This past March, I had the privilege of visiting Costa Rica for my second time, a holiday which was far beyond my expectations.
Living a life in New York City which is comprised of work, kids and kiddy activities, I interrupt the chaos with some adventurous, over-the-top vacations.
I’m a single mom on a budget. Doing my best to spend consciously, I try to offset luxe vacations with destinations which are more affordable and since I was in Costa Rica a couple years back, I knew the costs of activities, restaurants, etc, weren’t too bank-breaking. This time though, instead of the family easygoing, relaxing holiday, my dear friend Jaclyn and I made it an adrenaline filled girl’s trip!
Booking the Trip
Limor Decter, my travel agent at Ovation Travel who books most of my travel, helped us put together an amazing, custom itinerary based on our requests. I made sure every minute was filled with fun, fun and more fun! I always stay at Starwood Hotels (now Bonvoy Marriot), as I book all my trips on points, so this time I intentionally waited for the W to open at Reserva Conchal, which is where we stayed.
Accommodation in Costa Rica
Our room at the W in Costa Rica was spacious and gorgeous, including a terrace with a beautiful view, and an extra-large bathroom with 2 sinks (always a bonus.) My only complaint – no drawers in the bathroom which is a personal pet peeve. The breakfast was delicious, the pools were incredible, as were the rest of the facilities. The beach, Playa Conchal, was also gorgeous, and had options for horseback riding, $20 an hour beach massages, and $100 an hour jet skiing. There are no lounge chairs set up by the beach, but there are very few beaches in Costa Rica which have that option. The service at the hotel needed a bit of improvement, however since the hotel just opened in November 2018, the manager was very receptive and took care of our requests. Overall I would definitely recommend this hotel, as I definitely plan on returning in the future.
Itinerary and Outfits
DAY 1: Transfer from airport to W Hotel in Costa Rica– dinner at the hotel.
Outfit of the night: Navy mini dress by Bec & Bridge
DAY 2: White water rafting at the Turanio Volcano; sunset by the pool; dinner at Pangas – gorgeous, outdoors, on the sand and most of all, romantic. The tuna tartare was delicious. Night out dancing at Monkey’s which has 3 different music sections, the first with a DJ, the second with a sort-of sports bar vibe, and the third with a live salsa band, my favorite. Admission was $4.
Outfit of the day: Red swimsuit by Zara; Green swimsuit by NOT SURE; Palm tree print skirt by Carolina Constas; Accessories – vintage belt, ‘Boss Bitch’ clutch by ESC.
Outfit of the night: Cotton flowy pants by Drew Clothing; Bralette by NOT SURE; Shoes by Saint Laurent; Accessories – vintage belt, necklace by Dannijo, ‘Neutral Starburst’ clutch by ESC.
DAY 3: MY FAVORITE DAY, packed with adventure and relaxation. Super early wake-up and straight to Diamante Adventure – we started with ATVs, then ziplining, then went through the animal sanctuary. I believe the ATV + zipline package cost us each approx. $130. AMAZING value. The owner of the facility actually saw Jaclyn and I dancing and taking pictures of ourselves and he had one of his employees google my name based off of our reservation. When he saw my paintings of animals, he generously offered Jaclyn and I a private tour on the house so I got to take some amazing photos which I will definitely be painting. Happy we headed out early because we got to return to the hotel by 3pm for some relaxation by the pool. Then we hit up La Palapa Restaurant at the beach in Tamarindo to watch our first unobstructed sunset. G-d is present everywhere, but most definitely during sunsets at the beach in Costa Rica. The fish tacos at La Palapa are some of the best fish tacos I’ve ever had.
Outfit of the day: Leggings by Ultracor exclusive for Bandier; Swimsuit by Zimmerman; Snakeprint maxi coverup by Kimberly Taylor Clothing; Accessories – sunglasses by Gucci, ‘Rainbow Starburst’ clutch by ESC.
DAY 4: Horseback riding on the beach and through the forest. Beautiful experience, but my rear was definitely sore. $20/hour massages on Conchal Beach and sunset catching at La Palapa. We spent the rest of the night relaxing by the pool at our hotel since the sun wiped us out.
Outfit of the day: Activewear outfit by PE Nation; Swimsuit by NEED TO CHECK; Accessories – heart sunglasses a $5 copy of the Saint Laurent glasses, red beaded earrings by Bitz of Glitz; Outfit of the night: Swimsuit by NEED TO CHECK (repeat); Leopard print silk beach pants by Kimberly Taylor; Accessories – Gold hoop earrings Excessories Expert x Melissa Lovy, ‘Fire’ clutch by ESC
DAY 5: Our last adventurous activity of the holiday was a two-hour surf lesson at the beach in Tamarindo, where my tush took its second beating of the trip – a severe sunburn. We ended our trip with one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen – sunset and dinner at Casa Chameleon, approximately 45 minutes from our hotel. The unobstructed view is at the top of a mountain and overlooks an infinity pool flowing into the ocean. The landscaping and surrounding florals are breathtaking, and once the sun sets, they light 3 fires in the infinity pool that add an extra level of tranquility to the ambiance – a full ‘earth, wind, and fire’ experience.
Outfit of the day: Leopard print swimsuit LOOK UP from a shop in Tamarindo; Snakeprint maxi coverup (repeat) by Kimberly Taylor Clothing; White bandeau swimsuit by Bamba swim; White lace maxi coverup by Miguelina; Accessories – one of a kind earrings I snatched on my honeymoon in Australia from a store called Harlequin Market (I can’t believe I remember the name but I got 3 pair of the most unique earrings I’ve ever seen and I still have them 9 years later), ‘Rainbow Starburst’ clutch by ESC. Outfit of the night: Velvet Top (swimsuit top that I’m wearing as a shirt) LOOK UP; Silk floral maxi skirt LOOK UP; Accessories – Crystal necklace by Dannijo, Rainbow Starburst’ clutch by ESC, stud earrings by Jennifer Miller.
Additional Costa Rica Recommendations
I did not get a chance to re-visit some of the spots I fell in love with first time around, but I definitely want to share them with you:
Paula’s Restaurant – amazing Italian food
Lola’s Beach & Restaurant – great food, seating on beach and monkeys
Seasons – delicious food accompanied by romantic atmosphere
Pacifico – bar and dancing
Sharkey’s – bar and dancing
Simply put, Costa Rica is colorful, offbeat, affordable, fun and the natural scenery is absolutely breathtaking. A perfect holiday getaway which I would recommend for all ages!
See you again soon Costa Rica.
Read about the lessons I learned during my holiday in Costa Rica as well as the outcomes of my trip here.