Glamping, short for glamorous camping, has always been something on my bucket list. I’ve always loved nature, so glamping would be the ultimate getaway experience of being completely surrounded it.
Actually, while I travelled around Costa Rica with our G Adventures group, glamping wasn’t actually part of the itinerary. We had left La Fortuna after three days of non-stop rain, and were on our way to a jungle lodge in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui. I was probably the only person in the group who was excited for this. Two days of no wifi, no phone reception, no hot water, no electricity. I was looking forward to unplugging, spending playing cards and taking solitary walks right outside our doors. Pura Vida!
Despite the rain, we happily hopped onto our tractors, ready for the bumpiest ride of our lives. We had crossed the first river crossing- the water level was just at our feet, but that didn’t worry us, not if there was so much food to be shared around the 15 of us. Not if there was so much wildlife surrounding us. Not if we were on a tractor in the middle of a rainforest.
Suddenly, we stopped when we got to the second river crossing. After a couple of minutes, we were all told that we had to make a decision- to either cross the deep river and hope that we won’t get stuck, or to turn back and go with Plan B. The consensus was Plan B- glamping at another place nearby.
It was almost dark when we arrived at Hacienda Pozo Azul, as we had to turn back via the same road in order to drive off in another direction, which was near La Virgen.
At first, I noticed how much space there was in the open-air common room. There was the dining area, a reading room with rocking chairs and even a TV room with comfortable couches! Everyone cheered when as soon as we stepped into the dining hall, as there was wifi. I wasn’t sure whether to be glad that there was wifi in the middle of nowhere, or disappointed that my chance to finally unplug was gone. Still, I was excited to get my key and look at our tent.
My first impression? Glamorous indeed! Between my roommate and I, we had a double bed each, a spacious bathroom, lots of storage space, a private balcony and power points everywhere.
The curtains could be easily drawn for privacy. However, in our tent there was an unsealable gap between the curtains and the ceiling. I think this was for ventilation purposes, but if you’re someone who’s big on privacy, this might be a problem…
Confession: we used the fan to dry out our wet clothes overnight, as nothing in this country gets dried due to the humidity and the constant rain… There was also a fan on the balcony.
The bathroom was one of the things that surprised me most! I don’t know about you, but I normally wouldn’t associate showering and clean bathrooms with camping. When I go camping, you usually have to share dirty bathrooms, and risk getting bitten by thousands of foreign bugs on your walk back to your tent. You’d end up feeling clean for a whole minute if you’re lucky. This one however, was an extension from our tent. You could have two people lie down on the bathroom floor and still had space to move around. Not to mention the proper toilets and showers. There was even hot water! Although, what I found was the most bizarre was the fact that there was a huge storage space in the bathroom. Was that necessary? I guess for those people who are used to hotel rooms with space for unpacking their bags, having safety boxes, and fresh toiletries, it would be.
Aside from the amazing room, I also spent a lot of time sitting on the balcony. Whether it was to just listen to the sound of the harsh rain falling onto the trees, or relaxing to the sound of crickets coming out at night, I just felt so zen to simply sit there. I even managed to get some journal writing done.
Part of staying at Hacienda Pozo Azul included going on a night walk. While half the people in my G Adventures group didn’t want to go because of the heavy rain, I immediately said yes as I felt like I had not done any exercise for the day. Hmm…. as soon as I got back I was cursing that part of me that’s obsessed with exercise and outdoor activities. While everyone else who went on the walk thought it was totally worth getting drenched to spot a lot of frogs and toads, I absolutely hate frogs. Don’t even get my started on toads! I think they’re the most disgusting creatures alive. Yes, I should have expected that on a night walk, and in the rain, those would be the only things that we could easily spot. We must have seen at least 20 of them in an hour! I have to admit, I even flinched when I saw one of them move.
The result from the night walk? A very drenched, muddy and regretful Jessie….
Still, I had an amazing sleep. Maybe the night walk made it easy for me to fall asleep. Maybe it was the comfort of falling asleep to the sound of crickets chirping. Maybe it was the feeling of being snug on my very comfortable and warm bed while the rain bucketed on the roof. All I know was that I slept really well.
Those few moments of waking would be something that I’d remember for a long time. I woke up bright and early to the sound of howler monkeys. The rain had stopped. The tent, and I as well, were completely dry- much to my surprise. I saw some birds in the distance as I opened the curtains. I was surrounded by nature- my favourite thing in the world. Pura Vida!
We also went on a morning walk, which was much more pleasant than the night walk (Partly because I’m a morning person?). We walked across many suspended bridges. We admired the rapid rivers as a result of last night’s rain. We even came across a herd of mother cows looking like they were about to charge at us. Pura Vida!
After breakfast, we embarked on another walk. We traversed through the forests and saw all kinds of wildlife, such as keel-billed toucans and macaws. There was just so much to see, but so little time. Oh well, this just gave me an excuse to come back here.
We crossed a lot of bridges, some of them being extremely shaky. The rivers that we saw were even more rapid than the ones that we had seen this morning, which meant that we also saw many adventure groups coming here for whitewater rafting. Oh, if only I had time to do that too!
We also found some fresh produce, which we happily cut up and indulged in. My favourite was the pineapple, as I knew that at home I could never get pineapples as fresh as the ones here in Costa Rica. People even knew me as ‘the pineapple girl’ by the end of our stay.
The rest of the day was basically spent eating. As someone who’s never claimed to be a foodie before and has very slow metabolism, I found this part quite challenging. While the food was of exceptional standards, with two chefs who were always in the open kitchen offering a huge variety of food, I couldn’t help but wanted to explore the place a little more. It’s a shame that it started raining really hard again. Oh well, the buffet-style food was always so delicious, with a range of both western and Costa Rican foods. By this point (over a month into my stay in Costa Rica), I couldn’t go a day without eating beans.
What made the stay so memorable was that the chefs give us a cooking lesson, where we made some savoury empanadas. Although all the ingredients were prepared for us already, we all found it fun to roll out the dough and artistically put the fillings inside. Costa Ricans eat empanadas all the time, whether it’s sweet or savoury, so if you’re a foodie you definitely need to take a cooking class like this while you’re here.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with my glamping experience here at Hacienda Pozo Azul. Glamping is an activity that just ‘makes sense’ in Costa Rica, as it’s a country that is so abundant in wildlife and natural beauties. To be honest, I can’t think of a more Pura Vida experience than this one!
Where else do I need to add on my glamping bucket list? Comment below.