Arenal Springs Resort & Spa

I recently set off for a mini getaway, as requests for overnight trips to Arenal Volcano begin to spill in for high season. I decided to pay a visit to Arenal Springs Resort & Spa as my clients have been looking for a mid range accommodation with great views.

From the moment we arrived for our inspection the staff was amazing. They greeted us with welcome drinks and lead us to check in, which was surprisingly quick and painless.

They helped us to our room. It was perfect. The walkway arrived at a large patio with rocking chairs. The room was full of natural light. Two queen beds, large bathroom complete with a 1/2 outdoor shower. There was a mini fridge, coffee maker and flat screen tv. The best part of the room was the breath taking view of the volcano.

I could have stayed here all day!

Like a kid in a candy store I was torn between heading to check out the hotel spa vs the hot springs first. Tough life … I know! lol Figured I better get booked in for a little TLC so I walked down to the spa. I booked a facial and massage and then carried on down to the hot springs. Good thing I booked them for the following day as once I got in…there was no getting out of the springs.

The property has their own thermal waters, so no need to head to another place to soak in the famous benefits of hot springs. They have 4 different pools, a jacuzzi, 2 cold pools including one for the kids. Now that I think about it … I didn’t see one child there. I would recommend Hotel Los Lagos for people travelling with children. There is a little more to do there for them.

We finally got out to go have dinner. We found the food at the Ti-Cain restaurant at the resort pricey, but good. Breakfast was included in our stay and the buffet had something for everyone. During our couple days we also wandered out to eat a couple meals as well. The locals told me the best steak was found at Don Rufino. I’m an Albertan that has lived in Argentina so I’m pretty picky about good steak. I wasn’t impressed with Don Rufino. I usually head to Restaurante La Parada infront of the park for a good cheap meal, with plenty of people watching included.

My spa treatment was great. The massage and facial lasted almost 2 hours. The setting is serene as the wood treatment areas are surrounded by lush gardens and a Koi pond.

Heading To The Spa

Treatment Room

For anyone interested in doing yoga, they have a beautiful area for your practice. GORGEOUS!!!

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Arenal Springs and Resorts to anyone looking for an overnight trip to Arenal. Great Place!

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p.s. I was to busy in the hot springs and spa to take my own photos…these are compliments of the hotel 🙂

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Posted in Arenal, Costa Rica, Hot Springs, La Fortuna, Mountain Hotels, Restaurants, Spa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Best Adventure Tour In Costa Rica!

Everyone always asks “Cheryl, what is your favourite all day adventure tour?” I can tell you hands down without hesitation you can’t leave Costa Rica without a trip to Hacienda Guachipelin.

Hacienda Guachipelin is a privately owned working ranch that they have opened up to tourists to come and enjoy. It is located at the base of the Rincon De La Vieja Volcano just north of Liberia. Once you get away from the beach and up in the untouched area you will quickly notice that the temperature cools off in comparison to the beach. The wildlife around the ranch is amazing as it backs up to Rincon De La Vieja National Park. Three species of monkeys, beautiful birds including toucans if you are lucky, coati (like a raccoon crossed with an anteater), lizards, snakes (pretty hard to see…don’t let this scare you lol), etc.

Coati … As a friend of mine says “like a racoon only friendlier”

The owner Jose Tomas and his crew are amazing hosts. They are always flexible and client satisfaction is their first priority. I’ve been going for years and sending almost every client that comes and the only complaint I have had is that they had to come back home. The options of activities are endless and the staff is able to tailor the day to everyone. I recommend the all day adventure pass. This way you can pick two of the main activities and then they sneak everything else in.

You can choose two of the activities from two different zip lines, waterfall repelling and/or tubing down the river. Last time I went, we arrived around 8:15 in order to miss any big tour groups that arrive during day. Don’t get me wrong, I love people, but hate having to be herded like cattle all day. Hence, why I recommend renting a car or going in a small tour group.

We started out getting in our zip lining gear. I was with good friends and was joking about the last time I went and someone fell. Stupid joke…I then spent the next 15 minutes explaining the safety protocols they have to follow. In the end no one bailed and we finished the mini zip lining for dummies course they give you. Everyone got over their initial jitters and we were off and there was no looking back. Even people who are scared at first get over it by about the third platform.

I love that this canopy cuts through a canyon. It’s completely different from the other zip-lines here. Rock walls on both sides with the river down below and the monkeys are the only ones cheering you on. This particular canopy includes a “mission impossible” drop, which I did upside down. I felt like Tom Cruise. It was awesome. Basically, instead of going across on the zipline…you plunge down to the platform at the base of the river. You then swing across the Tarzan swing to the other side. I then felt like Jane. Then I was at a rock wall. They wanted me to climb it. I laughed and said “You want me to what???”. Soooo…then I felt a little like an overweight Spiderman. Thank god there is a guy up top to hoist you up once all your muscles give out. From there are a series of other cables and small rock walls.

One of the small rock climbs between platforms.

After that…I was ready for a drink, but not yet. We rounded up some horses and headed for a swim under one of the waterfalls with turquoise blue water on the property. We trotted back for lunch. The lunch alone is reason to go back over and over again. I’m not going to lie. I’m not a huge fan of the famous “Gallo Pinto“, I do eat the odd chicken casado or arroz con pollo. But this buffet style meal is amazing!!! It’s full of delicious typical food and fresh juices. My advice … Eat Up, because you’re going to need it for the rest of the day.

We got back in the saddle and rode horses down to the river to the start of the tubing activity. It’s 5km down a river that runs down the side of a volcano in the jungle. You pass by beautiful trees, a waterfall, birds, lizards and troops of monkeys. Depending on the time of year the tour changes. It gets ridiculously fast in the rainy season because the river is much higher. Other times it’s a nice leisurely float with a few rapids. Make sure you bring some old running shoes because sandals are not going to cut it. For women, shorts are a better option than a bikini. After falling out a few times and laughing at other people falling out we proceeded back to the lockers in an old bumpy school bus.

Although, most people then head off to the natural hot springs and mud baths. We changed into some dry clothes and headed to the little bar there for a couple of cold ones before heading home. (Another reason to hire a driver) There is also a hotel if you decided to stay the night. I’d recommend it as there is so much to see and do. A hike around the National Park is amazing and you could do that the following day.

So there you have it…This day trip is the one I don’t think anyone should miss!!!

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Posted in Adventure Tours, Costa Rica, Day Tours, Great Food, Hot Springs, Mountain Hotels, Spa, Uncategorized, Zip Lining | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Pacifico Resort Community L1203 Now Ready To Rent!!!

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Blue River Resort & Spa, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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My mom had arrived after a long flight. We spend a couple days lounging around Playas Del Coco soaking up sun and margaritas, as she had flew in from chilly Calgary, Alberta for her annual visit. I asked what she would like to do for the day. Mom really isn’t one to ask to do anything, for fear of being a bother, but we were both in need of some serious R&R. She said “Well I sure would like to go to some hot springs for my achy bones and bathe in the volcanic mud and natural hot springs like we did last year”. I had heard about the new Blue River Resort & Spa and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to finally check it out.

We made reservations to head out the next morning. We left Coco around 8:00am with plans on arriving around 10am to make the most of our getaway. Usually, I head to Arenal/La Fortuna to soak in the natural hot springs but after her long flight we wanted to spend less time in the car and more time enjoying.

The drive there was easy. Heading north once we hit Liberia and then passing through the quaint town of Quebrada Grande and a few other tiny towns a long the way. It was paved narrow roads most of the way. The last 20 km was a little rough, after the final 5km. We were happy to see the entrance to the property. I must say I felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, which I loved! Very little phone service and few people was exactly what we were looking for.

The staff greeted us with open arms. It felt like we were coming home.

My Favorite Things:

– The cabins were great, well equipped and rustic. Not too rustic very comfortable. There was a hammock stretched across the front deck surrounded by all sorts of tropical flowers. The only thing that distracted me from my reading was the hummingbirds and parrots flying over.

– The staff. Everyone from our hostess, the reception, the manager and the spa were amazing. They made us feel like we were the only guests at the small but full resort.

– The gardens. Everything was beautifully manicured. The areas surrounding the pools were surrounded by the green lush plants that stay all year round when the Coco area gets dry. The orchids and hummingbirds kept mom enamoured the entire time.

To Be Desired:

– We found the restaurant to be inconsistant. We did manage to have a few good meals, but found that they often didn’t have what was offered on the menu.

-I’m pretty spoiled with volcanic mud baths as I’ve lived here for over 6 years and have been to many different venues, all of which are different. This got the job done, but the setup wasn’t ideal for me.

Overall, I would highly recommend visiting Blue River. The spa services were great. I strongly recommend to stay at least one night or two would be ideal. They have plenty of excursions available for guests. It was raining heavily when we were there and we preferred to pamper ourselves in the spa 🙂 If we would have had one more day there we definitely would have gotten out on the horses and done the canopy. The Blue River really was breath taking.

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Posted in Hot Springs, Mountain Hotels, Spa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments