For his annual Christmas trip with friends, Cesar Cramton had planned a South African safari in 2020. When COVID-19 hit, they moved to Plan B. “Costa Rica was a country that we could go to,” says Cramton, operations manager for restaurant group Genuine Concepts (The Vig, Ladera Taverna y Cocina, et al.). “Their precautions for COVID were very in line… We felt safe on that front.” Cramton shares highlights from his trip, planned by travel agency Costa Rica Coral Reef Tours (costaricacoralreef.com).
Manuel Antonio National Park
Cramton and pals Calvin and Brett Bovee got their adrenaline pumping with cliff jumping in the rainforest’s waterfalls. “The tallest one was 60 feet,” he says. The all-day adventure ended with a meal at a nearby tilapia farm. “I’ve never had fresh tilapia like that. I actually usually turn my nose [up] to tilapia… but it was so delicious.” manuelantoniopark.com
Arenal Volcano National Park
Cramton was wowed by Costa Rica’s diverse ecosystems, from beaches to rainforest to cloud forest. At Arenal, his crew did a nature walk across hanging bridges to the top of a volcano and then ziplined down. “It was so much fun ziplining on top of the canopy of the rainforest,” he says. “You’re even above the trees, and the views were amazing.” arenal.net
“The cuisine was pretty standard” throughout the Central American country, Cramton says – lots of rice, beans, plantains and fish. Their one “fancy dinner” was at this contemporary restaurant in La Fortuna. Cramton especially loved the bread and butter with toasted cilantro seeds and the hummus, which was citrusy and cheesy and topped with fried basil and crispy chickpeas. “It had more of a Latin flair.” donrufino.com