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Costa Rica

We are four adults traveling to Costa Rica March 1-9. Any suggestions regarding sights, in-country travel choices, budget
accommodations?

Posted by
6 posts

We fly in/out of San Jose; visit Monteverde and Santa Elena, Arenal and Northern Lowlands. Then one of our party must return (March 5) and trio remains four days - maybe to visit southern Costa Rica and Peninsula de Osa. Need advice on most efficient public transit between all those places. We don't want to be too ambitious with destinations and end up spending most of our time traveling between locations.

Posted by
9363 posts

Not to be dismissive, but a good guide book could address the transportation issue. When I visited CR, I was on a tour, so I didn't need to deal with transportation. Other friends have driven themselves. Just so you know, Arenal is the name of the volcano, not the town. The town is La Fortuna. Manuel Antonio National Park is a wonderful place to visit - two beautiful beaches, lots of wildlife. The hotel where we stayed in San Jose was the Holiday Inn San Jose Downtown Aurola. It was pretty central to what to see in San Jose, had a decent restaurant, a swimming pool on the second floor, and wonderful beds.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you! We're referencing Lonely Planet, DK Eyewitness C.R. and Frommer's (online). It's always refreshing to connect with someone to provide anecdotal support. Every little tidbit helps!

Posted by
3336 posts

My friend and I took our two young sons on an adventure to Costa Rica a few years back and used A Safe Passage. They arranged everything for us from our airport pickup, our first night stay near the airport, our transportation out to Playa Hermosa de Jaco the next day, as well as transportation down to Manuel Antonia and then back to the airport for our flight out.
It was so nice not to have to worry about all of these things and I was happy to pay a little extra to have a local do all of it for me. We were happy with the service, they arrived when they said they would, and everything went like clockwork.
We really enjoyed Jaco - a little touristy but lively with great restaurants, shops and beach. Playa Hermosa de Jaco, just south of Jaco, is more of a surf haven but it has a great feel with a black sand beach, the jungle running right up to it, perfect waves and parrots and iguanas in the palm trees. We stayed at Hotel Fuego del Sol right on the beach - basic surfer hotel but we loved it; clean and not pricey at all. Manuel Antonio, further south, is also really nice - most of the lodging is perched on a jungle-covered bluff overlooking the ocean. We stayed at the Banana Tree Hotel - it was awful - avoid it at all costs. We wished we had stayed at Hotel Si Como No - beautiful bungalow hotel cascading down the side of the mountains with pools and views. We ate at El Avion every night...it started out years ago as a bar in the fuselage of a drug running plane from Contra days and has grown into a massive, hand-hewn, wooden treehouse of a restaurant with stunning views of the ocean. We were there in a huge lightning storm one evening...lightning was hitting the ocean and the jungle all around. Power went out so they lit candles and the band kept right on playing. It was magical! The nature preserve there is also beautiful - a little overly visited but there are sloths, coatis, and lots of other very cool plants and animals to see. We in Costa Rica for 19 days and enjoyed ourselves tremendously!

Posted by
298 posts

I just traveled to CR in December with a friend and my 2 teenage daughters. We used Desafio Adventures for our transportation from airport/La Fortuna and also for all our activities in the Arenal area. Everyone was friendly and efficient and we had no problems. All our tours/activities were awesome. I can't recommend a lot in the way of sightseeing as we went mainly for the adventure activities. But if that is of interest to you ziplining, whitewater rafting, hiking and canyoning were a blast. They also have horseback riding, SUP, kayaking, etc. so there is plenty to keep you busy.

We rented a car for the 2nd half of the trip to go down to Playa Hermosa Guanacaste (totally different area than the one near Jaco). Driving was not difficult, although roads are somewhat winding. Some areas (mostly up near the Arenal area) have some big potholes, but not as bad as we had imagined. There are some buses, but I would recommend either private transfers as the price is the same whether there are 2, 4 or 6 pax, so it would be fairly reasonable with 4, or renting a car, which would be even more reasonable. I did look at the bus schedule, but there was not a lot of service for our route.

CR is a beautiful country, with wonderful people who go out of their way to help you. I'm sure you will have a great time!

Posted by
1 posts

Hello, in each hotel you stay tour desk will be able to tell you what is the best things to do around, is risky to travel without a planned trip and reservations this time of the year in Costa Rica, is Easter and all ticos have vacations and go to nice places, besides is the end of the summer so they will use it. Next time I recomend you to plan ahead every thing you want to do.
This people can help you, maybe still while you are there.
http://www.costaricaitinerary.com
www.anywherecostarica.com/

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you all for your replies and advice. We have returned after 10 very satisfying and exciting days in Costa Rica. We used public buses without difficulty; stayed in hostels that were inexpensive, generous in food and comfort, and insightful through the experiences of other travelers and information; and enjoyed hiking and kayaking. Best wishes to all our fellow adventurers!