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Costa Rica Recommendations?

stryker

TRIBE Member
Oh wise and mighty Tribe, I come seeking advice on planning a trip to Costa Rica...


My gf and I are planning to go at the end of April. We've looked at a few other destinations and Costa Rica has made the final cut but I need help in planning, budgeting, etc.

We're trying to budget and there are a few things that we're still trying to determine.

Accommodation. Ideally, we'd like to find a quite place on a beach where we can spend 10 days to possbily two weeks. Neither of us have been there before. We'd just like to chill out and enjoy some sun and surf.

I'd like to avoid the all inclusive route (f they even have those) for a few reasons.

-I'm not a fan of them and I do not want to deal with throngs of fat white people getting their hair braided and puking on the beach.

-The rigid flight schedule is a pain

Keeping flights and accomodation seperated means that we can stay as long as possible vs adhering to tour company flights and schedules.

If however, the backpacker-ish route is considerably more expensive then we'll have to do some sort of package thing.

So here are my questions:

1. What area/town/locale to stay for a quiet beach experience?

2. Any recommendations on accomodations? (We'd be open to a local hotel thing..just not the Breezes, Sandals,type of mega resorts). We'd prefer a somethign with less amenities and more low key.

3. Getting around. Neither of us speak a word of Spanish. Will this be a problem?..especially if we want to get off the beaten path

4. Budget projections? Part of the appeal of going somewhere and away for the large toursit spots is that things are cheaper. What kind of daily budget is required for food accomodations, etc.

5. Things to do. Cloud Forest, Surfing, Zip lining, etc. Anything else?



Thanks Tribe!

stew :)
 

mingster

TRIBE Member
my advice is to forego staying in the same place for 2 weeks. if you want to experience alot of what costa rica has to offer, you will need to travel around. they have an extensive bus transportation system, or you could rent a car. but if you want to do ziplining, and see the rainforest, and the volcanoes, and waterfalls, all of which i recommend, it will be impossible if your home base is the beach.

costa rica is a great destination for travelling without too much planning. backpacking is definitely not most expensive. when i went, i got myself a travel guidebook, booked my first couple of nights in san jose, and played the rest of it by ear, while having a vague plan of where i wanted to go. very easy to do there.

we did spend a week in a quiet beach town called montezuma. it was relaxing, but if i could do it again, i would only have spent 3-4 nights there. there's so much to see in CR, that it felt like a waste of time to spend half of it in one, very tiny place. i did like montezuma alot though, and i would recommend it, but you don't have to book it in advance. you can just show up on a bus and get yourself a room somewhere. and i'm pretty sure most of the beachtowns on the pacific are the same. honestly, just lonely-planet-guide-it and you will have a blast.

hard to remember exactly, but i think we spent $2,000 per person in total, for 2 weeks.

good luck! i was there some 10 years ago and i look forward to going again when my kids are a bit older and can withstand that kind of travel.
 

mingster

TRIBE Member
oh, and if you do decide to book in san jose for your arrival, don't book more than one night. you will want to get out of there ASAP and see the better parts of the country.
 

Chris

Well-Known TRIBEr
I cant say enough nice things regarding our trip down there. Our honeymoon pictures are up on Tribe. We stayed at The La Palmoa Lodge. I would highly recomend.
 
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Bacchus

TRIBE Promoter
The people who run Visa Pacifico in Jaco are amazing, former memebers of Toronto's party scene. James worked at 2TheBeat, and the couple were two of the staple members behind the Goodfellaz.

It's very reasonably priced, with great service and great ranking on hotel websites.

Hotel Vista Pacifico in Jaco, Costa Rica
 

R4V4G3D_SKU11S

TRIBE Member
Hey Stew - We did 2 weeks there in 2010 and it was amazing. Our long term goal is to buy something there to spend winters.

We were referred by Echo and KiFe to paula@ricotours.com. She booked their honeymoon and our trip, and was amazing. We did not do the all inclusive at all. She worked well within our budget.

We stayed in Nosara (very quiet surf town, off the beaten path and highly recommended), Santa Teresa (small but more party oriented surf town) and La Fortuna (more touristy). The tour company booked private, non-sketchy drivers to take us between hotels/towns. And yeah, San Jose is basically good for sex tourists and that's it.

Language isn't much of an issue, even in the smaller towns we found lots of people who spoke English. There are lots of expats in CR as well since it is such an awesome place.
 

stryker

TRIBE Member
Thanks for the info guys..please keep it coming.

We're trying to find the balance between trip and vacation. The plan is to buy the tickets this month and then spend the next two months working on the itinerary.

We were supposed to go to Ecuador over the 2012 xmas break but end the end it just wasn't doable. This will be our big trip for the year. She wants a beach, I want to wear an Indiana Jones hat and wander through the jungle. Money and transportation will decide how much of both we can do.

stew :)
 

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
mal pais is awesome. we rented ATVs in mal pais, strapped our backpacks to them and drove up the west coast to nicaragua. the entire ATV trek lasted about 6 days and was the best thing we did in costa rica.

mal pais would make a great home base. awesome waves for surfing and great vibe.
 
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erika

TRIBE Member
When you land at the airport, don't even bother going to San Jose. If you need to stay overnight before you start travelling, just stay in Alajuela; it's about 10 minutes from the airport; taxi is cheap, bus even cheaper.
 

stryker

TRIBE Member
A few people have mentioned buses. Is that the easiest way to get around. Is driving/car rental manageable/advised?
 
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kyfe

TRIBE Member
My Brother in law lives there now I believe he is in Athens, he recommended Santa Teresa as the spot to hit. we were going to go in Feb/Mar but have pushed it back to Sept.

best of luck and be sure to post your experience
 

R4V4G3D_SKU11S

TRIBE Member
Santa Teresa would be a great spot to rent ATVs as well. Actually I think ST and Mal Pais are right beside each other. There is a National Park there that you can hit as well for your jungle fix.

I'd hit Nosara too, it's got almost zero tourists and is super chill. It has the best, most consistent surfing in CR as well.
 

kyfe

TRIBE Member
Santa Teresa would be a great spot to rent ATVs as well. Actually I think ST and Mal Pais are right beside each other. There is a National Park there that you can hit as well for your jungle fix.

I'd hit Nosara too, it's got almost zero tourists and is super chill. It has the best, most consistent surfing in CR as well.
I am very glad to hear this, with surf season when is the idea time to go?

I remember doing Hawaii in April and the north shore was like glass, while Waikiki & Maui had all the surf
 

C-NiCE

TRIBE Promoter
Doing a very similar trip in February, heading to a small hotel resort in Tenorio National Park for 5 days and the 'jungle' part of our vacation with a day trip planned to the Arenal Volcano area before heading to Tamarino on the Pacific coast for a little sun and beach. I'll let you know how how it goes!
 
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R4V4G3D_SKU11S

TRIBE Member
I am very glad to hear this, with surf season when is the idea time to go?

I remember doing Hawaii in April and the north shore was like glass, while Waikiki & Maui had all the surf
I looked it up and it says December - April. We were there in April and it was amazing. Consistent breaks and mostly locals, so lots of room for everyone to get their piece.
 

kyfe

TRIBE Member
I looked it up and it says December - April. We were there in April and it was amazing. Consistent breaks and mostly locals, so lots of room for everyone to get their piece.
thanks, it looks like it's good almost year round, depending on the time of year it's better on the Pacific or Carribean side.

When we go I think we'll hit Tamarindo, Santa Theresa and another undecided spot
 

erika

TRIBE Member
A few people have mentioned buses. Is that the easiest way to get around. Is driving/car rental manageable/advised?
I've heard not great things about the buses there, from people who have used buses in many countries.

They do have a good network of internal flights that are reasonably priced if you want to cover some ground quickly.
 

erika

TRIBE Member
thanks, it looks like it's good almost year round, depending on the time of year it's better on the Pacific or Carribean side.

When we go I think we'll hit Tamarindo, Santa Theresa and another undecided spot
I can't imagine there would be any breaks on the carribean side; there typically.

Pavones has the longest left-hand break around (I believe not just in that country) if you're serious about your surfing.
 
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