Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I want to go (back) to there: Tango Mar, Costa Rica

On Costa Rica's Nicoya Gulf coast is Tango Mar spa and golf resort, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I have dreams about this place. I can't wait to go back, but until I can, I have been recommending it to everyone I know.


A few years ago, the hub and I went to Costa Rica for a mid-winter break. We rented a car, found a map, and just started driving around. There was no plan and plenty of time to get lost. Very lost. 90 percent of Costa Rican roads aren't paved unless they lead to the coast. Inland Costa Rica is gorgeous, but not many people see it. There are volcanos, coffee fields, cattle crossing the road, tropical rain forests, and huge valleys. We saw all of that then decided to head to the Nicoya coast--I really wanted to see the sea turtles nesting.

The best way to the coast looked to be taking an hour long ferry then driving north. Night came a lot faster than we had thought and we were driving on a dirt road that ultimately led to a completely washed out road that would be impossible to cross. We were really tired, disappointed and frustrated, so we agreed that we would stay at the next hotel we passed, regardless of how expensive or crappy it may be. We followed several simple arrow signs for Tango Mar. We were driving down a long, windy driveway and almost turned around; it was a long way off the main road. But then we saw the golf course, nicely manicured lawns, thatch-roofed cupolas, and HORSES. We pulled up and saw the beach and the ocean in the middle of the night.

We ended up staying three days. The white sand beach was beautiful and there was no one for miles. We unexpectedly saw several humpback whales just off the shore. We ate daily-ocean-caught seafood every night and macadamia nut pancakes in the morning. Our room had a balcony overlooking the ocean. And Matt's favorite part, free Wi-Fi. My favorite part was the spa and yoga studio.

We talk regularly about going back, but this time with a group of friends (not like the movie Couples Retreat). There are national forests and canopy tours close by along with scuba diving, golf, and horseback riding at the resort. Flights to Costa Rica are around $300/rt and a room at Tango Mar cost about $190/night.

Do you plan group trips with your friends? Where do you guys go?

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