Ask us about our favorite places

One day Steve & Debbie of the delightful Leaves & Lizards near Arenal invited us for a ride - the river was a short ride from the lodge, a great day was had by all.  And you won't find better hosts than the good people at Leaves.

Here we share with you some years of travel experience in Costa Rica

Whether you travel by map and compass or GPS or naturalist guide or bus or shuttle, we'd love to introduce you to the best of Costa Rica.  Every month or two we try to get out and visit so don't hesitate to ask us - best dinners?  best wildlife? best hosts?  best roads - na!

Costa Rica ain't Disney

Anywhere in the country you will run into wildlife, the Pura Vida works with excellent English speaking naturalist guides to help you.  Biodiversity is up to those who look more carefully. This lovely pair just happened to be sitting by the side of the road on a recent tour in the back country above Arenal.

Surrounded by Beaches

But which beaches should you go to? This one is a little difficult to get to but worth the journey - a huge favorite - Drake Bay while visiting Copa De Arbol. Yes the hotel is even better than the view ("gedoudahere Berni!").

Yes travel in Costa Rica can be "interesting"

Yes that really is a river crossing on the GPS. Do we advise GPS when you drive - yes to save some marriages and no if you want to meet more people and are not so bothered by our abject lack of road signs and creative alternatives to real addresses. It is true, we don't use addresses here.

Touring in Costa Rica

Borucan mask makers
A family of mask makers at Boruca village
coco beach costa rica
A bridge we avoided at Coco Guanacaste
orchid jungle at palmares
An orchid jungle open to the public
Costa Rica GPS Pura Vida Hotel Alajuela
We always enjoy the GPS giggles here
Costa Rica GPS Pura Vida Hotel near SJO airport
Our GPS's can be prescient


When your plans call for travel to different points of the Costa Rican compass, may we recommend some places you will enjoy? We have good friends with really nice hotels that we stay at when we travel - like Monteverde, Arenal, Tamarindo, Uvita and Tortuguero to name a few.

Every one of these places is a delight, the owners are also the on site managers like ourselves and are experts in their area. Click on this link for the places we like to stay when we travel in Costa Rica


This is the most common question.

The best place to start your tour of the natural wonders of Costa Rica is right here at the Pura Vida Hotel. Pura Vida is just 4 KM from the main International airport at San Jose (SJO). It is in the central valley but without the convolutions of the nearby capital of San Jose. This makes it the ideal location to take any number of day trips to San Jose, to places like Irazu and Poas volcanoes, to shopping in Sarchi or maybe a visit to Tortuguero National Park.

There are as many ways to explore Costa Rica. Whatever you experience, it is guaranteed to be more fascinating than sitting prone at some SuperMegoResort with thousands of others sucking on straws in some lime green liquid listening to a Norwegian techno rendition of Richard Clayderman doing "My Way".

That BTW is preferable to being invited to a 2 hour Katy Perry concert e.g. "Be your teenage dream tonight,tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight".


Car rentals are not cheap in Costa Rica - but with our roads, the costs of taxis at your destination locations, the amount of time it takes to get anywhere AND the beauty of our country, car rentals are the way to go. Most people discover the money they saved on a shuttle to the beach destination was eaten up in taxi rides or just made the trip a little less interesting as they could not visit certain very interesting places. We sincerely hope you will make us your base to explore the many wonders of this country.


Some people however will not drive in a country without good signs and little respect for rules of the road - then you should hire a driver/guide for a transfer or for a tour once at your destination.

For 2 or 3 people it will be economical to take a private bus service to your destination with someone like Interbus (who we also recommend as reliable). With 4 or more people the private driver guide will be the same price or cheaper. You also get your own personal naturalist English-speaking guide to take you into local places only he knows. Just be aware you'll probably eat into any car rental cost savings with taxis and you'll miss out on some places difficult to get to at your destination.


Rent a car for a few days or just order up your personal naturalist driver/guide for the day and you can make your own day trips. Our day trips web page has a long list of things to do in this area.


You can take an organized tour with a professional and experienced guide in a bus or a boat or on foot or in a plane to almost anywhere at reasonable prices.  Organized tours last from 1 day up to a week and can be arranged with as little as a few hours notice. But for the "good guides" book ahead.  Of course so-called guides who can't speak English and drive beaters can be found in minutes.  You do have choices eh?

Let us know if you need a little help with getting yourself organized or you have questions about certain destinations you are considering. You will find a whole bunch of ideas on our travel blog - for example here's a list of some of our guests fave places to visit in Costa Rica (compiled by guests).


Email away . . . we'll try! We try to get out once a month somewhere in Costa Rica and learn what there is to see and do first hand. So we may have been on that trail you are thinking is impassable?


Yes, yes we do own a GPS but do not particularly like 'em - we just get lost and stop a minute or two to ask directions or get acquainted with the neighborhood.  Truth is many guests with them come back saying they could not have made it without one. Although they often marvel at how you do any of this in a country with no road names.

It is actually part of the joy of Costa Rica to get lost occasionally and meet the locals. If you decide not to rent a GPS we have the most excellent Toucan map for sale in the hotel. That and a cheezy compass gets you anywhere.