3 questions!

Old Jul 22nd, 2005, 04:15 AM
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3 questions!

I'm leaving on Aug.5 for a 10 day trip to CR and am starting to get a bit nervous. If any of you intrepid,experienced CR travellers ou there can help with these ?'s,I'd be much obliged:
1.Am uncertain if it's worthwhile to exchange U.S. $'s in colones prior to departureor at all.Bank of America is quoting an exchange rate of 436 c's to $1,which I think is low. Some postings indicate that U.S. money is taken everywhere in CR. Any input?
2.Will be staying 4 nights in Arenal at the paraiso. Which zip-line is recommended...Arenal paraiso's, Tabacon's or the sky trek?
3.Has anyone used Desafio tours, particularly for a class2/3 rapids trip?

Please feel free to make any other observations on must-see/do trips. I appreciate your input and can't wait to go!
Muchas gracias!
ljv is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2005, 04:38 AM
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I would not exchange money before arrival. Actually we do not exchange money, USD is widely accepted, the only Colones we carry are those that we get in making change. As we branch out to lesser traveled areas, I am sure this will change.

I don't remember Tabacon having a zipline. And I do not do ziplines. But my understanding is that AP is a good starter line to help one over there fear.

Desafio was mentioned in a couple of trip reports in the past few months. May want to do a search of this in the search section at the top of this page.
dfarmer is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2005, 04:44 AM
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We just returned from CR, you can read my trip report (12 days CR part 1 & 2), we loved Arenal area you will enjoy it. Like dfarmer, we never exchaged our money, there is no problem w/$ and everyone takes it and will give you change in colones. When we were there a week ago, the exchange rate was 470 colones to the $. We used our credit card for a lot of our purchases, but we always do that since we don't like to carry a lot of cash. We had no problems using our card and used it where we could, even at the grocery store.

We didn't do a zip line in Arenal, but while there we met a couple who really enjoyed the Sky Trek line as a lot of posters here have as well.

Have fun! Where will you be staying the rest of your visit?
cookbound is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2005, 09:06 AM
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thanks for the input everyone. I guess I won't bother exchanging...I'll probably do better with US $.

Cookbound...we'll be staying at the fiesta premier for 5 nights and plan to dive/snorkel, visit Rincon de la Vieja, surf at Tamarindo and possibly relax at the pool! Also have our first night at the villablanca cloud forest hotel.
ljv is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2005, 10:11 AM
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I can answer 2 questions:

Exchange some of the money for taxis and some restaurants. Almost everyplace takes dollars. Bring a calculator to assure you get the correct change. When you pay in dollars, you will get change in colones.

2) I went to Sky Trek. The views are spectacular. I however liked the canopy MUCH better in Monteverde.

Have a great time.
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Old Jul 24th, 2005, 02:23 PM
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You will get more answers if you are more specific in your title...I suggest "3 questions on Costa Rica" for example, or "3 questions on Arenal"

Many places in costa Rica accept USA dollars and will give you change in either colones or USA dollars, your choice. There may be places that only accept colones, but we didn't run into any...

When I researched costa rica zip-lines, the newest and fastest zip-line is the Sky Tram/Sky Trek zip-line in Arenal. I signed my family up for this and they enjoyed the thrill of it, you go fast. We didn't do the zip-line in Monteverde. We were impressed with the safety precautions and the condition of the equipment at Sky Tram/Sky Trek, arenal.

Melissa5 is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2005, 05:29 AM
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for general information, there ARE places that only take colones. You can change money at the airport.
cosmosmama is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2005, 01:18 PM
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US dollars were accepted nearly everywhere. Most places accept credit cards. We stopped for gasoline and paid an exchange rate when we had only USD on hand.

The exchange rate is set up to change daily. Don't bother exchanging prior to departure. Frequently, you will receive Colones in change if paying in cash Dollars.

Haven't used Desafio. Did class 3/4 rapids on the Pacuare. Also did a float tour - safari raft. Would have to check CC receipts for company names.

Ask the rafting company what meals are included and where they will be eaten. We had breakfast at a hilltop restaurant outside of San Jose, and had lunch at a roadside restaurant near Tres Equis. Some rafting companies stop along the riverbanks and eat lunch there, and then continue on downstream.

If you do a safari float river trip, ask if the boat that you are booking has a cover / roof. Ask what size / type of boat or raft. We saw a photo of a decent boat & booked a trip - and on the day of our excursion, we floated away on another boat. It was not horrible, just wasn't the same as our expectations.

Stayed at Tabacon and never saw a zip line. Read and kept their activities chart which listed several trips from the hotel.

The nearest Zip Line just might be SkyTram / SkyTrek. They might ask for $60/person to ride the Tram up to the observation deck and to ride the Zip Lines down from there. Some people only Tram to the top and check out the views. Anyway, I had researched and found that most people were paying $45 for zip lines and we paid $45/person after "buying a car" from the guy behind the desk. "Buying a car" is my euphemism for price haggling.

Some zip lines go from tree to tree. Some go from man-made tower to tower. At SkyTrek Arenal, they are tree to tree, with steel and plastic platforms you stand upon at launch and landing. Really felt safe there as the equipment was just installed.

The braking system was by a mechanism contained within the handles, instead of dragging a gloved hand on the cable (yikes!) Your body weight is not suspended by your arms, so upper body strength is not imperative. The harness around your waist holds your body weight to the pulley.

It's fun to be excited and nervous before a trip. It's like banging your head against a wall. Feels so good when you stop!
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