anyone been to costa rica?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by iluv2xlr8, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. iluv2xlr8

    iluv2xlr8 Member

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    Hello all,

    Im currently planning a trip to Costa Rica and trying to do it on the cheap. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on cities to stay in and how to still live it up for a week frugally.

    Thanks all:smile:
     
  2. erratic

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    Avoid San Jose. It's pretty boring. Basically anywhere else in the country is fantastic, and if you're not too fancy you can find a nice place for cheap. Some people say the Pacific coast is nicer than the Caribbean side, though I'm told that San Limon is lovely.

    Costa Rica is a gorgeous country. Enjoy your trip. (And avoid restaurants where there aren't many locals.)
     
  3. SlamminSammy

    SlamminSammy Well-Known Member

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    I stayed at the Best Western in both San Jose & Jaco & they were both decent & cheap.
     
  4. iluv2xlr8

    iluv2xlr8 Member

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    Thanks for the info!
     
  5. B_Nick8

    B_Nick8 New Member

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    I've been to 56 countries and I rarely go to the same one twice because there's so much of the world to see but I've been to Costa Rica three times. There's so much to do that it always felt unfinished.

    The people are fantastic and very helpful even if you don't speak Spanish. Over 30% of the land area is set aside for national parks and there is no standing army. San Jose is extremely safe and I enjoyed the couple of nights I usually spent there on either end of my trips.

    Make sure you rent a 4 wheel drive car. Some of the roads are a little rough in places. The one time I had to take a non-4 wheel drive (we arrived late and they were out) we were driving to an active volcano and a long piece of the road turned out to be up a dry river bed--a great adventure, but we weren't sure we'd make it and it was very slow going.

    Everyone will tell you "there's only one road" and "it will take about 4 hours". Neither of these things will be true. You will come to unmarked forks and have to pick the wider one, total guess-work, and it may take 5 or 6 but you won't be lost. Don't panic.

    There are rainforests and cloudforests and white-water rafting and incredible resorts and beaches and zip lines and sailing and surfing just to name a few (the night at the volcano was incredible, watching lava flow down the mountain). I much prefer the west coast to the east which tends to be a little dicier as there is some drug smuggling in the area around Limon. Check out the area around Quepos and the beach at Manuel Antonio. It's an easy drive from San Jose and boasts some of the prettiest area in the country.

    Fodor's has a good guide book on Costa Rica so pick that up and do a little research. It's surprisingly affordable, so much so that it's become a big retirement place for baby boomers from the US. Have a great time and let us know how it goes.
     
  6. erratic

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    In response to Nick8's post (which is a great summation - I agree especially about how friendly and comfortable the country and its people are), I found it much more relaxing to take Interbus around the country than drive. Costa Rica's public transportation is very good, especially if you want to get around locally. Moving longer distances is a bit time-consuming on public transit, but Interbus and Nature Air will move you around the country quite nicely.

    If you really want to drive, go for it. If you're nervous about driving in another country, or just want to hang up the keys for a while, Costa Rica offers some great options.

    Also, there's a jewel of a town on the Nicoya peninsula called Montezuma. It's full of locals, hippies, backpackers, and in-the-know Europeans. It's a bit rougher-around the edges (not dangerous, but you'll see people in tents on the beach and some litter here and there) than places like Manuel Antonio or Jaco, but there's just something about it, an energy there that I've missed since I left. The whole country is full of hidden gems, but that one lingers in my mind.

    One other thing Nick8 said that really resonates with me is that there are thousands of amazing places in the world to see, but I would go back to Costa Rica again at a moment's notice.
     
    #6 erratic, Sep 24, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  7. B_Nick8

    B_Nick8 New Member

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    ^^I think you and I need to travel together sometime. What are your next three go-to places?^^
     
  8. erratic

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    I agree, good sir.

    My big three: Vietnam, Columbia, a tour of the ancient cities around the Aegean, Prague, South Africa. Also, the Amazon and a tour of Japan from Tokyo to Okinawa.

    That was more than three... You? Am I thread jacking? Should this be a PM?
     
  9. B_Nick8

    B_Nick8 New Member

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    Interesting. I would have said Australia, Cambodia and Argentina so we're on similar pages. Prague, definitely, Rhodes/Crete and Cape Town. And, probably. :wink:
     
  10. iluv2xlr8

    iluv2xlr8 Member

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    i've been looking into hotels and it seems that limon is at the top of the list.
     
  11. erratic

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    I did hear very nice things about Limon.

    One thing I noticed about Costa Rica was that they've (thankfully) kept out a lot of the condo-style mega hotels that you get in much of the Caribbean. I think part of the reason is that all of the shores in Costa Rica are public property, so there's not much point in building a big compound on the water when anyone can walk right through the middle of it whenever they please. I think it's all well and good, but it did make searching for hotels a bit more complicated than it can be elsewhere. We picked the areas we wanted to visit and then looked for hotels.

    And that reminds me...I'm supposed to be booking hotels today.

    Any thoughts on where in CR you want to go? Anything you particularly enjoy doing?
     
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