Ponderosa Park & Playa Hermosa {Costa Rica}

With our time in Monteverde at an end, we got up early so that we could see the day begin one last time from the deck. The sun was beginning to touch the surrounding area and welcome a new day of whatever the rainforest had in store.

While we were in Monteverde, we stayed at the beautiful Camino Verde Bed & Breakfast. We loved it here. The beautiful building that was just a few minute walk to the center of town and the spacious common area where they would serve breakfast every day. We loved the big deck with chairs and couches-the perfect place to watch the clouds come in. And our rooms were lovely, clean, and comfortable. But most of all, we loved the people who worked here and the other travelers we met in our stay.

We ate breakfast and then gave a hug to the wonderful women who had made the breakfast for us. We said goodbye to the people at the front desk who had welcomed us and guided us throughout our stay. We promised that we would be back one day, hoping that day would be sooner than later.

With that, we packed up the car and began the descent back down the mountains. With every turn, we tried to memorize the view of the beautiful mountains and the layer of clouds that always seemed close by. We would miss this mountain air filling up our souls.

We would be spending our last two days down by the beach. But before going to our hotel, we made a stop at a park that was said to have an assortment of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Ponderosa Adventure Park

We pulled off the highway and turned towards Ponderosa Adventure Park for a day of whatever the park had in store. We realized just how big this park must be as we drove through the green trees to reach the entrance.

We walked in and saw all around the park animal statues and character statues for photo opportunities. There was a swimming pool with slides, although it was closed for the rainy season, and signs pointing off towards ziplining, tubing, horseback riding, a waterfall, and the animal safari. Visitors can build their ticket with whatever activities they would like.

Our first stop (and really the activity that had brought us here) was the animal safari where not only could we get up close to the animals but that we could feed them as well. We decided to pay the extra cost to have a photographer there taking our pictures with the animals and we paid for bundles of carrots to feed them. The carrot bundles were $3, if we went again I think we would have bought two bundles for each person. Then we boarded the open train ready to meet the animals.

We drove into the first enclosure where we could see the tight spiral horns of the Ethiopian cattle. The horns are identical and if seen from the side it looks like you are seeing a unicorn. They didn’t pay us any mind, clearly uninterested in the carrots we had to offer as the grass was more appealing.

Then we entered the zebra enclosure and as soon as the gates opened we were surrounded by zebras ready to partake. They knew the drill of these tours and were more than happy to come up to the train mouths ready to grab the offered carrots.

There were a few baby zebras in the mix, not tall enough to reach up to get a carrot. So we would happily throw some down to them while distracting a bigger zebra with another carrot. It was really amazing to be so surrounded by the zebras and watch the anxious mouths reach towards us.

Our meetings with the zebra just made us all the more excited for the next enclosure where the giraffes were. Like the zebras they were well accustomed to the routine and so ambled up to the train looking for carrots. The giraffes were at the advantage though because they could dip their head into the train and snag any unattended carrots off the seat. They would let us pet their soft faces as they happily munched on the carrots.

We next came face to face with bulls with massive horns. While these were probably just as good natured as the zebras and giraffes, we were less likely to get up too close to them as we wanted to keep a good distance between the horns. The bulls kept hitting their horns on the side of the train, trying to find a good spot where maybe we could share a carrot with them.

There were other animals there as well including a camel with a limp that had been rescued, insistent goats looking for food, some baby sheep following each other around, a pond full of hiding alligators, and a cheeky ostrich who would peck your hand wanting his share of the carrots.

After the animal safari, we were ready for lunch so we went over the cafe. Our ticket included lunch and we were amazed to see long tables laden with food that we could choose from. We sat in the lovely eating area and started digging in when we noticed the monkeys up in the trees. They watched us, waiting to see what food would be left behind, while they chattered away at each other.

After lunch we decided to walk down to see the waterfall. The path was lined with more of the random, colorful statues of animals and characters that we had seen all over the park. It almost seemed like the park was between ideas of what it was and what it wanted to be as they were working to make it more like a resort.

The waterfall was small but beautiful. We could see the final part of the zipline above us. The pond at the bottom led off down a river where visitors could kayak or tube through the greenery of the park. Tubing was included on our ticket, but after spotting a small alligator in the water we decided to pass on that part of the park.

The park also offered horseback riding. While we had not signed up for that activity, the man was still gracious enough to lead Tessa around on one of the horses for a few minutes. They walked to the pond and back a couple times and she was thrilled at the experience.

We could see the rainclouds coming in and so we decided it was time to leave the park and make our way to the hotel. This park had given us some incredible moments and we were glad that we had decided to stop here for the day.

Playa Hermosa

We drove down to the coast on Playa Hermosa and found our hotel. As we walked up, we knew immediately that we had made a good choice in staying at the Playa Hermosa Bosque Del Mar as we were greeted with tall glasses of passionfruit smoothies. It felt like we were staying in a treehouse as all the rooms were tucked up into the greens.

But the best part of the hotel was that it was right on the beach. We walked down to the beach and walked all the way down the coast as the waves hit our feet. We loved the dark colored sand and the water almost reaching the low trees along the beach. After a walk down the beach we splashed around in the pool with the eerie sound of the howler monkeys above us.

It was the perfect end to a wonderful trip to Costa Rica. What a fantastic week of adventuring and resting it was. There is so much to love about this country and so much more we want to explore.

Want to catch up on our other Costa Rica adventures? Then check out these:

Hanging Bridges, sloths, and butterflies

Sugar, Cocoa, Coffee, and Oxcarts

Thanks for coming along on this visit to Ponderosa Park and Playa Hermosa. May good things come to you like herds of hungry zebras.

19 responses to “Ponderosa Park & Playa Hermosa {Costa Rica}”

  1. Everything looks so amazing; from feeding zebras and giraffes (just wow!) to the beautiful scenery. The photos of the beach with the low hanging tree branches is stunning. I love your closing line too; very creative. What a wonderful opportunity for you all!

    • The Camino Verde was really lovely- so close to town and we loved watching the clouds roll in on their deck. Oh she was thrilled at feeding the zebras and giraffes. Her little animal loving heart could have burst with joy. Have a great weekend Marion 🙂

  2. Aw what a lovely end to your trip. The adventure park looks like fun, and I love your zebra photos – and that beach is gorgeous. I’ve really enjoyed your trip to Costa Rica 🙂

    • Thank you Hannah 🙂 I understand why so many people love visiting Costa Rica- what an incredible country and beautiful country. It was a real thrill to fee the zebras. I hope you have a great weekend!

  3. It all looks amazing, Meg. Fabulous scenery. That hotel – wow! I have to say that ‘Ponderosa’ immediately made me think of an old US TV series, ‘Bonanza’ – which I’m sure that you and your other readers are far too young to remember. I only know about it because someone told me…

    • The animal safari was really fun-amazing to feed zebras and giraffes! And to end with such a beautiful beach was just the icing on the cake of a great trip 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  4. Fun feeding animals followed by a gorgeous hotel (yes, I followed the link and went down that rabbit hole). So you rented a car in Costa Rica it sounds like? How was that experience? Maybe you elucidated about how you got around on one of your previous posts and I just can’t remember…

    • Thats a pretty good rabbit hole to go down. I would highly recommend the hotel-really lovely and all the better that it was right on the beach. We did rent a car to get around and found it a much better easier experience than we thought it would be. Going up and down the mountains was a little wild because the roads were narrow and not well maintained but overall we were really glad we had rented a car. If you go, we used Adobe car rental and really liked them.

  5. Saying goodbye to that incredible accommodation, surrounding scenery and lovely people must have been a bittersweet moment. I have always loved the name ‘Ponderosa’. Way back when, during my year living in Qatar, I used to regularly eat at a restaurant of the same name. The park looks like a lot of fun and I am encouraged by all the space for these majestic beasts to roam in. Zebras are so lovely, I have never seen as many as this close up in person. Giraffes though are really the dream and something that is firmly still on our bucket list. I was thinking “those are the horniest bulls I have ever seen” and then realised it was a poor choice of word, ha ha. As for Playa Hermosa and its location, it looks like you picked another winner. Looking forward to following along on this journey, Meg.

    • We really our stay at Camino Verde, everything about it was so welcoming and lovely, especially the people. Ha-I said the same thing about the bulls (at least before slapping my hand across my mouth while hubby was trying not to laugh). Getting to feed the zebras and giraffes was amazing- especially for the animal loving Tessa. We thought it would be a little campy but we all loved it as much as she did. 🙂

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