Harder Kulm Mountain — Top of Interlaken

After hearing wonderful things, Interlaken has been top on my list of places to visit while in Switzerland. Our only fear was that it would be packed with tourists this time of year. In anticipation of this, we decided to spend just half a day there and then head to nearby Adelboden. Since we only had a morning in Interlaken, we settled on one of the highlights– riding the panorama funicular up Harder Kulm mountain for the best view of the two lakes.

How to get to Interlaken

Interlaken is the largest town in the Bernese Oberland region and from Basel the drive is a little under two hours. You can also take the train for just a tad bit longer. But if you want to explore the small towns outside of Interlaken, a car is essential. After an extremely scenic drive, we arrived to Interlaken just after noon. The first thing we did was walk around, admiring the snow-capped Alps and watching paragliders descend from the sky. Someday I would love to try paragliding in a place like Interlaken! A paraglider’s view of the mountains, lakes, and town in between them must be unparalleled.  

interlaken paraglide

interlaken

History of Interlaken

Interlaken has been a popular tourist destination since the early 1800s when people would come for the mountain air and spas. The completion of the Bernese Oberland Railway in 1890 and the Jungfrau Railway in 1912 caused the town to really take off. Today, luxurious 19th century hotels like the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa and the Lindner Grandhotel Beau Rivage still offer guests the best of Swiss luxury.  

The Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa interlaken

The Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa. Click here for current prices.

Lindner Grandhotel Beau Rivage interlakenThe Lindner Grandhotel Beau Rivage. Click here for current prices.

For more places to stay in Interlaken for all budgets, check out this awesome post.

Riding the Funicular up Harder Kulm Mountain

After grabbing a bite to eat at the Hotel Interlaken, we set off for Harder Kulm, Interlaken’s local mountain. At 1322 meters (4337 feet) above sea level, the Harder Kulm offers the best views of Interlaken as well as the three mammoth mountains of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

A ride on the panorama funicular will set you back 32 francs (32 USD) but it only takes 10 minutes to reach the top. Otherwise, it’s about a two and a half hour hike. We would’ve liked to have done the hike but since we were on a tight time frame we opted for the easy way up.

harder kulm interlaken funicular

harder kulm interlaken

Lake Thun and Lake Brienz

Upon exiting the funicular, I was immediately struck by the brilliant blue color of the lakes. The turquoise and emerald hues of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz are so vivid they almost don’t look natural. I had never seen that exact shade of blue before, not even in the tropics. I later learned the color results from glacial particles that reflect the blue-green sector of the light spectrum. Unfortunately, it was a bit cloudy when we were there but luckily the sun came out briefly, illuminating the icy blue water.  

harder kulm interlaken

The suspended lookout boasts the best view. From it, you can see both lakes, all of Interlaken, and the Alpine triumvirate of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. This is the place to take your selfies, panoramas, and tourist photos. Surprisingly enough, Harder Klum was not packed with tourists and we were able to get all the shots we wanted. Perhaps the predicted thunderstorms scared people away but we were glad we didn’t let the forecasted weather deter us!

harder kulm interlaken lookout bridge

harder kulm interlaken panorama

harder kulm interlaken

After taking loads of photos, we sat for a drink at the Harder Kulm Panoramic Restaurant. Although it’s a tourist trap, we really enjoyed sipping on our drinks with such an incredible view.

harder kulm

After about an hour at the top, it started to rain and so we headed back down the mountain. The rain was almost a blessing because it forced us to abandon the gorgeous vista and forge onto our next destination, the Alpine village of Adelboden. Read about our night at The Cambrian Hotel & Spa in Adelboden here.

For a 2-day itinerary of our weekend in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alpsincluding Adelboden and the glam resort town of Gstaad, click here.


Pin for later:

 

Follow:

Top Things to Do in Mexico City

top things to do in mexico city chapultepec castle

After over a year of living in Mexico City, I am more obsessed with this city than ever before. CDMX is a city with unparalleled cultural attractions, a world-renowned gastronomy scene, and expansive parks. I have never once felt unsafe in Mexico City and I’m so glad I didn’t let my preconceived notions, or the misconceptions of others, prevent me from living in this enchanting city. Even now, I still feel as though I’ve barely scratched the surface of this enormous city. There’s a never-ending (and constantly expanding!) list of things to see and do. But if I had to narrow it down to my top things to do, the following would make the cut…

Top Things to Do in Mexico City:

1. Palacio de Bellas Artes

top things to do in mexico city bellas artes

This lavish palace of fine arts is one of the jewels of Mexico City. I’ve been dying to see a concert, ballet, or opera here. But even if you don’t catch a performance, Bellas Artes is definitely worth a visit. It boasts impressive marble interiors and murals by practically every major national muralist, including the famed Diego Rivera. After touring it, walk to the nearby Palacio de Correos, by far the most opulent post office I have ever seen. Fun fact: It was designed by the same Italian architect who designed Bellas Artes.

DwD Tip: Make a day of touring downtown, the historic center of the city. First visit Bellas Artes and Palacio de Correos. Then walk down pedestrian-only Madero Street toward the Zócalo and visit the Cathedral and Palacio Nacional (see #2). Warning: this area is always swarming with people. If you’d prefer a more relaxed outing, explore downtown on a Sunday when the main avenue is closed to cars. Don’t miss the Angel of Independence on your way!

2. Zócalo / Historic Downtown

things to do in mexico city palacio nacional

Even before the Spanish arrived, the Zócalo was Mexico City’s center square. Hundreds of years later it is still buzzing with activity and is full of history. Plan on spending some time here because there’s a lot to see! First stop by the Cathedral. If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble upon a mass and get to hear the impressive organ.

When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico, they destroyed the “pagan” temples of the Aztecs and used the stones to construct a Cathedral. In the 70s, the ruins of the Aztec’s central temple (Templo Mayor) were unearthed just to the right of the Cathedral. Today, you can visit the open-air archeological site and learn more about its history at the museum.

Next, visit Palacio Nacional (pictured above). Built on the site of the last Aztec emperor’s home, this enormous palace was originally the home of the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes. Since gaining independence from Spain, it has served as the seat of the Mexican government. Head up the stairs and you’ll find Diego Rivera’s massive mural representing the entire history of the Mexican people.

DwD Tip: Once you’ve worked up an appetite, go to El Mayor for an amazing view of the Aztec temple ruins or to the magical Azul Histórico for lunch. Dining in the courtyard of a 17th century estate is only fitting after a day of touring palaces!

3. Chapultepec Castle and Park

top things to do in mexico city chapultepec castle

The first time I visited Mexico City, I toured this opulent imperial castle overlooking the city and was absolutely blown away. Did you know Mexico was an empire not once but twice?? The story behind this castle and the emperor who lived there is a fascinating and important part of Mexican history. Perched on a hill in the middle of a forest, the view of the city is also unbeatable.

After touring the castle (or before), stroll the grounds of Chapultepec Park. It is one of the world’s great urban parks and is over twice the size of Central Park! It would take ages to cover it all so I’d suggest wandering through it on your way to the famous Anthropology Museum (see #10) or to contemporary art museum Museo Tamayo.

4. El Bazar del Sábado (Saturday Bazaar)

top things to do in mexico city bazaar saturday

If you find yourself in Mexico City on a Saturday, make sure you stop by this colorful bazaar. Housed in a grand colonial plaza in the historic neighborhood of San Angel, Bazar del Sábado will give you a real sense of Mexican culture. It also presents an excellent opportunity to pick up some of the country’s best handcrafted jewelry, woodwork, ceramics and textiles. Across the street, you’ll find a market of traditional indigenous products. Along the way you’re bound to discover the perfect regalito, or little gift, for your friends and family back home.

After shopping, you have several dining options: 1) The plaza’s courtyard where you can eat fresh-off-the-pan quesadillas while watching traditional Mexican dancers. 2) A food market full of delicious options just a couple of blocks down from the bazaar. 3) San Angel Inn, a beautiful old hacienda converted into a restaurant serving traditional Mexican cuisine.

5. Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

top things to do in mexico city xochimilco

Although this is a classic tourist activity, it’s still a lot of fun and the perfect activity for a nice afternoon. Xochimilco (meaning “garden of flowers” in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztec’s) is also rooted in history. Fun fact: Mexico City was originally built on a lake. Xochimilco is the last remnant of the vast system of causeways, canals, manmade islands and floating gardens that existed during the time of the Aztecs. Select a colorful trajinera and spend your day cruising these ancient canals. It’s crazy to think that these floating gardens once fed the largest city on Earth (the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, present-day Mexico City).

DwD Tip: For a fee, a mariachi trio will float along beside you and play songs at your request. And if you forget to pack a picnic, don’t worry, you can easily hail beer and snacks from your boat.

6. Teotihuacan Pyramids 

top things to do in mexico city teotihuacan pyramids

Although it takes about 1.5 hours to get to Teotihuacan from downtown Mexico City, it’s definitely worth the trip. Teotihuacan is the site of many of the largest pyramids built in pre-Columbian America and they are all well-preserved and climbable. The Pyramid of the Sun is one of the most imposing in the world and, if you’re like me, you’ll be panting by the time you’ve reached the top. The view, however, is vale la pena (worth the pain).

DwD Tip: For a more meaningful experience, visit the Teotihuacan exhibit at the Anthropology Museum (see #10) before you go.

*For tips on navigating Teotihuacan click here

7. Wander around La Roma & La Condesa

top things to do in mexico city la condesa

If you’re over touristy activities and want a little peace and quiet, head to the trendy neighborhoods of La Roma and La Condesa. Roma and Condesa are adjacent neighborhoods full of colorful old buildings, leafy trees, art galleries, an impressive food scene, and hipster vibes. Start by walking through the beautiful Parque Mexico. Then stroll the streets around the park, stopping at cute boutiques and cafes along the way. The best streets to wander are Amsterdam, Colima, and Orizaba. While you’re there, take advantage of some of the city’s best restaurants. Contramar, Maximo Bistro, Rosetta, Lardo, Blanco Colima, and my new favorite, Meroma, are just a few great possibilities.

8. Indulge in the city’s food scene

top things to do in mexico city pujol taco

Taco al pastor from famed Pujol

If you haven’t heard, Mexico City has an incredible food scene that’s currently taking the culinary world by storm. You can get any kind of food you’re looking for, from mouth-watering street tacos to amazing fine dining experiences. Word of advice: go with an open mind (or, rather, stomach). Authentic Mexican food doesn’t taste like your favorite burrito place back home–it tastes much, much better.

Don’t leave Mexico without trying tacos al pastor (tacos with pork fresh off the spit), gringas (quesadilla with meat), chicharrón de queso (grilled, crispy cheese), tostadas (the tuna tostadas at Contramar are the best in the city), sopes (fried tortilla dough with refried beans, cream, lettuce, salsa and cheese), and fresh fruits like mamey, mango, and papaya. For late-night greasy, authentic goodness, go to famous late-night taqueria El Farolito. If you want to eat at one of the best restaurants in the world, go to the renowned Pujol (often described as “elevated street food”). And yes, it’s worth the hype.

9. Frida Kahlo House and Museum

top things to do in mexico city frida kahlo museum house

A visit to Mexico City isn’t complete without visiting the home of Mexico’s most famous icon–Frida Kahlo. Located in the charming colonial neighborhood of Coyoacan, la Casa Azul is the home Frida grew up and ultimately died in. A tribute to her life and work, the blue house showcases some of her most famous paintings. Today, it remains almost exactly as she left it and gives you an intimate look into Frida’s life.

DwD Tip: Buy tickets online in advance here in order to skip the long line. If you haven’t already, I’d also recommend watching Frida, the movie starring Salma Hayek, before you go.

10. Anthropology Museum

top things to do in mexico city anthropology museum

Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology is an excellent introduction to the country’s pre-Hispanic history and culture. Visiting this museum on my first trip to Mexico City really opened my eyes to the fact that, contrary to the media’s depiction, Mexico is not a homogenous country. It is a country made up of many ancient civilizations, each with its own language and traditions. 

The Anthropology Museum houses thousands of pre-Hispanic treasures and many of the most important findings from archaeological digs across the country. Highlights include the original Aztec calendar unearthed in Mexico City, giant stone heads of the Olmec civilization from Veracruz, a jade mask found in a Mayan ruler’s tomb, and my personal favorite—an Aztec ruler’s exquisite headdress made from vibrant blue and green quetzal feathers.  


*Side note: In the months to come, I’ll be writing blog posts answering all your burning questions about life in Mexico / recommendations for visiting CDMX. But in the mean time, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I love hearing from you! Also, explore more Mexico posts here!

Have you been to Mexico City yet? If so, what was your favorite thing you did? If not, would you like to go? Comment below!

Pin for later:

top things to do in mexico city

top things to do in mexico city

 

Follow:

Weekend in Querétaro

Recently, Julian, a few friends and I took a weekend trip to the nearby state of Querétaro. I’m always looking for an opportunity to visit the many beautiful cities and towns within driving distance from Mexico City. So when a family friend invited us to tour his vineyard in Querétaro, we decided to make a weekend out of it.

Historic Center, Querétaro City

Querétaro is a small state about three hours from Mexico City. Its capital, Querétaro City, is a charming colonial city filled with history. In fact, its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We left Mexico City early Saturday morning and spent the day in downtown Querétaro City walking through its cobblestone streets and admiring its many beautiful churches and grand colonial houses. It was a lovely way to spend the day as Querétaro City is very pedestrian friendly, clean, and safe.

I love the grand colonial architecture, just look at this door!

We had a wonderful lunch at Alioli and would highly recommend it

How adorable is this pink elementary school??

Querétaro City is full of beautiful old churches and cathedrals, there seems to be one on every corner!

 

I can never resist a Mexican market!

Templo y Convento de la Santa Cruz- Mexican Emperor Maximilian was jailed here before his execution

Inner courtyard of the Templo y Convento de la Santa Cruz

Bernal

Once the sun went down, we headed for the nearby town of Bernal. Bernal is a designated pueblo magico (“magic town”) and is known for La Peña, the world’s third tallest free-standing rock. We stayed the night at Casa Mateo, a boutique hotel with impressive views of La Peña.

Casa Mateo

La Peña de Bernal

The next morning we rose early to climb the famous monolith. The climb to the top of Bernal is not too strenuous but it is very steep in parts and requires a decent level of physical fitness. On our way up, we saw many Mexicans climbing with their small children and this made me so nervous!! By foot, it takes about 30 minutes to get halfway up. After that point, you can’t go any further without serious rappelling equipment. Tip: Make sure to get there early in order to avoid noon-day sun, bring lots of water, and wear shoes with good traction.

Fun fact: Residents in the tiny town of Bernal insist that la Peña has mystical healing powers. Some say it exudes a magnetic force, others say its energy comes from giant Amethyst crystals buried deep within its core. Interestingly enough, the town is reputed to be home to more centenarians than any other town in Mexico.

Julian showing some curious kids the bird’s-eye perspective of his drone flying over la Pena

Downtown Bernal

After a quick change and shower, we explored the quaint town of Bernal. Unfortunately, we had very little time to see Bernal before we had to leave for a tobacco factory tour. 

Real Fábrica de Tabaco

In 1779, the original Real Fábrica de Tabaco was built and it became the second most important tobacco plant in New Spain. In recent years, entrepreneurs from Querétaro decided to revive this tradition, creating a modern Real Fábrica de Tabaco but maintaining time-honored cigar-making methods. At the factory, visitors are able to see expert cigar-makers in action and learn about the cigar-making process.

At Real Fabrica, they make a cigar called “Black Chazaro” from the best black tobacco of Veracrúz

There’s a beautiful courtyard in the center of the factory where you can enjoy your cigars

De Cote Vineyard

Finally, we made our way to De Cote Vineyard for a delicious lunch, tour of the facilities, and, of course, wine tasting!

Along with its history and colonial architecture, Querétaro is known for its wines and cheese. There is a long wine-making tradition in Querétaro with the Spanish planting the first vines in the 16th century. De Cote opened its doors in 2014 and since then has won many awards for its wines.

Spend an afternoon touring the sprawling vineyard on foot, bike, or on train. Afterwards, grab a bite to eat in the more casual bistro or dine on the terrace for a more sophisticated menu and unbeatable view.

Getting a tour of the very modern facilities from the owner himself

Querétaro was the perfect weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of Mexico City. If you’re looking for somewhere off the beaten path in Mexico, go to Querétaro. I promise you won’t regret it!


Pin for later:

Follow:

Back to Baja

balandra baja california

I recently returned from my third trip to Baja California Sur more in love than ever with this magical part of Mexico. Last year, we spent over a week sailing the Sea of Cortez (read all about it here). We had such an amazing time that we decided to return again this spring and do it all again. Read on for our magical week spent whale watching, diving with sea lions,  swimming with whale sharks, hiking, and exploring the beaches of Baja California Sur…

A Little Bit of Geography

The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, separates the Baja California peninsula from the Mexican mainland. The Mexican state of Baja California is located directly under the US state of California (Baja in Spanish means “lower”). Baja California Sur is, naturally, the southern half of the peninsula. So to reiterate, Baja California is not part of the US state of California. 

baja california sur map

The Sea of Cortez

The Sea of Cortez is a dazzling sea in the midst of the desert, surrounded by staggering mountains covered with enormous cacti. As you sail from one cove to another, the sea changes from shades of crystal clear blue, to aquamarine, turquoise, and emerald green. In Baja, you can’t help but be in awe of the beauty and wildness surrounding you. Though this was my third trip to the peninsula, it was like I was experiencing it with fresh eyes. From sunrise to sunset I just couldn’t get enough of my surroundings.

san jose baja california sur

balandra baja california sur la paz

baja california sur kayaking

baja california sur balandra

baja california sur balandra

baja california sur el hongo balandra

Our Route

Due to weather conditions, we were unable to go to some of our favorite spots from last year, including Coronado Island, Monserrate, and Agua Verde. While we were a bit disappointed, such is Mother Nature and we didn’t let it ruin our trip. Instead, we spent more time enjoying the white-sand beaches of Espiritu Santo and exploring the wild islands of San Francisco and San Jose. The map below details our ship’s route. 

Trip Highlights

The Sea of Cortez was dubbed the world’s aquarium because it is one of the richest and most extraordinary marine environments on earth. During our weeklong trip, we got up close and personal with the stunning creatures that call the Sea of Cortez home. We also got a glimpse into life in the remote parts of Baja and explored the islands by foot, boat, jet ski, and kayak. Some of the highlights included…

Whale Watching

I still remember the first time I saw a whale in the open sea, it took my breath away. Now I’ve been lucky enough to see whales on multiple occasions but they never cease to amaze me. Grey whales travel more than 10,000 miles from their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic to the southern Baja peninsula. There they spend the months of December to April mating, giving birth and feeding their young calves. Both last trip and on this occasion we were lucky enough to see the famous grey whales. We even saw one breach (aka jump out of the water) and a mother with her young. Getting close to such massive, magnificent creatures is truly awe inspiring and something I hope everyone gets to experience one day.

baja california sur whale tail

Swimming with Whale Sharks

Last year we had planned to swim with whale sharks but weather conditions prevented us from doing so. But this year we were in luck! Whale sharks get their name because they are as large as some species of whale and, like whales, are filter feeders. In other words, they feed on plankton and have absolutely no interest in eating humans. The whale sharks we swam with were juveniles and measured about 25 feet long. Although they looked absolutely massive, they were actually on the small size for whale sharks with adults measuring up to 40 feet! Swimming with these gentle giants was a surreal experience and it reinforced my belief that sharks are misunderstood creatures who get an (often) undeserved bad rep.

whale shark diver

Our GoPro whale shark photos didn’t turn out so great so here’s a photo courtesy of The Telegraph

*PS check out theMisunderstood Predators episode of the Netflix show “Tales by Light” about human-friendly tiger sharks. I guarantee you it will change the way you think about sharks.

Playing with Sea Lions

Sea lions are one of my all time favorite creatures. They’re so much fun to watch and interact with! Last year we snorkeled with the famous sea lions of Espiritu Santo and this year we dove with them. Scuba diving allowed us to get even closer to them and some young ones came to play with us. They swam in circles around us and our instructor even put his hand out for them to playfully nibble on; they’re just like puppies!

baja california sur diving baja california sur sea lions baja california sur sea lions

Later in the trip, we took jet skis to explore the islands surrounding San Jose and came across a small rock isle inhabited entirely by sea lions. We had the best time watching them engage in their favorite activities–defending their personal rock, playing in the water with their friends, and sunbathing their hefty bodies. Watch a drone video of them below! Some day I’ll learn how to edit videos but for now this will have to do 🙂

Visiting Coyote Island

Right next to the sea lion’s abode is a tiny fishing village called Isla Coyote. This island is home to a grand total of 15 inhabitants and they are literally in the middle of nowhere. They make weekly trips to La Paz, over 2 hours away by boat and 3 hours away by land, for fresh water, food and other necessities. A fisherman named Manuel greeted us and insisted I wear his flip flops to tour the island. He told us he’d lived on the island since he was born and wouldn’t live anywhere else. I was blown away by their decision to live in a nearly inhospitable environment disconnected from the rest of the world. It served as an important reminder that many live with far, far less, and without the modern conveniences we take for granted, and yet are happy with what they have.

coyote island baja california sur coyote island baja california sur coyote island baja california sur pelicans baja california sur

Hiking Isla San Francisco

Another highlight was hiking to the top of the hill on Isla San Francisco. It’s not a very strenuous hike and the view from the top is unbeatable. On one side, you have the calm aquamarine waters of the inlet and on the Pacific side, the rough waves of the open sea. The terrain almost looks extraterrestrial with its red, jagged rocks, hundreds of different species of cactus, and arid soil.

baja california sur isla san francisco baja california sur isla san francisco baja california sur isla san francisco baja california sur isla san francisco baja california sur isla san francisco baja california sur isla san francisco

Exploring Isla San Jose

Out of all of the starkly beautiful islands we visited in Baja, San Jose may be my favorite. It’s an incredibly diverse island with everything from giant cactus covered beaches to mangroves and salt flats. I’ve always had a thing for succulents so I went crazy for these towering Saguaro cacti. As a point of reference, I’m almost 6 feet tall (1.83 meters) so you can imagine how tall these cactus are! ⠀⠀

baja california sur saguaro cactus baja california sur saguaro cactus

baja california sur saguaro cactus

Not too far from the cacti are enormous salt flats. We discovered them last year when Julian flew his drone on the beach and realized they were right behind the sand dunes. I had never seen anything like that before with the red algae, mud, and wide expanse of salt.

baja california sur salt flats baja california sur salt flats

At one point in the cove, there’s a salt-water river that can be accessed with a kayak or small boat. The scenery is incredible with arid cacti covered hills behind verdant mangroves. After a short ride, the canal opens up to a large bay with a narrow strip of beach between the bay and wider sea. I was so glad Julian brought his drone along as the bird’s-eye view gives you a spectacular perspective of this diverse ecosystem.

baja california sur mangroves

baja california sur explorer girl

baja california sur manta ray baja california sur san jose

baja california sur san jose

Until next time Baja! I’ll be counting down the days to our return…

Photo Gallery:

baja california sur balandra

baja california sur isla espiritu santo

baja california sur jet ski

baja california sur san francisco isla san francisco baja california sur baja california sur yacht

baja california sur balandra  baja california sur balandrabaja california sur beach

baja california sur seashells  baja california sur balandra couplebaja california sur sunset

Follow:

Pura Vida at the Four Seasons Costa Rica

As a kid, I visited Costa Rica once on a family surf trip. I still remember the white sand beaches with gentle waves, the friendly locals, and the incredible flora and fauna of the rainforest. I was recently invited to stay at the Four Seasons Costa Rica on the idyllic Peninsula Papagayo and it was even more stunning than I remembered. We spent the weekend sailing through the Gulf of Papagayo, relaxing on the beach, and immersing ourselves in the local philosophy of pura vida. And of course, enjoying the many amenities of the Four Seasons.

Peninsula Papagayo

Peninsula Papagayo is located on Costa Rica’s north Pacific coast. This remote 1400-acre peninsula was formed by volcanic activity and sculpted by wind, rain, and sun over thousands of years. Today, it is home to 31 different beaches, two luxury resorts (the Four Seasons and the Andaz), a marina, and an Arnold-Palmer designed golf course. However, thanks to a government mandate stating that 70% of the land must remain undeveloped, the vast majority of the peninsula is wild and a nature-lover’s dream.

four seasons costa rica peninsula papagayo aerial

The Four Seasons is located on the narrow strip of land

four seasons costa rica map

Map of Peninsula Papagayo

The Four Seasons Costa Rica

The Four Seasons Costa Rica is ideally positioned on a narrow stretch of the peninsula. Guests are treated to views of the water on both sides and have access to two golden sand beaches. At a high enough vantage point, you can see the Gulf of Papagayo to your right and Culebra Bay to your left.

four seasons costa rica peninsula papagayo

Photo credit: Four Seasons

The peninsula is stunning even in the dry season

costa rica four seasons tree

costa rica four seasons beach

Beach on the Gulf of Papagayo side

The Four Seasons Costa Rica recently underwent a major renovation and the aftermath is stunning. It felt fresh and vibrant and the epitome of eco-chic. I especially loved the resort’s use of locally sourced materials, its seamless melding of indoor-outdoor spaces, and incorporation of its natural surroundings.

four seasons costa rica lobby

The redesigned open-air lobby

four seasons costa rica restaurant

Every space takes advantage of its beautiful surroundings

four seasons costa rica pool

The reimagined pool area

The Miramar Suite

Since we were traveling with two other couples, we stayed at the three-bedroom Miramar Suite. From its position on a hilltop, we had an incredible view of the beach below. The Miramar Suite is the perfect mix of secluded and accessible. Though it’s just a short golf-cart ride away from the resort, we felt as though we were in a private residence in the middle of the jungle. I could have happily stayed there all weekend long! Only the lure of a day on the sea pulled me away…

miramar suite four seasons costa rica

monkey costa rica

We had so much fun watching the monkeys swing from the trees bordering the property

Sailing through the Gulf of Papagayo

We spent a blissful Saturday sailing with friends through the Gulf of Papagayo. Catamarans are one of my  favorite boats and this one was ideal for navigating the calm waters and coves of Papagayo. The scenery from the boat was truly spectacular and the cliffs descending into the Pacific Ocean covered in subtropical vegetation reminded me of Puerto Vallarta, one of my favorite coastal destinations in Mexico.

catamaran costa rica boat girl catamaran

After sailing for an hour or so, we anchored at a little cove for lunch. There we feasted on grilled lobster, which was some of the best I’ve ever had. We spent the afternoon swimming, exploring the beach, sipping sweet coconuts, and taking siestas in the sun.

peninsula papagayo costa rica beach

coconut girl beach

coconut girl beach

On our way home, we watched the sun set and enjoyed the company of our friends with drinks in hand. Needless to say, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.

golden hour sail boat girl

costa rica sunset

Prieta Beach Club

On Sunday, we stayed land bound and enjoyed a relaxing day at the Prieta Beach Club. I really loved the aesthetic and vibe of Prieta and it has something for everyone. While kids splash in the pool, adults can lounge in the cabana beds or enjoy Costa Rican meets Baja California cuisine under the palapa.

Prieta Beach Club costa rica

costa rica tree beach

Prieta Beach Club costa rica

girl beach costa rica

bird costa rica

Pura Vida: A Way of Life

In Costa Rica, you’ll hear the saying pura vida constantly. Before this past trip, I thought it was just a touristy catchphrase. On this trip, however, I learned that Pura vida is at the core of Costa Rican life. It means simply “pure life” and it sums up the ticos philosophy: Enjoy life and be happy. After two days on this stunning peninsula, I began to understand what pura vida is all about. But a weekend is far too little time to take advantage of all this spectacular peninsula has to offer. In the meantime, I’ll be counting down the days until my return to the Four Seasons Costa Rica.

costa rica sunset children beach

Pin for later:

Would you like to stay at the Four Seasons Costa Rica? Comment below!

 

Follow: