Finding Paradise in Costa Rica Part 1: The Westin

August 24, 2014

Spending a week in paradise changes you. Your memory becomes a little more keen and you realize you want to remember these moments forever. You learn to appreciate nature and clean air, and silence. And if you are in paradise with someone you love, you grow closer because nothing is more pure in that paradise than love for all things beautiful. 

PART ONE: THE WESTIN AT PLAYA CONCHAL

I found paradise on our vacation to Costa Rica in May of this past year. We didn’t plan it this way, but it ended up being the perfect time of year to go. It was not crowded at all, in fact it was incredibly quiet for a resort. The weather was just on the cusp of rainy season, so it wasn’t oppressively hot or rainy. Not to mention, we went a week after I graduated college, making it the best month EVER.

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Beautiful lily pad art in the lobby.

The resort made me feel how every resort should make a woman feel; like a princess. The Westin is a golf resort situated right on a beach surrounded by mountains. You really felt like it was a hidden paradise all to yourself. Instead of one large building, there were separated bungalows throughout the little forested valley it was nestled in. Each bungalow was two rooms downstairs, and two upstairs. We got one downstairs, perfectly situated within walking distance of everything. We fell into a routine; wake up at our leisure, walk to breakfast, stop back at the room for our pool-things, cut through the bungalows to the coffee shop and have the best coffee we have ever had, and then stroll to the pool. It’s the kind of routine you never get tired of.

 

Our room in the bungalow.
Outside the bungalow.
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Our room.

The pool didn’t even feel like a pool, it felt like it was there naturally. It was surrounded by trees and vegetation, and it was the same color as the Pacific Ocean. I appreciated that, because you never want to know you’re in a chlorinated public pool. Bonus points: the swim up bar never failed to keep me at a consistent, comfortable buzz.

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See, look how empty!
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The view from our spot.

Dave and I go out to eat a lot, and we have had some pretty above-average meals in New York City. When we go on vacation to a resort, we have kind of come to expect that it will be “resort food’. But let me tell you, the food at The Westin was on the level with some of the best restaurants we’ve been to. I ate more ceviche there than I have in my whole life combined. We still crave it today. They also offered Asian, Spanish, Mediterranean, and Italian restaurants, all of which did not disappoint. They even had a pizza and pasta lunch place that let you bring the pizza pool side. What!? You mean I can drink beer AND eat pizza, while I relax by the pool? I’ll have two pies, please.

And every morning, we would have breakfast at the buffet, which was out of this world for a buffet. For some reason I came to have a croissant and cherry jam every single morning there. I guess it was because I said “I’m on vacation, I’ll eat whatever I want!” and threw carb-caution to the wind.

This place is why I came back a few pounds heavier.
This place is why I came back a few pounds heavier.

Costa Rica differs from most resort-type countries because it is so eco-friendly. Everyone recycles, smoking is looked down upon and if you are in public, you have to smoke away from the building. Because of this eco-friendly attitude, they allow all beaches to be public, even the beach right in front of the resort. So unfortunately, once you step onto the beach, you are off resort property. It’s not an issue of safety, it’s just annoying because local vendors set up shop right outside the gates and attack you with purchases and services the second you leave. We ended up only swimming on that beach once. It was very beautiful too. It was right on Brasalito Bay, so when you stood on the shore, you are surrounded by mountains and a calm ocean. It was my first time in the Pacific Ocean and it was really, truly beautiful. And we met a guy who worked for Fage, the yogurt brand, and he was very fond of his yogurt and even divulged that Chobani is NOT true Greek-style yogurt. (Oh, the scandal!)

Looking straight out from Playa Conchal.
Looking straight out from Playa Conchal.
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Mountain to the southwest.

 

Please subscribe to my blog to read the next chapter of my Costa Rica story, where I talk about hiking and zip lining in the rainforest, and ATVing across the Pacific Coast. Be well!

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