thirty days to paradise

theromanticHEY! GUESS WHAT? I just realized that today marks the official one month countdown to when the hubs and I depart for sunny (rainy?) Costa Rica & Panama. Pour yourself a glass of wine (or a cup of coffee, depending on where you are in this world) and let’s discuss what I’m most excited for, shall we? We shall.

Life on a coffee plantation at Finca Rosa Blanca

Full disclosure: I’m not a coffee drinker. When I have the teensiest bit of caffeine, my insides feel like they’re trying to get out of my body and I get a crazed look in my eye and I can’t sit still for more than 15 seconds. The hubs really likes it! So naturally, we’re staying on a coffee plantation.

I just was not passing this up, caffeine high and all:


Screaming my face off while zip-lining

Oh, believe you me, I am HORRIFIED. I actually have never had any desire whatsoever to go zip-lining, but there seems to be a very serious crew of people who think you can’t go to Costa Rica without zip-lining and this crew is called everyone and their mothers.


That will be me. Tube socks, too, maybe. Who knows. Could get crazy.

Eclypse de Mar Acqua Lodge

I don’t see over-water bungalows in Tahiti in our (very) near future, so when the hubs and I found this option for our short stay in Bocas del Toro, we both screamed “SIGN US UP!” and started frantically trying to figure out how to make a reservation (the website is seriously confusing). Oh and P.S.? The bungalows have glass windows in the floor.



I mean, I’m no Kristen Bell, but I’m saying here and now: I am banking on seeing one sloth. Apparently it’s not that common to see them, blah blah blah. I just want, out of this entire trip, to see one goofy little sloth hanging from a tree. Is that so much to ask?

Though SERIOUS bonus points if anything this awesome happens:


Because, WHAT?

In true LT form, the hubs and I haven’t done much more than secure our flights and book our hotels (five in total! Who do we even think we are?), and even with no idea of what to expect, I’m barely functioning from the excitement. We’re used to spending our annual week-long vacation hopping around a European city (or four), and I’m positive this getaway will take us completely out of our element.

So, any Costa Rica/Panama/general Central American tips? Fire away, travelers!


the romantic



  1. June 27, 2012 / 23:05

    Sounds like an amazing trip! I went to an animal rescue center in Costa Rica (the Jaguar Rescue Center) which was a great spot to see the sloths up close. They are even cuter in real life. Have fun!

    • June 28, 2012 / 08:06

      OOH best tip!! i think we’ll be near there at one point in our itinerary. definitely making the stop!

  2. Ms. Boice
    June 27, 2012 / 23:11

    PANAMA??!!? My husb and I spend two GLORIOUS weeks in Panama in March! We loved it so much that we are seriously thinking about retiring there. Okay tips:

    We flew to Bocas del Toro (Isla Colon) from Panama City and spent 4 nights there–went scuba diving three days. SO CHEAP! (Do you dive? If not, a GREAT place to certify. Water is pretty calm inside the reef.) We took a bus from Changuinola to David City (Long story–was supposed to have a rental car, but that didn’t happen.See here: We stayed in Cerro Punta area and love, Love, LOVED it! Stayed at Los Quetzales Lodge. We’re birders so we’re into that sort of thing. Then spent the last four nights in Gamboa. The birding details are at

    Roads are GREAT in Panama, water is generally safe, the canal is a definite must-see, easy to find English speakers, there’s a Jimmy Choo store in Panama (hooray!) and a Cosco (I think it’s called PriceSmart) in David City–probably one in Panama City too. Let me know if you have questions!

    • June 28, 2012 / 08:08

      ahh thank you!! we’ll only be in bocas del toro–unfortunately we couldn’t fit panama city and bocas and everything we want to do in costa rica into 10 days. we don’t dive but we’ll totally look into it… great tips, thank you so much!!

  3. June 28, 2012 / 03:56

    omg THAT SLOTH. oh, and everything else sounds fun too. But seriously. That sloth is adorbs.

  4. ciableu
    June 28, 2012 / 09:13

    AP here. We went zip lining in St. Kitts recently. Definitely try it – just make sure its a legit place with secure lines (sorry, I know you, hubs and wino are responsible adults but it’s the aunt/worrier in me). There is embarrasing video of me somewhere – if I find I’ll send to you. I was scared but it was fun and if I can do it anybody can. Have fun!

    • June 28, 2012 / 09:51

      haha i think i neeed to see this video! and i promise we’ll look for a legit place with secure lines 🙂 if there’s one thing i’ll research extensively, it’s for a zipline company with safe wires to fly me over a rainforest at 100 million miles per hour.

  5. June 28, 2012 / 19:44

    Nooo! Ziplining really is awesome! Trust me, I was SO scared..I even hate rollercoasters. But it’s not scary at all after you finally do it 🙂

    • June 29, 2012 / 07:58

      that makes me feel soo much better because i hate rollercoasters too!! i just keep imagining that it will be like a rollercoaster except dangling from a rope.

  6. July 1, 2012 / 16:09

    SLOTHS!!! You are seriously going to have an amazing time! We are hoping to make it to Panama later in the year. You have quite the itinerary planned. We can’t wait to follow along on all of the fun. 🙂

    • July 1, 2012 / 18:54

      will definitely let you know about panama! i wish we had more time to make it to the city, but i have heard amazing things about bocas del toro.

  7. July 1, 2012 / 18:42

    I’ve done zip lining and the coffee plantation in Costa Rica. You’ll love it. I’m afraid of heights, but all the foliage makes you forget how high up you really are. As for the bungalows, those are SWEET! And LOL at the Kristen Bell reference. +1 point for cleverness.

    • July 1, 2012 / 18:55

      that video killlllllllls me. and i’m so glad everyone is saying these things about ziplining, it’s really making me feel so much better. we went parasailing last year and it was one of the most horrifying things i’ve ever done.

  8. travelrinserepeat
    July 2, 2012 / 09:48

    Alright I feel like I have a lot to say here since I was in Costa Rica last year and I’m writing this from Nicaragua just across the CR border now. Zip lining was way less intense than I thought it would be. The guides did just about everything for me – all I had to do was lean back and take in the nice views. Also, I think you’ll see some sloths. I’ve seen a sloth in each destination I’ve been in CR and Nicaragua so far. However, don’t expect to see much. Most times it’s just a furry little ball high in a tree. Only once have I seen a sloth’s face.

    • July 2, 2012 / 10:04

      hmmm i may need to amend my goal to say that i must see a sloth’s face. we’ll see how this goes. also i mainly am just concerned about the zipline snapping, which is seeming more and more irrational. hope you’re having a blast in nicaragua!

  9. July 2, 2012 / 10:23

    I’m so excited for you! I’ve had several friends recently head to Costa Rica and their pictures and stories were wonderful. There’s so much to do and see, so it’s completely understandable that you have 5 hotels, lol. I cannot wait to hear all about your adventures!

    • July 2, 2012 / 10:55

      i know, i’m starting to worry that 10 days won’t be enough time! it can’t come soon enough.

  10. July 2, 2012 / 13:42

    Ziplining through the Monteverde cloud forest in Costa Rica was one of my favorite experiences there. The only thing that beat that was waterfall rappelling. 🙂 Sloths are awesome too.. Aww. I miss Costa Rica now. You’ll be thinking about nothing but Pura Vida when you get back from this trip.

  11. July 2, 2012 / 19:35

    you make me laugh so much!! especially the “everyone and their mothers” comment. i went zip-lining in St. Martin. it may be enough for this gals lifetime 🙂 i hear amazing things about Costa Rica too. you & the hubs are going to have a ball.

    • July 2, 2012 / 19:49

      haha yes, this may be a once and done sort of situation, but i feel like i’m slowly getting more & more courage!

  12. July 2, 2012 / 22:08

    I think you should have coffee like 20 mins BEFORE zip lining. Hubs, be sure to have charged the batteries for the video cam – that video will go viral! LOL

    I have been to Panama quite a few times as I have relatives there. Too bad you aren’t going into the city, I could give you good info. The Canal clearly nbr 1 on that list and the Archipielago de las Perlas (Pearl Islands) have awesome beaches and feel quite isolated from the mainland. But leave these then for a second trip!


    • July 2, 2012 / 23:02

      hahaha PERFECT. you’ve solved it! i think zip-lining post-wine would be a better choice…

      i’m disappointed we can’t make it to panama city on this trip, but definitely on our list for the future!

  13. Francesca
    July 3, 2012 / 16:41

    Panama is high on my list; only stopped there on a cruise. But I have been to Costa Rica – with my “the hubs” – and it was the best trip we ever took together. I’m not familiar with the coffee plantation where you’ll be staying, but I will tell you that the coffee in Costa Rica is like no other coffee you’ve had! (read: it’s GOOD). Go see a volcano. Eat bananas. Soak in hot springs. Enjoy yourselves.

    PS – I went to Costa Rica and didn’t zipline. So, there you go.

    • July 3, 2012 / 20:48

      ahh the best trip you’ve ever taken together? this is getting me even more excited. volcano, bananas, and hot springs are all on our list, never fear. and coffee, too. sigh.

  14. July 5, 2012 / 16:56

    Costa Rica is when I started drinking coffee 😉 … And now I’d love to stay on a plantation. Nice Call. One of these trips south of the border and deep in central america I will…
    have a blast. stay adventurous, Craig

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