This month will mark two looong years since we’ve been out of the country. Costa Rica was our last “big” trip before we decided to start a family. Since then we’ve not gone too far but to the mountains and the beach a few times. My travel bug is definitely itching right about now, so I thought I would do a trip #throwback and spill my review!
Where we Stayed:The Westin at Playa Conchal
Time of Year: Mid-March
Favorite Things To Do: Tamarindo Beach- lot’s of local shopping, surfing, and on the beach restaurants! Also, the spa was great at The Westin, get the “Shells Couples Massage”!
Con’s of the Trip: The biggest disappointment we had for this trip was our deep sea fishing experience. I had surprised Justin when we got down there that I had booked us a 6 or 8 hour ( I can’t remember now) deep sea fishing trip on our third day there. Costa Rica is one of the BEST places to deep sea fish in the world! I was beyond stoked to go and also surprise him. Once we got to the beach that morning around 6AM, we were greeted by the owner of the boat, who then took our payment and then proceeded to tell us that someone else had came into town and needed him to captain their boat, so we would be going with someone else who worked for him. Right off the bat we got a bad vibe from him and felt it wasn’t going to be good. He also said that the fishing hadn’t been that good the last couple days. Well, either he was right, or he knew the captain was terrible because Justin caught ONE (60lb Rooster) fish, and I caught 2 smaller fish. We were so upset and over it, we ended up telling the captain to take us back 2 hours early. Also, March was extremely HOT. It didn’t get below 94 during the day time the entire time we were there. The resort didn’t own the beach area, so as soon as you left the property, there were a lot of (mainly women) people trying to sell you things or offering massages on the beach. Once you got past them, you were fine. They could not bother you down by the water. Lastly, you did have to drive a decent way to get to anything outside of the resort, although they had 5-7 on site restaurants that were good.
SEE OUR VLOG OF COSTA RICA HERE
When I was working with Joyful Journey’s by Lauren, I was joking with her about comparing every place to our honeymoon in St. Lucia. We went all out for it with a personal butler and everything! You can read my review of it HERE. So when we were looking at the different room options at The Westin, I was a little disappointed. Once I got over the fact that it would take a super lux place to top Sandals, I decided to stop whining and get over it lol. Once we got there, we were very pleased with our room. The bathroom was very nice and clean, with large shower and a separate jacuzzi tub. We have views of the gardens, since none of their rooms were directly on the water. They are more like pods that one big hotel. There was probably 8 rooms per pod, and countless pods all over the property. The spa had its own building, just like the restaurants did, and the pool areas. We did add on the adults only pass which had a separate pool area and nice cabanas. The breakfast was buffet style with tons of options and an omelette stations with every topping you could want.
We aren’t ones to want a full itinerary when we go on vacation, so the only “plans” we had were the deep sea fishing and to go to Arenal Volcano/Rainforest. Sadly, we never made it to the volcano/rainforest. I apparently didn’t read the map correctly and found out once we were down there just what it would take to get there from Playa Conchal area. It was going to be a 4 hour drive IF we didn’t get behind multiple sugar cane trucks which the locals told us was very likely and not easy to get around since the roads to there were small and rough. We said if we make it back to Costa Rica we would definitely break up our stay. We would start inland close to the rainforest and stay somewhere that had the natural hot springs for a couple days, then make our way to the beach. Everything seemed to be so far apart between cities and things to do/eat. We had a rental car for two of the last days, and we found a local zoo type place that had tons of animals that you would see in the rainforest tour except for a few things like a sloth. (I really wanted to see one of those!) So we did that one day, the spa one day, and fishing one day. The rest we just relaxed by the HUGE pool or at the beach. We also rented a jet ski one day but honestly, the waves were so rough we took it back after 20 minutes because it wasn’t very fun. We learned a lot on this trip for the future. At Sandals, they have so many excursions and things to do, there’s really not much need to ever leave the resort unless you want to go see downtown or something local. Which we still did via an excursion.
The staff at The Westin was wonderful. We never had any problems with anyone, and they came around often asking if you wanted a drink or snack. The main pool was the biggest pool I’ve ever been to. The coolest part was there was wildlife all around you no matter where you went! One day Justin and I were laying out by the pool and I looked over to see a 4ft. iguana chilling under the lounge chair beside me! There was also coatis running and playing everywhere you went. Justin was able to feed one by hand! Then we kept hearing people talk about seeing monkeys around but we never saw any. So we finally asked someone where they were, and they were like 3 pods down. We walked over there one afternoon and looked up to see at least 30 of them! They were all just hanging out in the trees then a couple cubs were running across the street. I’ve never been to a place that had animals just casually hanging out around the resort. Definitely something to remember. As I stated above, we went in the middle of March, and it was so freaking hot. I would suggest looking into a little cooler weather times to go before booking. They also have a rainy season that spans for a couple months straight, so you definitely don’t want to go then. They told us the fishing was the best in early spring. So we may try to get down there again for a couple days to re-try fishing.
We flew in and out of Liberia Airport in Guanacaste. It was about an hour-ish drive to the resort from the airport. The airport is very small, and there is a sit down restaurant upstairs that we heard several people were extremely upset that they did not realize that their prices were outrageous. One couple said they had 2 burgers, one alcoholic drink and a side and it was over $60! So just watch out for that..
Well, I think about covers it. If you have any other specific questions, I’d be happy to answer. Have a great rest of your day!