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Travelzoo Experience: Best of Both Worlds in Costa Rica

One of the most coveted perks at Travelzoo is the Travelzoo Experience, in which Deal Experts and other employees take advantage of the same travel, entertainment and local deals we publish to our subscribers and report back on their experience.

For my first Travelzoo Experience, I wanted to do something amazing. Looking for something relaxing but adventurous, I settled on Costa Rica. Not only did I get to enjoy a number of firsts in the rainforest, but my girlfriend and I were also able to spend a few days relaxing on the beach. With winter in full force in Chicago, this trip was just what I needed to help cope with the treacherous snowy weather back home.

After landing and upgrading to full insurance on the rental car, I hit the road for a four-hour, 90-mile journey into the mountains. The insurance was an extra $300, but it gave the peace of mind of full insurance, especially with the rough and exciting terrain that Costa Rica offers. The views were absolutely breathtaking as we drove around a lake on our way to Arenal, the city by the volcano. The first hotel was beautiful, but definitely rustic. There was no TV, but that turned out to be more relaxing. In the morning, we left for our canopy tour and hot springs adventure, an incredible experience for both of us, and one we won’t soon forget. Being able to zip line through the jungle at speeds of 70 kilometers per hour was amazing. The hot springs was almost as awesome, as they were naturally heated by the volcano.

The next day we went into the city of La Fortuna and had a colorful lunch, and the diner had a number of harmless stray dogs that just chilled inside. The next day we went for a volcano hike, which was really scenic. We got pretty close to the volcano and were taken to a scenic spot overlooking the lake and mountains.

The time came to leave for the beach, which we were looking forward to because of the mountain's cooler temps. It’s amazing how different the climates are, as we noticed more sunlight and a significant temperature change. While at the beach, we enjoyed the picturesque sunsets, walks on the beach (cliche, I know) and food. We made it to a few other remote beaches in the area, which were definitely an experience to get to by car. We took eco-hikes in the mornings and enjoyed a exploring different villages during the day.

Editor's Note: Looking for a similar experience? Find more Costa Rica deals in our Central America vacations section.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Chicago
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
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Kevin Haas