When we got to the “airport” in Arenal, I was quite amused as it is something to behold. The terminal doubled as a bar/concert hall and was basically one large room. The airport included one landing strip, the baggage is just piled up in a corner, and the building is completely open. My favorite part of the check-in process was when they weighed each passenger and their bag. Because these planes were very small, they had to get a fairly precise determination of the weight on the plane. It was sort of amusing watching the reaction of many of the women (my mother-in-law included) when the airport employee told each one that they had to step up on the scale and be weighed before they could board the plane. It was also very cute when Finnegan proudly stepped on the scale with his Thomas the Train suitcase.
The flight out of Arenal was pretty cool. The pilot made sure to fly around the volcano so everyone could get a close view of it. But being in a tiny plane has some disadvantages too and many passengers (my father-in-law included) had a difficult time with some of the turbulence.
We arrived in the Osa Peninsula to an airport even smaller than the one we left in Arenal. There we were met by our driver who took us to our next resort: Bosque del Cabo. The ride was on a dirt road that was littered with rocks, enormous potholes and the occasional stream or cattle crossing. What should be a short and uneventful trip takes about an hour and is very bumpy. But it was worth the trip.
Upon arriving at Bosque del Cabo, guests are greeted by staff members with drinks and flowers. The resort is all-inclusive (there really is no option to go anywhere else so it works out well), and the food was first-rate. The resort is an eco lodge and is geared to active people that want to explore nature, and there are miles of trails and numerous hiking options available.
Our first night was a study in contrasts between our accommodations and that of my in-laws. Our cabin sat on a high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The front of the cabin was largely open, and the only thing between us and the creatures outside was the mosquito netting hanging from the top of the four-piece bed. Standing on the porch before going to bed I heard a rusting in the leaves outside our cabin. I got Finnegan and the two of us went to look to see what was making the noise. After scanning the area with my flashlight I eventually discovered our visitor: an armadillo! He paid me little mind and disappeared soon after. I fell asleep that night to the sound of the pounding surf as a warm ocean breeze wafted through the cabin.
The next morning we went out on the porch and almost immediately saw monkeys swinging through the trees. The monkeys were very active in the morning and you did not have to go far in the resort to find them. We saw howler, white faced, and spider monkeys while staying at Bosque del Cabo. It’s been over a year since our visit and Finnegan can name all three species that we saw. He also asks on a regular basis if we can go back to Costa Rica so that’s a testament to how much he loved this trip.
My mother and father-in-law had a less enjoyable first night. Because the resort was at capacity our first night, they had to stay in an auxiliary cabin located deep in the woods. To get to their cabin it was a ten minute walk that involved crossing a gorge via a large suspension bridge. Their cabin was rustic, which is a euphemistic way of saying it lacked many of the accoutrements of modern living. And it was isolated. It reminded me of the cabin Joe Pesci’s character stayed in before his trial in My Cousin Vinney. They survived, but probably would have refused to spend a second night out there, notwithstanding the fact that they were greeted by a cotumondi the next morning who was feet away from their cabin enjoying coconut milk right out of the shell. Thankfully a more spacious cabin became available and they spent the rest of the stay in very comfortable accommodations.
During the day we tried to do a morning hike and an afternoon hike. There are plenty of creatures that make their home on the Osa Peninsula and on Bosque del Cabo in particular. While we were not quite so lucky, guests have spotted jaguars, pumas, and other rare animals But in just a few days at Bosque del Cabo we saw many scarlet macaws, toucans and three different types of monkeys. It got pretty hot during the middle of the day so we used that time for naps and swimming. There is a beach that you can hike to or get a lift to depending on your mood.
While at Bosque del Cabo, we did an excursion one afternoon and took the long ride back to town, where we took a boat out on the water to see dolphins, pelicans, and a bunch of other wildlife. Excursions here are expensive because it is such a long ride to get back to town.
Nighttime was a great time to see wildlife and one night before dinner we did a guided nature walk through the resort. A resident naturalist who works for the resort took us around and helped us spot many cool creatures that were lurking close-by. Without his expertise, we probably wouldn’t have spotted any of this nighttime wildlife. We saw several different types of bats, spiders, poisonous frogs, termites and several other interesting creatures. Another night the naturalist happened to find a boa constrictor lurking on one of the trails on the resort, and he picked it up and brought it to dinner. There he showed it to all of the guests brave enough to have a look at him. Finnegan practically knocked down the other guests to make sure he had a turn to pet the large snake.
Overall we really enjoyed our visit to Costa Rica. It is very expensive, though, especially compared to other countries in Central America. While many of the best adventure activities are not family-friendly (or at least not if you have toddlers), Bosque del Cabo was perfect for visitors of all ages. If Finnegan gets his way, we will be heading back sooner rather than later, but we would love to wait and go back when the boys are a little older and can participate in some of the adventure activities like whitewater rafting and zip-lining.