So the full name of this place is The Royal Corin Thermal Water & Spa Resort, but who’s got time for that? It’s a 2.5 hour drive northwest of San Jose if you use toll roads. We decided the not tolled path is probably more scenic so did that instead and are glad we did. With one stop it took about 3 hours.
But I’m a little ahead of myself. We were up a little after 6am, sleeping about 8 hours which is normal for Ash but a lot for me (usually 5-6). The rental car place opened at 7am so we had a quick coffee in the room and called an Uber to make our way there.
This is Ash and Sylvia inspecting the car for dents and scratches. We got a Citroen Elysee. It’s small but reasonably comfortable and most importantly has Apple CarPlay which loaded right up as soon as I plugged in the USB. We booked way in advance and got it for the week for $200.
We went back to the hotel for their breakfast buffet. That’s our 2 coffees front and center.
We sat right next to the omelet bar. Convenient.
So of course got omelets which were very good.
And assorted other goodies. I thought those wrap looking things would be like taquitos but no, they were egg rolls. What? Catering to Asian tourists we guessed. Let’s just say I was disappointed when I bit into it but Ash loved it. The beans & rice dish was great though, as were the veggies.
I went up about 8:30am to get the blog up; there wasn’t much to it so it only took about 30 minutes. Ash stayed down to watch the opening of the World Cup. We got going around 10am.
There are 12 climate zones in Costa Rica – a lot going on for such a small place, about the size of West Virginia. This article will give you an idea (especially those of you who already commented it’s on your bucket list). There’s a handy map that shows rainfall; on that map notice La Fortuna northwest of San Jose and that’s where we are headed. So the first decision we had to make was: what climate do we want, and how many? We decided on something rainforesty and something beachy. Today is rainforest.
We saw lots and lots of hydrangeas on the first part of the trip, so we snapped a photo to help us remember that.
We came across this waterfall about 1.5 hours in. People had just stopped along the road to take photos, so we decided to join in. Pretty sure we wouldn’t have come across this if we had taken the toll roads.
One of many bridges we crossed along the way. This was wider than most, which were very much single lane only. There were lots of elevation changes and windy roads on our 3-hour drive.
Close-up of the falls. I could have stood there and listened to that for a very long time.
This little video will give you a bit of the sound and a sense of how lush everything is. At the end you see Ash coming back from the little roadside shop which you’ll see better in the next photo.
There’s the little market stand, mostly souvenir type stuff. We saw tons of this along the way, lots of fresh fruit and baked goods, too. We are one of those cars parked along the road, top right.
When we weren’t in forest we saw lots of plush greenery like this. Ash said he hasn’t seen these many hues of green since Sri Lanka, and that there’s more here and of course more variety.
We made it to the resort about 1pm. Right away we realized we weren’t in Kansas anymore. A guy came to greet us at our car in the parking lot and offered to unload our bags for us. We looked at A LOT of places before landing on this one. We normally wouldn’t stay at something this high end but decided to splurge a bit since we are calling it our honeymoon. We found it initially on Booking.com, but then Ash checked his Chase credit card points program and it was on the list. He has a healthy number of points accrued and there was more than enough to cover this. So no money out of our pockets except for meals and stuff. Can’t beat that.
We were greeted a couple of more times and asked to sit at the sofa where they had juice (already drank in photo above!) and cool towels ready for what the HR-guy in me would call an orientation. A cute little guy with a clip board walking us through all of the options of our stay. It was actually a little overwhelming and I went back down later after we had roamed a bit to ask more questions. That’s Ash at the top of the stairs in the background already starting to explore.
This is the main pool off the lobby, heated to a very comfortable 102F. There are little signs all along the various pools that tell you the temperature. The coolest we saw was like 85; most were in the 100-104 range. The heat comes from the Arenal Volcano which is close by but hidden by the clouds.
We headed up to our room and they followed with our bags.
Since it’s all on points and we had plenty, we decided to go for it and booked the master suite. This is otherwise like $700/night and is about 700 square feet. (The “normal” rooms are like $500/night and just over 400 square feet.) Above is the living area. Behind that pony wall in the back is a jacuzzi.
Bedroom area, and very comfortable.
The jacuzzi. Complete with headrests and a TV!
Looking back into the living area. That little desk and chair in the corner is where I’m sitting now.
A little weird to include the exit route, but this gives you an idea of the difference between this suite and the other rooms. We are in 409. The rooms on the end I think are what they call “junior” suites, an in-between size. Notice the spiral staircase right outside our door.
Said spiral staircase! It’s pretty beautiful.
Although there seemed to be quite a bit to do and eat in the town of La Fortuna which is just outside of this, we decided after the 3-hour drive to take advantage of all this and not leave the property again that day. At first we were going to have lunch in one of their restaurants, and then decided ordering from the bar poolside was a better idea. When in Rome and all that. If you look up, the room on the 4th floor closest to the umbrella with the 2 sliding glass doors is ours. And just above that is the restaurant where we had dinner and sat at that edge table just behind the umbrella.
Ash got a beautiful and tasty fruit juice drink; I had the Pellegrino. We never did quite figure out why they brought ketchup and mustard.
We ordered essentially a large tray of appetizers to share. Three different cheeses, all great; chicken Cesar wraps, avocado toast, grilled shrimp, chicken and beef. And a little cup of ceviche each, bottom left.
The ceviche was so good we ordered a bowl of it, and it came with 3 different kinds of chips: tortilla, sweet potato, and plantain.
We decided to try out the outdoor jacuzzies. They had a handful that were sort of hidden behind plushness surrounding the main pool area. This was the hottest one at 104F but we wanted hotter and more bubbles so decided to try the one in the room instead. But it was beautiful and rainy a bit so very refreshing to be out in all that great air.
Looking up from that jacuzzi. We were pretty enclosed.
After the indoor jacuzzi experience we just rested up and watched “The Sinner” (S2) on Netflix until dinner. Which was a simple walk up one flight of that spiral staircase.
Looking into the restaurant from our table over-looking the pool area. It’s actually more dimly lit than it appears in this photo, but it was comfortable and had a nice vibe to it overall.
Night view of the pool from where I was sitting.
Ash handling a complicated guest who essentially booked a month at the San Francisco house stringing together different rooms. It’s the downside to his work: he never gets to disconnect. But at least he can do it from his phone in beautiful places!
Bread to start. There were 5 different kinds in this basket.
Ash got the “shrimp and avocado tower” which was essentially those ingredients along with cucumber, cheddar cheese, frisee lettuce and what seemed like a mayonnaise sauce. It was tasty but we could easily do this at home. And might!
I ordered the tuna tartar which we agreed was the best bite of the evening. Fresh raw tuna with avocado and other things in a spicy sauce in a crispy tortilla bowl. I gave Ash one of these and he pushed half his dish onto my plate.
For my main I got the sea bass on polenta. It was actually pretty bland overall. The pica de gallo helped for sure. Those round green things are tomatoes.
Ash had the salmon which was much better, although he said too many potatoes and not enough sauce :)
This was Ash’s dessert. Inside that round cylinder of chocolate cake is a Bailey’s mousse. The caps on the ends are white chocolate. The crispy thing on the end was on top of a hard chocolate cube with a tangy filling. Overall a nice dish.
I thought I was ordering some lemon berry dish so this took me completely by surprise. I still can’t quite describe that green thing – yes, looks like a lime and definitely lime in flavor. It’s the texture: part sponge cake, part mousse. Really hard to pin down and such a surprise it was almost unpleasant but it grew on me. That pink cube was ice cream and delicious. The bar on this end of it was like a little lemon meringue cake.
And a surprise pink something once you got into that lime cake. Almost like ice cream. Maybe that was the berry? How this whole thing was constructed is beyond me. I ate it all, though!
And that was our day. We went back to our room, watched a little more of The Sinner, and were in bed by 9pm.
Today we will go into La Fortuna where there is lots to do and places to eat. We have some ideas about what we’re interested in but are mostly going to play it by ear. Stay tuned.
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Steve and Ash,
What beautiful pictures and wonderful blog. Thanks for allowing us to live vicariously through you guys.
Tim & Jason
Hi, guys – wonderful to see you here! Thanks for following and we are glad you’re enjoying it!
I love everything about your blog. And, I always get hungry after reading! I think you should create a ‘ Desserts of the World’ poster!
Thanks! Always love it when others are enjoying it to 😎