Travel Day and 1st evening in Costa Rica!!

Friday, March 10- Saturday, March 11

We made it!!! First impression is: Oh my goodness, it is beautiful and lush and green and so pretty!!

We just finished our first full day (Sunday) which was incredible. I’m so excited! More on that later.

Also, I said I might pick 5 photos to share each day…. Hahahahaha. Why would I even say such a thing? Picking 5 photos for indecisive old me is like having 10 children and then being asked to pick my 5 favorites. I just can’t!!

But I do want to share a bit of what we’re up to, so, here we go, rapid fire style- Day 1.

Travel: Overnight flight from O’Hare. Left home about 6 pm, picked up parents, then drove to Chicago. Plane left at 12:20 a.m!! YAWN.

Outside hotel where we parked our car and took shuttle to airport
At O’Hare
1st flight leg: Chicago to Mexico City. Taken around 11:55 p.m.

HORRIBLY long line for immigration in Mexico City (and, why?!! We were just going to a connecting flight!!). Waited, standing very tired for over 1 1/2 hours at about 5 a.m. Very disorganized and a little confusing! Finally made it. This was not pleasant!!!

Finally ready to board second flight in Mexico City. Plane left around 9 a.m.

Arrival to Costa Rica:

I didn’t sleep much on either flight, really. Bummer!! Neither did Ethan. Besides that, flights were smooth.

Descending into Costa Rica
Pura vida!!! ✌️

Huge perk- immigration line in Costa Rica was a DREAM! Literally walked up and to an official and then right through. No checked luggage meant we were out in a flash, too.

Took shuttle to the rental car office (they met us at airport.) That was all smooth sailing- no issues! And, the luggage all fit in our 4×4 SUV! Yay!

Drive from San Jose —> La Fortuna

The drive was just under 3 hours. It wasn’t bad at all, besides the fact we were all tired. We stopped at a little shop for some snacks (hadn’t eaten since ~7 a.m. in Mexico City airport, and it was now 1:30 p.m. by the time we hit the road in Costa Rica.)

I had heard the roads were bad in Costa Rica, but so far the ones we have seen are WAY better than many of the roads in Mexico.

It was a pretty drive through mostly rural areas and a few small towns.

Arrival to Hotel and exploring grounds:

The main goal was to get to hotel before dark (and it gets dark by 5-5:30 most of the year in Costa Rica). We made it no problem. It was rather cloudy/overcast, but no rain. However, the volcano was totally covered in clouds when we arrived. 😦 (Never fear, we got killer views of it the next morning!! Stay tuned for that.)

Standing on our room’s balcony. Look at the GREEN!! I love it!!

We got all settled and checked in and then wandered around the property. It’s a hot springs, so there are MANY different pools and spas all over. It is just beautiful!!!

View from our room. Volcano is back there, but currently hidden.
Going off to explore
Kids excited about all of the pools!!

Honestly, the grounds here are just incredible. I have so many pictures…

Around every corner there are little hot pools…


The boys were starving… we hadn’t had much of a proper meal in many hours. So, after checking out the resort, we drove into town for dinner.

Also, Saturday just happened to be Ivan’s 42nd birthday!! (Trip is not for his birthday per se- just coincided by chance.)

We went to a cute and fun little open-air place that was casual and just right for our first night.

They had some table games- boys playing Jenga. 🙂
And then a HUGE Jenga.
We all played UNO while waiting for the food.
Our SUV in the background

I feel like the first dinner out on vacation is always special. It’s kind of celebratory- like, we’re here! We made it. We have our whole vacation ahead of us! Etc.

Hot Springs soak

Back at the resort, we were all crashing (and it wasn’t even that late, but we just hadn’t slept enough!).

The boys were dying to go in the pools though, and the hot tubs sounded great to me too. My parents ended up turning in to get some sleep, but the rest of us put on our swimsuits.

Ivan ordering a birthday beer:

The boys tried a few hot tubs with us before heading to the water slide pool.

Ivan and I went to this one AMAZING thermal pool that was way at the back and totally empty. It was absolutely gorgeous!!!! It was super hot, too, with a cold pool attached over a little bridge so you could alternate.

Soaking in there with the lush foliage all around and the sounds of the rainforest at night and the waterfall bubbling… this was a magical moment to me.

View from inside the thermal pool! 😍
Happy Birthday!!
The attached colder pool

And then… we went to bed!! I was SO TIRED I almost felt drunk (even though I had just one beer with dinner). Crawling into bed had never felt so good!

More to come. Sunday (first full day) was also amazing, but that will have to wait. I am tired again and we have more plans tomorrow… good night!!

7 thoughts on “Travel Day and 1st evening in Costa Rica!!”

  1. You made it too!!! I love that you always travel with your parents. That’s so nice of you and Ivan. You all must be exhausted by the time of arrival after long haul flight and immigration line. I am surprised by how different countries can make it as hell or as bliss as possible. Can’t wait to follow you along this trip.


  2. Yay so excited to read along your trip. I was the one that commented a while ago about also planning a similar trip. But we pushed it off to go to Sayulita mexico instead (cheaper, we don’t have even a full week to travel this spring break). So I’m taking lots of notes for next year. That hotel looks so dreamy!


  3. Yay! It looks so beautiful and green and lush! It snowed again here, so I bet you aren’t missing that. I hope you had a great sleep and were well-rested for your first full day!


  4. Oh this looks so beautiful AND what a great time to be there. I feel like the last of the winter weather should be almost gone by the time you arrive home.

    All those pools and hot tubs look divine. Looking forward to all your recaps 🙂


  5. I’m surprised you had to go through immigration in Mexico, but glad that was the only snag. I’d love to visit Costa Rica, so looking forward to your recaps!


  6. That sucks about immigration in Mexico – annoying you had to go through since you weren’t leaving the airport! We had an awful experience with customs in Cancun! The lines were insane!

    I’m glad your trip is off to such a good start. This hotel looks and sounds amazing! I’m trying to soak up your relaxed vibes as my week is off to a hellacious start with the issues in the banking sector. I did a ton of calls today and have 8 lined up for tomorrow! Bleh. I could use some pure vida vibes!! Can’t wait to follow along and live vicariously through you! Happy birthday to Ivan!!


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