Latin America wins the Most Creative Hotels Award, and it’s possible that Hotel Costa Verda is the clincher. Suspended above a private rainforest, adjacent to protected Manuel Antonio National Park, is a refurbished 1965 Boeing 727 airplane.
The vessel has been refurbished with hardwood floors, walls, and ceiling. It is a coveted private suite among a rainforest resort. They’re calling it an “Avion Hotel,” but we’re calling it Latin magic.
This spot beats any Bali treehouse hotel.
The plane itself is suspended by a 50-foot pedestal. It might seem counterintuitive to relax on an airplane, but wait till you see inside it.
The furniture is hand-carved Indonesian teak wood is as beautiful as it sounds.
The main suite is two bedrooms, each with a private bathroom. It also includes a kitchenette and dining area. Talk about a sweet suite.
Plus, you get jungle-side ocean views all in one frame.
Every glimpse outside one of your dozen little airplane windows is breathtaking. Plus, you might even get up close and personal with the wildlife.
The hotel boasts “Still More Monkeys Than People🐒” as its Instagram description.
So you’re going to see monkeys galore. A recent traveler shared a tip on TripAdvisor, “If you love wildlife, this is the place to stay. Monkeys every day would visit us, as well as beautiful Toucans, and other birds and animals. We did hear the Howler Monkeys every morning and they became our alarm clock.”
The Avion Hotel has become a wedding destination for obvious reasons.
This is what the plane looked like before it was renovated. If you follow @hotelcostaverde, you’ll see the amount of machinery it took to properly place the plane.
You don’t have to get married to stay here.
The hotel offers dozens of rooms that all include access to several pools, sunning decks and all the same wildlife. In fact, for some guests, it was too much wildlife.
Some suites include private outdoor bathtubs surrounded by jungle sounds.
Although, one TripAdvisor reviewer from Massachusetts noted that it can come with a catch. “‘Creatures’ can get in, a salamander greeted us in the bathtub,” TyBL15 wrote.
You can walk through the jungle to the beach or take a bus.
With warm ocean waters nearly year round, it’s both beautiful to look at, and access. If you’re not feeling it, you can just stay in the pool and look out at the ocean.
There is an adults only section.
Which includes its own pool and patio, free from children. Whether you’re looking for a family vacation with a plane out of a museum for your kids to enjoy, or a relaxing stay, Hotel Costa Verde seems to have it all.
Plus, apparently “Willie the bartender makes the best frozen drinks.”
At least according to one reviewer. Plus, Costa Rican fruit drinks are fresher than anything you’ll find stateside. Often, you can find some of the fruit growing around the property.
There are four restaurants on the property.
Kristin recently wrote that “the food was amazing and the portions were huge. We learned to start splitting some meals because they provide “Costa Rican portions.”
We don’t know that there’s any other place like it in the world.
One reviewer gave it to us straight: “The images on their site do this place no justice. This place is gorgeous and very cool with the airplane cottages.”
So, it’s the end of summer break, and it’s back to the daily grind. Or is it? After all, spring break will be on its way in no time! And you know what that means? You’ve got time to travel, babes. We know you want to go to Mexico, so we’ve saved you the hard work of researching where the best places are to go in Mexico to see it in its natural glory.
Find out where you should go next with our list of natural wonders in Mexico!
Being the largest freshwater lake Mexico has to offer, Lago de Chapala is one hella gorgeous body of water to spend your time around. It’s home to thousands of indigenous plants and animals, which means that it’s just teeming with unique wildlife that’ll liven up your ‘gram. That being said, you should be aware that the lake is also a sacred location for the Huichol Indians of Mexico’s southwest – so make sure you’re respectful!
We’ve written about the wonders of Nanacamilpa before, so of course, we have to mention it here, too. It’s home to a forest just filled with fireflies when it’s warmer, setting the place aglow with their tiny butts. The locals are working on preserving the firefly population, so it’s best to follow the rules when you’re on tour for the fireflies: no using your phone, and no talking.
Hierve el Agua has one of the strangest optical illusions that will have you questioning your existence. Is it a waterfall, or a rock formation? If you chose rock formation, you’d be right! The mineral pools in the area are absolutely gorgeous, and not too far from ancient canals that are thought to have been built by the Zapotecs around 2,500 years ago.
The name “Copper Canyon” is a little misleading – it’s not one, but a group of six, canyons. The copper part, though? No, actually, that’s also misleading. The area’s known more for its gold and silver deposits. It’s the copper-green of the canyon walls that give Copper Canyon its name. One of the best times of year to visit is usually just after the summer’s rainy season since that’s when the upper region of the canyon blooms with wildflowers – so it’s time to get the ball rolling and make your way there!
Formed thousands of years ago by volcanic activity, the Isalas Marietas are a group of small, uninhabited islands just off the coast Mexico. It’s popularity as a tourist destination springs largely from two things: the famous “love beach”, or Playa del Amor, and the fact that the islands have an abundance of marine life just chilling around its waters. Fishing and hunting are prohibited by the Mexican government here, so leave your fishing gear at home.
Cañón del Sumidero is a deep natural canyon which formed around the same time as the Grand Canyon in the US, meaning that if you’re looking for an impressive canyon in Mexico, this is it. Funnily enough, about 80 percent of the visitors to the Sumidero Canyon are Mexicans themselves, who go for the eco tourism and extreme sports. If you’re less keen on hanging around the water, you could try seeing the Ruins of Berlin, which are also located in the Sumidero Canyon.
The last time that there was a proper human presence on Isla Espíritu Santo was estimated to be around 9,000 years ago. Whew. More recently, UNESCO declared the site a Biosphere Reserve in 1995, and for good reason: it’s the only known habitat of the black jackrabbit. Plus, the Ensenada Grande beach on Isla Partida was voted the most beautiful beach in Mexico by The Travel Magazine, making Espíritu Santo Island a must-see.
Otherwise known as El Rosario, the sanctuary is part of a larger world heritage site known for hosting literally millions of butterflies. The reserve is dedicated to preserving its butterfly population, which means that the Rosario Sanctuary is only one of two colonies in Mexico that’s open to the public. Guided tours are on offer, so it means that you can learn more about beautiful butterflies that frequent the area.
Nevado de Toluca is the fourth highest peak in Mexico, after Pico de Orizaba, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. Classed as a stratovolcano, it boasts two crater lakes on the floor of the basin – the Lago del Sol and the Lago de la Luna – which were created by the volcano’s melting snow. While you’re in the area, look up the Nahuatl legends that explain the mythology behind why Nevado de Toluca looks the way it does.
These jaw-dropping, gorgeous sinkholes, created by the collapse of limestone rock, can be found throughout the state of Quintana Roo. That’s not all there is to see in Quintana Roo, considering that it’s got a coastline that serves as one of the best manatee habitats in the world. But, visiting the cenotes is a good start, if you really want to experience the beauty of Quintana Roo.
Rock climbing aficionados, this is the place for you to be! Potrero Chico boasts peaks which stretch to around 2,000 feet, and have some really amazing views at the top. While a lot of the area around Potrero Chico is considered a protected zone, it’s not an actual national park, which means that there’s not as much conservation happening in the area as what there could be.
The Valley of Mexico still has plenty of chinampas, or island farms, that can be seen today. The agricultural practice has been around for almost a thousand years and is unique to the area. These days, produce such as lettuce, cilantro, spinach, cauliflower, celery, mint, chives, rosemary, corn and radish are grown in the chinampas. Whether you can actually try them straight from the chinanmpa is another matter!
You’re probably less interested in the actual fishing village, and more interested in touring the pink – yes, pink – lake and salt flats surrounding Las Colaradas. It’s entirely possible that you’ll see flamingoes while you’re hanging around the lagoon, so keep your bird-watching binoculars on you at all times!
The Basaltic Prisms of Santa María Regla are basically the Mexican version of Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, except that the Basaltic Prisms also have two waterfalls running through it. The natural canyon, which was created by the slow cooling of volcanic lava, has been modified with stars, walkways, and bridges so that tourists can easily access the Basaltic Prisms. It’s basically made for you to come and visit!
The Tamul waterfall is known for its gorgeous, crystal-clear water that’ll make you never want to leave. At 344 feet, the waterfall is one of Mexico’s largest, and is usually accessed by boat. How. Heckin’. Awesome.
So where will you be heading next? Tell us about it on Twitter – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.
Sixty-two-year-old retired accountant, Charles Hughes of Tampa, Florida has been missing since August 3rd. The avid traveler had just visited Costa Rica last month. While he was there, he met a man and the two hit it off. Hughes quickly made plans to return to Costa Rica and meet up with his new companion.
Hughes was staying at Cabinas Jiménez in Puerto Jiménez off Gulfo Dulce and all seemed well until Charlie no longer had steady communication, no more calls or text, no more social media post. Immediately his sister Nancy began to panic. She and their siblings began to reach out to all local law enforcement in the area where her brother was last seen.
It has now been nearly a month and Charlie Hughes never made his return flight home. The family is fighting to get more answers. A week ago, local officials made a discovery, Hughes rental car was found at the bottom of Nuevo Rio River in Puerto Jiménez.
According to Hughes sister, Nancy Steffens, officials have told her that her brother most likely “wandered off” into the river.
Hughes’s family has said that they do not believe the story the authorities are giving them. Not only was their brother an experienced traveler but they are a military family who relocated often, therefore Charlie was able to adapt to new spaces quickly. Plus, this wasn’t his first trip to Costa Rica, he was actually returning to the same area he had previously visited.
The family stated that they are not giving up hope. They are going to fight until they get the truth.
As for the man that was Charlie’s new friend – who is also the last person known to have seen Charlie – Nancy says local authorities told the family they questioned the man and have released him.
Hughes and his companion (who hasn’t been named) hasn’t been seen since.
A family that knows all too well what the Hughes is going through, is Carla Stefaniak’s family. The Venezuelan-American was an Insurance Agent and also an experienced traveler, also from Florida (Miami.) Stefaniak had booked a trip to Costa Rica to celebrate her 36th birthday.
This new mysterious death in Costa Rica is troubling.
Ready to ring in around trip around the Sun, she checked into her Airnbn and enjoyed a few days with her sister-in-law who then returned home on that Tuesday and Stefaniak was supposed to return home the following day on Wednesday, but just like Hughes she never boarded her return flight.
In Carla’s last text to her family, sent November 27, 2018, she told them it was raining pretty hard and the lights kept going in and out at the place she was staying at, her last words read “this place seems pretty sketch.”
By December 3, 2018, the family was working round the clock on a full-scale search, sharing her story with every and any media outlet, in hopes to bring their daughter home safely.
The disappearance of Stefaniak made national headlines in the U.S. as the family searched for their loved one.
Sadly, a couple of days later her body was found, buried in a shallow grave behind the Airbnb she was staying at. Her family confirmed that is was her. The security guard employed at the gated villa is now being tried for her murder.
Airbnb has since removed the property from their listings.
Just months before the Carla Stefaniak case, there were three cases of missing tourist whose bodies were later recovered.
Costa Rica has been known for its beautiful beaches and relatively low crime has always been considered one of the safest tourist destinations. According to the stats at InSight Crime, even though Costa Rica hit a record high in 2017 for homicides, their numbers are still significantly lower than the numbers for the No. 1 Latin American destination place for tourist, Mexico.
InSight Crime lists different reasons for a rise in crime, but there does seem to by a cycle that is followed starting with imperialism that carries over decades that then creates unstable governments and depreciates the value of the currency in a country. When we see the currency drop that creates the perfect storm for criminal organizations to rise-up and recruits.
We have seen this happen in Mexico and we are currently seeing this happen in Central America. Make no mistake, this doesn’t happen out of anywhere, there is decades build-up to how this rise in crime happens.
For many Latinos in the United States, especially those on the border, traveling between two countries is nothing new. We grew up already hearing little life lessons from our parents like “esconde el dinero” “no hables ingles” always be aware of your surroundings and never give too much information.
However, for the millennial Latino generation we are traveling solo more often, we are creating content on social media, and we are living in a time of instant access. We now have AirBNB and Uber, so many other apps that make these common-sense tips sometimes get lost in our day-to-day lives.
As with any trip planning to any country, it is always good to do your research and there are plenty of websites, blogs, etc., that can offer safety trips and travel alerts, to keep yourself informed.
Always check the State Department website for travel advisories when planning international travel.
Don’t cancel your plans to visit Costa Rica, just yet. As of a few days ago, the website World Population Review listed their top safest countries to visit in Latin America, Costa Rica ranks number three.