Roadtrip through Costa Rica!

I met Harry and Beth on my trip and Guatemala. They decided to meet me back here at Costa Rica once again and roadtrip around my beautiful country!

Sitting on a coffee shop today, I’m trying to remember what was like moving through my country and getting to know new places with 3 Aussies and one Australian. I scroll through the photos and get back at the memories that make me want to be at that moment once again, when nothing else was important: no stress, no due dates, no nothing, only travelling and having an amazing time. 

I received the message from Harry that they were at Tamarindo, in Guanacaste, but were just going up to Arenal Volcano on a taxi van. That would the start of an EPIC adventure!

I gabbed my camera bag, another bag I had for my clothes, all my camping gear and threw it in the back seat. The playlist was ready and so was I. It was a 4 hour drive to the hostel at La Fortuna, but I didn’t mind the alone time for myself. The only thing I was particularly sad about was leaving Molly behind. It was uncertain if we were only going to camp or stay at hostels, so having a dog would be a limitation for some places.

I was kind of excited and also nervous about this trip. I’ve never been on a roadtrip through my country.

I finally got to Backpacker’s at La Fortuna! Here, I met Brad, Emily, (Beth I already knew), and other adventurers from different countries. They were all visiting Costa Rica for some time and sadly couldn’t come with us. Arenal is beautiful. I love the place, the weather, and the little town that slowly grows into a very touristy site. I hope it doesn’t get too crowded. About 6 months from this time I was actually climbing the crater of this beautiful volcano!

Arenal view from La Fortuna.

The first place we went to was a spot at a river called El Salto, in La Fortuna river. It´s not a hot spring (like one might think when going to Arenal), but instead, it’s a spot on the river with a small waterfall that makes a pond at the bottom and a swing has been placed so that you can jump from the ledge. We stayed there for about 2-3 hours just chilling, jumping and back flipping our way into the pond. If there’s people that love back flipping, it’s these guys.

Once back at the hostel, we planned out the whole trip. First stop: Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja, next, Santa Teresa, then up again to Monteverde, and finally down to Uvita. We also had Limón in mind but I had to be in San José for my mother’s birthday and going down lo there was too much time for my short ‘vacations’.

Going back to the Hostel we passed by the public hotsprings and relaxed until it was way too dark and the mosquito’s were killing us. We spent the night at Backpacker’s and planned out going next morning to the hotsprings before heading to the next volcano.

*I sip some of my coffee and grab a bite of a sweet cinnamon bread. All the crumbs fall on my lap. My fingers are full of sugar, so the keyboard will now be a teat to ants.* It’s funny how everyone comes and goes. Hugs, conversations, coffee sips. No one seems to have a bad moment in life right now. I don’t feel like going out tonight.

We jam our stuff into the car and the place everyone’s things on the trunk. I had asked for my father’s rain cover that holds a lot of space for their backpacks, towels, shoes, blankets and sleeping bags. It’s the only way to be comfortable when riding 5 on a pick-up truck. Harry (Australian) was shotgun, Brad (Australian), Beth (Harry’s girlfriend; Australian) and Emily (Canadian) were in the back seat. We stopped at El Chollín at La Fortuna, a public hotspring below the road. This place is beautiful and the running hot water is very relaxing. It’s the same one as we were at the night before, but in the night you can’t really enjoy the beauty of the place.

We took plenty of photos (and I lost some… Don’t really know how.). A couple of hours later we were on the move. Three hours and 30 minutes was going to take us to get to the National Park. It’s still a pretty beautiful sight to drive through. We passed through lakes and mountain ranges, and had coffee at a German coffee shop that actually didn’t really had that much to offer. The guy at the counter told us that lunch time had been so crowded that they didn’t have the best things to offer us!

On the way to the National Park, there’s a beautiful waterfall called Llanos de Cortés. This was a ‘must’ stop that I had recommended and we were definitely going to explore. Music loud, lots of singing, and very funny stories got us there in a flash. I never got tired of it. When we parked a couple of guys came close to the car and told us what we could do. He said that there’s two waterfalls; the main one and one that has a pond that you can jump to. He recommended us we go first to the big one and then walk up to the second, and come around the back to the parking lot. So we did.

This is one of the most beautiful waterfalls.

Emily, Brad and I were the only ones that went to the second waterfall. Harry and Beth stayed at the big one. The guy that recommended the place actually came with us and showed us the place, but once we were there he got back. We didn’t stay long though, it was a bit late and we were very hungry, and still had to find a place to stay and buy some food. We walked back up and had a look at the first waterfall from above. It’s a bit scary but the view is amazing!

Once at the parking lot, the guide was there talking with us, and he put on a police outfit. We were a little bit confused of the scene but let it happen. Something didn’t seem right. As we grabbed out stuff and put it in the car, an actual police car came in to the place and the guide took this shirt off fast, but it was too late. The police had seen him. It seemed that he was wearing it illegally. All was taken from them and the guy had to go with the police. This is a sight you don’t usually get in Costa Rica (my first time, actually, and I’m from here…),

I don’t have any more coffee with me anymore… I finished it very fast, damn it… I could drink coffee all day and all night. It’s starting to get dark and the coffee shop is actually pretty crowded. More hugs, more conversations, more sipping. I still don’t feel like going out tonight, although there’s star gazing tonight, but the weather doesn’t seem like it’s getting good for it.

Out of Llanos and we headed to Liberia. Passed at KFC and ate like there was no tomorrow. Then, to the supermarket, and finally decided that we were going to stay at a camping site near the entrance to the park. It was 10 dollars the night. I opened my car tent, we set up the second tent, and also put the hammock on. The stars were out that night, so we shot some photos with the tents and the car.

Beth and Emily did an amazing pasta with tuna and tomato! So tasty! (tHAnKS gIrLLZz) I stood late that night working on some architecture drawings I had to send, and then headed back to the hammock. We were trekking the next day.


Sun is up! It took us some time to actually get up and start moving. We even made instant coffee (I never drink instant coffee, it’s terrible), and our breakfast was bread with peanut butter and bananas. Camp was rolled back down and we were off to the park. We tried to go to the Oropendula waterfall, but they were charging us the same as the entrance to the park and I found that outrageous. I had promised them that we were going to go to that waterfall, and Harry was very excited to finally go, but when backpacking, trying to cut down on expenses is the best you could do, and charging 15 dollars for being at one waterfall for 40 minutes and coming back… I don’t find it as a good investment. The Park itself has way more beautiful scenes and it’s 15 dollars for the whole day.

We made the walk to La Cangreja waterfall inside the park. I’m just going to leave the photos of this place because, well… Take a look.

The color of the water is beautiful, and after a 2 hour walk, the olny thing you want to do is take a bath in that cold water.

The coffee shop is about to close and I still haven’t finished this post, daaaaaaamn. I’ll try to write as fast as possible.

We also headed to the bubbling mud things (I don’t really know the name of these). They produce volcanic gases. Finally after that, we were out of the park. Hungry. Always remember to take at least a bottle of water and lunch with you! (Don’t leave trash behind.). We went to a small supermarket in the town and got some more snacks. There, I asked the cashier about a blue river that I was told was nearby. Beth and Emily wanted to go back to the campsite, so we left them there and us three went to this beautiful river near on a beaten path. This is a camping spot where you don’t really need to pay anything to stay and it’s beside the river.

Back at the campsite I put the car tent up, the hammock, we made pasta again and fell asleep after a little more work done.

Next day was a long trip down to Santa Teresa. Five hours, actually.

Breakfast, camp up, paying the guy at the site, bad coffee, and we were off. It was a hot day and sunny day this day. I remember we rolled down the windows and we were on our swimwear all the way to Guanacaste.


Going down to Guanacaste has different roads, and the one we decided to take was a 4×4 ride that they wanted to take. A must in Costa Rica, because if you come here and don’t pass through rivers… Did you really go to Costa Rica?

I even have a video Harry took of me passing the river. It was pretty fun! We were totally off roading our way through Guanacaste!

Santa Teresa is one of my favorite places. I definitely love it. It’s very chill, the surf is great, the beach is beautiful… I don’t know what it is about this place but it drives everyone crazy (in love). We stayed a couple of days at the Selina. Had so much fun out there. The sunsets both days were AMAZING.

They’re throwing me out of the coffee shop. I’m gonna have to finish this in my house. Why is there no nice coffee shop that closes late at night here in San Jose?

*Goes home*

Ok, I’m back, even though you didn’t really notice it. Where was I?

All I can say is: More backflips, beers and cheap pizza. Santa Teresa is beautiful. A must if you’re coming here. The weather didn’t really help us that much because it did rain, but not enough to stop us.

The day after we got here, Brad, Harry and I decided to hit the road to the Montezuma waterfalls. It’s about an hour from ST, but it’s an offroad path (classic) and you can jump from the waterfall. Once we got there we left the car on the side of the road and started walking down. The day cleared up and it was very promising. We had a great time jumping off the ledges and backflipping and all. I had never seen so much water running down that river, and the color was super clear! We were there at just the right time to enjoy a unique view of the river and the 15 m tall waterfall.

Brad was our best model for the place. I had him jump a couple of times. (Thanks bro!)

Time to leave ST. Packed everything and off again very early in the morning. We were going to get the Paquera ferry at 12 so we sped up to try and get it. Once we were there, it seemed like the ferry had already left and we had to wait for 3 hours if we stayed there! One of the guys that worked there told us that we still had time to get the one in Naranjo, so I turned the car around and flew to Naranjo! I don’t generally drive this fast but this time it was necessary. Btw… The ticket for each person on this ferry was 1005 colones. Who charges 5 colones!?

Monteverde was our next stop and it took us about 5 hours to get there, including the ferry. Back to the mountain! It got cold up there, and we were dressed for the beach. We stopped a local coffee shop and had some snacks and… coffee. Once at the hostel (cheap one, by the way. Wasn’t that bad though), we left our stuff and walked around town. Beth finally got to see a Sloth! Ttttthhhloooothhh.*

Next day they booked a canopy, bridges, and Tarzan swing tour, but I didn’t because I’ve already done that and it would have been (at least for me) a waste of money. Instead, I woke up late and got to meet a local photographer called Felix that works at a family nature reserve. It’s a beautiful place up there! You can find his work on Instagram as @felucointhewoods.

When they came back, we got ready and were heading south at midday. The next stop: Manuel Antonio National Park.

This is when things started getting funky. The battery light of my car lit up, so we stopped at the first gas station. Just as we came in, the light went out, and the guy that could help me out was in lunch time and didn’t really want to help. So we gave it a shot and made the 4 hour drive. We stopped at the Virilla river so they could see the HUGE crocodiles that reside below the bridge and they were shocked to see them!

On the road through Quepos, I was super tired so I had Harry drive for me. On that time, the car just decided to turn off. It totally died. We didn’t know what to do, more than ask for power from another car. A family on a FJ Cruiser stopped and helped us out. My car was running again! We were able to head up to the hostel at Manuel Antonio, with a beautiful view of the ocean up on the mountain. I was a bit stressed about my car though, I didn’t know what was going to happen and I didn’t want to stop the ride just because of that, so I decided to take care of it the next day. We celebrated Canada Day playing Cards against Humanity and drinking wine at the hostel!! (Congrats to our Canadian!)

It’s getting late. I didn’t go out. It’s cloudy and the “Persaid show” won’t be seen from anywhere on the country. I’m drinking Kefir and eating pineapple because pasta wasn’t really enough. Listening to Mac Miller.

Next day we had breakfast at a Falafel place. SOOOOO GOOD. My car was dying and I was stressing out. We had to jump-start it again outside the Falafel place. It was Sunday and there were no one working this day. Brad called his father (he had to make this call either way). and he told us it had to be the alternator. He was right. At the end I couldn’t show them Uvita… We had to head back to San Jose, stopping a couple of times so that somebody might re-fuel the battery for us. Back at the city I left them at a Hostel in Escazu. The day after that they were going to Limon and I couldn’t join them. It seemed like they had a really nice time though!

This had been an amazing adventure I could actually repeat. We had a great time. I hope they enjoyed it like me!

Woooah, I wrote a lot! I hope you enjoyed this story too. Never be afraid of doing things that scare you, and remember that your country always has new things to show you, you just have to look at it from a different perspective!

Published by Roberto López

Photographer, artist and videographer on the amazing process of life.

7 thoughts on “Roadtrip through Costa Rica!

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