Backpacking Costa Rica

I went to Costa Rica for 10 days and it was an absolute dream. I loved it so much. I knew I would like it but I didn’t realize how much I would love it. I loved everything about it, the food, the people, the weather, the scenery, the intimacy, the animals…everything! Lets break this trip down.


I do not speak Spanish well at all. I know a few words here and there. I used the free app Duolingo to learn basic Spanish before I went. This was actually very helpful. I experienced a good mix of people knowing English and not knowing English. Most of the people we interacted with did have basic English words down and I had basic Spanish words down. This was enough to get me through without too much trouble. There were hiccups here and there but nothing major or damaging. What was consistent though was that everyone was extremely nice and even though we did not speak the same language, I found that anyone I met or interacted with was friendly, sweet and willing to help out with directions, etc… as best they could.


My boyfriend and I decided not to rent a car and instead use a car service that drives you from point A to your far away destination of point B. They come and pick you up and will drive you to your next destination, even if it is 6 hours away and it is usually around $50. It was so worth it to not deal with the stress of directions and the bumpy roads which would have made me nervous to drive on. There were a few times that I feared for my life because the driver was talking on his phone or not looking at the road but ya know…you get what you pay for I suppose. The two car services we used were: Desafio & Montezuma Expeditions.


As for the food, I have been trying to go vegetarian and I thought this would be an issue in another country but it wasn’t at all. I did have chicken here and there but there was endless supply of veggies and rice and a bunch of other yummy things. The plantains were out of this world and I swear Costa Rica has the best tomatoes I have ever tasted in my life. Look at all of this deliciousness! Everything tasted so fresh. I miss the food a lot.

First few days of the trip: Cabuya

For the first part of our trip we went to Cabuya, which was a 6 hour drive from San Jose airport. We went there for a wedding. I absolutely loved it. Cabuya had so much to offer…so much so, that I did not even get to do everything I wanted to! We stayed at my friend’s mother’s spa, Gentle Earth Retreats. This place was incredibly beautiful. I highly recommend it! My friend’s wedding took place on this property. It was a dream location for a wedding.

This is the adorable place we ate at each morning. It was a 5 minute walk from Gentle Earth Retreats.

The woman that helped us each morning was so sweet and the food was amazing.

The first big adventure we took in Cabuya was snorkeling on Toruga Island. Now this was a fantastic deal we got through Gentle Earth Retreats. We spent about 2 hours on a boat to the island. Went snorkeling for a few hours, spent a few hours lounging on the island with food provided for us and then the boat ride back. This was only $45!!! Incredible deal. This was one of my favorite days in Costa Rica.

Hard to see but we saw a whale shark!

I also highly recommend hiking at Cabo Blanco. We hiked 2 hours through a beautiful, monkey filled jungle to a beach. Because it is a 2 hour hike to the beach, there were barely any people on it. Warning, the 2 hour hike back after sitting in the sun for hours was pretty horrific. There were times I didn’t think I was going to make it but just pack plenty of water and snacks and suffer through because trust me, it was SO worth it!

Next stop…Monteverde!

We took Montezuma expeditions from Cabuya to Moneverde. This was about a 5-6 hour trip which included driving and a boat ride! They picked us up right from Gentle Earth Retreats and dropped us off at our adorable hotel, Las Orquideas.

We only stayed here one night. It cost us around $50 for the night. The two women that worked there did not speak good English and I do not speak good Spanish but that did not stop them from helping us out and trying to talk with us. They were super sweet and they cooked us a dynamite breakfast. There was a fantastic view in the back but it was so windy and up high that I was a little scared!

After checking into our hotel we went zip lining through Sky Trek. We had previously made a reservation. I was very afraid and was tearing up but our two guides were so nice and comforting. One of them told me to just try it once with him and if I didn’t think I could do it they would let me down at the next stop. I got on the zip line with him and he encouraged me to scream and just let it all out. I was screaming so much that I ended up laughing a lot. I ended up sticking with it and made some cool friends! (We still keep in touch on FaceBook!)

After Zip Lining we walked around on a path in the forest. It was beautiful. I saw so many gorgeous flowers and we heard a lot of birds chirping.

After Zip Lining we walked to town from our Hotel. We took a flashlight which was smart because it was very dark. It was only around a 10 minute walk. We went into cool shops and bought some souvenirs.

We ate dinner at this amazing tree top restaurant. The food and atmosphere were amazing.

After our adventures in Monteverde, we were off to La Fortuna. We used Desafio ‘s taxi-boat-taxi service to get to La Fortuna. Not only was it easy and convenient for us but it was a fun experience in itself. We had a lot of fun on the boat and we caught such gorgeous views the entire way.

Baldi Springs was an absolute dream.

We had arrived on a Sunday so we pretty much had the entire place to ourselves. While Baldi Springs was super expensive ($200 per night! Yikes!) we only stayed one night. We checked in right at  check in time and checked out the next day as late as possible to get our money’s worth.

Breakfast was complimentary and it was delicious. Other meals were very reasonably priced. I was scared they would be super expensive but they weren’t. Phew!

The pools were gorgeous. We spent the day bouncing from pool to pool to pool. They even have cool water slides!

This was the end of our trip. By this time we were exhausted. We had plans to venture out and experience the natural hot springs around this area…they are everywhere! We also wanted to do a walking tour up Arenal Volcano but we were pooped! We ended up just lounging by the different pools all day at Baldi and going on the slides repeatedly, which was so much fun! I wish we had more time to spend in this area. We did not get to explore which I would have liked to do. Baldi Springs truly was a paradise. I wish I could live there. I highly recommend it!

Check out my video of our trip:

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