Adventures by Disney

Costa Rica: Guanacaste

This is part three of a trip report continued from here.

Day 5

We started this morning, like all of the other transfer days, by putting our luggage outside of the room for the luggage pull.  Adventures by Disney makes transferring from hotel to hotel a painless process by ensuring that the luggage magically gets from your last hotel room into the next hotel room.  It was an overcast morning, and looking out our volcano-view window the volcano had disappeared from sight, so it was good timing for us to move on to our next destination: Guanacaste.

day 5-1

We made a stop at Pizzeria el Barrigon in Bijagua for a bathroom break and had some sodas and prestiños.  This was our last stop on the rainforest side of the country.  Our guide explained that we would soon be crossing over the continental divide and see a big change in the landscape and the weather.

day 5-6

Indeed as soon as we crossed between the Miravalles and Tenorio volcanoes the skies cleared up and the landscape in Guanacaste was much different.  Our destination was the Tenorio River where we were going rafting.  Apparently the section of river that ABD usually uses wasn’t going to work because of water levels, so they redirected us to another section.  We ended up on a slow portion of the river with more of a float trip than rapids, and we were on the river for about 2 hours.  With the help of our rafting guide we spotted some wildlife along the way, including a group of monkeys.  The sun was very hot, and despite the mid-trip stop for water and fruit, we were all very hot by the end of the ride and swimming off the raft wasn’t an option.  Although they assured us that the baby crocodiles in the water wouldn’t hurt us, we did feel like “rafting through crocodile-infested waters” had an adventurous ring to it.

day 5-5day 5-4

The upside to the change in the rafting location was that the guides were able to add a bonus stop to our itinerary: Las Pumas animal sanctuary.   This is a privately-run organization that takes in animals needing rehabilitation with hopes to re-introduce into the wild whenever possible.  We got to see jaguars, pumas, monkeys, dozens of conures, toucans, deer and bunnies.

day 5-2

After the visit to the animal sanctuary we made our last short bus trip to the hotel, El Mangroove.  This boutique ocean-front hotel is nicely compact, so we didn’t have to go far to get to our rooms.  The rooms had two parts: a screened porch area (which actually was inside the building but instead of windows and air conditioning, it was closed in with a screen, and had a ceiling fan to circulate the air).  Our porch area had a hammock, which was a big hit for relaxing.  The other portion of the room was separated by a sliding glass door, and was a regular air-conditioned bedroom and spacious bathroom.

day 5-3

Dinner this evening was adult-only, as the kids went off with the guides for Jr. Adventurer Night and watched a movie.  The adults dined with an outdoor buffet at the hotel, and although the kids had pretty much separated themselves to different tables the whole trip, not having the kids with us added a somewhat more mature vibe to the meal and everyone dressed up a little for the occasion.

Day 6

Just when we thought the trip was winding down, our itinerary continued with a catamaran ride.  Having been on similar “booze cruises” in the past, I was feeling lukewarm about the boat, especially early in the morning, but it turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the trip.

day 6-7

The catamaran was huge, and our group were the only people, other than the wonderful crew, on the ride.  This was especially nice when traveling with children because you know that despite the open bar the behavior will be appropriate.  We had about an hour ride out to our private beach and snorkeling area, and we enjoyed sitting in the netted area at the front of the boat while soaking in the views.

day 6-5

When we anchored, folks were able to jump off the side of the boat or take the slide down into the water to snorkel.  I believe others paddle-boarded or rode the dinghy to beach, but I used the entire time to explore snorkeling.  The water was refreshing but not too cold.  My daughters wore their shorty wetsuits, mainly to protect them from sun, but they helped a little with the initial chill when jumping in the water.  I went in just a swimsuit and it wasn’t bad either.  In terms of sealife, we saw dozens of pufferfish, urchins, starfish, and various other tropical fish.  It definitely wasn’t the best snorkeling we’ve done, but I’m a big fan of pufferfish, and it was interesting to see an entire school of them.

On the ride home we encountered a pod of dolphins, and I was lucky enough to catch a photo of one putting on a little show for us.

day 6-4

After we got back from the catamaran we spent the rest of the day on our own at the hotel.  The kids were excited to check out the pool.  The hotel has swank cabanas, and two of the families from our group had reserved one to use for the day, at the advice of our guides.  This was nice for being able to hang out close to the pool and stay out of the sun.

day 6-3

In the late afternoon we rented a couple of jet skis from some men at the beach for $100/hour.  We rode around the bay area and split the time with a few other folks from our group.  As the evening approached we got changed for our farewell dinner.  This was the first ABD trip that I took where I had under-packed dresses.  By this last night I ended up just wearing capris and a nicer shirt since I have already worn both of the dresses I had packed for earlier dinners.

We started with mojito-making for the adults and alternate drink-making for the kids, followed by a performance by local dancers.

day 6-1

Dinner was served in batches (all of each type of entree seemed to come out together), and some folks were done eating before others got their meals.  It didn’t really bother me, as I was on vacation and not going to stress about restaurant service, but I mention it to help set expectations for future guests.  It didn’t seem like the kitchen was well-equipped to handle our group.

After dinner the guides showed a slideshow of photos from the week, and everyone sharing contact information so that we can share photos and stay in touch after the trip.

Day 7

After breakfast at the hotel, we packed up our bags and took our shuttle to the airport and headed home.  Our family agreed that it was another great trip with Adventures by Disney.  We can’t wait until our next one: Wyoming in August.


This trip review is from our Adventures by Disney Costa Rica trip.  I book my ABD trips through Archer Luxury Travel.  My camera for this trip was the Fuji X-T20 with with the 100-400mm lens for wildlife and the 18-55mm kit lens for around town.

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