollar.

And I don’t really know how far back those articles were written, and I probably should have maybe paid attention to that.


Because you’re right, no need whatsoever, especially if you’re going to the resort areas.

Everywhere is really taking credit card.

And even if you’re not in a resort area, just beach areas, normal Costa Rican towns taking credit card, U.S. dollars taken.

So don’t fall for the trap of pulling it out.


I wish I didn’t pull out money either.

And also a lot of the websites listed prices in American dollars anyways, like things weren’t listed in Kelowna as they were listed in American dollars.

What was surprising to me is that at some points the American dollar was more favorable than using the local currency, but we also did see it in the opposite direction.


So it really did just depend on where you were and what you were doing.

We always say to download your offline Google Maps, and we do still recommend that for this one.

There’s a lot of times where we did not have service.

I also read a bunch that Waze is a really good app to use for directions in Costa Rica.


We got around just fine with Google Maps though, right?

There was a couple situations at the very beginning.

Jamal almost had a freak out, but I think we managed.

I don’t recall that, Kim, I mean, so I’m not too sure what you’re referring to.

But nevertheless, yes, we were able to do it with Google Maps.


We always say it download that.

But like we kind of mentioned before, geographically where Costa Rica is, therefore it’s going to be humid.

So drink lots of water, get those electrolytes.

And because I could tell you what, you know, you step outside and you may think to yourself, OK, it’s not too bad, but you’re out there for 5 minutes, start moving, then you’re like, oh, whoa, I feel this Central American heat and humidity right now.


It’s real.

On the first hike that we did, I was like, I feel like every pore of my body is opened because of how humid and like, sticky you you pretty much feel.

I say this in a good way.

God’s natural sauna right there.

And you could call that the Costa Rican cleanse, but we’ll talk more about that.



Well, while you’re on the subject of Costa Rican cleanse, one of our top very top tips is Ship Ring antibiotics.

To avoid the real Costa Rican cleanse, we all got a little food poisoning on this trip.


We’re gonna go ahead and blame Jamal’s request to go to the market.

I said I we’ll, we’ll, we’ll get into it.

I just need to defend myself now.

I mean, I said I wanted to go to the market, but I never said that I wanted to eat there.

You guys, being the ones that get hangry, were like, well, we’re just here, let’s just eat, ’cause we can’t wait till we get back.


So you know, a little bit of blame to go all around, if I must.

Say being the way that went down but.

Well, when we get to day one, San Jose, we’ll delve into that a little bit more.

But bring antibiotics.

No jokes aside, bring antibiotics.

Don’t think that just because Costa Rica caters to a lot of foreign travel that you’re not going to potentially get sick.


It could happen anywhere.

Even traveling here domestically in the United States.

You never know when it could really happen.

But funny enough, when we were having a doctor’s appointment letting them know we were going to travel, they were advising us of like, oh, there’s some regions where you might want to take malaria or this or that.


And of course, you know, you can choose to do whatever you want with that.

We’re not advocating to or not.

But one thing that we told the doctor was, oh, we would like antibiotics because whenever we travel, we want antibiotics because you never know.

And they were like really shocked with us asking for antibiotics, saying like, no, Costa Rica’s good, but all of us got sick.


Talked to a few people who have been to Costa Rica before, they confirmed they got sick.

Also, and I’m not saying this to discourage you, but this is just general travel anywhere internationally, bring antibiotics.

You never know when it could happen.

And Jamal, you just touched on it how you get those antibiotics.


Whenever I tell people that I travel with Cipro or Z Pak, they always ask like how did you go about getting that?

And so just to quickly say, you can call your doctor up, make an appointment and tell them you’re traveling and these are the medications that you need.

You can also let them know the vaccines too through the CDC website.


Some doctors offices like Kaiser, really great.

They have a travel center where they’re used to doing this.

Other doctors, they need a little bit more hand holding throughout the process, but just stick with it.

I’ve never had a problem getting that prescription as a preventative and not a curative measure.



And even if you can’t do it through your primary doctor or if your insurance doesn’t do anything like that, there are lots of places that are travel clinic oriented that you could just call.

Of course they have a fee, but they have legitimate doctors, nurse practitioners who can write you those prescriptions and they specifically are like, oh, you’re going here there, this is all the recommended vaccinations if you want to take them.


But yes, let’s get you these other medications, particularly antibiotics.

Another tip that we have for you is regarding the terrain of Costa Rica.

We would highly recommend renting A4 wheel drive vehicle, especially when you’re traversing the roads from Arnal to Monte Verde.


Little Sketch Rd. situations there, and especially if it’s raining, the roads aren’t always paved, it can be muddy.

Like we said, it’s humid, so I would highly recommend having a four wheel drive vehicle.

And while we’re talking about vehicles, we also recommend to never leave any valuables in the car.


If you can, try to check into your hotel or leave your luggage at the hotel before venturing out to your other activities that you’ll be doing.

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So just before we get into day one, I want to say that we booked this as a Gate One independent tour, meaning that we didn’t do a guided tour, but gate one had an independent sale.


They had an independent tour sale which included our flights, our hotels and a basic rental car with the basic rental car.

We upgraded to the four wheel drive vehicle for another, let’s say 120 bucks.

But for all of that it was a very reasonable price and we’ll get into cost later.


So I just want to say, putting that out there, this was actually an independent tour, but you have no guide, you just you plan everything yourself.

And if you haven’t listened to last week’s episode on Rome quite yet, go back and listen to it, because that was our first gate One independent tour.


And we talk a lot more about the specifics of what you get with those independent tours, how they lump everything together.

But it’s a free for all for you to do whatever you want.

So go back and listen to that to learn a little bit more about it.

Thing to know about these independent tours and what comes with your hotel is that you get a breakfast buffet every morning.


Well, a day one typical faction, even when you’re on a guided tour, breakfast every morning.

And yes, on these independent ones, they put you in hotels with breakfast every morning.

You know, we love it, and we’re going to wrap it real hard.

So we all took a flight to Costa Rica.


Jamal and I started in LA and we actually met up with Zena there, who flew from Northern California.

And then from there, we took a flight from LAX to Houston.

Kim met us up in Houston and then we all had our flight together from Houston to San Jose and we landed at was it 10 in the morning?


Like ten 10:30 in the morning we had a red eye.

Our flight was 1:00 AM out of Los Angeles.

So by the time we landed in Houston, with the time change getting to Costa Rica, it made for a long day simply because of when the flight was Kim coming from Austin.


She the night before flew to Houston, so she woke up early in the morning but still in Houston.

So you know, she didn’t have as rough of a day as us, I will say.

Oh, I had an amazing night.

There’s a great hotel in the Houston airport.

You don’t even have to leave it all.

You just take the tram.


I had robes, I had wine, I had room service.

It was amazing.

So after our flight, which I slept hard on that last flight, like so hard that, you know, I got a picture and one of my eyes is like partially open.

That’s a good one.


It’s going on the stories.

But then we picked up our rental car and then we just wanted to have a day at leisure.

We were at a really nice hotel.

It was a DoubleTree and they had a swim up bar that had Kim’s name all over it.


They had lounge chairs, they had a hot tub, they had a restaurant.

So we wanted to relax because we had a busy day.

But Jamal was on a different page.

Jamal wanted to go to the Central Market.

Well, so let me just preface this whole situation by saying the flights were into San Jose.


It’s the biggest city that’s in Costa Rica.

Most flights will get you there at a good time or multiple options to go ahead and land.

And so that’s where our tour was.

Kim was real hard on not really wanting to do much, if anything at all, in San Jose, cuz with all respect to it, it’s just a big city.


You could even Google this online.

You’re going to see a lot of people saying, oh, you know, San Jose, there’s not really much to do.

There’s maybe stuff like on the outskirts of close National Park that might be best.

But one thing that when I was doing research that came up was like, if you do anything in San Jose, do this and it’s go to their Mercado Central or Central Market and it dates back to 1821.


So that’s how old it is.

It’s filled with food stalls, souvenir shops.

It’s just of everyday local market.

I wanted to go check it out just to say, oh, we did like one thing in San Jose.

But like I mentioned earlier, you know, the girls get hangry.

They can’t go with like an hour and a half, two hours of just holding off from eating.


So when we went, they were like, well, I we’re out, let’s just kind of eat, you know, I wanted to go to the market, the girls wanted to eat, we ate.

Food was bombed.

It was.

I don’t think anybody disagreed with how good the food was.

It was really good.

We even left talking about, oh man, that shit was good.


You wanted to go back?

Red or Pretty confident that that is what gave us the code.

I said when we’re back in San Jose, I would eat here again.

Now I said that before we all got the cleanse at a different point in time on the trip, but we are all thinking that this is what did it right here.


But I will say this in San Jose, if you have time to kill, go to the market, just don’t eat food because we think that’s where it happened.

But cool to see nevertheless, if you’re kind of into that local market vibe that you get a lot of places when you.

Try if you want me to give my opinion.

I got to be honest with the squatties.


I would recommend you fly into San Jose and you leave to whatever other destination you’re going to as soon as you can.

You can go by the market and you don’t need a lot of time there If you do want to see it.

It is old so that’s pretty cool, but I would recommend going to whatever Beach or Arnold or Monte Verde wherever you’re going next.


Just get out of San Jose and go there.

We did, however, make the best of our time there.

Yes, I would say the reason why we stayed there is one, is we had a hotel book there and two, we started our flights at 1:00 AM.

We didn’t know how tired we were going to be when we landed and if we had a several hour driving us.


We had it.

But you’re not driving.

I could.

Have Well, you know what?

In hindsight, I I mean, I think I maybe could have handled it, no doubt.

But when you say we had a hotel there, that just goes back to the point of, hey, the gate, one independent tour they have, you just be like, oh, you’re landing in San Jose, You’ve already traveled.


Let’s not push you through the ringer.

Here’s your hotel.

And it was a great hotel.

We really loved the hotel a lot, enjoyed the swim up bar, got a few cocktails, lounged out in the sun afterwards by afterwards, I mean after the market.

So we really did enjoy it.

But what Kim is saying rings true, and I don’t disagree if you’re doing this independently of yourself and by that, not a gate, one independent or other company independent.


If you land at a good time, don’t have a red eye, and you think you want to drive about 3 hours to your destination, it might be advisable to do that.

So day 2, that was the day that we were heading from San Jose to La Fortuna, which is the area with the R&L volcano.


So to get to that area, they say it’s about a three to four hour drive.

And it depends on a lot of factors.

It depends on the traffic, it depends on the roads, and it depends on if you make any stops in between.

So we woke up, Kim allowed us to eat breakfast at the breakfast buffet, and right when we were done, we hit the ground running, packed up the car, and we left.


Why Brittany says Kim allowed us to eat breakfast at the breakfast buffet is because there are some Hot Springs, more particularly a hot spring resort, that we were all excited about.

But Kim wanted to spend a long, long time there.

So with everything else that we had planned that day, plus with the drive like pre trip Kim was like crunching it.


Like I don’t know if we’re going to have enough time like we got to leave this early in the morning, we might have to skip breakfast.

So you know Kim was like very gracious and said Oh yes, we can have breakfast this morning.

So we did have it, but we did start driving really, really early in the morning.


Our first stop along the way to Arnold was going to be the Park a de Sarcero, which is a topiary park.

And what’s really cool is it’s this nice small town along the way and it’s really just a public park.

But for whatever reason in this city they decide to make the park topiaries, and it was really cool, just a nice pleasant stop along the way.


They have a beautiful church that’s at the top of the hill, right at the top of the park there for you.

And they do have a bathroom.

So this is a really good spot to use the bathroom to along the way, but worth the stop to get the photos of the park really unique.

I don’t think I’ve ever really been to any ifs at all like a few amount of public parks that may have like topiaries like this.


I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this.

They have topiary arches that lead up to the church and then on the sides there is topiary shrubs that are in the form of animals.

And then on the other side, there was like a tiny little park that we had a lot of fun at.


We’re just on this like, seesaw thing for a few minutes, just living our best life.

Well, I think Zana was the one who saw the seesaw, our teeter totter and she was like let’s get on it.

And it wasn’t just a teeter totter, it was a four way teeter totter.

So like you know you going back and forth, but then you have the IT going in the opposite direction with everybody.


So we let our inner child’s out at that park and had fun on the teeter totter.

I would say that was pretty fun.

So from the park, we drove straight to La Fortuna.

La Fortuna is a small town in Costa Rica.

It’s northwest of the capital, San Jose, and it’s known as the gateway to Arnall Volcano National Park.


So Arnall is definitely the focal point.

You can see it from everywhere in town.

There’s a lot of national parks and preserves that you can go to that have really great views of the volcano.

And then around this area there’s rainforests, waterfalls and Hot Springs.


So once we got into town, we went to our hotel, we dropped off our luggage, and then we went out for a hike.

Yeah, we did the Mirador El Silencio hike and this is in a little National Preserve area.

Or is this actually part of the National Park?

Because I know they have preserves attached to the park.


Do you remember Brittany?

I think it’s a preserve attached, but it’s also separate.

You’re right.

Well, that’s what I mean.

Because you know, there’s the National Park and the preserves touch the park, but they’re not part of the National Park.

So I really couldn’t remember.

But nevertheless, this is a really cool area.

It gives really incredible views, cheaper, less crowded than certain other areas that we were doing our research on.


It does cost $10 per person to hike this.

Now, this is kind of what we were saying back in the tips, right?

Where depending on if you’re paying U.S. dollars or the local currency colones depending on it could be more advantageous one way or the other.


Here it was actually cheaper to pay in U.S. dollars, it was a flat 10.

But if you played in the local Costa Rican currency, if you do the conversion it turned out to be like $11.00.

So again, just be mindful if you are going to be paying in local currency or U.S. dollars, depending on where you’re at, there’s that give and take.


I really like this hike.

This was one of the first, like nature, a things that we did on our trip here, so we’re real amped up and ready to go.

It was a pretty moderately difficult hike, I would say.

I wasn’t expecting it to be as difficult as it was and maybe the humidity was adding to it, but I definitely enjoyed it.


It had like the jungle, the trees, some shade.

It was very, very sunny though.

So like if you’re looking for a tan, this is the place you’re going to get it.

But all those views of the volcano, we kept saying like, this is the best view of the volcano and then we go around the corner.

No, this is the best view of the volcano.


We did that the whole time we were in law, Fort, Yeah.

I could see it from literally everywhere.

It’s it’s amazing though.

What I really like about it too is that you did say that you are going to be sun exposed and that’s very true in certain parts of this loop, right?

But certain parts you’re within the forest and the jungle and it’s very, very well shaded.


And at one point when we were in the jungle forested area, I I mean we did see quite a bit of wildlife.

No doubt we ended up seeing a sloth on this hike got pointed out to us by some other people.

So that was pretty cool.

But one of the first things that we did see, I mean this was like a nature Discovery Channel type moment.


I mean who gets excited about ants, right?

But if any of you have ever watched those channels and you see the leaf cutter ants that like what they eat are the leaves and they bite them and they carry them all back.

I mean they’re carrying pieces of leaves that they’ve bitten and carved that are like 10 times their actual size.


And then we saw like a whole colony if is that the appropriate term for ants colony carrying them?

And I thought that was actually really cool.

Saw several unique bird species.

So really awesome time out here.

And the person that gave us our tickets?


He also recommended that we go to an offshoot trail where we could actually be on some of the lava that was from an eruption in 1968.

So we did do that, and I felt like that was the spot where we saw the best views of the volcano on the.


Trail the lava.

That was the spot.

That was the spot that was.

That was a good spot.

The lava was with the lava.

And then, once we were done with that, we hiked back through the forest in Jamal.

He actually fell into like a little snake hole.

That thing was very well hidden.


I literally lost my entire foot up to my knee, probably in that snake hole, and I got out of it so fucking fast.

Like really fast.

I was actually quite impressed with myself.

I got out before I realized what happened.

I mean, I knew what happened, but it wasn’t like I’m in a snake hole.


Let me get out.

It was just like, Oh my God, like I need to get out.

That was a fight or flight mode.

I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced 1 till then.

And that was there.

So Kim, after the hike, why don’t you tell the squatties what we did next?

After the hike, we hightailed it over to the Springs resort because this is the highlight of our time here.


We looked at many different Hot Springs resorts and there are a lot of options in this area.

But I had gotten a recommendation from a friend and and this one came up on a lot of the top list.

The Springs Resort.

Oh my God, it’s a luxury resort.

Actually, Peter Weber, the former bachelor did have a date here.


So that’s how you know it’s amazing. 25 different pools, Jacuzzis, water slide, which we had so much fun on 6 bars, swim up bars.

Oh my God.

It was just it was my dream.

We spent not just one but two days here.


Yeah, because you can either be, of course, a guest at the resort.

We were not.

However, for a nominal fee, we paid $125 per person.

But it gives you access to the resort and all of the Hot Springs that are available.


And now when we say Hot Springs, you may be thinking, oh like here’s a couple pools.

No, like this is literally on the mountain.

There’s terrace after terrorists, pool after pool of different Hot Springs, some with waterfalls, some with not.

They even had a water slide here that we made a mess of ourselves on and had, you know, a really great time on that end of things.


Now one thing I do want to say is I did mention it was 125 that was actually for a two day pass.

So when we get to tomorrow, we’re going to talk about how we ended up going back.

But the two day pass we discovered is really only during slower times of the year.

During peak season, it’s only good for one day.


So when you’re making reservations, if you decide to come here, which we highly recommend that you do, just pay attention to see if your pass is good for the one or two days based off of when your travel.

And with that you do get a towel and locker provided to you.

When we first got to the resort, the first thing that we did was we went into the cool pool, which had a swim up bar and we ordered drinks.


And that cold pool has really good views of the R&L volcano, can get really good shots of the volcano there.

Off to the side of that pool there are some other hot spring pools and then like a really hot Jacuzzi.

Those also have really good views of the volcano.


So if if you’re looking for your Instagram shots, that’s where they’re going to be.

We had a really good time just for a few hours, just kind of drinking, exploring the property, getting into a whole bunch of different pools, doing the water slide.

And then we got hungry and we don’t want Kim to be hangry.


So we just went ahead and ate on site.

But what I’ll say is it was a really nice restaurant that had a patio that overlooks the volcano at sunset and it was so beautiful.

I would highly recommend eating there.

In fact, we had planned for it just so we can spend as much time as possible there, but we sat up on the dinner restaurant.


We actually waited till 5:00 PM for dinner to start because of their menu.

We sat right on the edge of the balcony.

We watched the sunset.

It was just a magical evening.

And I want to throw out just how lucky we are, because the two days, and granted today is day one and are and all, and of course we haven’t gotten to day 2 yet.


But the two days that we were there, clear skies could see 100% of the volcano unobstructed.

There wasn’t a cloud anywhere to be seen.

Everyone was telling us how lucky we are.

And of course, a few of the people that I mentioned earlier that confirmed that they ended up getting a little sick themselves from their time in Costa Rica.


Lots of people go to Arnold and they said no.

Like we never had a day where the volcano was fully exposed for us to see it.

So I feel like we got really, really lucky and I would maybe say like April might be a good time for you guys to go if you want 100% unobstructed views of the volcano.


Well, the day we left, it was starting to get a little cloudy.

I think April’s a great time to go one because of the views, right?

And there was that cloudy day, but more than that, there were no crowds.

None of the tours were sold out.

There were hikes where we were the only people there.


And it’s very in contrast to what we had heard about Costa Rica, where things sell out or it’s really, really busy and crowded.

Like that was not our experience at all.

So I I would recommend April.

Yeah, you actually had a friend recently go and she wasn’t able to do some of the things she wanted to do because the tours were all booked up and she hadn’t really booked in advance.


And I felt like while we were there in April, had we not booked a single thing in advance, we would have still been able to do everything we wanted to do.

Side note, real quick before we move on, because I know we’re all Bachelor and Bachelorette aficionados.

And you mentioned to Kim how Bachelor Pete pilot Pete, as we like to call them, he had a date here.


This is where he infamously, I think, busted his head on the golf cart.


It was where he messed up his head at the golf cart.

I think this is where they stayed.

Like that’s where they stayed.

I don’t think it was just a day.

I think they stayed there.

Possibly, but nevertheless, Bachelor filmed here, so, you know, really nice.


The Kardashians were also filmed here as well.

I did read interesting, but I want to just stay.

At the end of the night, we learned something about me.

We learned that I can do a mean handstand in the water.

And we also learned and we we’ve always known this, but the George Washington always is a gateway drug into hand stands.


What do we mean by that?

The George Washington?

You mean the Martha Washington?


Or is it?

No, I’m going to be at George Washington.

You got to be a George Watcher.

Well, why don’t you tell everybody what you mean by that then, Kim?

Because I this was the first time I wear.




Well, I’ve been.

Me and Brittany have been doing that since 8th grade, so we’re in the Hot Springs after dinner.

We’re just having so much fun playing around in the pools and really letting out our inner child.

It was.

It was a great day for that.


And you know, when you dunk your head underwater upside down, and then you come out as a girl with your hair and you flip it up and it kind of like makes it look like old school George Washington, well, then you’re giggling and then everybody else does it.

And then somehow, you know, people just start doing hand stands in the water.


And so we learned that I’m really good at hand, stands in the water, and should probably go on a resume at some point in my life, because who knew I had that skill?

We probably did them for like an hour straight.

Yeah, it was that much fun, no doubt, but that was pretty much our experience this night at the Springs Resort.


We did go back to our hotel, which was the Hotel Arnold Paracio Resort and Spa, which also has their own Hot Springs on property that were really, really nice.

One of them had an amazing view of the volcano also, but we just never got around to being able to have time to utilize the Hot Springs there, which I really wish we did, Kind of going back to what we were saying on taking it slow.


Yes, we did at the other resort, but it would have been nice to take a slow here and really enjoy the Hot Springs on property.

What I liked about this hotel is every room was its own little cottage, so no rooms are touching each other because you’re staying in an individual cottage.


And every cottage had a porch with a view to the volcano with like 2 rocking chairs on it.

Really nice.

What I didn’t like about it though, was the bathroom situation was very hot and steamy.

It was just humid.


There was no air flow to the bathroom.

So, yes, so when we got back to the hotel, this is when I learned that I got the Costa Rican cleanse and I was up for half the night, but I didn’t want that to stop me from enjoying the next day.


So I took some antibiotics and probably a sleeping pill, and I tried to power through to the next morning.

The next day we were going to do the Hanging Bridges, which is a famous attraction in the R&L region.

It hit you at night, Brittany.


In the morning is when it hit me.

But since you were leading the pack, I just popped those antibiotics and was right there with you powering through.

It’s crazy you know.

They all came in at different stages.

Mine didn’t come in till a little bit later thankfully.

So I thought, Oh no, poor Brittany, you mentioned it but you were pre emptive with the antibiotic, just kind of cutting that out real quick.


So we were able to kind of have a successful morning here.

We went to The Sky Adventures, Arnold Park and again like Brittany said, this is where they have the famous hanging bridges.

I feel like this is one of the more popular things to do in Costa Rica.

It’s $44 per person now here.


They also have like zip lining, sky tram, so you can do all that stuff too.

Of course at an additional cost.

We only did the hanging bridges with hike.

We started around 8:00 AM and took us 3 hours to do this.

And before we kind of just get into the hike, of course, we kind of mentioned starting to have a little bit of a a rumbling tummy.


Some of the coolest nature bathrooms ever experienced on this trail.

Right here, I thought was really cool.

You’re feeling sick.

Or if you’re not feeling sick, hey, they have a bathroom spot for you in the middle of the forest.

Clear glass, looking out into the jungle, actually.


Really cool.

I thought that was awesome.

What did you ladies think of that experience?

I enjoyed that view quite a few times.

Well beyond the bathroom view, when you first check in, there’s a really great observation deck and it overlooks the volcano and are in all lake, so definitely check that out when you check in.


Then along the hike you’re hiking through the rainforest.

It’s really nice.

You we crossed, was it 2 hanging bridges?

They’re really long.

One of them was like 775 feet long and they’re about 230 feet high above the forest floor.


So you’re seeing the whole canopy, the rainforest canopy of the area.

We even got to see a slot hanging on a tree from one of the hanging bridges was really cool as well.

Zana with the good eye on that one.

She found that one.

Which is funny because Zena doesn’t have good eyesight.


I know, but she found it.

And what’s really funny about the sloths is they blend in so well.

You know, I know sloths are abundant in Costa Rica, but I really thought it was going to be one of those things like, yeah, they’re there, but are they really also there?


But then we saw one probably on each hike that we went on and they’re really hard to find.

But it makes me think, how many more were there that we missed because they camouflaged so well?

So then we also crossed a second hanging bridge.

We went by a observation platform and we hiked down to a waterfall.


So those were kind of the highlights of this hike.

I took it pretty slow this day.

I did stop and sit a few times just because I wasn’t feeling my best.

But we powered through and like Jamal and Kim said, the bathroom views in the middle of the jungle were amazing and I just felt like it was a really good hike.


I know, Kim, you said like this wasn’t your favorite activity with everything being said and done, but I do think a lot of people can appreciate the hanging bridges, and a lot of people come to Costa Rica and the LA Fortuna area just to go see the hanging bridges.

I think if you go into it with that perspective, you will enjoy it.


In my head I thought hanging bridges and that we were going to be on bridges the whole time, but I would say it was probably, I don’t know, 20% bridges and 80% hiking.

But weren’t there bridges that we couldn’t do because part of the trail was closed?



So we may have missed out on a little bit of it and there could have been more, but you are very correct Kim.

I was under the assumption that there was going to be more time on bridges and less time really on land where I still feel like even if those path areas were open with more bridges, you still would be spending more time like actually on ground to thin versus in the air.


But still a really unique perspective to see the top of a rainforest canopy from those high and long bridges.

There’s also an option to hire a guide and he would be able to point out probably more of the animals, talk more about the flora and vana.


So if you like that kind of thing that I think that would be really helpful.

We just did our own self-guided hike which allows you to see more of the park than if you’re on the guided hike.

But from there we dropped Zana off at the hotel because she wasn’t feeling great and.


Well, she started not feeling great after she well, kind of.

The heat got to her a little bit, but let’s not forget she was just talking and inhaled the bug in her mouth and she made the weirdest sound of like trying to cough it up and like a burp at the same time.

Then she needed to swallow and then she couldn’t even swallow the water and spit it up.


We love you Zana.

We’re not making fun of you, but that was a good, funny moment that we got a laugh out of once she recovered herself.

But I think that plus the heat exhaustion was kind of getting to her a little bit.

So that’s why we dropped her off, because she didn’t want to do what was next on the docket.


So the squad continued on to the LA Fortuna waterfall, which I really enjoyed.

And honestly, at this point y’all were trying to make me hangry because I really wanted to eat before this and someone was trying to starve me.


Is this when you asked me if I could see a convenience store can I stop?

And you asked me in the middle of nowhere and got upset ’cause I didn’t stop at the non existent convenience store Kim.

Or is that enough?

This one?

OK, I think it was another time.

So I think Kim had multiple hangry exposures on this trip which it again.


Beat me the whole time, like Brittany kept saying, two meals per day and I’m like, why?

So it was.

So you admit then it was you guys who wanted to eat at the market because you were hangry?

I wanted to eat before you went to the market.

I think that’s what happened.


Point being, Kim was hangry, but we still enjoyed the Fortuna Waterfall, yes?

Yes, Kim, tell us about getting down to the waterfall.

The LA Fortuna waterfall has about 500 steps down to the waterfall.

It’s not actually a hike because all of the steps are cemented.


It’s through the forest, but it’s not really a hike.


You got 500 plus stairs to go up and down.

But down first.

Down first.

So you walk all the way down and then you’re at the base of the gorgeous waterfall.

The waterfall is 70 meters high.


You can first see it from this observation deck just front on, and then you go down a little bit more and there’s all these rocks you can sit on.

You can get in the water and swim.

It is really cold.

But you know, lead by Jamal’s example and just jump right in.

Well, I didn’t jump right in.


I appreciate you saying that, Kim, because usually I pussyfoot around when it comes to cold water.

We know I don’t like exceptionally cold water, but we were down here and I was like, no, this is a great area to swim.

Like, I’m really gonna regret if I don’t get in.

We all kind of like, dip our toes in.


We’re like, this is exceptionally cold.

But I was like, this is a once in a lifetime experience.

I gotta get in.

I gotta discipline myself.

I’ve been applying for Survivor, trying to push myself and tell myself, oh, I could do these things in certain situations.

So Jeff Probst or any casting directors, if you guys are listening to this, I mean just like bring me on because I’m ready to play.


And I was like, I’m on Survivor right now.

I got to get into this cold water.

And I don’t think if I didn’t get in, you ladies would have gotten it because it was really cold.

But once you get in, you know you get acclimated, but it is cold, Cold.

Water, I think what makes it so cold is you’re walking down and it’s really humid.


It’s really hot.

But when you’re down there, you’re so far down that the sun’s like not directly hitting you.

So even though it is like humid, you’re just not getting that direct sunshine.

So you’re just naturally a little bit colder.

But I would like to point out this funny part where we were at the observation deck and there’s two of them, there’s one we’re at the very top before you start hiking down where you can just like overlook and see the waterfall.


And then there’s another one once you get to the bottom where you can see the waterfall straight on that Kim was talking about and Kim looks down and she goes, is that Lady, is that her bare ass?

And we see this older lady.


She is pants off, completely bare ass, swimming around in the waterfall, living her best life.

It was so random because she had on a T-shirt swim top and took off her swim bottoms to go bare ass swimming in the waterfall pool with like tons of people, families, everyone around.


Well, I know the tons of people, OK, yes too.

But she was with a significant other because then there was another older couple that they were like, clearly with, don’t know if it’s family, don’t know if it’s friends, but she was just real comfortable and like, she was underwater right from of course, the waist down.


So we were really trying to discern like whoa, whoa, whoa, are our eyes playing tricks on us?

Like looking through the water as she just really wearing kind of like flesh colored swim bottoms.

But then she got out like no, she’s straight, bare ass.

And she started putting on her underwear without a care in the world, sitting on the rocks with everybody looking around her good for her.


I hope I have that type of confidence when I’m in my like 60s or 70s or however old she was.

Will I do that?


But I hope I have that confidence, though nevertheless at that age.

So to get into the water, you do have to traverse over some rocks.

It’s really rocky in this area and the rocks on the shore are pretty slippery, so just be careful.


So hiking sandals great, makes it easier.

And then when we were done with the actual waterfall itself, there is like a Creek or river the where the waterfall flows off of and there’s a whole bunch of rocks and boulders in that and it’s a little bit more shallow and easier to get to.


So I laid out on some of the rocks in that area, but it’s a good area just to like, hang out and just relax a little bit.

And then we worked up the courage to hike back out, which we actually wasn’t as bad as we thought it was going to be.

No, it wasn’t.


We just powered through.

I think it went by pretty quick.

They say 15 minutes down, 30 minutes up, but we got done well before 30 minutes.

But granted, you know, we do hike.

So I would say that, you know, 500 steps seems daunting, but we were able to handle it.


But to Brittany’s point of where she said, you know, once you get to the rocks, it’s really slippery.

Be careful.

We did not mention the day before time #7 or whatever it was going down the water slide.

I was getting out of the Hot Springs pool and I stubbed my toe and not only just stubbed my toe lifted my toenails to the point that it was actually, like bleeding pretty well and it healed itself.


I rallied through it and I was like, all right, you know, I’m just going to do my thing here at Loft Fortuna Waterfall and then I get out of the waterfall from swimming and then I slip on those slippery rocks and restub that stained toe and have it start bleeding again.


So that was not a fun experience.

But point being it is slippery down there, so do be careful because you can very easily fall and hurt yourself.

From here we picked Cena back up.

We went to Back to the Springs.

We had dinner and we soaked in the hot tubs and just kind of pool hopped, went into all of the pools we didn’t get to go into the day before.


This is where that two Day Pass came into play.

I mean we really did enjoy the springs and mine is just the hot spring experience.

I really do believe the Hot Springs with the ambiance that you get of that beautiful view of the volcano, it makes it really exceptional out here.


So Two Day Pass came into use here and we really did love it.

And this is where we had dinner both nights at the spring.

Saturday we got up in the morning, we enjoyed our breakfast buffet and then we hit the road from Arnold to Monte Verde and the roads were fun, weren’t they Jamal?


They were fun.

Yes, I it did enjoy it.

You know, you start off and it’s not too bad.

Now we’re talking about the roads as if they’re like, horrendous.

I don’t want to actually say that that’s the case because the roads in Costa Rica are really nice, well paved, you know, for the most part of what you could even expect to see here in the United States.


Yet for some reason the quickest route that is available from Arnold to Monte Verde.

At certain points you go from a paved Rd. in the mountains to a non paved road, or if it’s a paved Rd., a paved Rd. with lots of potholes and that could last as few as 50 feet to as long as like 3 to 5 miles long before it’s repaved to get and then not.


So it was just this inconsistent, like what am I getting on these roads?

But once you kind of got over the main portion of the mountains you do get back onto well paved roads.

But this really slows you down because I feel like distance wise it’s actually not too far, but the way that you have to drive on the roads makes it a little bit longer to get to there.


Yeah, I think it took us a little over 3 hours to do the drive from LA Fortuna to Monte Verde.

So Monte Verde is in a cloud forest, so we stayed in a small town.

It was called Santa Elena.

It was actually founded by Quaker settlers in the 50s and Monte Verde is at the elevation of 4600 feet up above sea level.


It’s in a very lush, misty, wet, breezy, cool spot in the mountains.

Immediately when we got there, we felt the temperature difference.

It dropped significantly from when when we were in La Fortuna.

It is really humid here though, because you’re in the cloud forest, so it ranges in humidity from like 75 to 97%.


But did you notice at the same time, our hotel did not have an AC and yet we were not lacking for that regardless, like the way they built it And in that area we were quite comfortable with that fact.

But it is humid still when you’re out and about.

But the hotel was actually quite nice and didn’t really get too warm and very well insulated.


You know Monte Verde, I was really looking forward to this because of what you just described.

Misty, wet, lush, breezy temperatures drop.

And they did drop a little bit for sure, but we were there on such clear weather days that it didn’t feel drastically different from Arnold to me.


It was still hot, it was still sunny.

There wasn’t many clouds, there wasn’t any mist.

And so I feel like I got robbed a little on that cloud forest experience.

That’s how I feel about going to Olympic National Park in Washington.

You had been before, Kim, one time before us when we went as a squad and you were just raving about it, right?


Because it is a rainforest.

It’s misty, it’s cloudy, it’s mossy.

That’s all the stuff that you could expect to find here at Monteverde.

Don’t know if it happens more specifically at certain times of the year here, but when we went as a squad to Olympic National Park, it was just a sunny day.


I didn’t really get that misty or cloudy feel, so I can sympathize with you on what you feel like you missed here.

But even though I knew that that’s what it was like here at Monte Verde, I didn’t really put that image in my head of expecting it to feel like I missed out on it.


But it would have made the experience a lot better to have it that way.

So when we got to the hotel, what did we do guys?

Because here comes another event where Kim got hangry and kind of altered the plans a little bit, if I dare say.


No, we went hiking first.

Oh, so it’s after the hike, when Kim got hangry?

I wanted to get food before the hike.

But we weren’t ready for your second meal of the day.

So yeah, we had to power through and she was like.


Here’s some Brits crackers.

Shut up.

And those were Britney’s like settle my tummy Ritz crackers that we ended up picking up too.

So that was a nice, quite, you know, kind rational share because she needed that for her belly to to settle down a little bit.

But yeah, that’s right.


You know, we went to the hotel, dropped off our luggage.

I forgot about the hike first.

We went to the Monteverdi Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

We did the self-guided hike.

It was more crowded than the hike that we had done in Arnold, and it’s open from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM and it costs about $26 per person.


There’s a big trail map at the very entrance that will show you all the different trails where they loop.

You could take a photo of it for you.

When we bought the tickets, they had even recommended which trails to take where to link up to it.

But what I really liked, minus the fact that they had the beautiful sign up front for us to really see, like, OK, here are all the trails.


The trails were very well marked, like when there was a split.

The split was very well designated.

So you knew what to do.

So you weren’t really going to get lost out here.

But I enjoyed this hike a lot.

We did another hike later that I think then we decided, OK, well this one was cool, but maybe the other one was better here in Monte Verde.


But I was really excited because in this area there are Jaguars, mountain lions.

I know they’re elusive and people don’t want to come across them on the trail.

But like, I didn’t really think we were going to see him.

But I had like a slight hope that we were going to see him.

We did not.

But rest assured, they are in this area and in this park.


Another thing that we did not see were monkeys.

We did see Cote’s on this trail and all throughout Monte Verde.

Yeah, no monkeys.

That’s just you know, I forgot we didn’t see monkeys.

But I don’t think monkeys are like in that region.

But the Cote’s were everywhere, which were really cool to see.

But this reserve has 8 miles of trails available for you to explore with or without a guide.


We did the self-guided hike, Klich Mall said.

We hiked the Camino Trail and we went off on an offshoot to El Puente Trail which had a hanging bridge.

We went and saw this platform that overlooks the Continental Divide and then we went back and we did a trail that had a waterfall at the end.


So it was a cool trail.

It reminded me of the rainforest a lot in Arnold, probably because it wasn’t misty like Kim said.

But everything is very green, very lush when you’re in the rainforest, like you can see how dense it is, Like when you look up, you can see all of the the trees.


So it is nice to go and be in like the Monte Verde cloud forest.

And this is actually the park where we bought our tickets in advance, right?

And I know we were saying we did buy some of our stuff in advance, didn’t really need to.


But even though we bought an advance here, apparently this park has issues with their online reserve system.

Even with our confirmation number, it said that they couldn’t find it, the payment wasn’t taken.

And then we double checked to make sure like, oh, we weren’t actually getting double charged.


It didn’t go through, so we had to actually buy it here again.

So I wouldn’t even recommend buying the tickets in advance for the Monte Verde Cloud Forest Reserve.

So that’s that.

And on top of that, they do charge $5 to park and the parking lot is about a kilometer away from the trails and they actually have a shuttle, but you can avoid doing the pay to park and park closer on the side of the road.


They allow you to do that.

We parked literally right up front, but the person told us they’re like, Oh yeah, if you park here, there’s no guarantee someone breaks into your car.

They do this, they hit it.

Whereas if you park in the parking lot, it’s a little bit more well protected, so take it for that.


You could do paid parking and catch a shuttle, or you can avoid the paid parking park closer.

Take your own risk.

We took our own risk and everything worked out to be fine.

So after we finished hiking in the Monte Verde cloud for us, we went back to our hotel.

We had actually checked in earlier and left our luggage there, but we were supposed to get one room for Jamal and I that had a king size bed and then Kim and Zena were sharing a room.


But they had requested two separate beds and when we checked in they said yes.

That’s how it was.

So when Kim and Zena got to the room it was just one king bed.

So they called the person at the concierge and was like, hey, we didn’t get a room with two beds.


So Kim, what did they give you?

We got upgraded to a family suite.

It was two stories.

Susanna and the bathroom were downstairs.

I was upstairs in my own huge room and then there was a second room offshoot to mine where like, I think it looked like it was made for kids.


So it was a huge place.

Yeah, it was really beautiful.

You had a little balcony too that overlooked part of the cloud forest.

It was really nice.

This hotel was actually really nice in general.

It’s like the largest hotel in Central America.


The property is a mile long.

The rooms are really beautiful.

We had a nice room that had a king bed.

We had chairs outside with a really great view.

Like Kim said, she had an awesome two-story room that they got upgraded to.

The property had like a Peacock observatory, trail ziplining pool, a tennis court which Jamal even tried to drive on to at one point.


That drive on to the tennis court was accidental.

So if you recall earlier I said, oh, this is where you know, Kim got hangry.

But that was after the hike, which we are now after the hike.

And so we had a night tour planned.

A night tour in the jungle is going to be guided.


Show us the nocturnal life that comes out at those time as of the day.

And we were like, OK, well, we need to eat food fast.

And they have a restaurant, which we were told when we checked in.

The restaurant needs reservations.

But we have a quick bites place.


We couldn’t find the quick bites place at all.

Come to find out, it’s just the lounge area that’s by the pool.

We get there and couldn’t find where to park.

It’s on a big hill.

I mean, Brittany said this property’s a mile long.


Yeah, it’s a mile long, all the way uphill, so you really can’t see what’s going on, especially with the the jungle and forest that’s all around you.

So I’m going up what I think is a little bit of driveway, trying to find the appropriate building, and lo and behold, I drive on to the tennis court.

Luckily nobody was playing at that point in time and it was a little chaotic to back out of that.


That was a little confusing too, but we did not get the quick bites in time and we’re concerned about the time frame.

So we’re like, let’s just try our luck at the restaurant.

We went to the restaurant, which was really nice, but we’re like, all right, we’re just going to concede to the fact that we’re not going to go on the night tour because I don’t think the ladies could have handled not eating, going on the night tour and then having food when we come back.


But I think it all worked out.

We really enjoyed our time at dinner.

We took it nice and slow, leisurely, got some steaks, got some wine.

It was a very nice experience and we loved it.

Part of the other reason we didn’t do the night tour is mostly time.


But then we started looking at the reviews, and the more recent reviews were all saying that the animals that they saw were tarantulas and snakes, other insects of that nature.

And I said to everyone, I don’t want to see those things, let alone pay to see them at night in the wild.


So I’m gonna sit this one out.

In hindsight, I think it kind of would have been cool.

But you’re right, Kim, if that’s not your type of animal life that you want to see, then maybe the night tour is not for you.

So that’s kind of a good pointer to bring out to our listeners and squaddies here on that front.


But we were talking about the hotel and how cool it actually is, the nice rooms, the Peacock Observatory, all the stuff to do on property etcetera.

I don’t think we mentioned the name of it.

We’ve stayed at the El Establo Hotel, so I just want to mention that too.


And dinner had a great happy hour from 4:00 to 6:00.

Wine was either $12.30 each or you could get 2 glasses of wine for $15.

During happy hour, Right During happy hour.


Or if you don’t want wine, anything from their cocktail list falls under that happy hour.

So oh.

Yeah, They had a very extensive cocktail list, yeah.

I loved that dinner.

Oh my God, I got the biggest steak with this delicious blue cheese sauce.


These amazing was it mashed potatoes that I had?

Oh my God, they were so good.

With some vegetables and two glasses of wine, I was living my best life.

We were all living our best life and we had so much fun drinking wine that we didn’t want it to end that we left the property to go to a convenience store or that was around the corner, picked up another bottle of wine and continue to play cards.


All four of us in the room in the evening, which quite honestly is now starting to become one of my favorite things that we do, like when we’re all traveling together, is just getting a few drinks and playing cards.

I really do enjoy that.

So that was kind of really our first night and day in Monteverde.


We woke up the next morning and the next morning is when the Costa Rican cleanse started to hit on Jamal a little bit.

So this was the time that it started to kick in on me.

Yeah, we were originally going to do a hike in the morning.


However, we kind of decided to take it slow, had an easy morning at the breakfast buffet.

We went and checked out the Peacocks on the property and then we booked instead to see sloths at a sloth observatory.

What do you think of the sloths, Kim?


This wasn’t something that we’d planned to do.

We kind of stumbled on it through our hotel, and I’m so glad that we did.

Like seeing those little creatures up close and so many of them, and then learning about them too.

I really enjoyed it.

I really enjoyed it a lot too.

You know, they it was very informative because up at this high elevation they only have a certain type of sloth.


At the lower elevations where we’re at in Arnold, they have a different species of sloth.

So we were at the higher elevations.

And even though this is a Conservatory, they really only had that one particular species that thrives at the elevation that we were AT.


And really cool to see them up close because when you see them in nature, you know, they’re kind of hard to really see and to spot.

And they’re still sloths, they still move slow.

But I feel like we got to see them be a little bit more active just because they kind of are in captivity, used to that environment, seeing people, etcetera.


So that was really fun to kind of see them up close.

When we say in captivity, all of the fuss here were rescued and they were deemed that they weren’t able to rehabilitate them.

So they didn’t just like in capture sloths.

It’s not like a sloth zoo.


The area that we went into was the female area.

We learned that in Costa Rica it’s illegal to breed sloths, so all of the males that they rescued are in a different area.

So we got to see all of the females.

We learned so much about them and it was really interesting.


I highly recommend taking this little tour.

It wasn’t very long, maybe 45 minutes, but the Sloss being able to see them up close, they were so cute.

Their faces almost look like little piggy faces almost.

Well, this species of sloss, because the one at the lower ones are the ones that look like they always have the smile on their face.


They have the little black lines that are under their eyes.

Those are the type of sloss that, if you want me to be honest, I think are a little bit cuter.

Those are the three toed sloss.

These ones were the 2 toed.

And one of the sloths was showing off.

It was she was moving, she was active, she was swinging, she was eating upside down.


She was super cute.

So after this, we dropped Jamal and Zena off at the hotel because they weren’t feeling well.

I almost had to bail on the sloth experience, mid sloth experience and step out and be like I need to find the restroom.

That’s where I was at even after taking the antibiotic and the Imodium at this point in time I I made it through it.


So yes, like, I wanted to rally through the day, but I knew what was coming up and I was like, there’s no way that I can handle what was next.

So Jamal had a freak out next and Jamal had a freak out because we drop him off at the hotel or we’re we’re driving to the hotel and he said do you think you can drive and I said I either said sure or OK.


I know what you said you you were like, OK, it was like you thought about it for a second and then you’re like.

Yeah, it was like, OK, like I just had to think about like, OK, I am going to be driving on these roads in Costa Rica and we had just driven a very similar road to what I was going to be driving and I was just prepping myself for that.


And then Jamal was like, you don’t even know how bad I feel.

And he started to freak out.

Full blown freak out.

I’ll go, I’ll go.

I So they are about to do the Lt.

Grey waterfall hike, which is going to take three to four hours and it’s such a tough hike out that there’s an option to have horses so you don’t have to hike it out.


Of course.

I want to hate horses too.

We weren’t even planning on riding horses at that point in time.

So if there’s a hike, that’s like we got to possibly take horses out because it’s tough.

And the way I’m feeling, I’m not going, but I do know at the El Tigre Waterfall hike, they have a nice little area at check in where you purchase your tickets, etcetera, that they have a restaurant.


I was willing to sit at the restaurant and just wait for you ladies if I really needed to drive.

Because of course I know a bathroom is right around the corner should I need it.

But I tell this to Brittany all the time.

I really hate when she gives me the answer.



And it’s not even just sure you did but it’s OK.

It’s a it’s tone in which my beautiful wife says it sometimes to where it’s like oh man, like you know it is just like I I can’t explain it but nevertheless.

Well, moving on.


I wasn’t feeling too hot, so pardon my mood that day.

I rocked the drive.

Kim and I made it to the Lt.

Gray Waterfall Hike.

We were literally the only people on the trail.

But before that when we checked in, we were inquiring about the horses because Kim had wanted to do the horse option from the beginning and we would not be able to convince Jamal and Dana to do that.


So while it was us by ourselves, we inquired about it and they were able to accommodate us on that.

But what was amazing was this was our favorite activity, like the whole trip that Kim and I did.

And it was like we did it on a girls day, just the two of us.


Yeah, and there was nobody else on this trail the entire time.

Every waterfall, every turn of the hike if all of the hanging bridges.

And there were a lot on this hike.


So how many waterfalls do you think we passed?



Yeah, there was one very large one that we ended up kind of getting in a little bit, and then there was a whole bunch of smaller ones.

But there was a ton of hanging bridges, and these hanging bridges were scary.

They weren’t like the ones in Arnall where they’re like really big, tough bridges.


These are like they could fall apart at any moment, but not really fall apart.

It said one person per bridge because they can’t handle more than two people, more than one person on there.


So also on top of that there was like 4 check in stations and if there was an emergency at any point on the trail, like there was a walkie in the box where you could check in and tell them like you’ve been hurt or you don’t have to be able to make it out or whatever it kind of emergency you’ve had.


But we literally did not see anyone else on this trail at all.

So then when we were done with the waterfalls and the hike and we took it pretty leisurely, like we didn’t rush through it.

We got like really enjoyed every aspect of this trail.


We made it to the area where there were the horses and we got to horseback ride privately with one guide all the way back up to the top.

Yep, Britney’s horse kept farting in my horse’s face.


It was so weird.

My horse kept trying to go past hers and he was blocking her and then just Tooting in her face.

But there were so many amazing views along the horseback ride, our guide would stop pointing it out to us.


At one point we were even able to see the Arnold volcano tip from where we were, which was so cool to see since we had it was like such a different perspective.

And he took our guy, took videos of us, he took pictures of us.


He was a really good guide.

Well, even though I missed it, I am glad you ladies did have a good time.

But by the time you guys got back from Lt.

Grey, my antibiotics had really kicked in and I I was a new man after my nap while you guys were hiking.


So I’m actually really, really glad that I did not go because I got the much needed rest to kind of rally through the rest of the trip.

I’m glad you were feeling better.

Yeah, I’m glad you guys had a good time.

We thought about venturing outside of the resort to, you know, have dinner somewhere else and be crazy, But we ended up not doing that and having dinner again at our resort.


But the dinner was amazing.

Had this great like crusted chicken with rice and a marmalade and more wine.

Oh my God, it was amazing.

I think we got burgers that night.

We did get burgers that night, but the.

Fries is really good.


So the next day, Monday, was the day that we were going to be heading back to San Jose.

But we were in absolutely no rush to get back.

I know Jamal was really hoping to get back to the market, unfortunately.

Really hoping to get.

Back couldn’t make it there.

So on the morning that we had a slow morning, instead we did a hike at the Santa Elena Reserva Bosque Nuboso and this was a really cool reserve.


There’s no hanging bridges here.

It’s more trails, it’s less crowded.

We did get to hike up onto an observation deck where you can see a whole bunch of like mountains and all volcanoes in the distance.

So I did really like this and it is part of the cloud forests and you can just see how like lush and green it is.


Like the trees have a whole bunch of vines and plants growing up, then like, there is life around you everywhere, just with all of the flora there.

Really nice.

Yeah, Like I was saying earlier, you know, when we did this hike, I think we really all agreed like the Santa Elena, like if you’re really going to do one hike in Monte Verde to kind of really feel the cloud forest, I would say Santa Elena reserve here over the one that we did the day before, which was going to be the Monte Verde Cloud Forest Reserve.


If you didn’t know any better and just like did the Monte Verde, you would have a great, great experience.

But like we’re telling you, if you only have time for one, I think Santa Elena or we all think Santa Elena gives you a little bit better vibes.

I would definitely agree with that.

The one thing that I was a little disappointed by in this one, I guess double edged sword here.


I was a little disappointed because we had planned to take this trail that would lead to a couple waterfalls and other bridges and sites.

But as we were going along the trail, we had seen a sign that said this part was closed because of it needed some type of repairs.


So we kept trucking on.

We didn’t think anything of it and we ended up back at the beginning way before we thought we would.

And apparently that closed area was the turn we were supposed to take.

And so we didn’t really get to see as much of it as we were planning to.

I was starting to get hungry at this point, so I did not mind whatsoever, but it would have been good to know so that we could have planned maybe a different route if we wanted to.


Slightly disappointing.

I will not disagree with you on that, Kim, but nevertheless, really nice fun experience at Santa Elena Reserve and this is what we were supposed to do the day before in the morning, which when I wasn’t feeling too hot, that’s what popped up the sloth reserve and Conservatory that we had gone to.


So just kind of moved it here on our slow day.

Hey squatties, real quick.

I just wanted to remind you that we have a ton of resources on our site so that you could plan for things like this.

So we have itineraries, you know all about them.

We’re coming out with a Costa Rica one very, very soon here.


We just did Rome, Oregon waterfalls trip.

We have a ton more on there.

We have trip planning worksheets, free templates for like pet sitting guides, a whole course on how to start your own podcast.

We have a bimonthly newsletter at Amazon shop.

So so so so much more So just go over to travelsquadpodcast.com and you can catch it all there.


So after our hike here at the Santa Elena reserve, we were in no hurry to get back to San Jose, if you remember kind of what we were talking about earlier and things that we’ve read online.

So we were like, let’s just take it a little bit leisure.


There was one activity that we still wanted to do in the Monte Verde region, which was going to be the, if I’m pronouncing it correctly, the FICO la Reyes.

Am I saying that correctly?

Nevertheless, we’re going to include it in the show notes so that you guys can see it.


We’ll talk about that in just a second.

But we really wanted to get to the beach also.

So this is for the time for that.

We also were saying we’ll go to the beach instead of going back to San Jose early, which we did.

But tell us a little bit about the Ficu La Reyes.

So it is a ficus tree that has fallen but has continued to grow and it’s made a Natural Bridge that you can walk across partially in the forest.


So it costs $2.00 to go down there, but no one’s really manning that.

There’s a little slot to slip 2 bucks in and the roots have grown vertically down and so there’s a small Creek that passes underneath the washed over roots and it really exposes the shape of the tree.


And Kim and I both at different points crossed on the top part of the Ficus Tree bridge to get some really cool pictures.

And then what went back across and then we went down a little bit further.

To get down here you have to take a whole bunch of stairs as well.


So it’s another little easy day.

If you are a crazy adventurous type person you probably could walk across the whole thing.

But for me little bit of fear of heights and unstability kind of got to me.

So it didn’t go too far, I.

Didn’t even want to get on it.


I just enjoyed looking at it.

I had no desire to really get on it and take my photo, but it’s a really cool feat of nature to just really look at how life wants to thrive, right?

I mean this is a fallen tree trunk and then from that tree trunk roots are sprouting down and in growing and it creates this Natural Bridge.


So really awesome perspective of nature to see here in Monte Verde.

And if you don’t want to cross the bridge, you can also just look at from the observation deck that they have down there as well.

But then we were on to our drive to the beach.

I know this was a long-awaited experience at the beach that Kim was looking for and we were all looking for, like I said earlier, Costa Rica, it’s in the name.


We wanted to see the coast and we decided on going to Playa Jaco simply because this was the most populated, nicest beach area that was semi on the way back to San Jose.

And what did we think about Hawko ladies?


I thought it was fine.

I mean it.

It’s a good place to have lunch.

The place that we stopped for lunch was great.

Got a little cocktail there.

The sand is like a dark, almost black sand beach.

The water is warm.

I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting that, but the water temperature was amazing.


Yeah, I had my bathing suit all ready to go.

And Kim the beach lover, because she didn’t even bring hers to lunch so we couldn’t get in the water.

I don’t know what the hell I was thinking.


Don’t know, but after lunch, Kim and I did a nice long hour long walk on the beach.


Just kind of putting our feet in the water, talking, just enjoying the last bits of our trip.

And Jamal and Xena were just at the restaurant, just hanging out, chilling, talking.

Well, Zana walked with you for the first little bit when you guys came back because you walked One Direction and then came back cross paths, then continued on, She came back.


I stayed behind to really look after all her bags and I was like, ah, I don’t really want to walk on the beach.

I didn’t for whatever reason that is.

Kim didn’t bring her swimsuit, for whatever reason left in the car.

I don’t know why.

I didn’t bring my flip flops.

I had my tennis shoes on.

I didn’t want to walk on the beach in tennis shoes.


So I was like, I’ll look after the bags.

But the restaurant that we were at was really nice because it was a shaded little deck area.

But they also had seats that were out more towards the beach.

So I just migrated out there and just really enjoyed the place that I was at.

Just reflecting on the trip, the time, enjoying the ocean.


So I enjoyed sitting back while you ladies went for a walk.

It was nice.

And then, yes, Zana accompanied me while you ladies continued on.

By the way, that restaurant is called Coco Gastropub.

It’s right on the sand.

You can just come out from the ocean and go there or park and access from the street side.


I had like a Buffalo chicken sandwich with fries and it had onion rings on it.

It was so.


I got the same thing as you, Kim, and it was Bob.

One thing I was also looking at is what what did they have?

Was it orange chicken that was on the menu?

And for whatever reason, this entire trip, even Kim was talking about a hankering for Chinese.


I think it was because there was a Chinese restaurant that was by our first hotel in San Jose and we were just kept talking about Chinese.

And I wanted to get that orange chicken.

I did not.

I got the Buffalo chicken like him and it was really good.

But when I had gone up to use the restroom, wash my hands, I saw them set down an entree of the orange chicken for another patron and Oh my God did it look so freaking good.



You know what I love?

What is that?

Is the way you say orange, orange.

Yeah, you’re not the first person to tell me that.

I love it.

Thank you.

It’s orange, not orange.


So when we were done in Hako, we wanted to stop at a recommendation Zana had recommended from someone she knew, which was the Crocodile bridge.


We unfortunately didn’t stop, but we did cross over the Crocodile Bridge and Zana said she was able to spot a crocodile in the water, which is pretty cool.

And if you can’t tell, it’s called Crocodile Bridge.

Because when you go over this bridge, apparently there are always tons of crocodiles in this little estuary that does lead into the ocean.


So we didn’t see any while we were driving to warrant a stop because apparently they’re supposed to be, like, really, really abundant.

Like Brittany said, Zana thinks she saw one.

Probably did.

But if it was just like the one, none of us were like, oh, let’s get out for one.


But if there was the masses down there, like when you Google, you will see masses of crocodiles in this area, I think we would have gotten out.

I think it was also starting to rain at this point.

Starting to get a little drizzly?

Yes, it was.

So from there we were just like, well, let’s head back on to San Jose.


We got to San Jose.

We checked back into the DoubleTree that we were staying at the first night when we arrived and by the time we got back it was a little too dark to really enjoy the swim up pool again, swap bar situation.

So we just kind of decompressing from the trip, went to the bar and lounge, played a little bit of pool, got a little midnight snack even though it wasn’t really midnight and just took the rest of the evening at leisure.


Yeah, and the next morning we got to sleep in, we lounged at the breakfast buffet and then we went back to the airport for a flight out for the evening.

So let’s talk costs.

I know for the gate one portion of things, the hotel, rental car and flights per person, was about $1000.


I spent about $800 on food, drinks, souvenirs, and I went wild at this one store.

You did go wild.

We forgot to talk about that.

You did go wild.

We made a pit stop to get some coffee, and it was a beautiful souvenir shop, by the way.


And Kim made no less than five different transactions, because every time she bought what she thought was the last thing she found, another thing that she wanted to buy.

Yes, you did go wild.

So about $1800 for a week trip.

I definitely could have spent less.


I mean we were staying at resorts, we were eating at resorts, We were I was drinking every night.

Not to excess, but I had wine with dinner like every night.

So it could be done, certainly on more of a budget, but that is how much I spent for the trip.

Yeah, if you were a little bit more restrained and not that you went buck wild like you said.


But the reason why I bring up that caveat is Costa Rica is rather, I don’t want to say expensive, but I feel like a lot of people think when you travel to that part of the world, things can be a little bit less expensive and cheaper.


And not maybe you know, American prices, but a lot of the places that we are going of course are geared towards tourism.

It’s a lot more expensive and so you can expect to pay American prices equivalent or even more in a lot of places.


And the Costa Rican government, you’ll even see like when they post prices online, especially I’m talking for the national parks, not necessarily food restaurants, but they will have two different sets of prices, one if you’re Costa Rican national and 1:00 if you’re a foreigner.

So it’s not as cost friendly as people think.


I think we got it at a good price because we did it with the gate One independent tours, getting us the really nice hotels at a really good price package with the flights.

So I would highly look into that to help save on cost.

Yeah, the tour itself for Jamal and I was $1150 and that included our flights from LAX to Houston, from Houston to San Jose, our rental car with the upgrade to the 4 by 4 vehicle and all of our hotels.


It was a little cheaper for Kim because she was flying out of a different airport.

But on activities, food, drinks, gas and all of that, we spent about 800 a person.

So for Jamal and I came to just under 2000, a person for the week, which honestly don’t think it was terrible for all of the value that we got.


Yes, of course it could have been done cheaper, but I’m happy with our experience.

Same here.

You don’t regret what you spend.

You regret the memories you do not have, like me with South Africa.

We’re still talking about that years later.

Kim, I think we’ve kind of exhausted talking about the trip, and now we’re Segwaying into your favorite time of the week in the episode.


Questions of the week And we have three questions coming in this week.

The first one is Jessica from California asking how is the driving rental process?


Roads, language, barriers, comfort level.

She wants all of the info.

Well, Jessica, that’s actually a really good question.

You hit a lot of points and things that people would take into consideration.

The driving, we kind of mentioned that a little bit earlier.


I would honestly say the only time the roads I don’t even want to call them of concern but just had the little bit of unpaved or dirt going back and forth was from Arnold to Monteverde but otherwise easy to handle.

When you’re in San Jose or even other areas, they are well paved roads.


There are some sections, but it’s not anything too crazy that you really need to be concerned.

Nor did I really feel like this is a crazy driver country, right.

You hear you when you go to a lot of other countries, crazy drivers, this, that and the other there’s a lot of order.

So I wouldn’t be too concerned.


The rental process was pretty straightforward.

I mean, it was with our tour that we booked with Gate One included.

But there are a lot of rental companies.

So you can take your pick at any rental company that you want to do in terms of the language barrier hit on this several times, right, that this is a country that’s geared towards tourism.


Everybody that we encountered in the hotel, rental car, restaurant, National Park, selling us the tickets, Ranger guides, etcetera, if we talk to them really, really fluent in English.

So you don’t really have to worry about that whatsoever.

My only thing that I would add on in regards to the rental process is 1, make sure you get that four by fuel or vehicle, which we talked about.


And two, you can choose between liability insurance or full coverage.

The full coverage was not that much more.

It was like 100 and something bucks extra.

I would just go ahead and do it there with the roads the way they are and just kind of being an unknown territory, just spend the extra money.


We split it four ways for the full coverage and didn’t have to worry about a thing.

Question #2 This is my girl Bailey from Edmonton, Canada.

She’s asking very important question.

Any cockroaches or gross bug slash animals.

And you know Bailey, this was a concern for me too.


I did not see any cockroaches.

I did not see any gross bugs or animals.

I was going to say the only time we really encountered bugs when we were outside of the rainforest was when we were in our hotel at Monte Verde.

If you open the doors, bugs could fly in.


And a few bugs did fly in, but they weren’t, like, super big or gross.

Funny enough, you know, I really thought there’s going to be a lot of mosquitoes.

And again, it could be the time of year that we were there.

I’m not going to say that we didn’t have bug spray, but it’s not like we were slathering it on ourselves, you know, every day, as we have done in other locations where it’s very much needed.


But I was like, man, I I mean, I came away unscathed with no bites.

Funny enough, by the time we got home, I ended up with a few discovered bites that I think took a little bit of time to come in.

But they weren’t like anything too crazy, but just kind of look and see when really mosquito or bug season would be in Costa Rica.


But I feel here in April we managed pretty well.

Yes, we did.

Cheryl from Portland is asking what hotels did you stay in?

So in San Jose, we stayed at the DoubleTree in La Fortuna, we stayed at Arnal Pariso Resort and Spa, and we stayed at El Establo in Monte Verde.


And which one was your favorite?

That is a tough question.

I liked the beds better in Monte Verde, but I liked the view more and Arnold.

I loved the Monte Verde house that me and Zana had.

The two-story.


It was really cool.

There was those cotees running around everywhere.

I really liked that.

But honestly, the DoubleTree in San Jose was just comfy AC and the property was like a Casita.

It was.

It was a really beautiful property, too, for San Jose.

You know what’s really interesting, Kim, is I really loved the view at the R and all hotel that we were at.


I mean, it was really nice.

I love just the resort in general at El Establo and Monte Verde, but I will agree with you, if the DoubleTree was moved into any one of those other environments, it would have been probably my favorite.


You know what the DoubleTree reminded me of?

It reminded me of checking into a hotel in Hawaii because you kind of go in.

It just has that feel of what you would check in in Hawaii, kind of open, not really closed walls or anything like that.


Tropical, tropical, had flowers flowing through, going down like the hallways, open live plants, et cetera.

I’ve really did like the the DoubleTree and they gave us cookies upon arrival.

What’s not to love?

Oh, I love that and had a great breakfast.


All right, squaddies, Well, that’s it for this week.

Thanks so much for tuning in and keep the adventures going with us on all the socials, Instagram and YouTube and Tick Tock.

We’re posting a lot of stuff on TikTok now and make sure to send us in your future questions of the week.

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Or if you thought we were just plain funny, please be sure to share with a friend that would enjoy it too.

And as always, to subscribe, rate and review our podcast and TuneIn every Travel Tuesday for new episodes.

Stay tuned for next week’s episode.

We have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.


Bye squadies!

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