(M at work. Receives text message)
B- Hey what do you think about going to Costa Rica sometime?
M- Sounds great. Let's do some research when I get home tonight.
B- Ok great, because I booked a trip for us! Love you, see you tonight!
(M lets out heavy sigh and slowly realizes what he's gotten himself into)
Chachagua Rainforest Hotel & Hacienda (pronounced cha-chew-ah not cha-cha-gua, which we were having fun saying!)
Chachagua is located just outside of La Fortuna, about a three hour drive from the San Jose airport. We opted for a car service although renting a car is also an option. Infrastructure in Costa Rica has dramatically improved over the years with the main roads being very drivable. However, if you're going to a somewhat remote location as we were, the driving can get very tricky akin to ATV off-roading, so car service it was! Chachagua Rainforest Hotel is listed in the book "1000 Places to Go Before You Die" so it had quite a reputation to live up to.
Upon arriving we were greeted by friendly staff with a delicious fruit beverage. The check in process was simple and they provided us with an umbrella for our stay (it's the rainforest after all!) The grounds of the resort were breathtaking, situated on 300 acres of rainforest, farm, and resort areas, it truly felt like paradise. If you are the type of person who needs nightlife, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE FOR YOU! If you are looking to be as close to nature as possible and spend your days relaxing by the pool, hiking the nature trails, and exploring the area THIS IS FOR YOU!
There are so many awesome things to do right at the resort. They offer daily guided rainforest hikes (or you can explore on your own) which give an amazing look at the local scenery. They also offer a horseback riding tour that offers breathtaking views. And if getting up on the horse isn't your thing, you can just go visit them in the steeple along with the other animals on site. A natural spring provides fresh water for the pool which makes for a clean, refreshing dip on hot days. Many afternoons were spent reading and relaxing by the pool during our time at Chachagua.
An absolute must at Chachagua is the night time nature walk. The jungle comes alive once the sun goes down, as many nocturnal animals come out. Surrounded by the sounds of the jungle as you walk with just a flashlight around a short 1 mile loop was such an incredibly unique experience. We spotted a few tree frogs, including the very small glass frog on our walk. No jaguars, which was a good thing!
We stayed in a Rainforest Bungalow (a free upgrade when we arrived, thanks Chachagua!) which was the absolute perfect room for the two of us. The room had a private deck with a hammock and bench, which was perfect for relaxing during the quick Costa Rican rainstorms that usually came once a day. A spacious room with a comfy bed was excellent, but the amazing rain shower in the bathroom stole the show.
The food at Chachagua was nothing short of fantastic. Three meals a day were offered at specific times, making eating an event we looked forward to. Every meal was delicious, but my favorite was the 'typical lunch' which consisted of rice, beans, fresh salad, organic pan fried chicken, and a sweet plantain. It was simple, made with fresh organic ingredients from on site, and was absolutely outstanding. For dinner, the fish was always amazing. As an added bonus, you can borrow a fishing pole and try and catch your own dinner from the tilapia pond. You can also explore the farm lands and see where all that delicious organic food comes from.
One of the best parts about Chachagua is the fact that you really don't need to go anywhere else if you don't want to. However, if you're feeling adventurous and want to see what else Costa Rica has to offer the friendly staff is happy to help arrange activities. We left on two different occasions; once to hike up the Arenal Volcano & visit a local hot spring, and another time to go zip lining over the rainforest. Both activities are highly recommended and were based out of the neighboring La Fortuna, so just a quick cab ride away.
All in all, an amazing experience in Costa Rica that wouldn't have been possible without B and her wanderlust spirit! Have you been to Chachagua or Costa Rica? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!