$ and Maps for Costa Rica

Old Jan 13th, 2006, 07:02 AM
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$ and Maps for Costa Rica

Going to CR next month. Any ideas where I can get best map for traveling around Malpais and up to Tamarindo? Also,getting conflicting advice on money matters. Will most places take American, Visa etc. and are ATM's prevelant? Thank You
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Old Jan 13th, 2006, 09:35 AM
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There are many maps online, it's actually fairly simple from Mal Pais to Tamarindo. Go to www.maptak.com. As far as money goes American dollars are accepted everywhere and the exchange is usually fair. Visa is hit or miss in Mal Pais. Most restaurants charge extra to use credit cards, if at all because their fees are so high. Everyone there prefers cash. There is a new ATM at the crossroads of Mal Pais/Santa Teresa. Tamarindo is more built up and credit card use is more prevalent there.
Have a great trip!
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Old Jan 13th, 2006, 09:41 AM
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To be honest, most of the regional/chapter maps of guidebooks should be fine for travelling around. If a road doesn't appear on those maps, there is probably little chance that you'd want to (or be able to) navigate it unless you are in a super-durable 4x4. Malpais/Santa Teresa are small enough that you really don't need a map, but I'm sure that tourist maps exist which you can pick up at hotels, etc.

Couple sites that might help though: www.malpais.net

Up in Tamarindo, I can recommend a few good places to stay. If you're looking for budget accomodations, there is a hostel called "La Botella de Leche"--has a distinctly party atmosphere, but is cheap and good. A step up there are Las Villas Macondo. About $30/night. Of course there are the more luxurious places like Tamarindo Diria, the Barcelo over at Playa Langosta, etc.

Malpais--not sure if they have an ATM there or not. Tamarindo I'm nearly positive they do. Credit cards are hit and miss. Visa is more prevalent than AMEX, and generally speaking nicer places more frequently take cards. In Tamarindo you'll have more luck w/ cards, probably less so in Malpais/Santa Teresa.

One more thing...Santa Teresa (right next to Malpais) is a little nicer in terms of beach/acommodations/etc.

if you're interested in a surf camp, i can connect you with a friend who is in the process of starting one up right now. they're a little bit cheaper than Witches Rock and some of the more established ones, but just as good.

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Old Jan 13th, 2006, 11:49 AM
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thanks for all the info. I should have stated we were flying into Liberia airport and traveling to Malpais from there hoping to arrive before dark. Staying at Tropicano Latino. Any advice on these roads would also be appreciated. Thanks much
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Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:07 PM
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As far as maps in general I loved the National Geographic Map if Costa Rica. I got it from their website, Amazon said it was out of print. I haven't traveled in this area but it showed every road in central CR. I also was confused about money. Based on posts on this site I brought american dollars and lots of 1 dollar bills. I didn't use the latter at all, one place only accepted dollars but everywhere else wanted local money (which wasn't a problem because there was ATMs around). SO I think it depends on where you are...
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Old Jan 14th, 2006, 08:56 PM
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A great map to have is the Berndston & Berndston laminated map--available online and at Barnes & Noble.

What time are you arriving in Liberia? Plan on 1.5 hour before you are actually on the road--if it is less than than, then that would be a nice bonus!

2 hours down to Puntarenas and the ferry

1.5 hour on the ferry to Paquera (and you should arrive at the ferry landing at least 30 min early--double check the times--they change!)

1.5 hour from Paquera to MalPais/Ste. Teresa. The road is paved but potholed until Cobano. From there it is unpaved and wash-boardy--fairly slow going. That's about the last 30 minutes (or 20).

I would not advise crossing the Friendship Bridge and driving down the peninsula on the east side unless there have been major improvements in the road lately. It was excruciatingly horrible in July and the rains in Aug-Sept-Oct made it worse. Deep deep ruts for a VERY long time--much of the southern part of the road is unpaved.

Of course, I don't know how your arrival time will mesh with the ferry schedule. But if you can get it to work out, the ferry would be the best way to go.

You really should not be on these roads after dark, so do stay overnight in Liberia unless you arrive in the morning. It gets dark by 6:00, and your travel time from Liberia will be between 5 and 6 hours. Particularly if you decide to take highway 21 all the way down (on the really bad road) you absolutely should not be on it after dark. This coming from someone who thinks most roads in Costa Rica are very decent!
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