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Costa Rica

Posted By: Mel S

Costa Rica - 04/04/04 03:16 PM

Has anyone been to CR recently ? We will be in San Jose and Guanacaste this june. I would be interested to hear about anyones recent impressions about the nation. Any useful well organized websites could be appreciated. Muchas Gracias, Mel S.......
Posted By: dogmatic prevaricator

Re: Costa Rica - 04/04/04 04:07 PM

I'm booked for a ten day multi-location stay during late May/early June. I did purchase the Moon handbook for Costa Rica which is inexpensive, very informative and covers any information you need to know about CR. I also found the Frommers and Fodor's message forums to be very helpful with trip reports and specfic Q&A's.
Posted By: klcman

Re: Costa Rica - 04/04/04 05:26 PM

San Jose, IMHO, is VERY Americanized. Can you say malls, McDonalds and gas marts? My opinion is to get the hell out of there as soon as you can.

Country is pretty, hilly, and the Ticos drive like maniacs laugh . Many of the roads can only be driven SLOWLY in 4 wheel drive, unless you are a real adventurer as my travel companion was and did not give a hoot about the undercarriage of the rental. If that fits you, take earplugs, those boulders bouncing off the bottom will deafen ya!

I was not actually too impressed with the western side of the country though. Perhaps it was because it was the WORST vaca I ever had, ending a long term relationship during it. wink

I would go back sometime though and raft the Pacuare, Reventazon and Sarapique - Class III/IV rivers.

I do have friends who are chucking the American lifestyle, buying there soon & moving. Trying to find their Nirvana laugh
Posted By: Gela

Re: Costa Rica - 04/05/04 10:33 PM

I will be headed to Playa Samara by way of Liberia in early May. I can give you a brief report when I return. laugh
Posted By: Mel S

Re: Costa Rica - 04/06/04 02:33 PM

Thanks for the info. It's been years for us to travel through Tica-landia. Gela, we were trying to make reservations at the Mirador de Samara. Nicoya is so tropical, i always wanted to return. best-wishes, mel s......
Posted By: Big Frank

Re: Costa Rica - 04/06/04 07:17 PM

Loved Costa Rico when we were there in November. Unless tou want to see something specific, get out of San Jose ASAP. Not particularly dangerous, just a bustling city.

CR was priced very reasonably, once you get there as airfare was pricey. I was only in Jaco, a surf town on the west coast. Surfing [novice ] as great. you will be very happy. Roads were not very good . So, 'that far on the map' could be an all day affair.
Posted By: lmarquis

Re: Costa Rica - 04/06/04 08:19 PM

Mel S: I was also in CR for 10 day vacation in late November. Absolutely loved it, even though it was off season.

Outside of San Jose, Spanish widely spoken and I thought prices for EVERYTHING were very inexpensive. The food was good, loved the local beer. The wildlife was incredible! Troups of howler monkeys, coatis, giant blue butterflies, toucans. Good public bus transportation system throughout entire country.

Yep, roads are not great outside of the capitol. I did not make it to Pacific side because I met a friend who was my tour guide and who lived on the Caribbean side.

Stayed in Fortuna, which I thought was a cool, charming town near Arenal with good restaurants and friendly locals. Not to miss: at least a half day at Tabacon Hot Springs. The grounds are beautiful, the hot springs are great and the pool slide is lots of fun. Not to mention, killer rum punch at the pool bar! Arenal Lake was gorgeous, Sarapaqui River and down to Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo, near the Panamanian border on the Caribbean side with the Bribri Indians. The Caribbean side was pristine, with jungle going right to the beach and no hotels. Lots of Jamaican influence, rasta, etc. Loved watching the big waves at Salsa Brava!

One thing my friend says to watch out for is theft. I just was cautious and everything was fine. Was also told if you use taxi in or around San Jose, make sure they have SJ on license plate and a maria (meter). Guess there are lots of guys "trying" to be taxi drivers!

Have a great trip!
Posted By: mountain Larry

Re: Costa Rica - 04/08/04 08:30 PM

My wife and I just got back from Costa Rica last week, we had a good time, but as some have said it is somewhat Amercanized and the drivers are scary but probably no scarier than Belize drivers. San Jose is a big city and I really wouldn't spend much time there. We enjoyed the food and really enjoyed the Pilsen beer. Have fun.
Posted By: Chloe

Re: Costa Rica - 04/09/04 03:21 AM

Mountain Larry, did you see all the GOLD, underground in San Jose, close to the National Theatre, on the main Plaza? Some neat bars down the side street from Plaza too.
Posted By: mountain Larry

Re: Costa Rica - 04/09/04 04:29 PM

Chole, No I didn't, I wish I would have though.
Posted By: Gela

Re: Costa Rica - 04/22/04 12:35 AM

Hey Larry, Where did you and Amy stay? I am two weeks and counting until my trip. Wow, saying that out load makes me excited. I've been so busy at work I haven't had a chance to think about it much.

I am spending my time on the Pacific coast and will do day trips to other parts.

What would you say was the highlight of your trip?

I am eagerly awaiting your reply laugh
Posted By: john robertsdenver

Re: Costa Rica - 04/22/04 01:42 AM

MEL AND GELA, john from denver here, and susie and i went to c.r. last sept,(beginning of rainy season and thus low season) and had a fab time great people, and food was good if you eat local,stay away from the hotels, they try to cook like americans and F--- up the food with bad sauces!! However the local stuff as usual is where its at and thats why we visit other places yes? found the roads to be good generally..have been on worse. we started in S.J. and went the next A.M. to the east coast to tortuguera by bus and spent 3 days at the turtle lodge and it was smashing!!at that time the giant green turtles were laying their eggs, very cool! went a a river tour and jungle tour saw all the monkey's and sloth and the tiny green poison tree frog and too much to list, back to s.j and went on white water raft,pacquero river 25-30 miles, very fast water and good run..having done lots of stuff in colo. and also having done thie grand canyon..this was a lot of funand just a day trip!!well worth it!!then got our 4x4 and took off and went toward the west coast and stopped at the mud pots and did some hikes and swam in a mountain pool with falls coming down and went thru liberia, just way too much to do and not enough time ..definitely willgo back..went on to playa flamingo and stayed at the (sorry it's not like us!!)best western playa flamingo !!it was super and more than we usually do air and cable and 2 king beds and breakfast for 60 u.s. (remember low season)168.00 normal. the beach was right across the streetfromm where we had breakfastand no hastle with any one 8 paces and you were there or you could stay at the large pool with swim up bar and relax there also very cool. we dove 3 days and it was quite different..lots of fishes but not much coral or veg but i would swim into HUGE schools of fish and they would just envelope me!!some very cool and different diving . we used some very good web sites www.flamingo-info.com and www.hotels.co.cr and www.1costaricalink.com and www.visitcostarica.com we hope you all have as much fun as we had!!email me if you think of any q's i might be able to help u out with, [email protected] bon voyage
Posted By: Mel S

Re: Costa Rica - 04/22/04 03:47 PM

Thanks everyone for the travel reports and all the websites. I bought the Moon Handbook for Costa Rica for quik info, which was good advice. We usually go to Mexico and Belize, but it has been years for my wife and myself to return to " Ticalandia". We will be in the Dominical area south from Quepos area staying where the Baru river touches the Pacific ocean. I am going to fish like a fool, there are baysnook or rainbow bass in the river, and the Pacific side is famous for rooster fish, wahoo, barracudas, etc. If i can remember the Costa Rican's Spanish is alittle bit differant then the yucatan and Belize. Our national family hosts mumbled and cut off 1/3 of the words, of course they thought we had weird accents. Central America is such a kick, I love the area. Europe is wonderful, but I prefer the tropics..........best-wishes, mel s.
Posted By: mountain Larry

Re: Costa Rica - 04/28/04 07:18 PM

Gela, We stayed at the Fiesta Resort on the Pacific side. We read mixed reviews on it but we really liked it. The people were great and the food was also good. As for our highlight, I would have to say the day we went for a drive with a Costa Rican guy we met named Merlin, He was born in CR and but moved to California when he was 10, He moved back to CR four years ago. It was nice having someone fluent in Spanish and in English helping you out, plus he was a great guy. Anyway we hit some of the local bars and shops and just had an all around great day. Hope you have a good time, write back and tell us about your trip. I think we are looking into Honduras next year except Belize is always on our minds, of course you understand that. Later ML
Posted By: Mel S

Re: Costa Rica - 05/01/04 12:51 AM

Quote
Originally posted by mountain Larry:
Gela, We stayed at the Fiesta Resort on the Pacific side. We read mixed reviews on it but we really liked it. The people were great and the food was also good. As for our highlight, I would have to say the day we went for a drive with a Costa Rican guy we met named Merlin, He was born in CR and but moved to California when he was 10, He moved back to CR four years ago. It was nice having someone fluent in Spanish and in English helping you out, plus he was a great guy. Anyway we hit some of the local bars and shops and just had an all around great day. Hope you have a good time, write back and tell us about your trip. I think we are looking into Honduras next year except Belize is always on our minds, of course you understand that. Later ML
That's a pretty cool story. Don Merlin sounds like a great guy. Honduras can be interesting, but it has been 18 years for me to travel through it. We used to live near the border with Guatemala and Honduras, so we used to go down and see the ruins of Copan. The ruins have incredible stellas with great details. The bay islands were nice too. Utila was very laid back, and the fishing and the snorkeling was great. Belize is always on my mind too, but sometimes you have to spread out and see something else. My wife and myself speak spanish so we can wonder about the central American area. The airfare for Costa Rica was cheaper then Belize in our situation, so hello Ticalandia. We will take off in mid-June. Best-Wishes, MS
Posted By: Kathy F.

Re: Costa Rica - 05/02/04 05:27 PM

Dogamatic & Mel S

My family is going to Costa Rica in September. I would be really interested in trip reports when you get back. We are thinking of going to the Pacific coast. Not sure we have time to visit both coasts in a 1 week stay. Any insights you have about where to go, what to do, where to stay (or not to stay) would be greatly appreciated. Also, do you know of a message board for Costa Rica? I found 1, but hardly any information, and very few posts. People are asking questions, but no one is answering. Sure wish there was one comparable to this one, but I'll take any help I can get. Thanks in advance -- Kathy F
Posted By: Mel S

Re: Costa Rica - 05/02/04 11:24 PM

Hello Kathy, we've been watching these two message boards these days : http://www.lonelyplanet.com/ & http://www.frommers.com/ , They are pretty active. Costarica.com is a nice website with quite abit of info. Best-Wishes, Mel S......PS I love that dancing K !
Posted By: Kathy F.

Re: Costa Rica - 05/05/04 07:28 PM

Mel S

Thank you so much for the links. Lots of info!

Kathy
Posted By: dogmatic prevaricator

Re: Costa Rica - 05/06/04 11:26 AM

do yourself a favor and purchase the Moon handbook for Costa Rica. It's inexpensive and chock full-o-information, i used amazon.com.
Posted By: lmarquis

Re: Costa Rica - 05/06/04 07:21 PM

When I went to CR in November, I took the Lonely Planet travel guide and it was just about right on with everything.
Posted By: lisaob

Re: Costa Rica - 05/07/04 06:13 PM

very interesting! we are deciding between belize and costa rica ourselves! we have been to cancun 2x, PDC 2x, zihua/troncones 1x. unsure which to choose!!!!
Posted By: Mel S

Re: Costa Rica - 05/08/04 01:24 AM

Quote
Originally posted by lisaob:
very interesting! we are deciding between belize and costa rica ourselves! we have been to cancun 2x, PDC 2x, zihua/troncones 1x. unsure which to choose!!!!
It's a hard decision lisaob ! There's Sweet Belize, The second largest tropical reef in the world. Extensive Mayan ruins with wonderful cultures : Latinos, Creoles, Garifunas, Mayans etc. Then Costa Rica, Some of the greatest national parks in the world. The Caribean sea, which is awesome, but wait, Costa Rica has a Blue Pacific coast too ! And Wow, it is spectacular with great fishing, surfing, and beautiful ranch country in Guanacaste and the central area. And the kicker is that it is very reasonable, you don't have to be a millionaire to enjoy the land and the people. You can't loose with either, they are both cool countries...........mel s.
Posted By: lisaob

Re: Costa Rica - 05/08/04 06:35 PM

thanks mel! much appreicated. still...decisions...decisions....i am going to look into airfare and travel times seeing as we usually go from thurs thru tues. we fly from cleveland. so maybe this will help make my deicsion! thanks again. oh, any help you could provide would be greatl appreicated!
Posted By: Gela

Re: Costa Rica - 05/17/04 03:01 AM

Hi Folks - just returned from Costa Rica - WOW
I only scratched the surface. I arrived at Liberia airport (Guanacaste Province) which was far easier than arriving in San Jose and driving the four plus hours to get to the West Pacific Coast. I stayed at El Ocotal Resort in Playa Ocotal for my first and 8th nights and stayed at Villas Playa Samara for 6 nights in between. It was fabulous.

Friends of mine met up with me in Samara driving a 4 wd from San Jose. You definitely need that 4wd if you are going to venture out to say some of the remote beaches like Nosara, Garza, etc.

Laurie is right - the Lonely Planet Guide was right on. It was our Bible throughout the whole trip.

John, thanks for your web links - they were most helpful.

Knowing a bit of spanish definitely helps. My last night in Liberia, noone spoke English at all.

The highlights of my trip - the $3-$5 Casado con ... (rice, beans, salad, fried plantains and your choice of meat, the troup of 12 Howler Monkeys that visited the Guava Trees above my pool in Samara every afternoon at around 2:30pm, the beach at Samara that felt like velvet under your feet, and the sunsets over Ocotal Beach. The only thing that was missing was the connection with the people like I felt in Belize - put those two together and it spells heaven and my retirement home! Cheers! cool
Posted By: Chloe

Re: Costa Rica - 05/17/04 03:12 AM

Glad you are back Gela. Sounds like the trip went well.
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Costa Rica - 05/17/04 03:09 PM

Gela: welcome back - sounds like a great trip. Even my friend who lives down there uses Lonely Planet travel guide!

When we talked, I told you about the delicious, inexpensive food. Unbelievable. Gotta love the howler monkeys. That is another thing - the wildlife is incredible.

I guess if we spoke some Spanish it would be easier.

How did you like the local beer(s)?
Posted By: Gela

Re: Costa Rica - 05/17/04 05:07 PM

Laurie, the moment I arrived at my first resort, I put my bathing suit on, swam up to the pool bar and ordered Imperial, then Pilsen, then Bavaria then Rock Ice. I liked them all but ended up drinking mostly Pilsen. Good beer and dirt cheap - I paid a whole $2 a beer at the expensive places and as little as a dollar in the small "Sodas". Awesome. You were right on all accounts. As a matter a fact, all throughout the trip I would say to my friends "Laurie said this, or recommended that". You are now famous amongst people you don't even know! laugh
Posted By: Mel S

Re: Costa Rica - 05/17/04 07:23 PM

Gela, Thanks for the report, it's sounds so wonderful. We are pretty psyched now and getting ready to do it. Freshwater and Saltwater fishing in the same day makes my heart skip a beat ! The prices in Costa Rica and Guatemala have always been impressive. Thank God there are some good values out there while travelling. best-wishes, mel s..........
Posted By: lmarquis

Re: Costa Rica - 05/17/04 09:18 PM

Glad to be of help! I favorded the Imperial myself, but heck, at those prices, I liked them all. Next time, I am heading to the Nicoya Peninsula. . .
Posted By: Gela

Re: Costa Rica - 05/23/04 04:46 AM

Testing here - trying to post a link to my favorite picture taken in Costa Rica. The first link is a picture of yours truly - a slightly improved version for those of you who have met me. laugh

http://groups.msn.com/BelizeVacations/gelasphotos.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=207

This next picture was taken at Playa Ocotal in CR
http://groups.msn.com/BelizeVacations/gelasphotos.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=209
Posted By: Chloe

Re: Costa Rica - 05/23/04 05:00 AM

Wow Gela, you are so skinny now. You surely did a good job on yourself...congrats.
Posted By: NYgal

Re: Costa Rica - 05/23/04 05:04 AM

Two different people ... eek

atta girl wink
Posted By: mountain Larry

Re: Costa Rica - 05/24/04 10:02 PM

Gela, The same beautiful picture of you, just a little different frame.
Posted By: Gela

Re: Costa Rica - 05/25/04 12:29 AM

Thanks for the compliments guys. It's the first willing picture I've had taken of me in years. Costa Rica was beautiful but I am missing AC. Trying to see if I can swing a short trip this summer :-)
Posted By: Mel S

Re: Costa Rica - 05/26/04 06:49 PM

Gela, It is a wonderful photo. It would make a beautiful post card ! We have a Webshot. When we get back we will post the newer pics from a new adventure. Best-Wishes, Mel S.....
Posted By: Gela

Re: Costa Rica - 05/26/04 10:42 PM

Mel - I haven't even looked at the other pictures - I'll post a couple of others - this one just grabbed me right off the bat.
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