The Province - - TRAVEL - — More in­for­ma­tion at vis­it­costar­ica.com

Get­ting to Sara­piqui: Land in San Jose, and then take the wind­ing two-hour drive on the Pan Amer­i­can High­way north­east of the cap­i­tal city to Puerto Viejo (not to be con­fused with the city of the same name on the Caribbean side). We passed cof­fee plan­ta­tions, straw­berry farms, wa­ter­falls and the mom-and-pop restau­rants called so­das. Serv­ing de­li­cious “typ­i­cal” food of Costa Rica, this is where the lo­cals eat and so should you.

Where to stay: The Sara­piqui re­gion has no grand, op­u­lent ho­tels. The largest inn or ho­tel has about 60 rooms, but it’s all part of its charm. We stayed at Sara­piqui’s Rain­for­est Lodge, which fea­tures a cir­cu­lar thatched roof, like the pre-Columbian style of homes called palen­ques. The large rooms have cool, tiled floors and a porch look­ing out onto Eden­like gar­dens.

Meals in the restau­rant are served buf­fet-style. The pool with a mini wa­ter­fall is a re­fresh­ing spot for a swim while you look out over the cloud for­est canopy. But­ter­flies and tou­cans flit about the grounds fes­tooned in the pinks, pur­ples and or­anges of trop­i­cal flow­ers. Selva Verde Lodge, set on a na­ture pre­serve of­fers lots of ac­tiv­i­ties for all ages, in­clud­ing day and night guided jun­gle walks, bird­ing tours and Latin dance classes. A range of ac­com­mo­da­tions, in­clud­ing suites, bun­ga­lows, twobed­room apart­ments and more bud­get-style rooms, are avail­able.

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