• Allison Hills

Playa Grande, Costa Rica 🇨🇷

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

Our very first trip to Costa Rica was an unbelievable experience for sure! Let me give you some background......when booking our spring break, we knew we wanted to ski at Heavenly in California, but we weren't sure where we wanted to go for the "warm" half....aka MY half! After a few google searches and a look at the flights we decided to go for it! We were pretty late to the game and booked everything approximately one month in advance🙈. Here are some of the highlights (and minor lowlights) from our trip:

Flights: We flew out of IAH via United, nonstop to Liberia. Libera is closer to the northern border of Costa Rica (the other option would be San Jose, which is definitely a much larger airport) but further from the part of Costa Rica we chose to see😊. Dave and I both have a priority pass (complimentary through the Amex Card), which gives to access to a lounge at both airports! I highly recommend this card! In Liberia, we took a shuttle to an Avis and rented a small Nissan car. Easy peasy!

Accommodations: As I mentioned, we were late to book and therefore, most of the hotels were full. We ended up going through Airbnb. I really wanted a view and a private pool and we found both with this gorgeous home in Playa Grande, near Tamarindo. The home worked out perfectly for us, but we probably wouldn't chose to stay there again. Here's why: the home is located in a beautiful but isolated gated community. Also, it is up two tremendous hills. I mean steep hills! Because we were located more remotely, we had to drive everywhere for meals (meaning we had to drive up and down the hills😅😅). If you want privacy and have a driver--this house will work for you! Also, our Airbnb came with a concierge that helped us out quite a bit.


-Day 1: We explored Tamarindo without an itinerary. We cruised the beach, checked out the shops and found the supermercado! I think it is so important to take the kids away from the resort. We actually had so much fun trying new foods and recognizing the difference between a Costa Rican beach grocery store and a US grocery store.

-Day 2: On the second day, we book surfing lessons for the family ($50 a person). This was such an amazing experience! Nico picked us up (we didn't have to drive the hill😂) and met us at the beach with another instructor. They were very kind and super knowledgable. We had an absolute blast! We finished the day by cooking dinner in!

-Day 3: This was our scheduled adventure day! Through the concierge, we booked a trip to the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. Included in our excursion: Private transportation, Zip lining course, 400M water slide, horseback riding, customary Costa Rican lunch, mud bath and hot springs ($700 for five). This was honestly one of the best days as a family ever. Each one of us was extremely uncomfortable for a least one event, and it was so nice to support each other and do it together. Definitely the experience of a lifetime!

-Day 4: We booked an evening sunset sail on a catamaran through the concierge ($450 including transportation and dinner). Because the pick up for the sailing wasn't until 1 PM, we spent the morning exploring Playa Grande. We found this cute little Taco Stand at the beach and the kids tore up some PB&J tacos! Now for the sailing review.....we weren't too impressed with the shuttle to the boat. It was about a 30-40 minute drive and we were packed in to the hot bus like sardines😅. The sailing was actually really great...it included an open bar, snorkeling and paddle boarding. Everyone really enjoyed it!

-Day 5: Departure day! Because the Liberia airport was about a 1:15 drive, we only had time for breakfast before heading back. The trip to the airport was easy (all paved, lined roads). We did not have any trouble navigating and felt very safe the entire time.

Can't wait to go back and explore more of this beautiful country!