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BlastOff
New Orleans Saints Fan
New Orleans
Member since Feb 2016
411 posts

Costa Rica help
Looking for a little guidance, planning on going to CR next year, probably either summer or fall. I started looking at options and kind of settled in the Arenal/Monteverde area of the country, thinking that our priority was hiking/zip lining. Wife tells me tonight she wants to be on the beach, but also do the nature oriented activities. Any feedback for where I should look? Pacific or Atlantic? Resort or Airbnb?


Tigris
Montana Fan
Fernando Poo
Member since Jul 2005
9128 posts

re: Costa Rica help
quote:

Pacific or Atlantic?


Pacific. The Atlantic is a mostly a hot, humid, buggy swamp. The Pacific side is very nice. Manuel Antonio is touristy but very pretty and good for the nature stuff and near beaches.

Honestly, I prefer cooler, higher locations that are less crowded (like San Gerardo de Dota for one) but I'm not a beach person and you've got to keep your wife happy.


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speckledawg
Mississippi St. Fan
Somewhere Salty
Member since Nov 2016
1472 posts

re: Costa Rica help
I have a trip booked to CR for April. We are doing Manuel Antonio/Quepos (fishing and park there), Jaco (Isla Tortuga and around town there) & Arenal. We have AirBnBs at the first two and a resort at Arenal, only because I had a couple Free nights to burn and we found a really cool place. There are some great AirBnB deals in CR. We’re also renting a car and driving everywhere - flying in/our of San Jose. Obviously, I would say Pacific side, based on our picks. I can’t provide a whole lot yet since I haven’t been yet, but will write a review when we go.


BlastOff
New Orleans Saints Fan
New Orleans
Member since Feb 2016
411 posts

re: Costa Rica help
quote:

Manuel Antonio/Quepos


Yeah, looking like this may be the best compromise between beach and outdoor activity. Just need to decide between resort and Airbnb. Any resort recs would be appreciated.


speckledawg
Mississippi St. Fan
Somewhere Salty
Member since Nov 2016
1472 posts

re: Costa Rica help
Budget? We have a place on 618, right next to a bunch of restaurants/bars with great views for ~$80/nt. I never even bothered to look for resorts in that area to be honest.


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GynoSandberg
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since Jan 2006
59058 posts

re: Costa Rica help
Los Suenos Resort in playa Herradura is awesome. Right outside of Jaco

Make sure you know the area is staying in a BnB. I wouldn’t feel comfortable in some spots w a wife or kid in tow. Have a friend of a friends who walked out the shower to find his wife tied up and two armed assailants pointing guns at him


speckledawg
Mississippi St. Fan
Somewhere Salty
Member since Nov 2016
1472 posts

re: Costa Rica help
quote:

Los Suenos Resort


Pretty pricey and seems like a resort you could just find in Florida or something. Looks very nice though.

quote:

Have a friend of a friends who walked out the shower to find his wife tied up and two armed assailants pointing guns at him


Where the hell was this?


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hogfly
Arkansas Fan
Fayetteville, AR
Member since May 2014
3400 posts

re: Costa Rica help
Playa Potrero area (Playa Flamingo is a nice "resort" beach there and ) is pretty awesome and chill. Just make sure your wife knows that these aren't Caribbean beaches. Surf is generally rough, water isn't crystal clear, and sand can be rocky. That being said, being on a beach with monkeys hanging out in the trees behind you is pretty awesome. Las Catalinas is also a really nice resort area that is being developed with lots of cool active things to do there (mountain biking, trail running, paddle boarding, etc..).


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Gaston
LSU Fan
Dirty Coast
Member since Aug 2008
27254 posts

re: Costa Rica help
The best spot in CR is Montezuma...take her there. Research accommodations. Hike the waterfalls and the nature preserve, Cabo Blanco, on the point. From Mal Pais to Manzanillo up the Pacific coast is beautiful and wild.

Hike up the waterfalls out of town, on top the third one it turns amazing.

Seriously, research Montezuma.


BlastOff
New Orleans Saints Fan
New Orleans
Member since Feb 2016
411 posts

re: Costa Rica help
Much appreciated, fellas. I think as long as we are close enough to a beach to make a day trip then I should be good. The focus will be on exploring/hiking/non-beach activities for sure.

Last thing, is there a particular time of year that’s better? When I was focusing on the Monteverde area there were a couple of blurbs about a wet and dry season. Does that same weather pattern apply to the Pacific coast area? We were thinking late summer early fall...
This post was edited on 12/7 at 9:55 am


soccerfüt
Western Carolina Fan
aka Sen. Lincoln Fillmore
Member since May 2013
29480 posts

re: Costa Rica help
Don't Drive from San Jose (SJO) international Airport.

Either get little flights via Sansa Air from SJO to your ultimate destiantion(s) or fly directly into Liberia (LIR).

As to a volcano sightseeing trip, I'd recommend Arenal.

Echoing the previous posts, the East Coast of Costa Rica is no bueno.

On the West Coast, the beach destinations I've been to:

Tamarindo is north up near Liberia airport, highly recommended but during dry season it is very arid all around there.

Further south- at the end of the Nicoya Peninsula, fly into Tambor, I've stayed in Malpais. Off the grid but I felt really safe.

Even further south, Quepos is good as well, Manuel Antonio Park and you are in the real jungle.

I'd rate them (for me):

1: Tambor
2: Quepos
3: Tamarindo

I have driven a bunch in CR, some routes are OK, other roads may be impassible when you get to a river or stream. Some roads you literally can only make 5 mph on for miles and miles due to them being so bad in a 4WD.

Don't mistake short distances on a map necessarily for a short drive time.

I love driving there but it does eat up time.

The Ticos are very nice, lots of expats there as well.

Good luck.




hogfly
Arkansas Fan
Fayetteville, AR
Member since May 2014
3400 posts

re: Costa Rica help
We spent a week in Montezuma on our last trip. If you drive overland to get there, just be aware that the roads get a little sketchy, hah. People coming from San Jose take the ferry, but we were driving down from Guanacaste area.

We absolutely love Montezuma, but it definitely as a hippie vibe (my wife and I basically met on Dead tour, so that didn't bother us at all). Lots and lots of yoga studios and shite. Some great food. Staying in actual Montezuma has plenty of walkability to dining and bars. Just be aware that there are a lot of dreadlock folks there smoking weed and trying to sell you handmade jewelry. Some of the beaches aren't exactly pristine either, because a lot of shite washes up on the shore and trash runs appear to be few and far between. Also... ATM will run out of cash in Montezuma (requiring a 20 minute drive over shitty roads to a bigger town) and some places only take cash.

We totally love Montezuma... but don't expect it to be like an all inclusive resort.


BlastOff
New Orleans Saints Fan
New Orleans
Member since Feb 2016
411 posts

re: Costa Rica help
quote:

but don't expect it to be like an all inclusive resort.


Good, rather hit local bars and restaurants then eat crappy food at the resort.

Thanks for the input, looks like there are some really good options for low-key areas on the Pacific side, close to the beach.


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speckledawg
Mississippi St. Fan
Somewhere Salty
Member since Nov 2016
1472 posts

re: Costa Rica help
Kinda hi-jacking for some of my own information, but..

quote:

Don't Drive from San Jose (SJO) international Airport


Any reason other than the bad roads? I have a car rented to drive from SJO to Quepos. I have read it's not too bad of a drive and looks like mostly "highway". I've driven in some pretty bad places.


soccerfüt
Western Carolina Fan
aka Sen. Lincoln Fillmore
Member since May 2013
29480 posts

re: Costa Rica help
There’s no direct route to Quepos from SJO and what passes for roads are crappy. Traffic can be crappy as well if Farmero Jose wants to move a piece of equipment and there’s always the slow local buses to contend with.

I’ve flown into SJO then into Quepos (via Sansa) and the Dollar Rental Car local agent met me at the Quepos strip with my rental.

Good luck, hope this helps.


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I Love Bama
Alabama Fan
Alabama
Member since Nov 2007
36104 posts

re: Costa Rica help
I always take the buses in Costa Rica. Bus to Quepos Is like $7 vs $150 shuttle.

I probably travel a little cheaper than you guys though.


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lsunurse
LSU Fan
Scottsdale, AZ
Member since Dec 2005
116268 posts

re: Costa Rica help
quote:

We were thinking late summer early fall...




Hope you like rain...that is smack in the middle of their high rainy season. Best time to go is usually from December to May.


We went to Monteverde in March...no rain...but since you are way up in the rainforest it was always cloudy/misty. If you go to Monteverde...you have to go ziplining there. It is kinda scary at times cause you look like you are just going off into the middle of clouds...but a lot of fun. We loved Monteverde and would have enjoyed spending more time there. We were told that during the rainy season some of the roads up the mountain are closed because they are flooded/unsafe to drive on.


Tigris
Montana Fan
Fernando Poo
Member since Jul 2005
9128 posts

re: Costa Rica help
quote:

Any reason other than the bad roads? I have a car rented to drive from SJO to Quepos. I have read it's not too bad of a drive and looks like mostly "highway".


The roads from SJO to Quepos are relatively good, no reason not to drive. It's not U.S. quality but it's good for central/south America. I've driven all over Costa Rica, it helped a LOT to have a GPS with a Costa Rica map but would guess that Waze should serve for that now. It helps that SJO is to the west of San Jose so to get from SJO to Quepos there is no need to drive through the city, that can be a mess.

BTW on the drive it's worth a stop at the Tarcoles River bridge to see the crocodiles from the bridge. But be cautious where you park and be aware of the people around you. It's a favorite tourist stop and cars have been broken into and people robbed. Just don't be an easy target and you'll be fine.


hogfly
Arkansas Fan
Fayetteville, AR
Member since May 2014
3400 posts

re: Costa Rica help
WE went in rainy season last year. While it did rain pretty much daily, it never really hampered our ability to do anything. My wife is a sun junkie on vacation though, and she did whine some about the rain. Still had a great time.


speckledawg
Mississippi St. Fan
Somewhere Salty
Member since Nov 2016
1472 posts

re: Costa Rica help
This is what I had read elsewhere, so I was a little worried about the above posts. It appears to be a relatively easy drive.

quote:

Tarcoles River bridge to see the crocodiles

Yes, this is definitely on our list.


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