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#1 5-23-2016 8:05 AM

Shifty
Phil
Couch Potato
Posts: 6

First time to Costa Rica

Afternoon all,

I have just joined as I am after tips for Costa Rica, myself and my misses are going to Costa Rica for two weeks at Christmas and I am after suggestions for tour sites and hotels etc...

when we were booking the flights the travel agent showed some of the things that you can do there such as helping with the turtle conservation so this is something we would like to do. Suggestions for companies/sites to use as ones i have found are  mega money.

I am a bit of adrenaline junkie so would love to do an excursion to have a go on the zip wire in the rain forest
we want do see as much as we can but to also soak it all up so maybe doing 2/3 days at each spot?

your help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

We land in San Jose on Christmas Eve so any suggestions for a nice hotel to spend Christmas day at then to go on from there.

Last edited by Shifty (5-23-2016 8:38 AM)

 

#2 5-23-2016 8:41 AM

carryonwandering
Anna
Couch Potato
Posts: 33

Re: First time to Costa Rica

I'm an Australian living in Costa Rica at the moment. If you are coming for 2 weeks at Christmas then concentrate on having fun and relaxing instead of saving the world. Most wildlife refuges or conservation projects want volunteers to stay a minimum of 2 weeks to start with and Christmas is one of the most busy times of the year so they will be distracted with trying to get money off tourists to see their animals rather than training volunteers. I don't mean to sound harsh and it is doable (for a price as you found out) but if you had more than 2 weeks during a different time of year your chances would be better.

As for adrenaline - definitely so zip lining in Arenal (La Fortuna). You will be in the rainforest and there is plenty of other activities based around the Volcano. Then any beach on the Nicoya peninsula would be suitable - some are better than others depending on how active you want to be and what activities you want to do e.g. surfing or diving, fishing, mountain biking etc.

If you don't like the sounds of that then head south to the Osa peninsula - no zip lining in the rain forest but the biodiversity of plants and animals more than makes up for it.

Unless you are flying around the country then account for travel days in your planning - it takes longer than you think to drive/bus it anywhere in this country.

 

#3 5-23-2016 8:43 PM

WestCoastPDX
George
Portland, Oregon
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Tourist
Posts: 134

Re: First time to Costa Rica

I was there last month.  San Jose is pretty lame, 24 hours is plenty for the entire city.

Arenal was cool, but clouded when we were there.
I honestly didn't get the whole 'zip line adventure thing'

We just surfed for a week in Tamarindo and called it awesome!
Beautiful country, drive all over, it's lovely.

 

#4 5-24-2016 3:54 AM

Shifty
Phil
Couch Potato
Posts: 6

Re: First time to Costa Rica

carryonwandering wrote:

I'm an Australian living in Costa Rica at the moment. If you are coming for 2 weeks at Christmas then concentrate on having fun and relaxing instead of saving the world. Most wildlife refuges or conservation projects want volunteers to stay a minimum of 2 weeks to start with and Christmas is one of the most busy times of the year so they will be distracted with trying to get money off tourists to see their animals rather than training volunteers. I don't mean to sound harsh and it is doable (for a price as you found out) but if you had more than 2 weeks during a different time of year your chances would be better.

As for adrenaline - definitely so zip lining in Arenal (La Fortuna). You will be in the rainforest and there is plenty of other activities based around the Volcano. Then any beach on the Nicoya peninsula would be suitable - some are better than others depending on how active you want to be and what activities you want to do e.g. surfing or diving, fishing, mountain biking etc.

If you don't like the sounds of that then head south to the Osa peninsula - no zip lining in the rain forest but the biodiversity of plants and animals more than makes up for it.

Unless you are flying around the country then account for travel days in your planning - it takes longer than you think to drive/bus it anywhere in this country.

Some great advice there thanks very much, going by what you have said think i will give the conservation a miss then.

I will certainly check out Arenal and get stuff booked soon, for accommodation near a beach i was thinking about booking a beach house is this worth doing or just book a hotel?

What are the buses like to travel in terms of experience and price?

 

#5 5-24-2016 3:55 AM

Shifty
Phil
Couch Potato
Posts: 6

Re: First time to Costa Rica

WestCoastPDX wrote:

I was there last month.  San Jose is pretty lame, 24 hours is plenty for the entire city.


We just surfed for a week in Tamarindo and called it awesome!
Beautiful country, drive all over, it's lovely.

What were the prices like for car hire and fuel?

 

#6 5-24-2016 9:14 AM

carryonwandering
Anna
Couch Potato
Posts: 33

Re: First time to Costa Rica

Hiring a car will be expensive. The price of fuel is not really any different to most places in North America however it's the price of insurance that keeps the prices high. CR has one of the worst accident rates in the world so you will need insurance - it gets expensive and confusing between being covered by your credit card, travel insurance or taking out extra with the hire car place. It can be done and plenty of people do it but fair warning on the cost.

Buses are fine. You will have a choice of local buses or paying extra for private transfers. Interbus is a good compromise and from Tamarindo to San Jose (about 4hrs by car) Interbus charges about $55 or 60 per person. I think it's about the same from San Jose to Arenal though I did read recently Uber wanted to charge someone $160 for the same ride. You can get this much cheaper on the local buses however there will be lots of stops along the way and it won't be as comfortable - depends how much of the country side and how close to locals you want to get.

A beach house will be fine though like booking a hotel room it depends on location and quality. Beach houses also tend to be slightly out of town so you will need to think about proximity if you don't hire a car. If your thinking of Tamarindo then there are beach houses close by in Playa Grande, Playa Avallanes and Langosta. All are serviced by a bus (about $5 a ride I think?) or from Langosta you can walk or hire a bike to get around. These surrounding places might be cheaper than a hotel room actually in Tamarindo so look around. Short term rental is also popular and almost half the condos in the complex I live in are empty for most of the year waiting for short term rentals. It's not a beach house but a lot do have beach views.

Hope that helps :-)

 

#7 5-24-2016 1:18 PM

osgoodst
steve
Chicago, Illinois
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Posts: 1155

Re: First time to Costa Rica

Rent a car, it was like 30 dollars a day and maybe 10 bucks for insurance.  Go to Drake Bay / Osha penninsula, very cool area and more wild life than you can shake a stick at.  Arenal is a joke by comparison.

 

#8 5-27-2016 5:15 AM

Shifty
Phil
Couch Potato
Posts: 6

Re: First time to Costa Rica

carryonwandering wrote:

Hiring a car will be expensive. The price of fuel is not really any different to most places in North America however it's the price of insurance that keeps the prices high. CR has one of the worst accident rates in the world so you will need insurance - it gets expensive and confusing between being covered by your credit card, travel insurance or taking out extra with the hire car place. It can be done and plenty of people do it but fair warning on the cost.

Buses are fine. You will have a choice of local buses or paying extra for private transfers. Interbus is a good compromise and from Tamarindo to San Jose (about 4hrs by car) Interbus charges about $55 or 60 per person. I think it's about the same from San Jose to Arenal though I did read recently Uber wanted to charge someone $160 for the same ride. You can get this much cheaper on the local buses however there will be lots of stops along the way and it won't be as comfortable - depends how much of the country side and how close to locals you want to get.

A beach house will be fine though like booking a hotel room it depends on location and quality. Beach houses also tend to be slightly out of town so you will need to think about proximity if you don't hire a car. If your thinking of Tamarindo then there are beach houses close by in Playa Grande, Playa Avallanes and Langosta. All are serviced by a bus (about $5 a ride I think?) or from Langosta you can walk or hire a bike to get around. These surrounding places might be cheaper than a hotel room actually in Tamarindo so look around. Short term rental is also popular and almost half the condos in the complex I live in are empty for most of the year waiting for short term rentals. It's not a beach house but a lot do have beach views.

Hope that helps :-)

Thanks very much some great advice there

 

#9 7-17-2016 7:28 PM

anupa_rk
Anupa
Tampa, Florida
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Tourist
Posts: 217

Re: First time to Costa Rica

I absolutely loved the Arenal region. If you're really want an adrenaline filled activity, chuck the zip lining and go bungee jumping.
There is a lot to do around the volcano and rain forest. You'll have fun!

 

#10 8-30-2016 8:41 AM

Shifty
Phil
Couch Potato
Posts: 6

Re: First time to Costa Rica

Been a little while since I have been on here, we are looking at getting hotels etc.. booked up this week and we are looking at booking inbound flights rather than hiring a car. Do you know what the local airline is like in terms or luggage weight?

 

#11 8-31-2016 6:50 AM

kvom
Kirk
Cumming, Georgia
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Re: First time to Costa Rica

Flying within CR doesn't make sense.  Take buses if you don't want to rent a car.  It's a small country.

 

#12 9-1-2016 8:24 PM

carryonwandering
Anna
Couch Potato
Posts: 33

Re: First time to Costa Rica

I've flown Nature Air before and got weighed (us and our luggage) before getting on the plane. Because they use smaller aircraft they will be strict with weight if the flight is full or its a really hot day (they care more about the fuel/weight ratio on the smaller planes). Sansa Air  would probably be the same but you can always check out their websites.

 

#13 10-7-2016 11:03 AM

SuperGirl23
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Tourist
Posts: 120

Re: First time to Costa Rica

To get from San Jose to La Fortuna/Arenal, we booked a rafting tour that picked us up in San Jose and dropped us off in Arenal at the end of the tour. The river was right between the two, so they pick you up / drop you off from either town. So it let us combine a day of traveling with a day of fun. Not a bad deal at all.
https://www.exploradoresoutdoors.com/faq.html

We took jungle tours (worth hiring a guide, they see things you don't!), ATV tours, canyoning, etc. in Arenal. We went zip lining in MonteVerde. And we took surfing lessons in Manuel Antonio.

We took buses to get around, but to same time, we took a flight back from Manual Antonio to San Jose. Yes, they weighed us and our luggage, but it was only us, another couple, and the pilot and co-pilot on the flight. It was worth it because we were jam packing so much into 2 weeks.

Last edited by SuperGirl23 (10-7-2016 11:05 AM)

 

#14 12-7-2016 2:33 PM

NoLimitsTraveller
Couch Potato
Posts: 7

Re: First time to Costa Rica

Shifty wrote:

What were the prices like for car hire and fuel?

Hi Shifty!
Rental cars are not cheap in Costa Rica, but you will be independent. The public buses are very cheap! Often it's convenient to have a car, because the attractions or nice beaches are not in walking distance. We rented a car from  http://www.yourtravelmap.com/costarica/cars/ , and really enjoyed being independent. We didn't spend too much money on gas, the distances are short. The roads are curvy and it takes a long time to get form one place to another.

Last edited by NoLimitsTraveller (12-7-2016 2:34 PM)

 

#15 1-16-2017 4:19 AM

AhadBaten
Ahad
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Couch Potato
Posts: 1

Re: First time to Costa Rica

First thing while travelling is to have a car if you don't have then rent it.
I know know about a website that provide cars for rent in cheap price ..
you must check out there site .
final rentals

 

#16 3-17-2017 7:49 AM

EdyFicio
Ezequiel
Rosario, Argentina
Couch Potato
Posts: 3

Re: First time to Costa Rica

Dont miss Tamarindo. We stayed there with my wife and couldt believe the beauty of the beaches. The sunsets are super romantic. We had lucky of the best place we knew, take a look: https://www.ochoartisansbungalows.com/
Have a great trip!

Last edited by EdyFicio (3-17-2017 7:49 AM)

 

#17 3-17-2017 8:42 AM

grandmar
RosalieAnn
Leonardtown, Maryland
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Wanderer
Posts: 434

Re: First time to Costa Rica

I like the Holiday Inn in San Jose.  It is a nice hotel and you have views of the city.  Or you can stay out at the airport at the Hampton Inn.  You can make the reservation via the 800#.

I do not agree that San Jose is 'lame', but is neither a conservation hub nor an adventure type place.  It's more for history and culture.  The main problem with your dates will be that everyone else will be traveling then too including the Costa Ricans. 

The place for the most adventure travel is the west coast.  Quepos has  bill fishing, zip lines, waterfall rapelling,  PWCs, Jungle canopy tours, whitewater rafting, horseback tours, ATV tours, even ultralight flights are available here.   Arenal has windsurfing and hot springs. 

The best rental car place is supposed to be Adobe.  But it does take some time - even though it is a small country - to drive to your area of interest.  So you could fly into the Liberia airport and just rent a car there to explore Guanacaste  and never go to San Jose at all.

 
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