Summer vacation taking shape: Costa Rica, LARPing, and NCL cruise

My semester ends on June 19th. I need some time for grading and I have to present a paper at a conference in Seoul July 3rd and 4th. Then I have to judge a speech contest July 17th and 18th.

Between July 19th and 26th I will fly to New York and spend a few days with family. On July 30th I check in at a hotel in Costa Rica (Arenal Volcano area). I may try out two different hotels around Arenal so I may end up in Costa Rica before July 30th.

August 2 I check in to Beacon Escazu, part of the K Hotels collection, which looks fantastic. August 5 I check out and fly back to New York.

August 7-9 I do some live action roleplaying in Pennsylvania. August 14-21 is an NCL cruise to Bermuda (my parents and sister & brother in law will be sailing with us). I am getting $500 off since I finally got my NCL credit card points. I will now dump the card because it’s time to try a Royal Caribbean cruise I think.

August 21-23 is more live action roleplaying. This LARP is in Connecticut.

A few days after that I’ll probably fly back to Seoul for the start of the fall semester (August 31). But before that I’ll spend a night at New York’s Crowne Plaza Manhattan to review this newly renovated property for you.

All in all, I’m very happy. I’ll see family in New York and on the cruise. I’ll see friends at the 2 LARPs. My wife and I will have some time to ourselves in a country we’ve never visited when we go to Costa Rica. It’s a very nice combination of experiences. There’s some luxury at the hotels, some roughing it at the LARP campgrounds, and some in-between on the cruise where we have an inside cabin.

What do you guys think about my choices?

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  1. Jill says:

    I think you have a great summer break planned. A little of everything, which is nice. I’m a little envious. We’re sending our son to Europe on a three-week People-to-People Student Ambassadors trip, so that’s pretty much taking up our whole vacation budget this year.

  2. R says:

    I just got back from a week long vaction in Costa Rica about 2 weeks ago. My friend and I had an activity filled day around Arenal. We were picked up for the SkyTram/SkyTrek tour at 7am. The zip line tour here was exhilirating since you get a good view of the volcano and the lake. After this we had lunch at Nene’s Cafe in La Fortuna. We then caught a cab to take us to the La Catarata de La Fortuna and spent about an 20 minutes hiking down to the water falls then another 20 to 30 to go back up. I wish we spent more time here to take a dip in the water though, but we did not go prepared for a swim. An hour after we got back to the hotel, we were picked by Desafio Tours for the Liquid Lava Volcano hike. This tour took us around a marked trail through the rain forest to see howler and spider monkeys. The tour guide, Felix was very knowledgeable of the biodiversity in the Arenal area, but we did not see any Lava. It turned out that they serve Liquid Lava drink after the tour as you gaze upon the Arenal Volcano twilight. We couldn’t have ended the day better than a dinner and relaxing dip in the Hot Springs of Tabacon Resort. The night pass gives you just enough time to enjoy the hot springs with a really nice buffet dinner. And I think the resort is also a lot less crowded in the evening.

    I would recommend the Arenal Volcano Observatory Lodge as this probably the closest you can get to the volcano. They also have trails and tours that are available only to hotel guests.

    We stayed at the Hotel Vista del Cerro. It was economical and decent accomodation and the owners are very hospitable but we were surprised to find out that you have to pay in cash. They only take the credit card info to hold your reservation. I heard that Tacotal is also nice.

    When I go back, I’ll try the superman zip line, I’ll probably spend more time in La Fortuna falls and I’ll skip the Liquid Lava tour. I’m sure you’ll find trails that are clearly marked without needing a guide. I’d also make time for canyoning.

    If you decide to go to Manuel Antonio. I think a full day in the national park and the beach is enough. I’d plan on going to the Puerto Escondido beach which we did not have a chance to see, but I heard that this is a lot quieter than the crowded Manuel Antonio beach. Just remember, the park closes at 4pm which means you’ll have to plan to leave the beach at about 3:30. It may take another 30 minutes to walk to either exit.

    Have fun! Pura Vida!

    P.S. I’d recommmend visiting Bohol Island in the Philippines next time instead of going to Cebu. Don’t waste you timne in Boracay either. Go to Palawan instead. El Nido is really nice.

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