something everyone can enjoy

We spent two days in Rio Celeste, our wet but beautiful hike in Tenorio Volcano National Park sandwiched in between two sunny, gorgeous afternoons at nearby La Amistad cacao farm. 

2022.04.13 chocolate tasting

Trip planning is always a delicate balancing act. Even the two of us, despite being joined from the outset by our commitment to a lifetime of travel, have divergent interests and expectations. S prefers more active outdoor adventures and activities that push her endurance. D loves adventuring in the great outdoors also, but these days prefers to walk slowly and look for colorful new birds to photograph rather than hiking for exercise. And then, of course, we have to take into account our kids’ interests.

2022.04.13 grinding cacao

For our weeklong trip with D’s parents, we struck a happy middle ground. Our one night at Selva Verde in Sarapiqui and our three-night stay at Arenal Observatory Lodge catered primarily to D’s birding interests. There were plenty of hiking opportunities at both, of course, but this was secondary to the fact that both places rank among the top ten birding destinations in Costa Rica. The visit to Rio Celeste — long one of S’s favorite places in Costa Rica — and our wet hike in Tenorio played more to S’s interests.

2022.04.13 L and pa

As for the kids, all they wanted to do was make chocolate. We took them on a chocolate tour the first time we visited Sarapiqui over the winter holidays last year. Once they learned that we’d be returning to the same place, they started advocating for another chocolate tour. We only spent one night at Sarapiqui — just to break up the drive to La Fortuna. And once we had made our way through Arenal National Park to the Observatory Lodge, we didn’t want to leave. Finca La Amistad was our answer to the kids’ non-stop clamoring for more chocolate.

2022.04.13 E with doggies

Unlike many of the places we visit, which S vets with members of the Embassy community and various other expats, La Amistad cacao farm was a bit of an unknown gamble. Chocolate tours can be hit or miss. This one hit the bullseye. We headed straight from Arenal to the cacao farm, had an excellent traditional lunch there, did the tour — which was a hit with both the kids and D’s parents — and then stayed almost until sunset, the farm and surrounding primary rainforest providing a bit of something for everyone in our traveling party. We enjoyed our visit so much that we returned for lunch again the next afternoon after our rainy hike in Tenorio. The rainclouds parted in the second half of the day, and the second visit proved no less sweet than the first. 

something everyone can enjoy