Shannon here! I had the great opportunity to travel to Costa Rica in February to capture an adventure/running retreat with Becoming Ultra + Pacuare Outdoor Center. It was about 9 days (7 days of the retreat) full of fun and at the perfect time of year. We got to see a lot of different terrain, have some pretty amazing experiences, learned about the culture in Costa Rica (Pura Vida!), had beautiful accommodations, had great food/drinks were amazing (lots of rice and beans, fresh veggies, fresh fruits and juices) and I met some pretty wonderful people (the guides, the attendees, everyone was amazing)!

*All photos shared were taken with Sony a7iii or iphone

images of hotel in San Jose Costa Rica

After everyone landed in San Jose, we headed towards the mountains, where it was a lot colder than we all thought it would be. I only brought a sweatshirt and thankfully, that was enough. The wind was crazy though! We stopped at an amazing restaurant to just grab some coffee on the go. The inside was beautiful and full of ferns. The coffee was amazing! After we checked in to our first place, we headed back there for dinner and introductions.

The next morning, we had breakfast and then set out to the Irázu Volcano. If you don’t see it, neither did we. lol It was so foggy and misting, we couldn’t see a thing. But that’s ok. Google the volcano, it’s pretty. The crew ended up running about 13 miles (with a dog they named Rosco – which I wish they could have kept) and we headed to the next spot in Turrialba.

The new hotel was beautiful! You could hear all the birds non-stop, especially the parrots. They also had some of the tallest bamboo trees I have ever seen!

We went paddle boarding in the morning (after their workout) and then were headed to the mountains at another beautiful spot!

Along the way, we headed to an amazing lunch on the side of the mountain and then took a tour at a coffee farm and learned about sustainable farming in Costa Rica (and had some coffee…coffee is a theme guys).

In the photo below, there are 2 king vultures, which is pretty rare to see, from what we were told. The cool thing about them is that they are known to be monogamous and mate for life. Love that!

The next day and after this run, we headed out to whitewater rafting to our next location at the Pacuare Outdoor Center. The rafting was super fun (I didn’t take photos, so bummed, but I wanted to be present more during this especially since I had to paddle a lot).

We stopped for lunch and swam at some waterfalls. It was heavenly. The rooms at POC were open to the views and I woke up seeing toucans for the first time ever. They have the best setup. It’s nice and relaxed. They also make the food for you and it’s always fresh.

We had a day of ziplining, tarzan swinging and waterfall swimming. It’s all on the property too, so it’s super convenient. You can check out some of that below.

In the morning, we rafted out to our next spot (which took about 5 hours I think, with a stop for lunch again). We had a couple hour drive to get to the beach and our new spot to sleep, which was AMAZING. A thing to know about Costa Rica: there are lots of dogs that are strays and need homes and many of the locals (including hotel workers) tend to help out with taking care of them when they can. We met a few more at this hotel (Simba was the head honcho of the place). We checked out the downtown area, which is full of touristy shops, but still fun to see.

Some of the coolest things I got to see was a few sloths (2 kinds), some howler monkeys (they are so loud, especially in the mornings), a capybara, toucans, parrots, king vultures, blue morpho butterflies, parakeets and more. We saw so many birds along the river too.

The tree below is a ceiba tree and they get really tall (they can grow up to 70 meters)! It kind of reminded us of Avatar and reminded me of the redwood trees, but tropical.

We headed out to Punta Uva, which is another beautiful place. There is a trail that goes to the edge and it has crabs walking all over the rocks. There were lots of surfers and people enjoying the beach. We saw another sloth on the beach and some howler monkeys on the way back to our hotel.

The last day, we all headed out to the beach for a little and I was able to grab some images. The sunrise was amazing!

We stopped at this amazing spot to try out some more local fruits and snacks. So good!

And here’s a couple images that I am actually in to show ya I was there! The left one was after the rafting on the first day and the right one was on our last night before we all disbanded.

It was an amazing trip and I am so happy I got to capture it and experience a lot of the adventures! We had so many laughs along the way and it was amazing to be in such a beautiful place with so much to see and experience.

Many thanks to Becoming Ultra (Scott – my brother) for having me there. It was an amazing experience and I hope to bring my family there one day for sure! Be sure to follow them, since they will be sharing more retreats soon!