#MMGYTravels: Consummately Captivated by Costa Rica
The Trip: Client meetings and country familiarization
Location: San Jose, La Fortuna and Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Miles Traveled: 4,261 in the air; lost count on the ground
Destination Highlight: Swimming at the base of a giant waterfall during a torrential downpour
This was a true business and pleasure trip for our small team assembled from New York, Kansas City and Madrid. We spent a fair amount of time meeting and presenting in various conference rooms (one with a rather incredible view of the national soccer stadium) with a new client, the national tourism board of directors and various service providers. But we were also fortunate to have bestowed upon us a knowledgeable guide (we now call him jefe, or “boss”) who chaperoned seven adults in a minivan to some stunning, Instagram-friendly destinations.
It was the first time for all of us in a country that most of us had always wanted to visit, but had yet to have the opportunity. Suffice to say, it lived up to its reputation as a truly magical place, overflowing with wonderful people, weight-altering food (because you don’t want to stop eating), wildly varied and beautiful terrain, and unforgettable experiences.
From the capital of San Jose, we rumbled skyward to the misty rainforest, up twisting two-lane roads that passed lush greenery, coffee farms and even a family of howler monkeys. We landed in La Fortuna at the Alajuela waterfall, which lies under the gaze of the famed active Arenal volcano. The water plunges more than 200 feet from the canopy, and getting to its base requires a 500-step descent – SO fun on the way back up.
The area overflows with natural hot springs and gorgeous foliage that looks as if its genetic creation was divinely guided by Willy Wonka. At one point, we split up to respectively indulge in zip-lining and walking bridges suspended across caverns in jungles that showed off sloths, lizards, toucans and even a tarantula (my favorite).
After a stop for a guy selling truly restorative coconut water from coconuts he macheted in the back bay of his van, fast-forward to our next stop: the large Pacific-coast province of Guanacaste. Here, jungles transition to dry forests and beachfront resorts. From one such resort, we took a rather memorable boat ride that resulted in sea turtle and pufferfish sightings, epic tubing water-crashes and fresh-caught tuna that became sublime on-deck sushi.
One tragic accident (not ours), a colossally delaying detour and a delightfully unexpected roadside lunch later, we made it back through typically maddening traffic to San Jose for a few more meetings and somewhat sad see-you-laters. It’s an enchanting, wonderfully unique country, to which I can’t wait to return and see more.