In 2022, my wife and I took our first trip to Costa Rica. We enjoyed it so much, we decided to return to the same resort, Nayara Springs. My main goal was to get better pictures of Toucans and Sloths. I also wanted to return to the Arenal Volcano Observatory to view the bird life at the edge of the rain forest. We had an early flight, so our driver picked us up at 3:30am!

Driving to Newark Airport early in the morning

We would be flying out of Newark International Airport (EWR). Many flights were being delayed the night before due to high winds, so we prepared ourselves for a rough journey to San Jose International Airport (SJO). We arrived to EWR with some time to spare, so we headed to the United Club Lounge and grabbed some breakfast.

To our surprise, everything was operating on time, so we boarded our flight and after a slightly long taxi time, we were on our way. We had preselected our breakfasts on United's website. I chose Egg Shashuka and my wife chose a scrambled egg breakfast. We both agreed they were disgusting.

We landed in Costa Rica about 20 minutes ahead of schedule and made our way though immigration. The lines were not too bad, and we cleared through in about 45 minutes. Prestige Wings, our charter company, advised us that a staff member would meet us after the immigration counters. We never saw the person holding the sign and ended up having to call Prestige Wings to get back on track. After about 10 minutes, the greeter met us at the airport exit. We think they were actually before immigration and we were not on the lookout for it.

We then transferred to the domestic airport terminal since we would be taking a charter flight to La Fortuna, which takes about 18-20 minutes. This saves us from a twisty, windy, 3.5 hour drive to Nayara Springs, the resort where we will be staying. The transfer to the domestic airport only takes about 10 minutes.

Domestic Terminal

Last time we were here, I saw a Costa Rica Sloth coffee mug that I liked. I didn't buy it at the time, thinking I would have another opportunity which never came. This time I was determined to get one.

Sloth mug

After I got my mug, we took a van to our Piper Seneca twin engine charter flight and we were on our way. Upon takeoff, we had some flashbacks of the issue we had in Mexico when the co-pilot door wouldn't latch on our way to Chichen Itza, but all went well. The pilots provided noise cancelling headphones as well as a cooler stocked with various drinks.

We landed in La Fortuna around 1:30pm and our driver from Nayara Springs met us to transfer us to the resort. About 20 minutes later, we were on property. We did the typical check-in paperwork, had our fruity welcome drink, and made our way to lunch. We were getting hangry since our in flight breakfast was so bad.

Welcome drinks

We headed up to Mis Amores restaurant and ordered some lunch. It had been raining since we landed, but we were hopeful it would clear up. As we ate our lunch, we were visited by a very social, Social Flycatcher.


Social Flycatcher at our table

After our late lunch, it was time to head to our room and unpack. I needed to get my camera gear organized as we would have a tour early next morning. After we got organized and rested a bit, it was time for happy hour and then dinner. Happy hour is held at the bar next to Mis Amores, where we had lunch.

We would also be eating dinner at Mis Amores as they have one of my wife's favorite meals, Pasta Carbonara. It used to be made table side, but now they do it at the kitchen area.


Pasta Carbona preparation

I had the Rib Eye Tagliata, which I did not enjoy. The meat was very fatty and tough to chew. Also, the flavor profile was not something I liked.

After dinner was finished, we headed back to the room to get some rest. We would be taking a tour of the Arenal Peninsula and Arenal Volcano in the morning.