Category Archives: Travel

Reasons why to stay at Room2Board in Jaco, Costa Rica

As mentioned in a earlier post, my husband and I recently traveled to Jaco, Costa Rica for a little (much-needed) vacation. I have already written a very positive review on Trip Advisor for this hostel, but felt that I needed to go into more detail.

 

Location

The location of the hostel was ideal. Less than a 5 minute walk to the beach. It’s about a 15 min walk to the middle of the action in Jaco (IMO, this was where Los Amigos and/or Taco Bar were located). The hostel is actually tucked back a little from full view, which I liked. It wasn’t on the main strip, so it was a little quieter.

 

Cleanliness

This place had clean bathrooms, room and common areas. You can tell that it was very well-kept. Never was an issue.

 

Things to do

At the hostel you could:

  • Hang out by the pool
  • Eat breakfast/lunch/dinner and snacks ($)
  • Free coffee until 11:30am
  • Drink, drink, drink ($)
  • Do yoga! ($)
  • Hang out on beanbag chairs or hammocks in the common rooms
  • Use the kitchenette for guests
  • Take surf lessons ($)
  • Book a tour ($)
  • Small shop available to buy souvenirs ($)
  • Meet super cool people (priceless)

I would like to add an extra note about the yoga. During our stay, I did yoga as many times as I could and loved it. Found the instructor Paul to be very good and professional. Doing yoga on vacation, really helps relax and helps you learn to breathe a little slower. Sometimes you move through life so quickly. It was great to take a break and do something for myself. I highly recommend it.

 

Staff

The staff and owner at the hostel is really what make this place great. Everyone from the kitchen and cleaning staff are marvelous. I found that the staff really wanted to engage in a conversation with you and actually get to know you a little. They have a great laid-back attitude, which is contagious.

Emailing this hostel from home was great too. They were always quick to reply to my email questions. I never felt like I wasn’t being taken care of. It feels really good to feel this way, especially when traveling from another country.

The owner went out of his way to say hi and accommodate us if we had any questions. He runs a tight ship and it shows. The place is clean, well maintained and the reviews on all the social media websites show how much this place is loved.

 

I’m not sure what else to say about this place other than I loved it. If you have any questions about our stay here, please feel free to email me.

 

Have you ever stayed somewhere that you loved so much that you wish you could have written more than a simple review on Trip Advisor?

Jaco, Costa Rica

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Recently, we visited Jaco, Costa Rica. We had such a lovely time that I need to share with you a few things I learned while planning our trip, traveling there, our accommodations and problems we met returning home.

Before I start, as you know, this is a family blog. Although, we did not bring our daughter with us, we do plan to take her here when she’s a little older wand show her some of the cool stuff we learned while we stayed in Jaco.

Flights

We had used Google Flights to help us decided when was the best time to travel from YOW to SJO (San Jose). We finally decided to leave on a Wednesday and come back on a Wednesday to get the best price. We paid approx. $690 pp. CDN (tax incl.) through Expedia. In the end, I decided to book through Expedia vs. the United website, was because I have always received great customer service through Expedia vs. United, so I have to admit I trust them a bit more.

Accommodations

After reading many, many, many reviews on Trip Advisor for accommodations, we finally decided on a hostel. This was our first time traveling in a hostel (ever) and wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but based on Trip Advisor’s 5/5, Facebook reviews 5/5 and Booking.com 8.9/10. We had to give it a try. More on my love for Room2Board in a future blog post.

Shuttle to Jaco from SJO

From SJO to Jaco its about 1.5 hours away. Some people take taxi’s, local bus, organized or private shuttles. I found a lot of websites talking about different pluses and minuses of each option. We finally decided on going with the shuttle that was organized by the hostel ($100/ per car USD). I was the most comfortable with this option because this guy who is picking us up will be driving us directly to the hostel, no milk run for us in the middle of the night.

Packing

I was told many times how warm it is in Jaco. Bring your lightest cotton shirts they said. Did I listen, no? Did I end up buying a laundry soap bar and rewashing my lightest clothing a few times… yes. Here are some things that you should bring with you when visiting Jaco:

  • Casual clothing: Nothing too fancy required. Everyone dresses very boho casual there.
  • Flip flops: I heard a rumour that some women who wear high heels are known to be prostitutes in the area. Just saying.
  • Light shorts: Nothing that you can see sweat through, because you may or may not get swass (it’s that hot there).
  • Bathing suits
  • Beach towel
  • Small amounts of toiletries – Do not pack a hair dryer. Trust me you won’t need it.
  • Laundry soap bar.
  • Earplugs.
  • Sunscreen
  • Coconut Oil: This can be good for an eye make up remover, shaving cream, moisturizer, hair treatment and as your aloe.
  • USD cash
  • Cheap sunglasses: In case you lose them in the ocean or zip lining.

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Since we stayed at a hostel, I wish that I would have brought something cool to say thank you to the staff and friends that we met there. Maybe a craft to do a quick DIY friendship bracelet or something like that. I think it would have been very boho of us to do something fun like that.

Things to do before traveling to Jaco

Read up about the area and watch YouTube videos. Get a good sense on where you’re about to visit. I think it helped knowing that they area has some good and bad areas, but really, what destination that you go to doesn’t have that. I just thought it was helpful to know about possible scams that may arise. Just use common sense guys.

Here are somethings that I looked up prior to visiting Jaco:

  • Currency exchange from CR $ to CDN $
  • Average cost for beer and wine
  • Good reviews on a tattoo studio
  • Good reviews on restaurants
  • Ideas of possible excursions that I might be interested in going on

What I wish I would have looked up before is learning some more basic Spanish, such as:

  • Good morning/afternoon/evening
  • Red wine
  • Beer
  • Thank you

I kind of know what these are, but never thought to use any of it. Wish I did.

If I were to plan to go back

I would:

  • Stay at the same hostel
  • Do a few more excursions
  • Eat more ceviche
  • Hang out more with the guests at the hostel and staff there
  • Pack a few really good sets of ear plugs, less clothing, one laundry soap bar and another beach towel and fit it all into a carry-on

Have you been to Jaco? What did you think of the area? Am I missing anything?

How to prepare the grandparents for watching your kid while traveling.

This is now the 4th vacation that my husband and I have gone on away without our daughter. I miss her dearly everytime, but I do find that the recharge really helps moving forward.

While preparing the grandparents for an eventful week with our little one, I generally do my best to create a document to help give them some ideas and important information that they’ll need to know while we’re on vacation. Here is the breakdown that I used:

  • The ideal schedule: If everything was to go smoothly (she woke up around 6am and went to bed at 6:30pm), what would that day look like? It never really ends up this way, but it’s what we strive for.
  • Meal ideas: Lately our daughter has been good about eating what we eat, but I give them some ideas of things to give her that are sure bets. Pogo’s and pizza wins almost everytime.
  • Bedtime Routine: It’s important to try to stick to a regular bedtime routine, expecially with toddlers, it will help her have a good night. If things waiver a bit, it’s okay, but I like to give them an idea on what we do every night (bath, lotion, pjs, bedtime snack, bottle, rocking, which stuffed animals she takes to bed, etc…) so they have an idea of the schedule.
  • Hard No’s: We only have two hard no’s right now. We list them so that we’re all consistant with our approach.
  • Medicine: List any medicine that you normally give, when, what kind and why.
  • Supplies: If they run out of any supplies like diapers, wipes and/or milk, let them know what kind of size you normally buy.
  • If the power goes out: What do they need to know? At our place, they will have to turn back on the baby monitor base and reset the heater in her room for else it will continue to heat up the room until it’s 32*c!!!
  • Ideas of things to do with your kid: Grandparents are the best. They come in with fresh ideas and lots of enthusiam. I just list a few things that I know my daughter likes to do and if there’s a lull in the day, hopefully it will help spring some ideas.
  • iPhone/iPad apps: Our daughter really likes certain iPhone apps. I list them in case they wonder what “crocro” means when she starts yelling at their iPhone.
  • Contact details: List all the numbers they’ll need to get a hold of you, your hotel, your family doctor and telehealth.
  • Remind them to let us know to take lots of pictures and let us know how’s she doing.
  • Remind them to have FUN and spoil her!

Am I missing anything? What other information do you give the grandparents or caretaker while you are away from your kids?

Traveling to Jaco, Costa Rica

 

In a few days, my husband and I will be taking our first vacation together (alone) in a very long time… long like since before we got married long. We really enjoy traveling with friends and family, but this time I’m really looking forward to it just being the two of us. The grandparents have been booked to watch our little one, bags are almost packed and we’re just about ready to go.

Where are we going? Jaco, Costa Rica

We’ve decided to visit this area, based on a recommendation from a collegue of mine who has been to Costa Rica many, many times.

Where are we staying? Room2Board

For this trip, we’ve actually decided to stay in a hostel (yikes!). We’ve never done this before. Based on the recommendations from a variety of travel review sites and their local blog. I can’t wait to stay here! If you’re curious on what we mean by excellent reviews, check out Trip Advisor, Facebook, Hostel World and Booking.com. I’m telling you, I’m impressed.

How are we getting there? Expedia.ca

After keeping a very close eye on flight options to travel from YOW (Ottawa, ON) to SJO (San Jose, CR)  using Google Flights, I finally decided to make the jump and book our flights using Expedia.ca. I have no issues with booking through Google Flights, if the price was right, but there wasn’t a big difference between Expedia and Google Flights. I have more experience booking with Expedia.ca and that’s the only reason why I choose one over the other.

How are we getting from the airport to the hostel? Private shuttle

We  have booked a private shuttle from the airport to the hostel and back through the hostel. Since our flight arrives late, I’m glad that it’s them that’s picking us up.

What are we going to do there? I have no idea!

Have you been to Jaco? What did you do there? I can’t help but get more and more excited about this trip after watching the YouTube video above. From the description on the video, it doesn’t look like they visited Jaco, but they did a lot of amazing things in CR that I hope to do some of that cool stuff while we’re there too.

Let me know if you’re been.  What did you do? Any tips for things to pack? What souvenirs do you recommend that we buy?

Will have to blog on how it went when we get back!

New Years Eve Destinations

It’s only October 5 and I’m already starting to think about what to do for New Years Eve (NYE).  I really like NYE.  It’s really just another opportunity to hang out with the people you love, drink champagne and talk about memories from the past year. But honestly, any reason to drink champagne is a good one in my books.

Last year, I didn’t get to spend NYE with my husband. We had made last-minute plans to go to a party and he got sick and went home. Boo. This year, I would really like it if we spent it together. Not sure what we’ll do yet, whatever it is, it will be together.

I’ve started to create a list of places that I’ve thought we could go to. So far, we haven’t come close to a decision on what we’ve liked to do.

Type of places we’ve had in mind:

  • Cottage
  • Hotel
  • Resort

Locations:

  • Ottawa and surrounding area
  • Rural Ontario
  • Muskoka and surrounding area
  • Kingston
  • Open to other ideas

Website’s I’ve used so far:

I’m not coming up with much. I don’t want to spend a fortune, but looking for something nice, fun and something that if we had another couple of friends that wanted to join us it would be easy to add them to the cottage/hotel/resort…

Do you have any suggestions? Is there somewhere that you could recommend that we take a look at?

Let me know!

 

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