Cinnamon Sun – Costa Rica Part 1

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This photo taken with my camera by one of Oxygen's staff.

I just have to tell everyone, right now, that our honeymoon was amazing. It was a life-altering experience. I had the time of my life, and I had never felt that way before. And, I owe it all to youuuuu. Had I not been part of Weddingbee, I don’t know that I ever would have heard of Oxygen Jungle Villas (from Mrses Brooch and Lox). Maybe Costa Rica would never have been on our radar! But thanks to those two ladies it was, and now I’ll tell you all about it. We spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica, this first post will be about the first 4 days we spent at Oxygen and the surrounding area. This honeymoon happened the February after our June wedding.

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Flying from Calgary to Costa Rica was pretty easy – one change in Houston, which we made with enough time to eat dinner at the airport before heading onwards. We got in to San Jose at night, so we needed a hotel to stay at that night before we went to a smaller regional airport (San Jose Pavas) to take our little flight to the Pacific Coast. We didn’t want to spend lots of our trip driving, so we chose to fly from San Jose to Quepos on the Pacific coast, pick up a rental car in Quepos, then drive to Oxygen. Driving from San Jose to Oxygen is 3-4 hours I believe, while our flight was 25 minutes, and Quepos to Oxygen was about 45 minutes. That way we’d still have a car to explore with, but wouldn’t have to navigate San Jose or any major roads. We chose to stay at the Hotel Brilla Sol that first night in San Jose. It had been recommended by the place we were volunteering at later in the trip. It was cheap (but cash only!) and cheerful, and included a breakfast where we both gorged on fresh fruit. We ate a lot of fresh fruit on this trip.

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Breakfast on the terrace at Brilla Sol

The Brilla Sol is behind a big iron gate, which was a bit scary, but most businesses in this area seemed to be surrounded by fences, gates, barbed wire, or some combination of the above. The Brilla Sol was close to the main airport, but not so close to Pavas airport, so we spent a fair amount of time in a taxi during rush hour, both relieved we weren’t driving.

Once at Pavas airport, they weighed our luggage, our carry-ons, and us. Yes, the plane is that small. We had a bit too much luggage, but we’re both small people so I think the airline clerk was nice to us and didn’t charge us for being over on baggage. We had some great views of the country as we flew over it:

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At Quepos, the adventure began. We had arranged our rental car through Alamo, who had been recommended by Oxygen. There was a man with an Alamo truck at the Quepos ‘airport’ (really just a Quonset hut by a small airstrip). Hm, we hadn’t rented a truck. Turns out Alamo was all out of cars, but Elvis was here to drive us to Oxygen, and would drop off a car for us at the resort as soon as one was available.

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We were at Oxygen by 10:30am and it. was. amazing. Our room wasn’t ready, but the staff was very welcoming, so we basked poolside with fresh fruit smoothies until the room was ready. Really, we would have just put our stuff down in the room and come out to bask anyway, so it didn’t bother us in the least. As we had no car, we spent the day basking, lazing, and swimming. Not a bad way to spend the first full day of your honeymoon! And what a view!

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Now before you get too excited about the adventures we had once the intrepid Elvis brought us our car…. it never came. The lovely Oxygen staff kept phoning Alamo for us, and the answer was always ‘Soon!’ Soon never materialized, but it honestly didn’t phase us. We spent some much-needed down time in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We ate every meal at Oxygen, and every meal was amazing. The 5-course surprise dinner menu? Worth it, every time. The wine was also reasonable… we may have polished off a bottle every night we were there!

We did a little more than just lazing by the pool, though. We went on a mini-hike to a waterfall on Oxygen’s property:

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We saw some wildlife:

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That is a coati, a bit like a raccoon.

We hung out together in the shade of some lovely umbrellas:

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Umbrella by day

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Umbrella by night

And for a bit of adventure we went down to the village (Uvita) and went on a waterfall rappelling adventure! One of the staff at Oxygen recommended this trip to us and it was awesome. I overheard an older couple the morning before we went saying ‘$80 each is too much to walk down a river! Why would I do that?!’ Let me tell you, this is not walking down a river:

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The trip was run by Costa Canyoning, and I would recommend it over and over! I felt so safe, and it was tons of fun. The guides even had a waterproof camera, and we all got a DVD of photos at the end of the tour. We even had delicious beverages and homemade salsa after all our exertions! The funny part about this excursion was that it was Cinnamon Buns and I and 3 other tourists. The three others were from…. (wait for it)….. Calgary! Small world. If you go on this trip, leave everything at your hotel. EVERYTHING. You do have to swim at some points, plus the water pelting down – not a good combo for things in pockets. Luckily, we both managed to keep our glasses on our faces, although one of those glasses tie things might have made me feel a little more secure. We even left our wedding rings at the hotel, which I think was a good choice. I would have worried to much about losing them to enjoy the excursion!

After that adventure, we had a couple’s massage back at Oxygen, which was an excellent combination.

As our car never appeared we taxied back to Quepos airport. All in all, not having the car saved us money, as we only had to pay for the taxi back to Quepos ($80). I did have a moment of worry when the driver who picked us up at the resort stopped at the crossroads in town, got out, and his friend got in to drive us, but we got there! I’m a little sad we never got to tip Elvis, who was lots of fun on the drive to Oxygen – we assumed we’d be able to do it when he brought us our car.

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In short: I would recommend Oxygen Jungle Villas to anyone and everyone! They aren’t an all-inclusive but we feel that what we paid for everything (room, meals, drinks, massage) was very reasonable. More reasonable that a lot of all-inclusives I researched, even. It’s a beautiful location with a wonderful view that we just didn’t get tired of.

Next up: Slothymoon!

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Sloth self-portrait

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