Here we will share with you on a semi regular basis some ideas for trips suggested by our guests laid out on google maps so they can get an idea of getting around in Costa Rica. 

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A LOAD of our guests' first stop is somewhere near Volcan Arenal and La Fortuna.

All the other hotels recommend going via San Ramon and due north but we just don't get that idea. Sure it is the quickest but why not turn your day of travel into a day of exploration and sightseeing along the way?

OK after you examine this map you may notice it only shows 3 routes to Arenal? Well the 4th route is arguable - so ask us about a detour to Bajos del Toro as you start your journey at the Pura Vida breakfast table..

To see any of these maps full size click the little boxy thing on the right of the map title box.

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This is a day trip we recommend for people thinking of moving here "one day".

This route takes you through some of our favorite communities - good access to facilities like hospitals, the airport and shopping.

After this day trip or something like it we will work out for you, there is likely to be a second day with a driver/guide digging deeper into an area you really liked.

For more details on this idea click me.


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This is an adventurous trip that came up after a guest conversation with Bud - it is a most interesting trip across country to the northern Pacific and then back via the northern corridor along the Nicaraguan border rain forests.

There are more routes available we can tell you about but they do not show on google maps here (what does google know about the "road less traveled"?).

We'll sit with you at the breakfast table if you'd like and help you sort these out on your first day in Costa Rica.


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Want to find the best beaches in Costa Rica? Well then this map will be of absolutely no use at all - this is a map of ALL the beaches of Costa Rica.

Ask us about our favorite beaches like "the whales tale" or "Avellanas" or Montezuma. Do you know how many Playa Matapalos are in Costa Rica or how many Playa Hermosas? If your destination is Playa Hermosa you may want to make sure you put the right one in your mapping tool of choice.

To see any of these maps full size click the little boxy thing on the right of the map title box.

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Chira Island today has a population of about 1,500 and is the former home of mysterious black clay pottery today found in different parts of the island buried on people's properties. Nobody knows where the potters or the clay went a hundred or more years ago - perhaps you can help by visiting the island for a day or two on your trip.

The island is looking for respectful adventurers and explorers. If you are an artist we'd like to hook you up with the artisans of the island finding new ways to support the tiny economy of Chira. This place is the least visited spot in Costa Rica - most definitely the road less traveled.


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This is a funny little trip we worked on for a guest named Jane. Jane started her trip planning with the Pura Vida and had not a lot of information about her trip. In particular she had to meet someone with a very short stopover from her flight into SJO (near the Pura Vida). We worked with Jane on the many possible options some of which would take a 4 hour trip and lesser connections of 1 or 2 hours.

After awhile of emails going back and forth we realized her trip that day would be a hair shorter. The map we ended up with . . . found the shortest distance . . . now we knew where she was really being picked up at :-)) Hoho!


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If I had known about this circuit when we arrived in Costa Rica some years back, I'd have done it first. You need a good two weeks to do this justice. If you are more adventurous try doing the trip backwards.

This tour takes you north over the cordillera to our friends at Leaves & Lizards near Arenal. Then around the huge lake Arenal where you can drop in on another good friend . . . Elisabeth and her tiny mountain top retreat just outside of Monteverde known as El Sol. Stay a few days to learn more about yourself. Then down the hill and across to the Guanacaste coast at Nosara . . . the excellent Playa Pelada makes a great day. Check with the locals about turtle landings in Ostional. We are not Disney so sometimes you get very lucky here.

Then down the beach road or non road to Malpais and Montezuma - some of the best 4 wheel driving in the country (remember to have your spouse walk ahead on any river crossings) - stop off for a few days at the fabuloso Ylang Ylang on the beach at Montezuma. A very cool trip rated AAA by me. (AAA means you'll never forget it).


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This could easily be a simple day trip from one of our favorite beach areas in Costa Rica . . . the area from Dominical south to Ojochal on the Pacific coast in the south of Costa Rica. If you want though you can go FURTHER to quote the slogo on the front of Ken Kesey's magic bus.

Take the road from Palmar Sur going inland. Count 21km and look for the sign "Boruca" facing the wrong way. Go uphill about 8km over very 4WD territory (you rented a 2WD - fergetit) and arrive in Boruca. Visit with any family showing a sign "artesania" or something similar or just stop by the village "museum". It is a thriving Borucan culture with lots of stories to tell for those willing to stop and ask.

Onwards to Terraba and the lost Broran culture - a tribe relocated by the Jesuits in the 1700's from Panama. Most of you will turn back along the Terraba river to your roost along the coast. For those who want to try Rick's ideas  . . . just keep on going.  Like Rick, you may never come back :-)


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You may need to be from Europe to do this one because you really need 3 weeks with a nice 4WD . . . and your best friend forever by your side.

Lukas is a repeat guest of the Pura Vida with a fabulous sense of humor who likes to go places  . . . this is such a trip.

I'll let the map tell the story as it is a very very good one.


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A guest wanted to see a lot of Costa Rica in not too much time so we put together this little circuit.

You can do this in either direction but as we have done this one a number of times we like starting with the beach side and coming back with the Quetzals (hmmmm the exact opposite of the way I laid out the route). This trip could be done in 7 or 8 days if you just wanted a slice of Costa Rica but is much better in 10 to 14 days staying off with our various friends along the way.

Start with a 1/2 day to Encantada, with one day at Manuel Antonio  . . . then on to Uvita and our friends at Shelter from the Storm.  Perhaps a day trip while you are there to the Borucan indigenous area.  Then on to Casa Botania next to Wilson Gardens - don't miss dinner there. Back up the central spine of Costa Rica stopping off in Chirripo at Frank & Ori's place. Then north for the Quetzals in Copey and back perhaps staying in the Turrialba area if you have a couple of extra days.


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You can't go wrong with any of the innkeepers on this map.

This is where we stay when we want a break - smart innkeepers who participate in their community running great places. Their jokes are not quite as bad as ours but like us they know their neighborhood and are committed to beautiful guest experiences.

Email any one of them and you might just start a relationship that lasts.

As you can tell most of our best recommendations start with guest ideas - email us with some of yours, let's see what serendipitous machinations may come to pass?