Last post on my vacation I promise.  For the end of our trip we spent 4 nights along the Pacific coast.  Through Airmiles I booked us 2 nights at the amazing JW Marriott just south of Tamarindo and then 2 nights at the Playa Flamingo Resort up the coast north.  The JW was absolutely beautiful and they gave us an oceanfront room!  We spent our days frolicking in the pool and the ocean.  Perfect way to end our trip.


Stairs just outside our room leading down to the beach at the JW Marriott.


The JW Marriott pool.

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Watching the sunset at the JW Marriott private beach.

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The area they serve dinner on the beach. 


Hanging out at the pool most of the day.




Checked out the sunset the next night at Playa Avellana a few minutes from our hotel.  Great supper at Lola’s with our feet in the sand.


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My oldest son took a couple shots of my husband and I in the sunset.

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Our last two nights were here at the Playa Flamingo.

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Spent the day at Playa Conchal.  So amazing – the beach is made up of crushed seashells.  Beauty of a beach.

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After 3 nights in La Fortuna (see previous post) we took to the road and made our way to the Cloud Forest of Monteverde for a couple of days.  The road was very rough the closer we got to Monteverde, but it was definitely worth the trip!  First order of business was to find the ‘Strangler Tree’!  This is not a known attraction and when we stopped at the visitor centre on the way in and asked about it they would only refer me to some tours about tree rappelling.  In researching the area before our trip I had stumbled upon some forums and blogs of people who had found this tree in the forest, but the directions to find it were sketchy.  I have a thing for trees and to be able to climb up the middle of one was irresistible to me.  How fascinating that this tree takes over a healthy tree and kills it from the inside leaving this lattice and hollowed out middle.  I asked again about it at the cabin we rented and showed our awesome front desk person the pictures I had printed out and brought with me.  Turns out he knew exactly where it was and it was only 5 minutes from us.  We parked along the side of the road and took the small dirt path into the forest as instructed and after a short walk there it was!  My boys weren’t keen to climb up, but I climbed as high as possible.  I took my big camera with me and couldn’t squeeze myself enough through the narrow top without damaging me or the camera, besides my husband was also yelling at me to come down.  The climb was wonderous!

We also checked out the Frog Pond.  My youngest son and I have a love for frogs so we really enjoyed this place.  We saw our favorite Red-Eyed Tree frog again.  During the day our guide took him out of his enclosure so we got pretty close again.  We went back at night which was a whole different experience to see them more active in the dark.  It was fun walking around with flashlights and finding the frogs.

Our second day in Monteverde was high flying.  We did an early morning zipline tour with The Original Canopy Tour.  They were fantastic and I loved that they took my camera often and got lots of great pictures & videos of us.  I had wanted to go with one of the larger zipline companies there that have superman cables, but the more I looked into it I discovered that my youngest would have to go with a guide and would most likely get separated from us.  We were very happy with The Original Canopy Tour and it was still adrenaline pumping fun!  Besides the 14 cables that we rode, there was a tarzan swing, a monkey drop and climb back up through a small strangler tree and a frightening, swaying ladder.  I also loved that the platforms were all built in the treetops and not steel structures.  Great fun!

We also drove up to the Selvatura Hanging Bridges and spent an afternoon walking the cloud forest and through the bridges high above the forest canopy.  Fantastic, beautiful and serene!  I have one more post from our holiday – next up the beach.

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Inside the tree!

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Took a shot of my husband at the bottom as I climbed up.



The Frog Pond.


133 different species of frogs in Costa Rica.


Ready for some ziplining.

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My husband coming down the monkey drop.



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The Hanging Bridges at Selvatura.

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Darlene McQuinn - July 7, 2016 - 4:37 pm


Thought I would post some of my favorite pictures from our vacation to Costa Rica this past spring break.  We had so much fun!!  We spent 6 days in the jungle and 4 days at the beach.  We flew into Liberia on the new beautiful non-stop Westjet flight, picked up our car rental and drove ourselves to the town of La Fortuna at the base of the Arenal Volcano.  So much to do here.  We were exhausted the first day from flying through the night and not really sleeping, so we checked out the town, grabbed some supper and we were in bed by 6:30pm!  Worked out well since we met Geovani the next morning at 5:30am!  The sun comes up at 5:30 in Costa Rica and sets about the same time, so things get going early!  We were booked on an animal tour with the knowledgeable and sweet Geovani.  He took us through some forests where we learned a lot about the plant life and we saw many animals including the amazing Red-Eyed Tree frog, which we even got to hold!  After the tour he took us for a typical Costa Rican breakfast and we parted ways for the afternoon.  We relaxed and played at the spectacular Tabacon Hot Springs for the afternoon.  My husband hates hot tubs/hot springs, but even he was impressed with this place and all it’s waterfalls, lush vegetation & the fabulous brunch.  Later in the day we met Geovani again and he took us up close and personal with a sloth and some iguanas, but not before we visited the Red-Eyed Tree frog again!

Our third day in La Fortuna we did a chocolate tour in the morning and went for some adventure in the afternoon.  The Rainforest chocolate tour was super interesting.  It was cool to see chocolate go from the tree to what we eat.  After lunch the guys from Pure Trek picked us up and took us out for some wild and wet fun.  We rappelled down 4 waterfalls and did one monkey drop.  They call it that fun name, but really they drop you down a wire from a dizzying height.  It was terrifying and fantastic.  After our time here we drove ourselves to the Cloud Forest Reserve of Monteverde which I’ll show you in my next blog post.

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Geovani showing up how pepper grows on trees – who knew! 003 004

Taking a break and having some of Geovani’s home brewed coffee.

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Coolest frog ever!


Poison red dart frog – I didn’t hold him.


Heard these guys humming all night.


My husband showing the boys a sloth up in the tree.


The Tabacon Hot Springs.

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Had to see this frog again!


His feet were so sticky and soft.

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Geovani took my phone and captured a video of this adorable creature.


We each took a turn up the ladder to see the sloth.

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Ended the day with Iguanas.

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Gustavo showing us exactly how chocolate is made.


Cacao plant



Best chocolate we’ve ever had!

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Getting all harnessed up for our canyoning trip.


This first rappel was 165 feet and pretty daunting.

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So proud of my kids for doing this.

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Kathy & Bill were my first wedding of the season this year and what a great way to start!!  These two are such great people.  They are both so kind, warm and genuine and their day was as sweet as they are.  The day started early with Kathy and her daughter at the salon.  Then they made their way to the Bow Valley Ranche restaurant in Fish Creek where they got dressed in the beautiful room upstairs.  After a touching ceremony we headed out into the park to get some pictures of the couple and the people close to them.  Perfect day!

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