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Living Abroad in Costa Rica
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Things to Do & Places to Stay in Costa Rica

 
   

Montezuma: waterfalls, beaches, yoga
At the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula lies the funky little beach town of Montezuma. Dreadlocks and backpacks abound, but so do visitors who can afford high-end retreats and splurge-worthy dining. Feast on fresh grilled fish with organic ginger ice cream for dessert, then roll out of bed the next morning for banana pancakes and freshly brewed coffee. In between meals, surf and snorkel, or hike to nearby waterfalls or in pristine Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. Hotel Los Mangos, mid-range lodging with an ocean view, offers yet another activity: daily yoga classes in their open-air, thatched-roof studio. Also check out the luxurious Anamaya Resort, perched on a hill above town. Anamaya offers sweeping views, healthy food, an infinity saltwater pool, along with week-long retreats and month-long yoga teacher training programs.

A bird-watching haven off the main tourist track
There are many, but one I particularly enjoyed was Wilson Botanical Gardens, just outside the town of San Vito (south of San Isidro de General). Started in 1959 by a Florida couple, Robert and Catherine Wilson, the gardens are now part of the Las Cruces Biological Station, a part of OTS, the worldwide Organization for Tropical Studies. Bird and plant-loving tourists can stay and eat family-style along with students and scientists. The garden's 283 hectares (700 acres) has 5,100 species of plants, 330 species of birds, and dozens of mammal species, including 37 different kinds of bats. Rooms are rustically luxurious; meals are included. Book through OTS.

 
   

Central Valley Views & Great Food
Outside of San Jose but still convenient to the airport is the lovely and peaceful Hotel Alta, with 24 rooms cascading down a gentle hillside in Santa Ana, near Escazu. Spanish colonial-style architecture creates a graceful, old-world ambience, with red tiled roofs, terra cotta floors, and lovely handmade tile in the bathrooms. Ground level rooms 1 – 5 have their own patios, made semi-private by a profusion of tropical plants. Room 1 is closest to the pool. Most of the higher-up rooms have their own patios with sweeping views of the valley below. La Luz, the hotel’s restaurant, is considered one of the best in the country for continental fare.

 

 

 
 

 

 

For more information, see Living Abroad in Costa Rica.

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