My Week Off: Costa Rica

January 6th, 2010 by Vanilla Ice


Welcome to: Where I Spent My Week Off —by a NYC Restaurant "Insider"

So, what do you do in the industry?
I’m a real estate investor, developer and entrepreneur with considerable financial interest in the F&B industry.

And you have how many weeks off a year, generally?
I tend to take a lot of shorter trips throughout the year, about every 8 to 10 weeks.

What made you choose Costa Rica for this vacation?
My wife has a very good friend in Costa Rica (who also happens to be a restaurateur). She’d been planning a visit for several months, but I convinced her to postpone it for the holidays so we could travel there together. I’d been to Costa Rica several years ago and was curious to see how it had changed and/or developed. Plus, since we were planning to be away for the New Year, I thought it best she be able to celebrate with her friend, as that can make all the difference for the holidays.

And where did you stay?
Since my wife’s friend is based in Tamarindo, we chose the best hotel we could find closest to her friend’s home, which was Tamarindo Diria. It turned out very well, because we were a mere two blocks from her restaurant, and only five blocks from her home. It’s also quite centrally located, directly on the beach, with a lot of places within walking distance.


How was the ambience/service/amenities etc?
OK. For the price however, it was extraordinarily impressive. Any traveler would be hard pressed to find those accommodations at that astoundingly low price (especially during the holidays) anywhere in the world— except perhaps in Las Vegas (where the rooms in all the luxury hotels are essentially loss leaders).
Also, the food at the hotel wasn’t very good, so luckily there are numerous commendable places to dine very close by: Wok ‘n Roll, Carolina’s, Le Beach Club and El Coconut were all exceptional.

Any major glitches and/or disappointments?
The only major disappointment was that the two (other) restaurants our friend recommended to us (Paola’s and Nogui) were both closed on New Years day, and we weren’t able to rearrange our schedule to fit them in to try them. Oh, and for some reason, Tamarindo Diria was forever running out of towels.
Plus, we did have one incident where an errant forceful wave pushed my wife onto a rock and she scraped her foot and leg. She’s a trooper though, and thankfully she wasn’t hurt badly. It was a pretty good reminder that one must always be very mindful of the power of the ocean.

Any great standout experiences?
I think the trip overall was a standout, one of the best we’ve ever had. We got to meet another new friend on this trip too, and it was really wonderful and special to spend the time with them.
We also rediscovered a great modest little restaurant I first found years ago on my previous trip (Hotel Las Tortugas), and we absolutely loved its simplicity and rustic charm. We had two perfect lunches there (even though it was a good four mile walk down the beach to Playa Grande).

How much did you blow all week?
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to plan the trip far enough in advance, and the last minute booking cost us pretty dearly. We barely managed to snag two available seats at $1200 each (economy; business was unavailable), which didn’t include a small domestic return flight from Liberia Guanacaste to San José ($115 each). The hotel was about $200 per night (including breakfast), and food/drink per day was probably about $200 averaged (including some dinners with friends). Other activities (sailing, equipment rentals, etc) was perhaps another $600 total.




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