Costa Rica Part 2: Activities + Experiences
I know, I know. It's been a month since I was in Costa Rica and I'm sure you've all been waiting for Costa Rica: Part 2, Right? Part 1 was all about the resort, but Part 2 highlights the activities and adventures I experienced. Like I mentioned in Part 1, the Andaz has tons of activities to do on site. In fact they have a weekly calendar to make scheduling easy for their guests. Activities include everything from a barista class to a dance class to a pottery painting class. In addition to resort activities, there were also excursions you could take with private companies. All you had to do was head down to the beach. Here's the breakdown of the experiences I took part in.
Jetski, ATV, and Zipline Adventure: We started our day at about 9am. Our family (seven of us) walked down to the beach to find a few guys who were going to take us on our day adventure. They were all very friendly and helpful when they found out I've never driven a Jetski, nor have I been on one before. One of the guides taught me how to use steer and control it. The guides took us to "Monkey Island", a rock formation/island jutting out of the water. We then glided to the other side of the beach, to meet our ATV guides. We hopped on the ATVs, put our helmets on, and learned about the gears. I felt comfortable with the ATVs as they were easy to control. We took a main road to the jungle path and headed in. Some parts of the path were a bit hard to navigate through. At times it seemed as though I was going to tip over, but no harm was done. The guys were also running up to the bumpier spots to guide us through, which was a big help. Driving through the roads, jungle, and small towns was a favorite part of the day for me. We finally got to the zipline area accompanied with a layer of dirt from the ATV ride. There were two escorts assisting us through the zipline course and explained what to do and not to do to keep us safe, while always hooking us on and off the line. I've done ziplines before and I always enjoy it: the speed, the height, and the nature that surrounds you. We went from tree to tree until we ended up back where we started. Our last stop was lunch at a traditional Costa Rican restaurant called La Casona. The restaurant was built out of a home that is over 100 years old! We enjoyed the small rest as we ate and listened to rain fall. Once finished, we did it all over again...ATVs to jetskis and back to the resort.
Ceviche Class with Maria: We met Maria, a cook, at the ceviche bar with several other people in the evening. There was an array of fish, sauce, and accoutrements on the counter. The seafood provided was tuna, octopus, sea bass, and shrimp. We all received a ceviche menu with several recipes from the Andaz, which is a great encouragement for trying it at home. Maria proceeded to let us taste sauces and took us through the how-to's for ceviche making. She had created two ceviches to try at first and suggested to always do a mix of fish. Then each group went behind the counter and were able to make their own. I went for a coconut cream base with a mix of fish, avocado, cucumber, and special sauce named tiger's milk. It was simple and tropical. We took our unique ceviches and enjoyed them under the outdoor string lights.
Boating, Snorkeling, and Tubing Experience: Some of the same guides from the ATV day met us down at the beach to take us on their small boat to a great snorkel spot. We drove a short distance to a secluded beach to partake in some snorkel fun. Our snorkel leader headed out into the sea to find some creatures for us. Waving us over, we spotted a sea turtle gliding through the water. We also discovered pufferfish, starfish, and a few other colorful fish. After snorkeling, we started tubing. Our family went a pair at a time, taking turns bouncing on the water, and gripping to the tube trying not to fall off. Well, maybe we fell off...on purpose (it's so fun). While boating through the water, we spotted something flying out of the water. Taking a closer look, they were stingrays. Tons of them. They jumped out of the water like dolphins would. It was definitely a memorable sight. The boat ride only lasted several hours, but was a great way to start the day.
Sangria Class with Freddy: Just a walk up the stairs from the adult pool, we met Freddy, a resort bartender. I attended the class with my sister-in-law, Sarah, and were pleasantly surprised when it turned into a private class for just the two of us! No one else showed up. Side note: It seemed mid-day classes are prime if you want a more private experience. Most people are out during the day, which makes for smaller groups in classes during the day. Freddy first created a glass of sangria to show us the steps. I realized there are a lot more liquids that go into making this Spanish beverage than I thought. After Freddy's creation, each of us went behind the bar and created the sangria we wanted! We had the basics, so we just had to put our own twist on it. My drink turned out to be a more of a classic red sangria, while Sarah's was a neon green tropical sangria. A great tip we learned was that fresh sangria does not taste as good as day old sangria, so be sure make it the night before you serve it.
With that being said, I'll leave you with the recipe to the Andaz classic sangria below so you can create your own at home:
1oz Liquor 43 (any spiced liqueur will do)
1/2oz Red Vermouth
2oz Juice (Stick with citrus juices)
Balance out with lime juice if it's too sweet or simple syrup if not sweet enough
Garnish with beautiful fruits like strawberry and apples