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Backpacking tips –places for 10 days trip to Costa Rica?

Backpacking tips –places for 10 days trip to Costa Rica?

Old Jan 23rd, 2014, 11:35 PM
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Backpacking tips –places for 10 days trip to Costa Rica?

Hi there!
I’m going to Costa Rica next month for a ten day - 2 weeks (low budget ?) trip, and have just started researching via forum and soon guidebooks.
I’ll fly to San Hose and will venture around the country, and then will also go to Panama and/or possibly Nicaragua if time and costs permit (and will ask at those forums for some tips).
Could you suggest some nice spots to visit in Costa Rica, at low budget levels of comfort?
Resorts and travel companies, are out of the question…
I hope to move around with public transport, stay at simple hotels/ hostels, walk around cities and villages, have some daytrips to nature from there, possibly on our own with other travelers, or with the help of a local guide etc.
My interests would be beaches, culture, villages, forest, volcanoes… well, maybe too ambitious for backpacking? We’ll see…
Many thanks, happy travels to all!
Nikolaos
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Old Jan 24th, 2014, 02:12 PM
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So you're going to Costa Rica, and Panama, and Nicaragua... on a 1 month trip?
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Old Jan 25th, 2014, 07:15 AM
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Hi Nikolaos,

Can you give us a budget?

In San Jose, we liked Cinco Hormigas Rojas (Five Red Ants, a quirky spot run by a Tico artist. In Sarapaqui, Tirimbina is a lodge run by an environmental school, and frequented by researchers. It's right next door to a more costly lodge, and for the price of a beer, you can use their facilities. Sarapaqui is a wildlife-rich area very accessible by bus from San Jose (that's how we got there.)
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Old Jan 25th, 2014, 07:32 AM
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I should add that we stayed at the spot in San Jose years ago. I've read that it has since gone up in price quite a bit. It is also not for everyone, as the owner is as quirky as her rooms, and it's just very ----- different.
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Old Jan 26th, 2014, 12:56 AM
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hi guys, many thanks for the tips (and sorry beiing a little late to get back!)
My whole trip to Central America will be 4 weeks, not long enough for all the nice places of CR, Panama and Nicaragua , so I think I'd compromise with seeing just a sample - at least some parts of the 3 countries more easily reached, as based at San Hose .
Well, that's the plan! and it is evolving....
and maybe I will not have the chance to travel again to this area, so, that's it!
Budget for all these would be ideally between 1000 euro -1500 us$... obviously too little for the fine beach luxuries which are scattered around the 2 coasts, but will try to keep it low and still see some more low key - high interest sights...
do you think it is possible?
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Old Jan 26th, 2014, 05:21 AM
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So approx. $400 US per week? Yes, I think it's possible, if you don't include plane fare in this total.

Are you posting on Lonely Planet as well?
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Old Jan 26th, 2014, 10:19 AM
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thanks Cattail for costs tip and yes I asked also there...
In $ 400 I don't include airfare from here (Greece) and also within Central America I'll try to avoid flights.
From what I understand, there is a flactuating situation regarding demand for carrying on you exit flight ticket when you enter Panama, or maybe just bus ticket. Hopefully rules are not very tight, let's see...
C.R. is said to be the most expensive of these 3 coutries, so lets say, a week there would cost double (or more?) than neighbour countries for similar things?
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Old Jan 26th, 2014, 10:43 AM
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Rethink the plan of basing yourself in San Jose. Also you will probably do better posting on tripadvisor. They will undoubtedly steer you toward the coast around Cahuita.

You can find a range of lodging prices around La Fortuna for Arenal volcano, waterfall, and hot springs (Baldi is the cheap one in town).

Several of my friends in CR prefer to go to Nicaragua these days for their own vacations.
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Old Jan 27th, 2014, 12:06 PM
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I really rethink many aspects of the itinerary. Though, S.Hose has to be the base, in the sense that the international flights are already booked and I fly in/out of there...
But after landing, no limitations...
Nicaragua will definately be in the plan, probably for the most part of the trip.
another downside of returning all the time via S.H. is that I must pay a tax in/out of the country? It seems I'll enter Costa Rica 3 times in a month! (go Panama, return, go Nic/a, return). Now I realize, it doesn't seem so clever...
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Old Jan 27th, 2014, 12:50 PM
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and those bureaucratic complications to get through the borders could be a big trouble, with onward tickets etc, a mistake there or a strange officer can ruin your itinerary, reservations and so on...
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Old Jan 27th, 2014, 01:55 PM
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Just because you fly in to San Jose (not spelled with an H) I meant you don't need to spend much time there, ie in the sense of not having a hotel room that you book for the whole time.

Maybe I would drop Panama entirely, I think one border crossing in and out is enough.
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 11:30 PM
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I'm tempted to follow your advise about cutting Panama off...
The border thing has a degree of uncertainty, which can upset a good some days period of precious travel time
maybe the final decisions will be made once on the ground...
thanks again
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