16 Replies Latest reply on Nov 7, 2011 7:07 PM by Walker69

    Travel to Costa Rica

    MrBags
      Heard nothimg but great reviews -any advice -air fares kinda expensive -just looking for info -understand a lot of US and Canadian citzens have move there
        • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
          JoanB
          My husband and I went to Costa Rica last February.  We took a trip arranged by Caravan.  It included airfare, hotels and meals and was very reasonable.  We wanted a trip that covered all of the country.  The guides were superb, some of the hotels were 5 star--they work out some wonderful deals with new or not full hotels. Others were more basic but all were acceptable.   We flew from Florida.  The pace was good and we were very pleased and highly recommend the tour.
          • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
            Look at flights into Liberia, Costa Rica (in the north) and not just San Jose.  I have flown to both airports and found some great deals to Liberia.  From there you have easy access to Tamarindo if you're intersted in beach, and to Arenal if you want to see rainforest and the famous volcano.
             
            There are lots of Americans, Canadians and Europeans living all over CR.  I have an American friend who ilves in Nosara, a fishing/surfing community on the Pacific coast.  He has to leave the country every so often for a certain amount of time (but he might be using a tourist visa...)
             
            Cost of living is low, medical serivces are great.
              • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
                MrBags
                Thanks for the info -looking forward to going to CR in the near future as an alternative to Mexico When is the best time to schedule travel Thanks MR Bags
                  • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
                    KarmaQueen
                    MrBags, 
                    You are going to have a wonderful time!  I just got back from an eco-tour with Overseas Adventure Travel.  It was a 13 day tour spent traveling around the country as a 15 person group with a guide and driver.  We stayed at lodges using a leaf (not star) rating system based on their eco-friendliness.   I would recommend this travel group if you are looking for a way to see much of the country and learn about the culture and wildlife. 
                    I wish I knew Spanish and think that would enrich your trip.  At the very least, bring a phrase book.  You can drink the water from the tap and use American dollars everywhere.  The Ticos are great people.  It's a fairly safe country, the biggest crime is breaking and entering, thus all the bars on windows and doors.  Otherwise, very little violent crime.  It is a middle class country, and you won't see many beggars.  There is no bartering on goods even in the markets - the price is what is marked!
                    As to weather, we were there at the beginning of the rainy season (late May, early June).  Every morning except for one was sunny and comfortable (sometimes hot and humid), and every afternoon it rained, often into the evening and throughout the night.  Pack an umbrella or poncho.  The rain felt good though and wasn't at all annoying.  Nice to fall asleep to each night.  
                    I would return in a heartbeat!
                      • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
                        MrBags
                        THANKS FOR THE INFO -SOUNDS GREAT -WE ARE PLANNING A WEEK ON THE OCEAN FRONT AND THEN ANTHER WEEK LOOKING AROUND -ANY SUGGESTION MUCH APPRICIATED THANKS MR BAGS
                          • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
                            beachman
                            Been to CR four times (3 on Pacific side...different towns and once on Caribbean side).  Have enjoyed every trip.  Prices for lodging 
                            and meals are very reasonable.  Can't wait to go back!!
                              • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
                                MrBags
                                Where did you fly into ? what airline? Did you find any deals? Thanks for the ino
                                  • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
                                    beachman
                                    1st trip (2003) - flew into San Jose, rented a car, drove due west and then down the coast.  Probably flew American, but can't remember for sure.
                                     
                                    2nd trip (2008) - flew into Liberia, shuttle bus to Tamarindo.  Recommend Hotel Capitan Suizo.  Flew American.
                                     
                                    3rd trip (2010) - flew into San Jose, shuttle bus to Puerto Viejo.  Recommend Banana Azul.  Flew American.
                                     
                                    4th trip (2011) - flew into Liberia, shuttle bus to Playa Samara.  Recommend Hideaway Hotel.  Flew American.   
                                      • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
                                        MrBags
                                        Thanks for the info
                                          • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
                                            KarmaQueen
                                            Hi MrBags,
                                            This past May/June I flew into San Jose on Delta through Atlanta.  The airfare was an additional fee through Oattravel.com for the tour, but it ended up being an excellent value.  I never check luggage, but on the return ended up checking my bag and a swing (purchased there), because I could check up to 2 items for free! 
                                             
                                            You'll have a great time on the coast.  I stayed only two nights on the Pacific ocean at Monterey del Mar where the coastline actually faces to the south, not the west.  The water was pretty fierce in that location too and not very safe for swimming, although we did see some surfers.  
                                             
                                            When you head inland, I recommend the following places: 
                                            1. Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge next to the Tirimbina Forest.  You'll experience several single file suspension walking bridges, see lots of animals and nature.  Take a guided walk for the best experience.  Please note that while the lodge looks really great (google it), I found the beds really uncomfortable. 
                                            2. Stay by Arenal Volcano and try to stay for about 2 days in order to see the volcano in various stages of appearance.
                                             3. Buena Vista lodge in Guanacaste for zip lining (they have many zip lines, from tame to intense), volcanic mud baths and hot springs, horse back riding, an hour massage for $30 from a blind woman, and a drink at the sunset bar in the evening to watch the sunset.  The rooms were a bit run down though, but the activities made up for it.
                                            4. If you like coffee, visit a coffee plantation, try a pineapple farm (we caught a rare moment when a fer de lance was spotted then beaten to death by the workers - this snake is VERY deadly).  If you are interested in organic farming you may enjoy Don Juan Bautista's organic farm.  
                                             5. I almost forgot, one of our favorite lodge stays was at the Chachagua Rainforest hotel. Google it for the pictures.  It was definitely off the beaten path, but it was beautiful and the rooms were great! 
                                             
                                            I hope your travel plans are coming along wonderfully.  Keep us posted!
                                             

                                             
                                             

                                            • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
                                              Deba
                                              I've been to Costa Rica 6 times, twice on vacation and 4 times on mission trips.   I love it!  One place to go that is about an hour or so from the captial city of San Jose is called La Paz.  It is a nature park with lots of plants, animals, birds and butterflies.  It also has a trail where you can hike along  a series of beautiful waterfalls.  The buffet lunch is good too.
                                               
                                              -- Debby
                                              • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
                                                I've had the great good fortune to visit Costa Rica first in 1971 and every year since.  I did my doctoral research there at a rain forest field station.
                                                 
                                                I usually am pretty far off the beaten path when I go to Costa Rica, so I have enjoyed learning what others have to say about tours and relatively accessible places to visit.
                                                 
                                                The accessible place that I most liked is on the Pacific coast, about 20-30 min by car beyond the town of Playa Dominical (which is filled with drunken U.S. surfers; I'd avoid it!).  It is a resort called La Cusinga (they have a web site).  It offers dramatic views from the bluff on which cabins are located over the Pacific, a nearly private black sand beach, a freshwater swimming hole in a small river, simple but wonderful fresh meals (often the marine "catch of the day"), and about 1000 ha of forest with some trails.  The owner/developer of the property wrote a book called "The Gringo's Hawk," which is a worthwhile read.  The cabins are somewhat "rustic," but very cleverly and beautifully constructed.  If you appreciate real craftsmanship using local materials, you'll love them.  (Note: I have no affiliation of any sort with La Cusinga; I just liked it.  On my recommendation, my neighbor took her daughter there for a high school graduation present a couple of years ago, and they too enjoyed it very much even though they aren't biologists.)
                                      • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
                                        geraldanderson
                                        KarmaQueen said...
                                        MrBags, 
                                        You are going to have a wonderful time!  I just got back from an eco-tour with Overseas Adventure Travel.  It was a 13 day tour spent traveling around the country as a 15 person group with a guide and driver.  We stayed at lodges using a leaf (not star) rating system based on their eco-friendliness.   I would recommend this travel group if you are looking for a way to see much of the country and learn about the culture and wildlife. 
                                        I wish I knew Spanish and think that would enrich your trip.  At the very least, bring a phrase book.  You can drink the water from the tap and use American dollars everywhere.  The Ticos are great people.  It's a fairly safe country, the biggest crime is breaking and entering, thus all the bars on windows and doors.  Otherwise, very little violent crime.  It is a middle class country, and you won't see many beggars.  There is no bartering on goods even in the markets - the price is what is marked!
                                        As to weather, we were there at the beginning of the rainy season (late May, early June).  Every morning except for one was sunny and comfortable (sometimes hot and humid), and every afternoon it rained, often into the evening and throughout the night.  Pack an umbrella or poncho.  The rain felt good though and wasn't at all annoying.  Nice to fall asleep to each night.  
                                        I would return in a heartbeat!
                                        I understood Ticos to be Americans (US) living in CR
                                          • Re: Travel to Costa Rica
                                            KarmaQueen
                                            geraldanderson said...
                                            KarmaQueen said...
                                            MrBags, 
                                            You are going to have a wonderful time!  I just got back from an eco-tour with Overseas Adventure Travel.  It was a 13 day tour spent traveling around the country as a 15 person group with a guide and driver.  We stayed at lodges using a leaf (not star) rating system based on their eco-friendliness.   I would recommend this travel group if you are looking for a way to see much of the country and learn about the culture and wildlife. 
                                            I wish I knew Spanish and think that would enrich your trip.  At the very least, bring a phrase book.  You can drink the water from the tap and use American dollars everywhere.  The Ticos are great people.  It's a fairly safe country, the biggest crime is breaking and entering, thus all the bars on windows and doors.  Otherwise, very little violent crime.  It is a middle class country, and you won't see many beggars.  There is no bartering on goods even in the markets - the price is what is marked!
                                            As to weather, we were there at the beginning of the rainy season (late May, early June).  Every morning except for one was sunny and comfortable (sometimes hot and humid), and every afternoon it rained, often into the evening and throughout the night.  Pack an umbrella or poncho.  The rain felt good though and wasn't at all annoying.  Nice to fall asleep to each night.  
                                            I would return in a heartbeat!
                                            I understood Ticos to be Americans (US) living in CR
                                            Just in case our Tico guide led us astray with that definition, I googled it.  According to Wikipedia - Tico is a colloquial term for a native of Costa Rica. The plural form is ticos.