To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, we decided, on our way back from our now annual two months in California, to do a detour to Costa Rica for a week.

A friend of Lynda's had a good travel contact in Costa Rica and John Aspinall, who runs Sun Tours Travel, did indeed, turn out to be a major help. In a phone conversation in March, he laid out a suggested plan that included three days in each of two destinations, one in the North and one in the South of Costa Rica. Sounded perfect!

Getting there

A three hour drive from Palm Desert, an overnight at a nearby hotel, and then a quick flight from LA Airport to San Jose. John had suggested that we hire a driver rather than rent a car for just a few hours of travel. The pre-trip research had suggested that there were hazards to driving in Costa Rica, including a paucity of road signs, so we took the easy route. The driver was excellent—gave us a tourist update on all that we passed and was surprisingly good with the birds and animals.

Arenal Lodge

  • Arenal Observatory Lodge: the North of Costa Rica, at an elevation of about 2400 feet. Nice spot, but more or less what you'd expect from a high-volume tourist destination; the restaurant food was particularly uninspiring. But the grounds and view were beautiful and the guides were excellent

    We also visited the La Paz Waterfall gardens on the way to the lodge and Hanging Bridges Park during our stay—both well worth the time spent.

  • Tiskita Eco-lodge:

    in the south, almost at the border with Panama and within sight and sound of the Pacific ocean. Run by a nice family of eco-minded pioneers. Friendly, some rough edges but generally comfortable.

  • Kudos



    Black Iguana

    Green Iguana



    Howler Monkey

    Spider Monkey

    Squirrel Monkey

    White-faced Capuchin






    Three-toed Sloth

    Two-toed Sloth