We’re not really the types to spend an entire week lounging on the beach. Don’t get me wrong, we (especially Laura) can lounge with the best of them, but we wanted a well-balanced honeymoon with a nice mix of relaxation and adventure and Costa Rica was an obvious choice. Rather than piece together an itinerary ourselves, we decided to book through Unforgettable Honeymoons, which ended up being the best decision we could have made. Everything was taken care of for us, the pricing was reasonable, and they were extremely helpful throughout the booking process and leading up to our trip. The package included three nights on the Pacific coast in Guanacaste and three nights in the jungle. Had we tried to book the two accommodations individually, it would have ended up being much more expensive than it ended up being through the package.
For the first half of our trip, we stayed at the all-inclusive Westin Resort and Spa at Playa Conchal. The resort was nice, the beach was beautiful, but the fact that it was all-inclusive made this place incredible. We ate approximately ten meals per day and started off each morning with a “mono sucio” at the pool bar while hanging out with one of the many resident iguanas. People tend to say that the food at all-inclusives is low quality, but that was far from the case at the Westin. We ate at almost all of the restaurants on site and were never disappointed. Also, there were quite literally hundreds of coatis that roamed around the premises (pictured below). They’re like a hybrid of a raccoon and a monkey.
While we were spending some time by the pool chowing down on our third pizza of the afternoon, we were approached by one of the Photo Ventura photographers that worked at the resort. She ultimately talked us into scheduling a free photoshoot on the beach later that day. There was no obligation to buy any of the photos she took, but they were so good that we couldn’t not buy a few. So hopefully that answers the question of whether or not we asked a stranger to take a photo of us doing a jumping pose on the beach.
The resort offered several organized activities and excursions, but generally speaking, organized activities are for suckers. Instead, we negotiated a deal with a local guy on the beach named Walter to take us on a half-day fishing trip. Despite how sketchy that sounds, it is actually very common to charter a boat from one of the locals at Playa Conchal. We ended up catching a mahi mahi and a black tuna before the water started to get rough and Walter recommended that we head back to shore. At first we didn’t think much of it, but when we noticed that Walter looked legitimately concerned, we realized this was not a typical day on the boat. The waves were enormous and we had to hold on for dear life as we headed back for sure as quickly as possible, getting soaked in the process. At one point Walter said to us in broken English, “I have seen the sea angry before…but like this? never.” That’s just about the last thing you want to hear from a guy with dreadlocks who looks like he has spent every day of his life out on the water. Luckily, we made it back to shore in one piece where we got picked up by one of Walter’s friends who drove us back to the resort in his pickup truck. He neglected to drive us back on the road and instead drove straight across the beach and through dirt paths between trees. I don’t think there is a speed limit on the beach, but if there was, he would have been breaking it. It was a bizarre experience, but fun and memorable nonetheless.
…Next stop: La Fortuna