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I'm Mandy - A San Diego wedding photographer specializing in fine-art wedding photography. When I'm not photographing my amazing clients, I'm busy as an overly obsessive dog mom, capturing life’s beautiful moments with my husband, Chris, and reveling in Teddy antics. 

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lake Tahoe

Last year Chris and I decided to go on our first real vacation that wasn’t Lake Tahoe. 😉 Chris planned the whole thing behind my back and did such an amazing job.

He chose an Airbnb on the west coast of Costa Rica in between Uvita and Quepos. We knew going into our vacation that we really wanted to do a ton of exploring. The views were unbelievable and I highly recommend the place we chose. There are two things you need to know if you choose a home in the jungle: 1) There will be bugs – it’s unavoidable. The homes aren’t sealed very well, so bugs are inevitable. 2) This particular home requires an off-road SUV with 4-wheel drive. The 2-mile road getting up to the home was wild, but it was nothing compared to the driveway. When we pulled in, the gatekeeper warned us to turn off our air conditioner to get up the steep grade or the car might not make it! Once we did it a few times, we had a lot less fear. I’ve traveled plenty of Tahoe back roads and this is by far the steepest grade I’ve ever driven!

Here’s a photo of the views from the drive. We really were in full seclusion – Chris even politely waited to let me know *after* we left that the house reminded him of the movie Touristas!

We chose to fly into San Jose and road trip 3 hours to the West Coast. With the timing of our flights being a little off, we chose to stay in a nice Holiday Inn near the airport on the first and last night’s of our trip. This really helped so we didn’t have to worry driving and getting to the airport late. The road does take tolls, so make sure you have money exchanged at the airport.

Crocodile Bridge Costa Rica

If you choose to drive to Quepos from San Jose, definitely make time to check out Crocodile Bridge! It’s about halfway and the perfect time to get out and stretch your legs. It’s not an official tourist attraction, so you’ll have to look for a bunch of vendor stands set up together right before a large bridge. Parking isn’t officially paid, but you have to park in another vendor’s lot. We paid a man $3 to watch our vehicle, which we weren’t too worried about. Then we had some amazing iced coffee from a little family owned cafe.

When we got to our Airbnb in Savegre, a little town just south of Quepos, we were in disbelief. Our adrenaline was pumping after our first drive up the mountain, but once we saw our place we were floored. Below are some photos taken from the Airbnb. The pool was unreal, the house was beautiful and open, and our host left us a bottle of wine and a bag of coffee chocolates.

Quepos Costa Rica DIY Vacation

Quepos was about a 20 minute drive North, and Dominical is a sleepy little beach town about 15 minutes South. In Quepos, we spent a few days at Manuel Antonio National Park. We chose to do a jet ski and snorkel tour that left from Marina Pez Vela. This was fantastic because we were able to park free in a gated lot and had access to nice facilities. The marina has a little shopping center with American-style restaurants where we had lunch after. Another great place to check out is El Avion – a restaurant built around an old aircraft. There’s a bar now on the inside of the aircraft filled with local stickers from visitors.

It was easy to sneak down to the beach just about anywhere along the trek between our Airbnb and the towns to the North and South. Almost every beach we visited had little wooden signs and a mile long dirt road would open up to secluded paradise. Each beach we would stumble across had better beaches than the one before. We couldn’t put the drone down.

To the South of our Airbnb was Dominical. This sleepy little town was my favorite place to eat and had a much more chill vibe than Quepos. We loved Cafe Mono Congo on the river for breakfast, Fuego Brew Co. for an amazing treehouse-styled restaurant-brewery for dinner.

My favorite part of our trip was seeing Uvita – Whale’s Tail Beach. This lovely spot was so secluded and dreamy. I wish we’d spent more time soaking up this beach. The views were stunning on the ground, but by drone, the sand bar in the shape of a whale’s tail appears at low tide.

I highly suggest visiting this part of Costa Rica if you’re looking for an adventurous vacation!

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Costa Rica Travel Guide | Quepos and Uvita

San diego wedding photographer

I'm Mandy - A San Diego wedding photographer specializing in fine-art wedding photography. When I'm not photographing my amazing clients, I'm busy as an overly obsessive dog mom, capturing life’s beautiful moments with my husband, Chris, and reveling in Teddy antics. 

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