After our rainforest tour of Arenal Hanging Bridges and a drive around Lake Arenal we stopped for lunch in the small country town of Tilaran at Restorante La Troja where a buffet meal and a local marimba band were waiting for us. Some members of our tour group got really jiggy with it and started dancing to the marimba sounds.
After a satisfying meal it was back into the bus as we continued our drive into the province of Guanacaste in the northwestern part of Costa Rica. Located next to the Pacific Ocean, this is the country’s most arid province. We stopped briefly in a shopping centre in Liberia, the province’s capital. I bought a delicious ice cream and snapped some pictures of the local Costa Rican beers.
Finally, by the evening we had reached our destination for the next two days: the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa with a location right on the Pacific Ocean near the town of Tamarindo. This luxury property is one of the highlights of Caravan’s Costa Rica trip. We checked into a gorgeous large room with two queen size beds and an opulent marble-clad bathroom. Our terrace on the ground floor faced right into the giant pool area of the resort where a lively party was going on next door with traditionally costumed Costa Rican dancers. The JW Marriott’s pool is the largest pool in all of Central America.
I took a stroll at the resort and walked down to Mansita Beach, a location that offers incredible sunsets facing west over the Pacific Ocean. The JW Marriot has a variety of dining options, from the Azul Pool Bar and the Azul Grill to the Nao Lobby Bar, the Sabanero Steak House and Tamarine, an Asian-Fusion restaurant. We dined at the Mansita Restaurant where we enjoyed a buffet dinner with a huge spread of appetizers, main dishes and desserts.
We joined a group of fellow travelers from our Caravan tour group. Everyone agreed that we could not believe that a tour that sells for about $1000 all-in would include all meals, bus travel all over Costa Rica as well as expert tour guides, several boat tours and 10 night hotel accommodations in 3 to 5 star properties. Well, tonight we were going to catch a good night’s sleep in the comfy upscale rooms of JW Marriott Guanacaste to enjoy our own 5 star experience.