My husband and I value our vacations alone. But, who doesn’t? A romantic vacation for two is a change to get back to basics and find new adventures together.
We especially love sneaking away to all-inclusive resorts situated in beautiful locations. The luxury of convenience makes the vacation so much more rewarding. And, having nightly dinners out makes every night of vacation feel like a date night. Most recently, we jetted off to the RIU Guanacaste in Costa Rica. This was our first trip to Costa Rica, but we’re convinced it won’t be our last!
We’d never stayed at an RIU hotel, but the Costa Rican location set the bar high. The view from the hotel grounds was absolutely stunning because the hotel is nestled between mountains on the beach. (That was a sight on my bucket list, and I crossed it off!) We also loved the nightly entertainment at the resort.
Other resorts we’ve stayed at didn’t have weeknight entertainment. However, there was a different show every night at RIU Guanacaste. The shows are outside on a stage, and there are plenty of tables and cabanas to watch from. I loved getting a drink from the Cinderella carriage and snuggling up with my honey in a cabana for the show. (Of course, hotel staff also served drinks during the shows.)
The food at each restaurant was delicious, and each atmosphere was different. There was also a resort photographer who would hop in the pool – or where you were – and snap candid photos. We actually had a very impromptu photoshoot with her in the pool. All eyes were on us, but those photos were gorgeous. She captured our happiness and love, and we bought several of the photos.
The beach area was gorgeous– untouched by commercialism. There was a little blue boat tied up near our hotel most of our stay, and I loved seeing it each day. However, we didn’t spend much time on the resort’s beach because there were not excess chairs. There were several people selling hand-made goods on the beach, but no one ever approached us to sell.
One of my favorite resort features was the pool area. A dramatic walkway with palm trees and water fountains lead you from the hotel to the pool. There’s an adorable, Cinderella-type carriage at the top of the walkway. Each afternoon, the hotel staff would convert this carriage into a bar. One day, the carriage served shots, and another day it served mimosas. You better believe I loved getting a mimosa from a Cinderella carriage!
We (or, should I say I) also had a fun time partaking in poolside games. I did a relay race with other hotel guests, and I even won the belly-flop-balloon-popping contest. My husband proudly – or embarrassingly – took photos of my participation.
The Monkey Bar
Though we didn’t spend time on the beach, we did walk down the beach to the “monkey bar” area every day. The monkey bar is a restaurant nestled in the trees beside the beach, and monkeys supposedly are very friendly with the bar-goers. We didn’t eat at the monkey bar, but we did stroll through the surrounding woods (so did many other people). Each time, we heard and saw monkeys in the trees. That may have been the highlight of the trip for both of us!
Off-Resort Excursion: Ziplining, a giant waterslide and hot springs
There were two things we wanted to do on our Costa Rican vacation – see monkeys and see a volcano. We crossed the first one off our list, but not the second. There was an excursion to a volcano, however, it was several hours away. We were only staying in Costa Rica for four nights and didn’t want to spend an entire day on an excursion. So, we chose an excursion to the Vandara Hot Springs instead – and it did not disappoint!
This excursion was about a half day long. We rode a bus to Vandara, where we rode horses up a mountain; ziplined through the jungle; then slid down a giant waterslide built into the mountain. We had the freshest, most delicious meal chatting with other excursion-goers while at Vandara. The plantain chips with black bean puree appetizer was my favorite, and I even make that at home now.
After lunch, we went down to the hot springs where we covered ourselves in volcanic mud. We then rinsed off in a river, then soaked in the hot springs. This was ultra-romantic and fun. I mean, flirting with your hubby in a hot spring while spying a toucan overhead? YES.
Just writing this blog makes me wish we back in the Costa Rican sunlight. The locals we met truly reflected Costa Rica’s motto – la pura vida, or the pure life. From the foods to the people, we saw la pura vida first-hand. And for a few days, we lived la pura vida, too.
A few more photos from our vacation in Costa Rica: