Overlanding Costa Rica: wild beaches, river crossings and coconut forests

All I need is a coconut tree and a cold breeze.

What did we like in Costa Rica?

  • Nature! Not only is there lots of tropical rainforests and cloudforests in Costa Rica, it also inhabits a lot of wildlife that you can spot just walking around or from the camp site! We saw monkeys, squirrels, wild horses, rackoons, tucans, turtels, iguana’s and lots more who just popped out of nowhere…
  • More amazing beaches: white or black sand, coconut trees and a lots of tranquil spots. The fact that we needed to cross several rivers was probably part of the charm 🙂

What didn’t we like

  • Besides wildlife, there’s another species inhabiting some of the natural beauties: American tourists aka Gringo’s. We don’t mind having American’s run around everywhere, but they are on a big spending holiday budget and as a result, Costa Rica is really expensive! We find a lot more ‘western products’ in the stores but they come at ridiculous prices. And so do the places to sleep or the natural parks we wanted to visit.
  • We’re in the middle of the winter here. That doesn’t mean cold – on average between 25 and 30°C hot, but it means rain… a lot of rain… a shitload of rain… Probably between 12 and 16 hours a day of rain. On the bright side: everything is very, very green! 🙂

The highlights of overlanding Costa Rica

  • If you want to experience a mixture of adventure and paradise, go to Drake Bay in the Peninsula de Osa. Get your hiking shoes on and walk along the deserted beach coast. Cross hanging bridges and hop here and there into the rainforest to see monkeys play (they were actually agressively blowing at us but maybe that was just their way of welcoming us) and spot the occasional tucan.

  • Get your way up to Arenal and be amazed by its volcano surrounded by a flush of greens. Skip the expensive cloud forest hanging bridge walks unless you’ve never seen rainforest before. Do head for the free natural hot springs in la Fortuna, heated by the volcano. GlobalHoneymoon top tip: go at night and bring candles. We wish we had known before, must be incredibly romantic! Oh, and we saw a ‘I can walk over water’ lizard hopping from one side to the other 🙂
  • If you’re looking to camp on the beach, drive bumpy roads and cross big rivers with crododiles in them, we definitely recommend you to go to Peninsula Nicoya. In rainy season it might take some asking around to locals – some rivers really are too deep – the local towing guy seems to have quite a lot of work dragging cars out of the water. Losing our front license plate was a bummer but we had so much fun crossing loads of them!

  • Do not miss out on Playa Ostional, ‘the best beach in the world for spotting turtles’. We camped at Gilbert’s house, who used to be president of the local conservation program of turtles. Although we’re not in the perfect season, which is from august to november, we went turtle spotting at 8PM and saw one laying eggs on the beach. Beautiful experience!

Where to next?

So happy for the weekend to arrive because on Monday, my mother is visiting us in Nicaragua for 4 days! We’re going to celebrate my 30th birthday together 🙂 So this weekend we’re crossing over to Nicaragua to certainly not miss our family date.

Enjoy our pics and talk to you soon!

Sarah & Dimitri



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