Costa Rica was never on my radar until Alaska Airlines sent me their flight specials email and it was super cheap to fly round trip to San Jose Costa Rica. When I found out I could swim with dolphins there I booked the trip and started planning the extra flight and accommodations to Drake Bay where I could go on a dolphin swim. Unfortunately, a storm hit right when we got there and didn't let up so the Dolphin swim got scratched. It was very disappointing. My time in Drake Bay was a sad mostly indoor adventure and the food there was nothing to write home about. Even the produce in the tiny store there was mostly rotten so my best meal there was half a papaya that I bought from a restaurant after seeing it in a fridge near the register. I love little critters, bugs and animals I've never seen so those are usually the highlights of traveling for me. I thought I was going to see dolphins in real life for the first time but at least I did get some critter interaction. I picked up a hermit crab near the beach and we saw hummingbirds and other cool birds from our deck as well as some capuchin monkeys when we were at the store (I didn't have my camera:( ) but mostly we just hung out in our room or in the hammock on the deck. It rained almost the entire time we were there. In addition to the dolphin swim we were supposed to go on a jungle hike and see all the animals and bugs that live there, so we took the worst boat ride ever to the beginning of the hiking trail in the pouring rain as our guide was hoping the rain would let up but it got worse and worse until they deemed it too dangerous; the creek at the head of the trail was overflowing. When we got back to our room we were drenched to the bone. The money that was inside my purse that was inside a backpack was wet, that's how bad it was. Unfortunately I can't really recommend anything about Drake Bay but I'm sure that would have been different if we'd been able to go on the jungle hike or swim with dolphins. The highlight of Drake Bay ended up being the blue butterfly that found respite from the rain under our awning. We also saw a tree full of parrots when our plane first arrived as we waited for a car to take us to our room. They were too far away to get good pictures.
We left Drake Bay a day early because of the rain so we ended up having an extra day that we spent overnight at a casino hotel and played poker all night and dined on room service from their great in house restaurant. Our room was on the top floor so we had a balcony and in the morning I woke up to a flock of birds circling between trees near us that they were landing in. It was so loud, it was like our starling and waxwing murmurs that we get in Alaska...turns out it was a flock of green parrots. What a special moment! The remainder of our trip we spent at an amazing hotsprings resort called Baldi hotsprings in La Fortuna. The entire thing was built on a mountain side out of beautiful stone. The whole place was like an art installation with 26 pools of varying temperature that were fed from the volcano just above the place. I saw so many hummingbirds, dragonflies, butterflies, and a toucan welcomed us when we first got there! It was definitely the highlight of our time in Costa Rica. The money there is colones; the bills are very artistic and beautiful and I caught a baby gecko in the gift shop.