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Leider ist es auf Reisen nicht immer möglich, alles, was eigentlich sehenswert wäre, wirklich zu besuchen. Die Urlaubstage sind gezählt, ...

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  • My husband and I just returned from our first Costa Rica trip. We decided on the Pacific Coast and based ourselves in Manuel Antonio for a few days and Uvita/Ballena for a week. Renting a car was key. The Pacific Coast highway was a breeze and we could stop to eat or take pics along the way. Just don't try going west on Hwy 27 on Sundays because they shut down the road from San Jose to Jaco from noon until 5pm!The highlights of our time in Uvita/Ballena were learning to surf with Bodhi Surf School (www.bodhisurfschool.com) and touring Corcovado National Park with Bahia Aventuras (www.bahiaaventuras.com). With the Bodhi Surf instructors, you learn to surf on the ‘whale's tail’ beach inside the local marine national park. They can also take you on a community tour so that you learn all about the Bahia Ballena community and culture. You can also contact them if you want to do some volunteering or community service while in town – we had a great time planting trees near the soccer field and helping with Bodhi’s youth surf group, Grupo Surf!While staying in Ballena, we also did an amazing full-day tour of Corcovado with the tour company Bahia Aventuras! Corcovado tour is a MUST for nature lovers - you feel like you're in the Amazon, but are a stone’s throw the Pacific Ocean! Plus, with the full-day tour and boat trip from Bahia Aventuras, you don't need to drive all the way down there and hike your way into the park to experience the best of the Osa. You take a 1.5 hour boat trip from Ballena to Corcovado, so you don't have to drive/hike into the park. We saw whales and dolphins from the boat and our guide (Ramer) was great at spotting animals and giving us info about all the flora and fauna inside the park. A great lunch and a hike to a waterfall was also included. We like off-the-beaten-path adventures, and Corcovado was definitely more secluded than Manuel Antonio National Park to the north.As for restaurants in Ballena/Uvita... La Fogata has delicious food and great ambiance (fresh pizza, big salads, roasted chicken) and the Dome is a yummy burrito joint (big portions, good prices, great coffee). We also had awesome seafood soup at Hotel Bahia Azul (which is also where we stayed in Bahia Ballena) and fantastic huevos rancheros at Marino Ballena (on the highway, in front of the supermarket).If you're looking for handmade, local crafts and souvenirs (that don't look like they came from an Oriental Trading catalog), check out Artifice. Its a small shop near a coffee house, just off the highway, north of the Marino Ballena restaurant. They have great earrings, bracelets, hand-printed t-shirts and postcards made by local Costa Rican artists!
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