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Whitewater Rafting in Costa Rica… Are you brave enough?
Well I certainly didn’t think I was brave enough, but then I was told by my family that we were going whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River and that was it: No discussion.
Okay, I admit it — I was scared. I had visions of me falling out of the boat within seconds and disappearing off down the rapids, never to be seen again. For 10 years I had avoided whitewater rafting like the plague.

No Way Back.
And now the day had come… at the very least I thought my breakfast would feed the fish and was wondering where on my body I could safely put my health insurance card. It was sure to be needed…
Our rafting guides came to meet us looking so professional it made me even more nervous. I was going to let the whole team down, for sure. Then began the safety briefing and the phrases we had to learn to follow the guides instructions once we were on the river.
We got our kit on: life-jacket, helmet (eek!) and were handed our paddles. I didn’t like to mention that I was no dab hand with a paddle.
And then we were in the raft, floating down the Pacuare River. No way back now.

The Adventure begins…

At first it was all very gentle and I wondered why I really needed to wear a life-jacket.
I was about to find out.
Suddenly ahead of us I could see big boulders and white water rushing between them. We were about to take on our first rapid. My heart was in my mouth.
The guide shouted ‘Lean In’and I remembered the briefing and so leaned in impressively — my head was almost touching the bottom of the raft.

Leaning IN!

I will never forget the phrase ‘Lean In!’ as long as I live.
And then we were in it — swirling water, a rush of adrenaline and we were out the other side… and I was still in the raft: Brilliant.

I’m still in the raft!

The relief was quickly followed by euphoria: I could do this. (Well I have to admit that the guides are SO good that almost anyone can do it — they are such experts.)
I wasn’t scared. I was exhilarated.
One rapid followed another until we were almost blase about the Class II to Class III rapids but more excitement was just a few metres on: our first Class IV rapid.

Here we go! Class IV Rapid

Ooffff…. So we went head into the Class IV rapid and I leaned in with everything I had, paddling like mad when instructed. It was SO exciting!
I really never thought I would say that.

A high five after our most impressive rapid: What a Team!

There are plenty of blogs and websites on whitewater rafting in Costa Rica but this blog is especially for those of you like me who think they are just not brave enough. You are.
My only regret was that I waited so long to go whitewater rafting: it was one of the most exciting days of my life so far.

I did it! Cooling off afterwards was sublime

And just as an added plus: whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River is also incredibly beautiful.

Floating in the canyon on the Pacuare River.

So now that you know you’re brave enough, what are you waiting for?
Take a look below at some of the superb companies that offer Whitewater rafting in Costa Rica. My favourite is Exploradoresoutdoors.com where you can also stay overnight at their lodge and raft 2 days. Highly recommended: Even for scaredy cats like me.

Rafting

Pacuare River Rafting – 1-Day

http://www.centralamerica.com/cr/raft/aventuras.htm

 

We are spoilt for choice with a glut of good restaurants on the Caribbean coast, but which are the most romantic restaurants?
On honeymoon, or indulging in a romantic getaway, celebrating your anniversary or perhaps dizzily celebrating meeting each other yesterday, you need romantic restaurants with atmosphere, ambience and great food.

For me the most romantic restaurants are quiet, intimate, atmospheric, serve food that is creative and delicious, have good cocktails and fine wine, are lit well (not too much light and not too little) and of course excellent but unobtrusive service.

If these elements are also what you’re looking for in romantic restaurants, then this is your list! In no particular order here are my favourite romantic restaurants on the Caribbean coast:

La Pecora Nera, Cocles:

La Pecora Nera

La Pecora Nera

Justly famous, this Italian restaurant is the place for foodies. Not only one of the most romantic restaurants but also one of the best in Costa Rica. Owner Ilario is a skilled and creative chef who cooks with passion that you can taste. Choose one of his tasting menus ( 4 or 5 small courses) and enchant your taste buds with one surprise after another.  His home-made shrimp and pumpkin ravioli is one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten, anywhere. His food is unforgettable, his house wine is perfectly paired and when you team that with sitting in a candle lit rancho in a rainforest garden you have a magical evening in the making.

El Refugio, Punta Uva:

El Refugio

El Refugio

Tiny and intimate, at El Refugio you feel as you’re eating in the middle of the jungle. With a small but assured international menu, the food is consistently good and whether you choose perfectly prepared salmon, a juicy entrana steak or a vegetarian stuffed oven baked pancake, do leave room for the decadent dulce de leche dessert with two spoons. Add Passion fruit cocktails, generous glasses of wine and excellent service and this little gem of a restaurant is one to fall in love with.

La Casita Azul, Cocles:

La Casita Azul

La Casita Azul

Put yourself on the veranda of this pretty Caribbean painted house and share plates of super Spanish tapas with a glass of chilled white wine by candlelight. But save enough room for a paella for two: simply but expertly prepared and full of flavour. Friendly service, romantic (quiet) background music and atmospheric, La Casita Azul has got it right in my romantic restaurants book.  They even present you with little foody surprises — and I do love to be surprised.

Congo Reeff, Puerto Viejo:

Congo Reeff

Congo Reeff

This is one of the newer restaurants in Puerto Viejo and fast gaining a reputation for seriously creative and delicious dishes. It’s a French Fusion Bistro and the French owners certainly know what they’re doing: menus change weekly, many dishes are original and the fusion is between French cooking and Costa Rican tropical ingredients. Beautifully presented, expertly balanced flavours and perfect service make for a divine meal. But there is more:  set in a hidden garden behind Luluberlu art gallery/shop, Congo Reeff is gorgeously and stylishly decorated with artwork and romantically lit. A feast in all senses.

Todo Es Posible, Puerto Viejo:

Todo es Posible

Todo es Posible

And now for something different: Rustic Romance. This little Italian restaurant may not be conventionally one of the most romantic restaurants, but then romance is not always conventional right? Perhaps, it’s the little garden out the front where you can sit under the trees at simple wooden tables lit by coloured tea-lights as delicious cooking smells waft around you from the open kitchen or perhaps it’s because the food is so obviously made with love. It’s a simple, casual and cosy little place but the food takes it to the next level for me. Home-made bruschetta and pastas are mouthwateringly good and if you want to know how good real Sicilian pizza is, this is the place. The service is friendly and warm and the atmosphere relaxed. This is rustic romance at its best.

Amimodo, Puerto Viejo:

Palapa Table at Amimodo

Palapa Table at Amimodo

Sorry but this is another Italian restaurant… which makes me wonder, are many Italians just really good at putting all the ingredients together to serve up romantic restaurants ? Well Amimodo is doing a fine job of it. The restaurant is very pretty, with lit art, comfortable seating and atmospheric lighting but they have one extra special ingredient: they back onto the beach. So, if you’re in time (or make a reservation) you can sit in romantic splendour underneath a thatched palapa with your feet in the sand and an ocean view. I wouldn’t go here to eat pizza (although they do great ones) because pizza is not my idea of romantic dining: Amimodo has several Italian speciality dishes and this is the place to try them.

Sobre Las Olas, Cahuita:

Sobre Las Olas

Sobre Las Olas

Last but by no means least, this super little restaurant specialising in seafood has one of the most spectacular views and fabulous food. Sobre Las Olas (Above the Waves) is perched on a small cliff and so in front of your table is simply palm trees, ocean and sky. (Do reserve to get a table outside.) The food is impressive: simple ocean fresh ingredients excellently prepared and presented. Last time we shared Swordfish Carpaccio, Spicy Mussels and Braised Squid and each mouthful was a taste of heaven. Perfect. And to add to perfection they have an extensive wine list. Go for a romantic lunch or on a moonlit night: you will never forget the view.

So there you have it: my favourite romantic restaurants which cater to my love of creative food, served with passion where all your senses come alive and leave you feeling more in love than when you walked in.

 

 

If your traditional Christmas is cold and grey and wrapped up in wool, have you ever thought about splashing out and taking a Caribbean Christmas with your toes in the ocean instead of socks?

Caribbean Christmas starts here

Caribbean Christmas starts here

Here on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, Caribbean Christmas is anything but traditional and that’s the fun of it. Sure, if you absolutely must have turkey and all the trimmings you can find it but you might choose a sea fresh lobster instead for your Caribbean Christmas Dinner.  And you may put yourself under a decorated Christmas palm tree with a mojito — no wool clothing required.

Christmas at Casa Bromelia at Caribbean Christmas at Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Barefoot Luxury Christmas at Casa Bromelia, Geckoes Lodge

I’ve always loved the Caribbean Christmas — what’s not to like about strolling through Puerto Viejo decorated for the festivities stopping for a pina colada and watching the pelicans diving for fish, instead of having to rush home to warm your freezing feet?

Pelicans diving at Caribbean Christmas, Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Pelicans fishing in Caribbean Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo really lives up at Christmas with live music adding atmosphere to beach bars selling Christmas Caribbean cocktails and restaurants offering special tropical menus to happy (warm!) visitors.

Happy Warm Christmas!

Happy Warm Christmas!

Costa Rica loves Christmas and Ticos begin by preparing their festive tamales whilst swathing their Caribbean coloured houses in lights and decorations.

Making tamales for Christmas in Costa Rica

Making tamales for Christmas in Costa Rica

Tamales completed for Christmas eve in Costa Rica

Tamales completed for Christmas eve in Costa Rica

House in Puerto Viejo well and truly decorated

House in Puerto Viejo well and truly decorated

There’s also many Nativity scenes throughout the country, both at private houses and public buildings and enactments of the Nativity.

Nativity Scene, Costa Rica

Nativity Scene, Costa Rica

Live Nativity Scene, Costa Rica

Live Nativity Scene, Costa Rica

Christmas in Costa Rica is a vibrant celebration with music, dance festivals, street fairs and parades. One of the most famous parades is El Tope, a horseback parade with magnificent horses and riders dressed in their finest: a gorgeous sight!

Detail of El Tope

Detail of El Tope

So if you’re feeling like a change this year, need to escape the stress, get off the beaten path and immerse yourself in Barefoot Luxury, your Caribbean Christmas awaits!

Caribbean Costa Rica coast line

Caribbean Costa Rica coast line

Just add a mojito...

Just add a mojito…

Puerto Viejo is not ‘just’ Puerto Viejo. The region commonly known as Puerto Viejo is actually made up of 6 different neighbourhoods, set along a 16 kilometre (10 mile) stretch of coast. Each neighbourhood has its own character but all have beautiful rainforest backed beaches, so the question could be Puerto Viejo: Where to Stay? Which neighbourhood will suit you?

Well, in general, the further away from Puerto Viejo town you are, the more wildlife you will see and the quieter your surroundings will be. That doesn’t mean though that all restaurants are in Puerto Viejo town: far from it. Some wonderful restaurants are scattered along the entire coast.

So, here’s a brief description of each neighbourhood to help you find just which one suits you.

Playa Negra: 1-2 kilometres (0.6 – 1.25 miles)

The Old Barge at Playa Negra

The Old Barge at Playa Negra

Playa Negra is North of Puerto Viejo and famous for its Black Beach. The distance from town will depend where in Playa Negra you choose to stay. Accommodation options include a couple of beach hotels and various vacation rentals, so if you would like to be out of town and enjoy black sand this may be your spot. With only one bar and one restaurant in Playa Negra, be aware that you’ll probably want to go to town some evenings. Taxis are easily arranged. The photos of it on enjoymexico.net/rentals/cabo-san-lucas/villa-turquesa/ are really something to look at, just don’t do that to your self in the middle of your work year.

Puerto Viejo town:

Shop and Dive Operator in Puerto Viejo

Shop and Dive Operator in Puerto Viejo

If you like plenty of nightlife then choose Puerto Viejo town. Most of the bars, music venues and parties happen here. So, with plenty of cheap accommodation options you can easily walk or bike between ‘happenings’ and use your budget to party! Accommodations can be noisy but this won’t matter if you’re out most nights. Of course most of the shops are also in Puerto Viejo town and there’s a large selection of restaurants. The ATM’s and pharmacies are also only in town plus the majority of tour operators .

Cocles: 2 – 4 kilometres from town. (1.25 – 2.5 miles)

Beach Break & The Island at Cocles Beach

Beach Break & The Island at Cocles Beach

If you’re looking for tranquillity but want to be near Puerto Viejo town, Cocles is the place for you.  The distance again depends on where you choose to stay as Cocles stretches along the coast. Playa Cocles is a long beach and Beach Break is a popular surfing spot, whilst the other end of Playa Cocles has pretty natural tide pools to laze in. There are plenty of accommodation options from hotels to lodges to vacation rentals and some seriously good restaurants. The supermarket in Cocles has all the basics, plus imported goods and an extensive selection of wine and spirits so you can stock up without going to town.

Playa Chiquita: 4 – 6 kilometres from town. (2.5 – 3.75 miles)

 

Late afternoon at Playa Chiquita

Late afternoon at Playa Chiquita

Playa Chiquita is like a little world of its own. Full of expats from every corner of the world, if you need your palm reading, want to know what your tarot cards say, do some reiki or take a yoga retreat, this is your place. Accommodation options are various ranging from small hotels to cabinas to vacation rentals. The supermarket El Duende Gourmet has lots of interesting speciality items and there are a few cute cafes and places to eat.

Punta Uva: 6 – 10 kilometres from town. (3.75 – 6.25 miles)

Arrecife Beach at Punta Uva

Arrecife Beach at Punta Uva

The beaches of Punta Uva are famous and justly so — some would even say that they are amongst the most beautiful in Costa Rica. Swimming and snorkelling are sublime here so if you don’t mind being further from town and want to spend most of your time on the beach, this could be your neighbourhood. It is a quiet jungle neighbourhood with few amenities. Accommodations are mainly vacation rentals and Bed & Breakfasts. With only one or two restaurants or cafes, you may need some transport to visit Playa Chiquita and/or Cocles.

Manzanillo: 16 kilometres from town. (10 miles)

Beach to escape to at Manzanillo

Beach to escape to at Manzanillo

If you want to get way off the beaten track Manzanillo is the place for you. It’s a quiet village although at weekends it becomes full of local families enjoying beach barbecues. The beaches at Manzanillo become prettier and wilder the further you go into the wildlife refuge. Accommodation options are mostly vacation rentals or a few cabinas and there’s a couple of simple places to eat.

So there you have it: Puerto Viejo: Where to Stay. You’ll know by now which neighbourhood appeals to you and they all have their charms. See you soon!

Barefoot Luxury Arrecife beach, Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

 

Arrecife Beach -- spot Tom and our dogs, Fred & Charlie.

Arrecife Beach — spot Tom and our dogs, Fred & Charlie.

In the Top 10 Beaches of Costa Rica, Arrecife Beach is well up the list. Arrecife beach has it all: soft golden sand, leaning palm trees to drink your mojito under, crystal clear water, an incredible view of the bay, safe swimming and last, but by no means least, a pretty reef offshore to snorkel.

How about a lunch of Fish Tacos under this palm?

How about a lunch of Fish Tacos under this palm?

It is one of my favourites and it has some really stiff competition in this area as there are more than a handful of stunningly beautiful beaches. After all, Punta Uva, the beach on the other side of the point has been named as one of the top 10 beaches in the world! Although internationally Arrecife and Punta Uva beaches are put together and named simply Punta Uva, locally they are known by their individual names. That’s because they are very different. Both are drop dead gorgeous but with their own characteristics and atmosphere.

Gorgeous Arrecife beach.

Gorgeous Arrecife beach.

Arrecife is the beach we all dream off when sitting behind the computer on a rainy day. It is  the picture postcard beach — you know what I mean — one of those beaches that when you see a photo of it you are almost convinced that it’s been photo-shopped.

A mojito delivered to your hammock: Barefoot Luxury!

A mojito delivered
to your hammock: Barefoot Luxury!

But Arrecife doesn’t need any enhancement at all… this is a photo I took and it looks exactly like this, although when you’re sitting there or lying in the warm ocean, it feels a lot better!

So tomorrow I’m off to Arrecife, to drink a mojito or a beer underneath one of those palms, lie back in the sea and stay there until the ocean turns silver.

Family fishing at Arrecife beach

Family fishing at Arrecife beach

September is almost here and September weather on this coast is Beach Time! It doesn’t get any better. So if you’re around in September (or October for that matter) head to Arrecife beach and put yourself on one of the Top 10 beaches of Costa Rica … and maybe one of the Top 10 beaches of the world: Pura Vida!

Saturday afternoon at Arrecife beach

Saturday afternoon at Arrecife beach

Chocolate…. Food of the Gods…. and me 🙂
One of the many fun Things to Do in Puerto Viejo is a Chocolate Tour and Caribeans or Chocorart Chocolate tours are not only fascinating but delicious!

The Cacao forest on Chocorart Chocolate Tour

The Cacao forest on Chocorart Chocolate Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This area was previously well known as a cacao growing region, but after a blight wiped out many plantations the making of chocolate went into decline. But happily, (for all us chocoholics) in recent years there has been a resurgence of cacao farmers in the Puerto Viejo area. So now there are now several highly skilled chocolate makers and chocolatiers.

Chocorart Chocolates

Chocorart Chocolates

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both Caribeans and Chocorart are chocolate makers which means that they grow their own cacao, harvest, ferment and dry it to ultimately turn it into some of the most wonderful chocolate you’ve ever had. It’s so pure that it doesn’t melt even in the heat and humidity of the Caribbean — pretty handy when you want to carry some with you to the beach right?

Caribeans Chocolate. Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chocolate tour begins with a walk through the cacao forest as you learn about the history of cacao and where your chocolate bar starts. On your way through the forest you’re bound to see Dart Frogs and maybe monkeys, a sloth or a toucan or two.

Cacao pods waiting for the harvest

Cacao pods waiting for the harvest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll get to taste every stage of the chocolate making process from cacao pod to the finished product which is sold all over the world.

Caribeans Chocolate tour: see each stage of the process

Caribeans Chocolate tour: see each stage of the process

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favourite moments is watching the final stages of the chocolate making — but actually what I really enjoyed was the SMELL — simply divine.

One of the most heavenly smells on earth!

One of the most heavenly smells on earth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not going to spoil the surprise element of these tours, but the tasting part is something you will remember.

Tasting tray on Caribeans Chocolate tour

Tasting tray on Caribeans Chocolate tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re talking gourmet chocolate here, made in small batches with locally grown organic and innovative flavourings. Basically this is heaven for chocolate lovers!

Just keep on sniffing!

Just keep on sniffing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re lucky enough to be in Puerto Viejo at the end of October, don’t miss the Chocolate Festival which include a Chocolate Crawl — like a pub crawl but with a different focus! The festival features all the local chocolate makers and chocolatiers (loads of tasting opportunities) and ways of eating or using Chocolate that just may not have occurred to you… Come and be surprised 🙂

So when you’re in Puerto Viejo one of THE Things to Do is a Chocolate Tour: You’ll never look at chocolate quite the same way again.

Take a look at the links below to see which Chocolate tour you fancy or make it a chocolate feast and do both! And if you are a serious chocolate aficionado you should also visit Caribeans and Chocorart’s Chocolate Café’s because, let’s face it chocolate is happiness in your hand.

Caribeans chocolate lounge. Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

 

 

 

http://caribeanscr.com/chocolate-tour.html

http://caribeanscr.com/chocolate-tour.html

http://caribeanscr.com/chocolate-tour.html

http://caribeanscr.com/chocolate-tour.html

https://www.facebook.com/chocorat.cr

A link to the website for The Chocolate Festival in Puerto Viejo:

http://www.pvchocolatefestival.com/index.html

If it’s going to be a little while until you’re in Puerto Viejo and you want to know just how good the chocolate from here is, now you can buy it online here:

https://www.chocolate-craft.com/

Be happy eat chocolate

 

 

 

If you’re thinking of Costa Rica in September, you could have the most glorious weather or be in for a deluge of rain — it just depends WHERE you go and on what: kayak, yacht or just on top rated inflatable to feel more free.
The Pacific side in September is Rainy with a capital R.
But here on the Caribbean coast September is DRY and Sunny with calm seas and absolutely gorgeous.

Golden Arrecife beach, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

 

 

 

 
Take a look at the weather patterns in Costa Rica:
http://www.entercostarica.com/travel-guide/when-to-visit-costa-rica/september
As they say:
“The Caribbean side is experiencing the best weather of the year in September. Daytime temperatures are usually in the lower 90s. Rain can occur, but is rare and usually only at night when it does happen.”

Arrecife lunch spot, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

 

 

 

 

 

So if you love to snorkel, dive, sunbathe, swim or all of those, September is THE month to come to the Caribbean coast. With the ocean as calm as a lake, snorkelling and diving come into their own. You can float over ravishing reefs stuffed with tropical fish or dive coral walls and become part of the underwater world.

It’s more beautiful than I can describe — if you’ve never done it you are in for a treat and if you’re an old hand … well you know what I’m talking about. Here on the Caribbean coast you can walk right off the beach and snorkel a coral reef and this is what the beach looks like in September:

 

 

 

 

Apart from wonderful weather you also have the added plus that the school holidays are over…. that means no crowds, just more beach and rainforest to yourself.
And let’s not forget the rainforest: because September is dry and sunny trekking is easy going and there are more chances of great wildlife encounters. So if you’ve never got up close and personal with an agouti or anteater or coati or howler monkey, this could be your chance.
Of course you could also spot wildlife with a zipline through the rainforest canopy or a horseback ride through the jungle and along the beach.

Howler taking a Siesta

Howler taking a Siesta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many fun things to do on this coast and in September the dry weather makes them all easily accessible: what about a Chocolate Tour (with tasting of course) through the rainforest, kayaking through the jungle, dolphin spotting and fishing, a trip into the Talamancan mountains or a leisurely float on Gandoca Lagoon?

Feel the peace of Gandoca lagoon and watch the birds and monkeys in the trees.

Feel the peace of Gandoca lagoon and watch the birds and monkeys in the trees.

Geckoes Lodge is offering Special Discounts beginning 1st September — so just contact us for some super Barefoot Luxury for much less: Time for a some Pura Vida!

Gorgeous Arrecife beach.

Gorgeous Arrecife beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve ever wanted to visit Costa Rica then think September on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica: Dry and Divine!

When the Make a Wish organisation ( http://wish.org/ ) contacted us it was the first time ever that a request brought tears to our eyes!

The request was to host a family at Geckoes on behalf of Make a Wish to grant the wish of 14 year old animal lover Amelia. Her wish was to come to Costa Rica, stay in the rainforest and see sloths, her favourite animal.
To be part of making someone’s wish come true is not only a privilege but also such a great pleasure!

The Make a Wish organisation grants the wishes of children battling life threatening medical conditions. Funded solely by donations this wonderful organisation grants the wishes of about 27,000 children per year.

This is their mission:

Wishes are more than just a nice thing

A wish experience can be a game-changer for a child with a life-threatening medical condition.

This one belief guides us in everything we do at Make-A-Wish®. It inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve. It compels us to be creative in exceeding the expectations of every wish kid. It drives us to make our donated resources go as far as possible.

Most of all, it’s the founding principle of our vision to grant the wish of every eligible child.

Wishes are more than just a nice thing. And they are far more than gifts, or singular events in time. Wishes impact everyone involved – wish kids, volunteers, donors, sponsors, medical professionals and communities. The impact varies. For wish kids, just the act of making their wish come true can give them the courage to comply with their medical treatments. Parents might finally feel like they can be optimistic. And still others might realize all they have to offer the world through volunteer work or philanthropy.

Whatever the odds, whatever the obstacles … wishes find a way to make the world better.

“We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.”

— Make-A-Wish® Mission

geckoes-logoWhat does Barefoot Luxury mean to you?

It’s often easier to say what Barefoot Luxury is not, than to define it in a sentence. But Barefoot Luxury is certainly the antithesis of the 24/7 world with its technology, noise, stress, demands and obligations.

Barefoot Luxury Arrecife beach, Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.geckoeslodge.com

For most of us it’s a term that conjures up white sand beaches, turquoise seas, tropical weather, beautiful natural surroundings teeming with wildlife and getting away from it all. But also it’s the luxury of informality, no schedules, no need to dress up and show up, the feeling of freedom and simplicity without sacrificing comfort.

Barefoot Luxury, Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.Barefoot Luxury at Arrecife beach, Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa RicaBarefoot Luxury minutes from Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Barefoot Luxury destinations are places where you unplug, chill out and remember what it’s all about. Places like the Maldives, Seychelles, Thailand, Fiji, The Great Barrier Reef and Caribbean Islands unsurprisingly often appear on such ‘lists’.

But what about the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica? This coast could define Barefoot Luxury. A strip of coast, bordered by rainforest with one beautiful beach after another, lots of small individually run restaurants and bars and plenty of places to stay, that instead of jarring with their environment, compliment it. No high rises, no all-inclusive resorts, no concrete shopping malls, just a mass of nature with some minor development to have fun in!

Arrecife-Feb-23-2013-Geckoes-Lodge-Cocles-Puerto-Viejo-Costa-Rica Barefoot Luxury at Casa Bromelia 2 bedroom house Plunge pool, terrace & Outdoor dining

And the wildlife…. the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica has that in spades. Most Barefoot Luxury destinations are ONLY about sun, sand and sea with the ubiquitous cocktails, romantic dinners, fiery sunsets and beach beds thrown in — but there it ends.

Barefoot Luxury: Aracari Toucan at Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

If your idea of Barefoot Luxury is slightly more adventurous then this is the coast for you. It has all the ingredients of the perfect Barefoot Luxury holiday, vacation or honeymoon, but with a big plus: Wildlife.

Barefoot Luxury: Howler taking a siesta at Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

The rainforest is jaw-droppingly gorgeous and stuffed with monkeys, sloths, agoutis, ant eaters, deer, iguanas, armadillos and kinkajous — just to name a few. I can’t even get started on the birds… more than 450 species with toucans to say hello to every morning and hummingbirds to watch from your shower.

Barefoot Luxury: Saying Good morning to Toucans at Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa RicaBarefoot Luxury: Hummingbird in nest at Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa RicaBarefoot Luxury: 2 Baby Hummingbirds in Geckoes Garden, Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Thankfully Costa Rica has preserved and protected it’s rainforest lined beaches — so while you’re lying in the warm ocean you’re looking not at restaurants and concrete buildings, but at rainforest with monkeys swinging through the trees.

Barefoot Luxury: Monkey Party at Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

And for those of us that don’t want to lie on a beach all day there’s a whole host of things to do… whether it’s something focused on the water, like dolphin watching, snorkelling, diving or fishing, or something focussed on land, like a wildlife spotting trek through primary forest, Zip-lining through the canopy, visiting the Sloth Sanctuary, taking a Chocolate Tour or indulging at the local Spa, there’s something for everyone.

Ziplining through the canopy Puerto Viejo, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa RicaHe looks comfy! at Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo Costa RicaBarefoot Luxury: Caribeans Chocolate Tour, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

You could say that Barefoot Luxury is ultimately the sophistication of simplicity. It’s being surrounded by the natural world and re-connecting with it, with ourselves and each other.

Barefoot Luxury: Hummingbird at Geckoes

So the next time you’re feeling frazzled, over-demanded and simply stressed out, plan to Live some Barefoot Luxury: Simplicity, Rainforest, Beach, Tranquillity, Pelicans on the sea, Monkeys in the trees, A place to make memories.

Barefoot Luxury: Swimming with Pelican: Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa RicaGolden Arrecife beach, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Barefoot Luxury for Much Less in May & June 2015!

Barefoot Luxury for Much Less in May & June 2015

If you’re looking for Costa Rica Vacation Deals 2015 you’re reading the right blog…
Out of season there are plenty of Costa Rica Vacation deals. Hotels, Cabinas, Vacation rentals and Lodges often lower their prices in May & June before the summer high season.

Catch some Caribbean sun with Costa Rica Vacation Deals 2015.

Catch some Caribbean sun with Costa Rica Vacation Deals 2015.

So why not take advantage of all that Costa Rica has to offer and grab yourself a holiday/ vacation for much less?
At Geckoes Lodge we’re offering Casa Bromelia in May and June 2015 for US$226 per night instead of US$335 — so you save US$109 per Night.
That’s a bargain Costa Rica Vacation Deal 2015 when you think that Casa Bromelia at Geckoes sleeps 4 guests: so each guest is only paying US$56.50 per night.
And for your US$56.50 per person you get an entire fully equipped luxury villa with private plunge pool, housekeeping and taxes all included.
It’s Barefoot Luxury for MUCH less.

Cocktails by your private plunge pool while the barbecue cooks dinner.

Cocktails by your private plunge pool while the barbecue cooks dinner.

If you’re in the mood for Romance in May and June 2015 think about Casa del Bosque for just 2 guests at Geckoes Lodge. Instead of US$285 per night, catch a bargain with a Costa Rica Vacation Deal 2015 at US$170 — save US$115 per Night.
Yes, you could vacation in Barefoot Luxury at Casa del Bosque for 7 nights for US$1100, a saving of US$610 — You’re welcome.
Casa del Bosque is wonderfully romantic: a fully equipped luxury villa with private plunge pool, set against a beautiful rainforest backdrop, secluded yet close to all the beaches and loads of restaurants.

Romantic Barefoot Luxury at Casa del Bosque, Geckoes Lodge.

Romantic Barefoot Luxury at Casa del Bosque, Geckoes Lodge.

Indulge in romantic luxury for less with Costa Rica Vacation Deals 2015!

Indulge in romantic luxury for less with Costa Rica Vacation Deals 2015

The Caribbean coast in May and June is quiet and that means that you have more beach to yourself, less crowded trips/tours and plenty of opportunity to sample any restaurant you choose.

Gorgeous Arrecife beach. Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

And not only that… rental car companies and tour operators are also quieter so you can probably make a better deal than in busier seasons.

Going for a Vacation Rental Deal in Costa Rica could be one of the better decisions you make this year!

Toucan in the garden May 2014 crop