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Trip Report SJO-Arenal (Hotel Nayara)-Flamingo (Flamingo Beach Resort)-LIR

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Overall, it was really a wonderful trip with just one boo boo in our hotel choice in Flamingo Beach. My bf and I are in our 30's. We spend seven days during the July 4th week. This is my second trip to CR and his first. We decided to go to Arenal and stay a few days there to just relax then head over to the coast for some beach time.

HOTEL NAYARA (Arenal)- I am still dreaming of this hotel. It was truly a slice of heaven. Now we totally understand why it was rated number one most romantic hotel in central america and number 5 in the world. The resort is even more beautiful and fabulous than their website. We didnt book a fancy room, just a Casita Deluxe, the hotel really was well thought out. The room not only has a standing shower, it also has an outdoor shower, so secluded, and private. The deck has two comfortable leather chairs, hammock and an outdoor jacuzzi with sheer curtains for even more privacy. The deck is surrounded by lush tropical plants and hummingbirds. We managed to spend two rainy afternoon zipping wine and relaxing in the jacuzzi. The grounds make you feel like you are somewhere in a tropical forrest. I would highly recommend this hotel, especially during the rainy season, it is just so lush, and most importantly, when it rains, instead of being stuck inside the room, you can be in the jacuzzi zipping wine instead! SO NICE!

ECO TERMALES Hotsprings- there were plenty of space and drinks were great. We also had dinner there, it was good, and convenient but I wouldnt make a trip just to eat there. Would go back to the spring if visiting again. I think if it's for a group of friends, maybe Baldi may be better. Eco is very quiet and romantic, good for a couples.

SKY TREK and TRAM- definitely an experience of a life time. This was my third zip lining ever, but this was really scary. We took a tram up to the mountain top, then go down 7 ziplines. The first two were really for training, very short and not scary. The next five were not only long..... (700- 900 meters) but it also gets progressively faster! I was so scared of being stuck half way, i didnt dare to move, I stayed in the same position while ziplining thru from one point to another, therefore I was going at more than needed speed as a result. For those wondering, just do it!! it will be the topic of conversation for many years to come! It was not comparable to any other ziplines I have done.

GRAYLINE shuttles- We took the shuttle from Arenal to Flamingo with Grayline. The shuttle was 5.5 hrs long. We made a pit stop at a resting stop about 2.5 hrs after we departed Arenal. I noticed Interbus also stopped there. From the look of it, it seems like these two companies are about the same. We did run into some issue with Grayline's driver, upon writing to the company which we bought the transfers from (not grayline), they immediately addressed the issue and Grayline offer to refund us 50% of the fare. I think hiring a private driver will probably make this trip 4 hr instead of 5.5 because we were forced to stop at a rest stop for 30 minutes.

FLAMINGO BEACH RESORT & SPA- I wrote a separate review because it was so bad. This hotel was the part we try so hard to forget and not associate with our trip. I tried to locate info about this place on fodors before I left for the trip and didnt find any. At tripadvisor, this was rated number one in Flamingo Beach area. I now question the authenticity of the reviews. In short, i don't mean to sound harsh, but it was a dump. The hotel is in bad condition. The bathroom was not clean, shall you get a sun burn, you may be better off air drying cause the towels were so hard. Every night, we can hear the bass and karaoke music coming from their one outdoor restaurant, till almost midnight every night and there is really nothing you can do to block it even if you got a pool view room, which is what we had. Definitely not good for honeymooners, couples, or anyone who wants to relax. It reminds me of an old beat up cancun hotel. We got the breakfast pkg, the food selection was not good, we ended up eating at Marie everyday after the first day even though we already paid. Definitely, dont bother with all inclusive.

MAR Y SOL restaurant- Another highlight of our trip. More so because of the location of the restaurant. We rsvp a bar seat at 5:30pm. The bar has a huge open area facing the sunset, so beautiful and not crowded. The restaurant sent someone to pick us up from the hotel. Turns out it was Happy Hour till 8pm. We got two drinks, $3 each! wow! We ordered some appetizers, I read mixed reviews about this place for food, so we intentionally had a light dinner and more for drinks there. Definitely go for sunset drinks if visiting in the area.

We flew out of LIR, interesting airport :) All in all, maybe in 20 yrs, if they build a highway from SJO to Arenal, I would make it my annual trip just to stay at Hotel Nayara. I like Costa Rica, I hope they will keep developing and build more direct roads to travel from one plc to another!

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