Lava, caffeine, and a slow-moving animal: Costa Rica & Panama: GUEST POST by Dana & Collie Coburn

Please welcome the sister, brother-in-law, and very adorable nephew of Dawn (co-owner of comuse) for this special guest post! *Clapping!*

This trip included the aforementioned nephew's first plane ride! Look what he wore! Get one here!

In January, the three of us (Dana, Collie and our 16 month-old son Titus) went on an adventurous trip to Costa Rica. While we got to drive across the country from coast-to-coast, we spent the majority of our time in the relatively remote Caribbean province of Limon. We spent ten days being amazed by jungles, wildlife, beaches, and adventures. Dawn and Neel kindly invited us to share some highlights with you. So here we go!

Costa Rica teems with natural beauty and National Parks are a must-see. We visited four of the fifty national parks during our stay. Two of our favorite national park visits led us to volcanoes. Poas volcano, part of Volcan Poas National Park, is surrounded by a stunning cloud forest and is a mere 15 minute hike from the parking area with additional trails to explore. If you visit Barva Volcano in Braulio Carrillo National Park however, it will take you close to an hour to reach the crater lake of this dormant volcano. Both of these magnificent volcanoes are located in settings rich in trees and plant life. Another great stop is the Jaguar Rescue Center in Puerto Viejo. The rescue center houses a collection of birds, monkeys, sloths, snakes and amphibians. It’s a great place to get acquainted with local inhabitants of the area!

While in Costa Rica we were on the lookout for a chocolate plantation or two. During our search for the perfect plantation we stumbled upon a chocolate shop in Puerto Viejo known as ‘Caribeans’. We stepped into their closet-sized refrigerated room and gladly sampled twenty different types of chocolate before deciding on our chocolate of choice for our perfect cup of sipping chocolate. After this tasty experience we still kept our eyes peeled for a plantation to take a tour of. The next day after hiking to Dos Aguas waterfall, we stumbled upon a tucked away chocolate plantation about a mile down the road. As we walked down the hill and entered the building we were quickly swept away by the sense of history at this plantation. The sister and brother team gave us a tour and demonstrated the chocolate making process they travel through in order to produce the delicate chocolates we tasted here. It was a rich experience to say the least!

Another one of our goals was to visit a coffee plantation. On our last full day in the country we visited a beautiful coffee plantation titled Espiritu Santo. As we waited for our tour to begin, we gazed at breathtaking views while sipping on hot coffee from a large carafe, making sure to follow the staff’s instructions to, “Have as much as you like.” Apparently they weren’t concerned with how much we partook since they produce 10 million pounds of coffee annually! We were fortunate to be the only visitors during our two hour stay and therefore received a private tour (insert cheer). The aroma of coffee was amidst the air as we walked through the plantation, throughout the roasting/processing building, and back into the shop at the end.

Finally, if you visit the area of Puerto Viejo, you’re not far from the border crossing into Panama. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can cross the rickety, disused railroad bridge that doubles as the border crossing, and take a trip to the Panamanian islands of Bocas Del Toro. You’ll take a small motorboat to Bocas Town and from there you can jump off to a number of small islands with white sand beaches and blue skies.

We loved our time in Costa Rica and we were amazed at the sheer amount of adventures we discovered. If you are thinking about going there, let us know and we’d love to pass on any wisdom that we can!

Pura Vida!

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