Travel to Cuba: The Best Recommendations

My recent trip to Cuba proved to be a beautiful mix of cultural immersion, breath taking sites, salsa and rum. If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful island soon, let me share my top recommendations with you. You can find general tips on money, internet, Visa info, and more HERE.

cuba travel

 

There is more to see than the big city of Havana.

Here is the itinerary of my two week adventure in Cuba.

  1. Varadero (2 nights) – where we landed.
  2. Trinidad  (2 nights)
  3. Havana (5 nights)
  4. Viñales (day trip, ~ 12 hours)
  5. Varadero (4 nights) – where we flew out of.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Varadero –

TO DO:

  • Enjoy the beautiful beach!
  • Can rent beach chairs for 2CUC a day
  • Walk around the streets and check out souvenir shops and larger markets 
  • Take a romantic stroll around Parque Josone
  • Try the Hop-on Hop-Off bus for $5CUC a day
  • Enjoy free rum tastings at the House of Rum 

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TO EAT:

  • La Vicaria $
  • La Casona del Arte $$
  • El Amanecer $
  • Waco’s $$$

NIGHTLIFE:

  • Calle 62
  • The Pirates Cave
  • Havana Club
  • La casa de la Musica

WHERE WE STAYED:

  • Casa Magda y Gilbert
  • Norma’s B&B

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Trinidad –

TO DO:

  • Take a trip to the sugar cane plantations with a private driver or organize bus tour
  • Spend the morning at Playa Ancon
  • Get lost wandering the streets of this quaint town 

TO EAT:

  • Guitarra Mia $$
  • Restaurante San Jose $$

NIGHTLIFE:

  • Plaza Mayor has live music and dancing starting at 10pm 
  • Casa de la Musica  
  • Disco Ayala (Cave)  

WHERE WE STAYED:

  • Hostal Las Margaritas

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Havana –

TO DO:

  • Visit museums: Museo de La Revolution and Museo De Las Bellas Artes (Fine Arts)
  • Take a walking tour
  • Walk along el malecon 
  • Shope at the Almacenes San Jose Artisans Market
  • Walk down Obispo St. 
  • Go dancing

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TO EAT:

  • San Cristobal (where the Obamas, Kardashians, and Beyonce have eaten)
  • El Cocinero (rooftop restaurants attached to Fabrica de Arte)
  • Los Nardos (across from el Capitolio)
  • La Guarida 
  • Paladar los amigos (Anthony Bourdain ate here)

NIGHTLIFE:

  • Fabrica de Arte
  • 1830
  • Hotel Florida  

WHERE WE STAYED:

  • Casa Yadilis y Joel

 

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Viñales – 

We were only here for the day so I can’t recommend anything regarding night life, where to stay, or places to eat.

TO DO:

  • Visit coffee plantations
  • Walk through caves and take a boat ride through
  • Visit a tobacco farm
  • Stop at El Mirador for a breathtaking view of the landscape 

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I can’t wait for my next trip to Cuba. There is still more places I would love to explore there. If you have enough time, I highly recommend exploring the areas outside of Havana to really fall in love with Cuba.

 

 

Viva Cuba! 

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Travel to Cuba: Everything You Need to Know

Cuba’s growing popularity as a new travel destination for Americans has left people with many questions about planning for this trip. I recently spent two weeks in Cuba, traveling through Varadero, Trinidad, Havana, and Vinales.  In preparation for this adventure, I found it difficult to obtain clear information for putting together the itinerary. I figured I would share my experiences to help out others planning to visit this beautiful country in the future. Here are answers to many common questions and tips on how to make the most of your trip to Cuba. 

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Are Americans Allowed to Travel to Cuba?

YES, but there are still some restrictions…

Technically, American tourism in Cuba is still a no no but you can travel there under one of the 12 categories of authorized trips.

You’ll need to plan a “people-to-people” trip (reason #8: aka “In Support of the Cuban People”). This means you are meeting Cuban citizens in their normal daily life settings like schools and community centers, but no one will ask to see your itinerary or for proof of these activities. You may be asked, however, at the U.S. airport for your travel reason so have your answer prepared.

Do I Need a Visa?

You can now purchase flights from the USA directly to Cuba, but a Visa is required. Check with your airline first as many of them will sell you a visa at-cost (~$50) and mail it out to you. Not all airlines offer this, for example, American Airlines outsources their Visa process, raising the customer costs to $85. Many airlines will also have the option to purchase Visas at the airport the day of your flight for ~$100 (cash only).

Another option for obtaining a Visa to Cuba is through a travel agency. They can mail one out to you within a few days for around $80.

The visa process, in general, is simple but pricey.

 

How Much Cash Should I Bring and Will My Credit Card Work in Cuba?

Bring enough cash to cover all of your expenses, including food, transportation, and accommodations. American credit cards and debit cards will not work in Cuba at this time. If you run out of cash during this trip, you are SOL.

 

What’s the Cuban Exchange Rate?

Cubans use cuban pesos (CUP), while tourists use the cuban convertible peso (CUC). You’ll need your currency in CUC, which has a 1:1 exchange rate to USD.

My advice is to exchange USD for Euros or Canadian dollars (CAD) before your trip. Once in Cuba you can convert Euros (or CAD) to CUC. This will help you avoid the 13% tax, imposed by Cuba, for converting USD to CUC.

You’ll find the fairest exchange rates at local Cuban banks or cajas de cambio (exchange windows).

Beware of locals “accidentally” giving you change back in CUP instead of CUC. It happened to a few of my travel companions. Many local spots will have pricing in CUP, but will accept your CUC currency. Just be sure to know that 24 CUP = 1 CUC and that your change is given in CUC.

 

Can I Bring back Cigars and Rum from Cuba?

In the past, restrictions limited travelers to a combined total of $100 in rum and cigars. Obama recently lifted this restriction, allowing Cuban rum and cigars to fall under the same limits as alcohol and tobacco from other countries.

 

Accommodations: Hotels vs Casa Particulares

Hotels in Cuba are pretty much government-owned, resulting in lower quality service and accommodations. Expect to shell out $100+ a night for your room. Food is usually buffet style, although many hotels have restaurants inside. Usually the hotels are further away from city centers and major sites, requiring cab rides or buses to get around.

If you really want to experience the Cuban culture and support the people, casa particulares are my recommendation.

I was pleasantly surprised at how clean and comfortable the casas were. The hosts were also so friendly and helpful, giving us recommendations on restaurants, things to do, and even organizing transportation for excursions.

Many provided beer and water in the rooms for $2CUC and amazing homemade breakfasts for just $5 CUC. Breakfasts always included coffee, toast, freshly made fruit juice, a bowl of fresh fruits, and some variety of egg dish.

AirBnB’s are also an option in Cuba and will offer similar accommodations as a casa particular, but at a higher price point since AirBnB will charge you a fee aside from the host’s asking price.

 

Is There Internet Access in Cuba?

Wifi is hard to come by in Cuba…and slow. You need to purchase an internet card from someone on the street, certain hotels or the internet company ETECSA. The card is about $2-$3CUC for 60minutes. You have 30 days to use the 60 minutes.

These internet cards can only be used in a wifi hot spot. Most hotels and certain areas in the city are hot spots. You’ll know if a place is a hot spot because locals will be gathered around using their phones and computers nearby.

Here’s what it looks like..

cuba travel

 

Taxis, Travel Options, and Getting Around

We probably spent the most money in Cuba on transportation. The good news is that there are a few options to choose from. Car rentals are available but can be expensive. Book in advance.

There are plenty of taxis all over, but once they spot a tourist they hike up prices. This is where good bargaining skills come in handy. Yellow taxi cabs are government-owned, meaning drivers pay a government tax daily no matter how much business they had that day. These drivers tend to have higher prices because, naturally, they are trying to make a profit. Private drivers have more negotiable prices. You can usually ask your casa host or hotel front desk to coordinate transportation for you. There are also bus services which can be the most affordable option for solo travelers or couples, however they take much longer than traveling by car would. Get your ticket at least one day in advance and confirm departure times.

Avoid getting completely lost by downloading a map of the country in advance. Use the app called ‘maps.me’ for access to off-line searches and GPS navigation.  

 

A Few Tips:

Cuba is very safe but you should still be on guard for scams.

  • Don’t listen to anyone on the streets offering to walk you to a great restaurant/ paladar. They are usually getting a kickback and often the restaurant is no good.
  • Don’t be surprised if some restaurants are out of common things like bread or chicken. This happens often.
  • Many government owned restaurants are low quality, while paladares (privately owned restaurants) tend to be better. Finding good food at a fair price can be unpredictable. I recommend having a few restaurants picked out in advance or asking your casa host/ hotel for recommendations.
  • You’ll find many people selling “authentic” Cuban cigars in the streets for very low prices. Most of the time, if not all of the time, these are cheap knock-off cigars. The only way to guarantee good quality tobacco is to by from a government tobacco store.

 

cuba travel

 

In this next post I’ve shared my itinerary, as well as recommendations for restaurants, things to do,  night life and accommodations in each of the 4 areas I visited in Cuba. Read more HERE.  

 

Safe Travels, 

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Healthy Travel Snacks to Pack on Your Next Trip

In my last post I shared some practical ways to stay healthy while traveling. A large part of that involves being prepared with healthy snacks. Here are a few of my favorites…

healthy travel snacks

I like healthy travel snacks that are as minimally, processed as possible, will fill me up, satisfy my sweet tooth, and still be nutritious. These are snacks I typically bring along for plane rides, road trips, or weekends away. I tend to make poor food choices when I’m not prepared, so I am always careful to carry healthy travel snacks with me.  

FiggyPops-

These balls of goodness satisfy my sweet tooth without the chemicals and additives of similar products. They are sweetened with fruit juice instead of high fructose corn syrup. I especially love that they are made with whole, plant-based ingredients like:  organic figs, organic cashews, organic dates, organic coconut, organic walnuts, organic dried tart cherries (organic dried tart cherries, organic apple juice, organic sunflower oil), organic gluten-free oats, organic coconut oil, organic cacao nibs, organic maple syrup, organic cinnamon, sea salt.

 

Dried Dates-

Dried fruits can get a bad rep for being high in sugar and because of the way they are sometimes processed. These particular dates are unsulfured and taste like caramel. They are not quite as sweet as the common medjool dates, but I would say they are just as good.

To balance out the glycemic load (insulin spike) of the dates, I pair them with healthy fats like a handful of nuts or better yet a little almond butter inside the date. So good!

 

 

Roasted Chickpeas-

You can totally make these yourself at home by roasting salted chickpeas at 400 degrees until crunchy. If you want something a bit more convenient though, these Good Bean chickpeas make for great healthy travel snacks (one of my favorites actually); and they satisfy that craving for something salty. They come in several flavors, but I prefer the plain, salted one.

Suggestion: Mix them in with chopped dates, roasted edamame and nuts to make a satisfying trail mix.

 

 

Roasted Edamame –

Another great snack! This one is filling and also goes great in a DIY trail mix.

Each serving has 13g of protein per serving and 8g of fiber.

They’re also Non-GMO which is a rare find considering more than 90% of soy is genetically modified. A bit of caution with this product: if you have issues with excess water retention, high blood pressure or heart disease beware of the sodium content (150mg per serving). Always read those nutrition labels my friends.

 

 

Vegan nutrition powders –

I tend to use these travel sized nutrition powders as a quick breakfast option. They hold me over until lunch and ensure that at least one of my meals is packed with the essential vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrition my body needs to thrive.

It can also make for a great latte when mixed into coffee.

 

 

BarkThins-

I wouldn’t necessarily say this is the healthiest snack BUT a girl needs her chocolate fix ya’ know! I love the dark chocolate with pumpkin seeds because I can get my sweets AND some antioxidants, healthy fats, + a little protein. These are really good people!

 

 

 

Kind Bars-

Recently Kind Bars were ridiculed a bit for their high fat content, but looking at research I have found evidence that fat doesn’t make us fat. Sugar does!

These bars are made with wholesome ingredients and are low in sugar. Regardless, you should still read the nutrition labels because there are several different types of Kind bars with varying nutritional content. These particular ones come in several flavors and I have yet to have a flavor I did not enjoy.  I eat them for breakfast or between meals.  These are my go-to healthy travel snacks.

 

 

Chia Warrior bars-   

I recently discovered these little bars and have become quite fond of them. I usually buy a box of 5. Each bar is 100 calories. They have plenty of fiber along with healthy omega 3 fats. There are different flavor options, but I have only tried chocolate peanut butter and the superfood protein peanut butter cacao. (I have a thing for peanut butter, in case you didn’t know). Anyway, both of those flavors are yummy and I would recommend them over Kind bars if your searching for a small between meal snack.

 

 

Lenny & Larry Cookies – 

These “complete” cookies are vegan, soy free, and dairy free. They have tons of fiber and protein. I usually only eat half the cookie if I just want a filling snack. Eat the entire cookie for a meal replacement. 

 

One final tip – 

No matter where you are, access to fresh produce and water are usually easily available.

Stock up on fruits and raw veggies to complement these other snacks. My favorites are baby carrots and raw broccoli. For fruits, I usually go for berries, peaches, bananas, or apples (depending on what is in season/ available). Nothing can truly replace the nutrients and benefits from fruits and vegetables, so don’t forget to include these on your list of healthy travel snacks. 

It’s very easy to forget to stay hydrated when you’re busy sightseeing, but drinking plenty of water will not only curb your appetite but keep you energized and strengthen the immune system.

healthy travel snacks

Yes this does take a little planning, but not much! Feeling your best during and after your vacation is worth the small amount of time you’ll spend packing these snacks. Of course you don’t have to bring them all! These are just suggestions of my favorites. Try out the ones that appeal to you and take them along on your next trip 🙂

What’s your favorite healthy snack? 

 

Happy snacking,

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*** You might also like this post: ‘ How to Stay Healthy on Vacation ‘ and ‘ Eating Healthy While Eating Out ‘

 


 

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How to Stay Healthy on Vacation

While we all love a nice getaway, many of us find ourselves struggling to stay healthy on vacation. It’s challenging to keep up with our weight, healthy eating habits, and exercise routines when you’re away.

You spend the last few weeks before a trip trying to get “bikini ready” by dieting and exercising like a maniac. Then, when you’re finally on vacation, all thoughts of calorie restrictions and workouts go out the window. After the getaway, you come back home to find you’ve regained all the weight you worked so hard to shed. You either stay in a funk for a while or go back to the excessive dieting and exercising in yet another attempt to lose those pounds. Up and down go the numbers on the scale, the cycle never ends, and thus is life. This is a completely unsustainable way to maintain your health.

 

Surely there must be a better way to stay healthy on vacation and maintain it even afterward.. right? Right!!

 

healthyonvacation

 

It’s been an exciting, travel-filled summer for me, with both domestic and international trips. I was sure I would be gaining plenty of weight because I was eating some delicious, rich foods. But hooray I maintained my weight and habits (actually even lost 2lbs!) without having to restrict myself.

I admit that I’ve faced these challenges time and time again when I am away from my home and my typical routine.  Through trial and error, I’ve figured out a simple, realistic approach to keeping my wellness level up before, during, and after a getaway. I hope this helps you stay on track and understand how to stay healthy on your next vacation.

Let’s dig into this, shall we?

 

MAKING CHOICES THAT ALIGN WITH YOUR WELLNESS PRIORITIES

Without structure and a routine when on vacation, it’s easy to lose sight of your wellness priorities.  For me, these priorities include honoring my body and maintaining a spiritual practice, among other things. I disregard these priorities by not resting enough (I get too excited and try to see and do as much as possible), throwing caution to the wind with food and beverage choices, and not making time for exercise, prayer, my thoughts. But there just isn’t enough time for everything, am I right?

So we’ve got to be intentional and creative to make the best choices for optimal results.

First, you have to release the mindset of feeling like you must to stick to a specific diet/exercise regimen while you’re on vacation.  Stop worrying about gaining weight. It’s times like these that the whole “have balance” philosophy comes into play. While you might be great at staying disciplined in your usual day-to-day schedule, when you’re on vacation it’s OKAY to indulge a LITTLE and relax. Now, on the other hand, you shouldn’t throw caution to the window and completely overindulge.

Well of course treating yourself is okay, but sometimes we overdo it and cross that fine line where treating yourself TOO much actually ends of hurting you.

Try your best to uphold your wellness priorities and healthy lifestyle without making it feel like a duty. Be intentional with your actions and choices.

 

EXERCISE WITHOUT EXERCISING?

I must applaud those of you that get up early and workout on vacation.  If you’re like me, working out just isn’t too appealing when you’re away. Some challenges that occur are lack of facilities, not enough space, or you’re too tired from staying out late the night before.  Not all is lost, however, because there are still plenty of ways to stay active, and in turn stay healthy on vacation!

Prevent yourself from gaining weight and getting out of shape by staying active as much as possible.

Some easy ways to get a little exercise without actually exercising can include: Walking, swimming, jogging, hiking, bike tours, stretching, local/ free yoga 

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A kayaking tour in Portugal was a fantastic form of exercise with a view

 

DIET AND NUTRITION

When it comes to food, it’s a little more challenging but here’s my strategy. Stick to simple breakfast options like nutrition shake, smoothie, or fruit and nuts so you are sure to start the day off nuritionally strong. I loovveee brunching, but limit it to just once or twice a week.

For lunch and dinner, whatever you choose to eat think about the option to share your dish. You are less likely to overeat this way.  I recommend checking out Yelp to review restaurant menus in advance.  Also consider visiting the nearest farmers market to try out local snacks and produce.

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A yummy meal in Costa Rica, with plenty of veggies

You know how much I love vegetables and plant based foods so it should not be surprising to you when I suggest focusing on getting vegetables into your meals. I know this can be difficult to do on vacation, but start small and try to aim for vegetables in AT LEAST one meal a day. That is the bare minimum you should strive for.

 

Limit dessert and decadent treats. Don’t make it a daily habit to have these.  In all honesty, desserts are my weakness ESPECIALLY on vacations. I’m tempted to try the best ice cream shops and all the famous desserts. A few strategies for this: share the sweet treat, make the rest of your meals healthy and load up on veggies, limit sugar in your diet with all other meals.

And most importantly, carry your own snacks with you because you never know when you’ll be stuck at an airport or in a position where you’re hAngry and the only options are fast food.  Coming up this week I will share with you some of my favorite healthy travel snacks. 

One final tip is to never have two unhealthy meals in a row. Always follow an unhealthy meal with a healthy one. This keeps me accountable to making sure that next meal will be nutritious and nourishing.

 

Whatever you do, don’t be miserable on vacation because you’re worried about getting “fat.” Check in with yourself to ensure your not overindulging. Don’t completely abandon the good stuff- fruits and veggies; And find creative ways to stay active.

Enjoy your trip, #treatyoself, and honor your wellness priorities. 

 

healthyonvacation

A delicious dulce de leche donut at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn

YOUR TURN

What are your wellness priorities and how do you stay healthy on vacation?

Have you had a bad travel experience because you were worried about dieting and weight gain? Share your story or any advice.

 

 

Cheers,

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Costa Rica: Living la Pura Vida

When I started this blog my focus was on health related topics like food, fitness, and overall wellness. As I’ve grown this past year I have realized just how comprehensive health is. It is not simply defined by the fuel we put into our bodies or the exercises that shapes us. Healthy living is more than the number on a scale or even the positive mindset we work so hard to foster. To live in good health, to live well, is to live freely, simply, and with optimism. I was really able to comprehend this on my recent visit to Costa Rica. The “Pura Vida” lifestyle is easy to embrace as it reminds me to take it easy.

I was in Costa Rica for about a week visiting my husband who was there finishing up a project with his graduate program. He had lived there for several years when he was younger, but this was my first time stepping foot in this country. I was excited to see where he spent his childhood and experience the Costa Rican culture. We had a rental car, making easy to travel between cities and explore.

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La Selva Biological Station 

I spent the first night in La Selva Biological Station, in Sarapiqui, where I got to experience Costa Rica’s beautiful wildlife and forests. In just 24 hours I saw monkeys, all types of loud and colorful birds, two sloths (plus a baby sloth), a poisonous red and blue frog, and wild pigs. Everywhere I walked I had to be vigilant or I might easily miss some wonderful creature! The weather was hot and humid, with some rain (even though this was dry season). This area is secluded from much else so all our meals were provided by the Station, buffet style. This was my first introduction to the fruit in Costa Rica. The papaya, pineapple and watermelon were the best I have ever tasted.  During the day there are hikes offered with a tour guide, or you can go on your own. In the evenings there are night tours where you are sure to see all kinds of crazy looking insects, amphibians, and reptiles (think NatGeo type of creatures!).  After a day, I was pretty much done oo-ing and aw-ing at the wildlife and was ready to pack it up and move on to our next destination. It’s a fun place to see and explore, but after a day or two there isn’t much else to do.

Arenal Volcano National Park

Our next stop was Arenal Volcano National Park. The terrain noticeably changed as we drove further away from Sarapiqui, from green lush landscapes, to dry sparse lands.  Towards the end of our two hour drive, we saw a sloth in the most random of places. He was hanging off barbed wire on the side of the highway. We turned around and pulled over to see if our eyes were deceiving us. Hanging so still and looking a bit stiff, we wondered if this sloth was dead?! A tour guide, along with two tourists happened to pull over as well. The guide told us the sloth was indeed alive and sleeps for up to 16 hours a day. Talk about getting some beauty sleep! Usually, these animals are found in wet, rainy areas sleeping high up in trees so I was surprised to find him here of all places.  Why he settled upon the most uncomfortable of napping spots I don’t understand. I really wanted to touch him, but the guide scared me when he mentioned sloths can bite. Seeing the sloth was a big highlight for me. I can’t get over what an interesting animal they are.

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After this brief, but exciting slot spotting, we continued on our way to Arenal. It’s a pretty small town, but loaded with restaurants and shops (for tourists, that is). The small park in the center of town is a great place to stop for a rest, as you can see the top of the arenal volcano from here on a clear day. There are hotels after hotels here advertising all kinds of tours and hikes (zip lining is quite popular). And all of the hotels have hot springs, too. We enjoyed the hot springs at our hotel, especially the natural pool with the wet bar. We were told the best days to hike up the volcano were sunrise or sunset, as this is when you get the best views of the volcano. Unfortunately, most of the time the volcano was barely visible due to the thick blanket of clouds hiding it. I mean you almost wouldn’t even know there was a massive volcano there because of how well the clouds covered it up. We did catch a breathtaking view here and there allowing us to snap some photos, especially just before sunset. I wouldn’t recommend hiking to the volcano if it’s an especially cloudy day because you won’t see much. Instead, Karim and I went to La Fortuna waterfalls. It was a short hike, down several flights of steps, but delightful and worth the $12 entrance fee.  Once we reached the waterfall we were able to swim in it. While the water is incredibly cold, it was so refreshing and our bodies seemed to get used to the temperature pretty quickly. A little ways down from the waterfall is a stream/run-off that’s shallow, calmer, and warmer so we spent more time in this area. I’d recommend bringing drinking water, bug spray, towel, your bathing suit of course, and maybe swimming shoes because there are a lot of rocks at the water’s edge.

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Two days in Arenal was sufficient. There isn’t much of a night life so take full advantage of all the day time excursions. As far as food goes, our favorite by far was Chifa La Familia Feliz. This place served Peruvian/Asian influenced food.  We loved this place so much we ate here twice. The chef is friendly and warm, coming out to shake your hand and welcome you personally. All of the food is fresh and flavorful. You can tell by the plating and type of cuisine that this chef definitely has professional culinary training. And best of all, it’s totally affordable. So if you visit Arenal, don’t leave without eating here.

Tamarindo Area & Playa Langosta 

Our next,last, and most anticipated stop was Tamarindo, Langosta beach. We spent the bulk of our time here mostly surfing, laying out by the beach, watching sunsets, enjoying the main street’s shops and restaurants. The beach area was so laid back and relaxing. Having rented an AirB&B near Barcelo hotels, we were able to cook some of our meals at home. There were plenty of nearby grocery stores but the AutoMercado had the best selection and prices. When we did eat out, we found many places did not accept credit cards, so carry around some cash. U.S. Dollars were accepted, but at a slightly worse exchange rate. Prices in this area are similar to U.S. prices.

Some of the food spots we checked out and would recommend are: Green Papaya, Patagonia, Sharky’s, and Falafel. As you might know, I don’t eat meat but to my surprise, eating plant based was pretty easy in Costa Rica. Most of the restaurants always offered some sort of vegan option.

During the day we spent our time at the beach. Neptuno’s Surf Shop offered great deals on surfing. For $35 they provide semi-private 2 hour lessons and for $10 you can use the surfboard all day long. If you’re not into surfing, you can beach hop. While Langosta beach is beautiful, Playa Conchal was it’s own kind of beauty. The sand was made from an infinite number of crushed seashells (many of which were still whole). No surfing is allowed at this beach so it’s calm and quiet aside from locals selling drinks like pipa fria (cold coconut) and Imperial (the national beer). There are a lot of other beaches to check out all along this western pacific coast of Costa Rica. If you don’t have a rental car, shuttle buses are offered that will take you to these places.  

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Just because you’re in the beach area, don’t think you won’t see wild life. I was standing in the back porch of our airbnb near the main pool area when suddenly I see a black furry creature walking towards me. I don’t know why, but I thought it was a cat at first only to realize it was a lonely little monkey!  During my stay in Playa Langosta, I also saw a baby skunk and a racoon– different type of “wildlife” but still! Haha.

Costa Rica was a great place to visit. If, and when, you go there be sure to check out more than one area of this diverse country. You’ll find that each place has something wonderful and totally different to offer than the next.  The people are friendly and laid back with their “pura vida” attitude. The food is fresh and delicious, especially my favorites- the fruit (pineapple, papaya and watermelon) and the traditional gallo pinto breakfast. The simple beauty and optimistic way of life here was soothing to my soul. I’ll definitely be back. So if you want the relaxation of the beach, exploration of wildlife and nature, and adventures like hiking and ziplining Costa Rica is a THE place to visit. 

 

If you’ve been to Costa Rica too, I’d love to hear some of your favorite experiences and places to check out because there is so much I didn’t get to see and do (maybe next time!).

costa rica

 

Pura Vida,

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