El Tucano Hotel: Natural Costa Rican Paradise

There are beautiful places all over Costa Rica, so there’s a good chance that no matter where you stay you’ll see many beautiful sights. There is one place that stands out more than the others and I would recommend it to anyone. The name of the resort is El Tucano Hotel and it is located in Aguas Zarcas, Costa Rica. It is situated on the side of a mountain and only 90 minutes from San Jose. It has all the things that you’d expect in a lush Costa Rican forrest including a variety of birds, monkeys and butterflies, but there is also a river that wraps around the resort that is brimming with hot water from multiple thermal vents.


There is huge swimming pool that constantly circulates this fresh mountain water with NO CHEMICALS!



Not to mention there’s a sauna which was built over a thermal vent, so once again all natural, mineral rich water plus two hot tubs and kiddy pool.


The BEST part though is walking down to the actual river and just lounging in the water or sunning on a nearby rock. Everytime I have gone, we have been the only ones at the river, so it’s very private.




There is also a delicious restaurant that is open all day. The staff is also incledibly friendly, but be warned if you ask them to take your picture, they might take a selfie first.


There is indoor and outdoor seating. The picture below shows the balconny seating. My mom and I joked that they must let out butterflies on a timed sequence because it seemed like every 5 mintures a giant blue morpho butterfly would come fluttering by from the same direction.



At the time of writing this post, their website was down for maintenance, but you can find them on Expedia here. If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica, this place is a must stay!

So Apparently I’ve been to Paris…

My mom and I were going to the Netherlands to visit family, and we decided to tack on a trip in the beginning to Paris. Mom was coming from Costa Rica and I was coming from Florida. We managed to get flights that would meet up in New York, so we could do the last legs together. That sounds all well and good, except I had to leave Florida at 6 AM and then wait in JFK for 6 hours until she got there, then another 2 hours wait for the flight to Amsterdam and then connection to Paris. Needless to say, it was and long day and I maybe slept 1 hour the whole time. I am not one of those people that is blessed with the ability to sleep on planes. It was around 8AM when we arrived in Paris and we couldn’t check into the hotel until 1PM! Thankfully, we were allowed to drop our luggage there, so we at least didn’t have to walk around the city with them! You can see bags the size of the Boeing airplanes under our eyes in the pictures from that morning…

Paris Cafe

Paris Cafe 2

It was such a gorgeous day and we tried to enjoy it to the best of our abilities. After a few hours of dragging ourselves around, we saw a cute little park that was full of people sitting in the sun, having picnics. We found an empty bench and thought we would sit for just a few minutes… HA!… We. Passed. Out. In the middle of all the bustling activity of a gorgeous Parisian morning, there were two tourists, mouths agape, heads fallen backwards, probably drooling and oblivious to the world. After about 45 minutes we became conscious again (maybe the locals had made a game of hitting us with bread crumbs or something), had a good laugh and shrugged it off by saying we’d never see these people again. This pretty much sums up our first day, besides a marathon nap (actually in our hotel this time) and a nice dinner at a street cafe. There is much more to say about Paris, but that’s for another post 🙂

Driving in Costa Rica… like a boss.

There is only one thing that I can recommend to bring to Costa Rica if you plan on driving. This was key to my survival of the notoriously challenging and at times perilous Costa Rican Roads. Drum Roll, please… My Mother.

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She can drive a stick shift like nobody’s business. The hazards of Costa Rican roads include many steep inclines that result in frequent accidents..

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People driving with unnecessary distractions, like dogs…

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Cows… not a cow, but multiple cows..


But don’t worry, they are accompanied by a nice herding gentlemen..


Plus there’s lots of traffic…

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Not to mention when it’s rainy season and the roads are washing out all the time. There’s also the occasional avalanche, rickety bridges and crazy aggressive drivers… So if you aren’t blessed enough to be escorted by my mother, my advice would be lots of prayer and have someone with you that drives better than me.

I wasn’t a total chicken though, I did try to drive a few times. I even got the pleasure of getting stuck in traffic while going up a mountain. There were policemen directing traffic and I actually got pulled over apparently for looking like an idiot. I guess you cause them to wonder if you actually have a drivers license after you stall three times in a row… front and center of the line.. while they yell at you to go forward (no pressure, right?). My glorious, Spanish speaking mother had a good laugh with the policemen (at my expense) and then he sent us on our stalling and sputtering way. Thanks, Mom.

Tell me your driving stories below!