Costa Rica Beach Alternatives

Costa Rica is beautiful! The beaches and vistas are like no place else we've been. Some days it seems like we are driving around looking at pictures you'd see on postcards. But there are two factors that almost always accompany the beauty...heat and humidity. When seeking a reprieve we generally go for a dip in the ocean, a waterfall or nearby swimming hole. A week ago we found a few more options.

In Guatemala, some of the hotels allowed us to use their swimming pools if we ate lunch in their restaurant. Many places in Costa Rica offer day passes or some form of water entertainment with a meal. Recently, we tried out two such places on the same day. 

We like to take day adventures exploring places we discover on TripAdvisor or hear about from the locals. We'd heard great things about a place called the Rafiki Safari Lodge which is close to our current home. After a 5-minute drive off the main highway, we exited onto a dirt road that would take us there. One hour and 1,000 potholes later, we arrived. We were hungry, but unfortunately they had no guests (this is the low season) and had sent the chef home 15 minutes before our arrival. On the flip side, they did make us smoothies and let us use the pool and waterslide for free. 

The waterfall was built where a rockslide once took place. The lodge is eco-friendly, as are most of Costa Rica, and blends in nicely with its rain forest surroundings.

The waterfall was built where a rockslide once took place. The lodge is eco-friendly, as are most of Costa Rica, and blends in nicely with its rain forest surroundings.

The kids loved the small pool. The water runs into a river located behind Ken at the end of the pool. 

The kids loved the small pool. The water runs into a river located behind Ken at the end of the pool. 

Green, green everywhere. Sometimes a barrel of monkeys will swing through the lodge during one of their afternoon food excursions. Apparently, the monkeys are pretty loud when they do this. 

Green, green everywhere. Sometimes a barrel of monkeys will swing through the lodge during one of their afternoon food excursions. Apparently, the monkeys are pretty loud when they do this. 

A crocodile lives in their lake. 

A crocodile lives in their lake. 

Back on the road, we were really hungry. We decided to try one of the many roadside restaurants (locally called Sodas) that we usually pass. It seems as if there's a different roadside eating option every mile. Often there's seating for 30 or so guests, but usually no more than 2 cars in the parking lot. We hadn't heard anything good or bad about these restaurants. 

We chose Leche Agria, which means Sour Milk in Spanish, and were immediately surprised that they had a swimming pool in the rear of the restaurant. For 1,000 Colones (about $2) per person, we could go swimming. We grabbed a table right next to the pool, put our swimsuits back on and swam until lunch arrived. 

The pool is surrounded by palm trees from a palm oil plantantion.  

The pool is surrounded by palm trees from a palm oil plantantion.  

The far, circular end of the pool is only 2 feet deep which is perfect when the kids need a little rest, but don't want to get out of the water. The shower, bathroom and dressing room are in the background. Tag (on the right) likes swimming from stool to stool.  

The far, circular end of the pool is only 2 feet deep which is perfect when the kids need a little rest, but don't want to get out of the water. The shower, bathroom and dressing room are in the background. Tag (on the right) likes swimming from stool to stool.  

The restaurant also has a foosball table and a big open area, possibly for dancing. We've since been back and it's not unusual to have the pool to ourselves. 

The restaurant also has a foosball table and a big open area, possibly for dancing. We've since been back and it's not unusual to have the pool to ourselves. 

The food was decent to terrible. Tag refused to eat more than a couple of bites of his spaghetti, but Ela was happy with the fries. Ken and I enjoyed the nachos, but discovered the smoothies were made with syrup and not fresh fruit. 

Regardless of the quality of the food, we love this place and have now become regulars! It's a perfect alternative to swimming in the ocean during high-tide times. The ocean is much rougher during high-tide than it is during low-tide. We eat before we go, swim for a couple of hours and eat fries and drinks when we get hungry. 

We found Rafiki and Leche Agria to both be good ways to beat the heat and get the kids some good exercise. You never know what you're going to find when you checkout new places.

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