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07 January 2015

Costa Rica

Over the holidays I went to Costa Rica with the family I work for- we went for about two weeks to a region called Guanacaste. Unfortunately I dropped and shattered my phone the day we left so I was unable to take but few pictures (my phone had a mind of it's own) but I can give you some details on where we stayed, my experience with the hotel and surrounding area.

We flew into the Liberia Airport in Costa Rica and drove about an hour and fifteen to the JW Marriott Resort on the Hacienda Pinilla, which is kind of a gated community. We stayed at a similar one last year when we stayed at the Four Seasons resort.

The Marriott was very nice, we had three rooms- one of which I shared with the kids. The beds were comfy and the curtains fully blacked out the windows at night, something I fully appreciated.

I thought on the best things about this hotel was the pool. The pool was a snake shape so that every chair was poolside. There were no rows of chairs layering back, no walk to put your feet into the water, every chair had access to the pool. The beach at the Marriott was also super nice. During low-tide the beach was very wide and with a large number of rocks at the bottom that created really cool tide pools. The kids and I spent hours everyday exploring these pools, searching for shells, fish, crabs and other goodies. Throughout our stay we saw a sting-ray, an octopus, a puffer-fish, an endless amount of hermit crabs, crabs, and multiple kinds of fish. The swim area of the beach was large enough that multiple families could enjoy it at once but wasn't too intense with the current. Overall a
great beach.

picture courtesy of the JW Marriott site
The thing is about this trip is that we stayed on the property almost the entire time. The hotel boasts six restaurants. An Asian-fushion dinner spot, a delicious steak house, an all day lounge with sushi and pizza, a buffet bar, and a pool-grill that turns into an Italian restaurant at night. All good, but a bit repetitive after 14 days. We did go into the nearby town one evening, the hotel offered a shuttle and it took about 30 minutes to reach the town. It was filled with restaurants and cheesy gift shops. And while it was nice to get out, it was very hard to make the trek with two children who were used to going to sleep at 8:30. If I had been there with my own family or friends I expect we would have gone more often.

The Marriott has a nice spa on their property- something I took full-advantage of, although I did find it be be a bit over priced. I had an amazing massage but could have received the same service at a different hotel or here at home for half of the cost. It was worth it at the time but I wouldn't go back there to do the same thing.

One thing I found very interesting is the wildlife we saw, or didn't see... last year we stayed at the Four Seasons resort, about an hour and half north of where we were this year. There (at the Four Seasons) we saw monkeys, iguanas, white-nose Coatis, all sorts of birds, bugs and crabs almost everyday. At the Marriott we saw almost nothing. Besides the things we saw in the water I think I viewed a handful of lizards and some birds. Well we did see a lot of cows and horses on the drive to and from the airport but I'm not sure if that counts.

Overall it was a nice hotel, and with the families government discount they received a fantastic deal ($147/night). There are direct flights to Liberia which can also be helpful and I would recommend it as a place to stay but not for as long as we did. Maybe a 5-6 day trip, and not a two week one.

And that's that!

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  1. Sounds like an amazing trip! Love that the pool has a unique shape and all the lounge chairs are poolside... fantastic feature :)

  2. It sounds like you had a really great time! Well, except for the breaking your phone part. I love the idea of lounge chairs at poolside with my toes in the water. Yes, please! Sounds like heaven to me!

  3. ummm I needed to be in your luggage! haha Sounds like a good trip to me! (other than phone deciding to do what it did)

  4. That sucks so hard that you didn't get to spend the holidays with your family!! Is the family you work for nice and welcoming at least??

  5. Sounds amazing and the resort looks gorgeous! Costa Rica is definitely on my must-visit list!

  6. I'm sorry but your job sounds awesome!!! haha.