Most of the time, we were on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. We first stayed in Tiskita Jungle Lodge, which has maybe 10 or 15 cabins - no electricity, candles with an outdoor shower. Everything is super basic but very pretty. Our room had a thin mattress on a wooden platform. We had a beautiful porch that looked out on the rain forest and ocean and had two hammocks. We ate sort of camp-style - breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the rain forest, looking at all the animals. At night, we went to bed when the animals went to sleep, and in the morning, we woke up early.
SHE SAID …
Where Kyra Sedgwick gets closer to nature in Costa Rica.
Arenal Observatory Lodge, expensive
Finca Rosa Blanca Country Inn expensive
Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
Tiskita Jungle Lodge
Stella Fine Dining
Arenal Volcano National Park
Costa Rica Sky Adventures
Eco Thermales Hot Springs, Arenal
Playa Pavones, 25 miles south of golfito
So we explored the rain forest during the day, and when we got hot, we'd go down to the beach and surf. They have great surf there, and a great surf instructor, and a really great guide at Tiskita Lodge. You can hear the howler monkeys, which scream day and night. We saw a three-toed and a two-toed sloth, which live in trees and barely move, hence the word slothful. If you see them move, it's a real monumental moment. We saw a crocodile when we went into the rain forest. We saw a bunch of toucans - the bird that's on the Froot Loops box. We saw a scorpion in our room. Kev and I were getting ready for bed, and I looked down at my arm, and I said, "Honey, is that a scorpion?" He looked down and said, "Yes! That's a scorpion!"
You get to this place where you're thinking the animals are all your friends, and you're seeing them in their natural habitat, and you're kind of just observing them and not threatening them, and they're not threatening you. So all of a sudden, the scorpion - and I'm thinking, Here he is! I'm in his house, and I'm observing him, and he's observing me. We're not going to hurt each other. Meanwhile, Kevin brushes the scorpion off my arm and gets him out of the room. In the rain forest near Tiskita, our guide told us, "The only thing you have to worry about are wild pigs." Because they can be really angry, and they can charge. I saw a herd of them, and I was like, "Oh, honey, get the camera!" And the guide was like, "Don't get the camera! Run!"
The amazing thing about the guides is that when you don't think you're seeing anything, then, all of a sudden, they'll stop and point. They'll see something from very far away, that the bird stopped or that there's a howler monkey around. They know all these amazing things about where they live. I mean, of course they do. But it's pretty incredible to watch and to see everything through their eyes.
Packing Light, Traveling Smart
You take a small plane from San Jose to Tiskita, and you can have only 25 pounds of luggage each. That's a pretty small amount for most people. I come to L.A., and my bag can be, like, 70 pounds. So you really have to taper down. Plus, it's so hot. Another thing that is so great about Tiskita Jungle Lodge is it has a beautiful waterfall, with a cold pool where the waterfall ends. It's so natural and so beautiful. It's a little bit of a climb, but it's a great way to cool off after being in the hot sun.
While we were in Tiskita, we went to Playa Pavones, which is a beach with a famous left-hand surf break. What you can do is ride the wave for three quarters of a mile and then get out and walk all the way back to where your towel is. You can stay on the wave for several minutes, and that's really unusual.
Muy Buen Equipo!
Then we stayed at Arenal Observatory Lodge, about three hours northwest of San José. We stayed in a cabin called the White Hawk Villa, really up high. Arenal is the name of the big volcano there that's always erupting. It's rare to actually see the volcano because there's so much rain. But we got to see it because it cleared up. We took a lot of walks on the hard black lava there. We had a great guide there too. There's also a rain forest in the area. We went into the Arenal Volcano National Park and did the zip-line tours. When you go on these zip-line tours, you're basically as high as the clouds. There's what they call a cloud forest, because you're so high up. You go along the canopy, which is the top part, of the rain forest. It's really incredible and terrifying. On these zip-line tours, there's a wire hanging over two mountaintops, and it runs over the tops of the trees, the top of the rain forest. And it's a whole tour. You go on eight or nine of these zip lines. You're really high; it's terrifying. My daughter wasn't heavy enough, so the guide had to go with her. Otherwise, she would have sort of gotten stranded halfway through the zip line, because you have to have a certain amount of weight to make it to the other side.