Best Bag for 14 days in CR

Old Jul 10th, 2007, 12:23 AM
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Best Bag for 14 days in CR

Hello Everyone,
Many thanks for all of the help in planning our itinerary for our 2 week November trip. My husband and I, along with our 9 and 7 year olds, will be spending our time as follows:
Arenal - Lost Iguana
MA - Buena Vista Villas
PJ - Bosque del Cabo (Toucan Cabina).
I am looking to purcahse new bags for each of us and I am interested in knowing what you all think is the BEST bag for a 2 week stay (we are flying Nature Air in the country).
Thanks for your input!
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 03:48 AM
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Hi, julie - my husband and I just got back from Bosque del Cabo. We used the weekender convertible bags from ebags.com. We each had one and loved them. I was in a bit of a panic because I knew we had to keep things under the Sansa weight limit, and all our luggage is the big rolling kind. I found that bag recommended on this board. It was a bit of a challenge getting my bag delivered; UPS delivered to the wrong house, and the people there kept my bag! I guess they really liked it! After two weeks, I finally had them track it, and they went over and got it and delivered it to me just before our trip.

The bag is kind of a combo backpack/small suitcase. It can be carried by the handle or over your shoulder. Has lots of zippered pockets to keep things separate. I was able to pack 7 t-shirts, shorts, capris, swimsuit, etc. so it worked out great for us. A lot of places in CR will let you send your laundry out for cleaning, so you may not need to bring as much as you might think. My total luggage weight was 21 pounds vs. 50 pounds with my bigger suitcase.

If you go to the ebags.com website, you can see pics and read the reviews; it gets rated highly by people who have used it.

I ordered the eggplant colored one - made it really easy to spot amongst all the black luggage.

By the way, we stayed at the Lost Iguana and loved it, and we stayed in the Toucan cabin at BdC - it's nice and has a loft upstairs with two beds for the kids. Have a wonderful trip!
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 07:24 AM
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I don't travel to CR, but on trips to Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala (3-4 weeks long) I prefer to travel with a carry-on sized conversion pack. I'm not a fan of wheels because they take too much space out of a carry-on sized bag, are heavy, and don't work in most of the places I want to travel (outside of airports). I try to keep my weight to around 15 pounds so shouldering the pack is easy. With a pack you want to be sure it's really comfortable with weight before you head out.

REI has a great deal going right now on 2 excellent travel packs, the Vagabond and the Hitchhiker. My son just returned with his Vagabond from 6 weeks in Guatemala where he was in a human rights delegation. He was the only one in the group who traveled really light (even his little sleeping bag fit in his bag!) and he's guessing every one on the trip will travel light from now on - lots of moaning and groaning and small bag envy. He checked it on the way home because he bought a sword down there. There straps tuck away so they won't get caught in conveyers. I asked him if there was anything he would change about it and he said it just looks a little too new, even after multiple trips.

I have the Hitchhiker and an older Columbia Pakmandu - haven't decided which to take to Guatemala in August. The Pakmandu is larger (but still within carry-on restrictions) and I may take that to allow space for textile and carved wood gifts on the way home.

Here are links to the REI packs. Let me know if you have questions or are interested in my packing list. Happy trails!

http://www.rei.com/product/726060
http://www.rei.com/product/726068
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 09:22 AM
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We use the Weekender by Ebags as well (in Eggplant, same as volcanogirl . You can pack a ton in it, it has nice organizer pockets and it's super light. Plus, the price is right and it works for a 2+ week stay. We also use a Kenneth Cole Reaction Lite rolling carry-on (it has wheels, but about 30% lighter than most rollers). I like this one because it does expand if needed.

Looks like you have a fun itinerary. Have a great time!
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 11:21 AM
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On our June trip to CR we used the vacuum sealing bags from REI to pack our clothes in- really saved space:

Eagle Creek Pack-It Compressor - Medium
$10.00 Item 658658


We used REI Stratocruiser Wheeled Pack 2.0 - 22 Inch. I got 2 weeks worth of clothes in it (had laundry done once while in CR)using the vacuum sealing bags, and it is a carry-on! Loved it! It's very lightweight, converts to backpack, has side handles to cary like a suitcase, fits in overhead bin....

$180.00 Item 747780
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 02:15 PM
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I, too, bought the weekender on the advice found here on this board. Mine is pink (hee). I am 5' tall--so wearing it backpack style did get some stares (it's pretty large on my frame)--but it was totally portable.

My husband used his large backpack and had no issues, but he doesn't fold his clothes.
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 02:46 PM
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Thanks Everyone!
I am researching all of the packs you shared. May have more questions to follow including packing list advice but not quite ready for that yet.
Volcanogirl: I would love to here more about the Toucan cabin... does it have a deck, outside seating area, view? Where is it situated on the property? Any details will be so fun to hear! Thanks.
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 03:05 PM
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campjulie -- volcanogirl will give you specs on Toucan, but just so you know, there are no bad cabins at BDC! All deluxe and standard have outdoor "deck" areas with seating and are well situated around the main building.

I returned recently from a trip with my 10 year old and we had a blast. Your kids are going to love it!
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 03:24 PM
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Oh, we liked Toucan a lot. It's on the opposite side from where Mariposa, Congo, and Lapa are. If you're facing the ocean, I believe it's the 4th cabin in from the right. Some of them are wood construction, but this one is stucco and tile. It has a king-sized bed downstairs and a little couch and a chair and then a loft upstairs with two more beds - doubles I think.

It has a front porch with two rocking chairs and then a little cement area closer to the water that has two lounge chairs on it. And it has a side porch with two more chairs on it. Everything was done in shades of blue, and there were carvings and masks of toucans on the walls.

All the deluxe cabins have a view of the ocean. We liked our view - every day the scarlet macaws would fly by between 2:00 and 4:00 and we would try to take their picture as they flew in the opening between the trees.

One thing I wasn't expecting - the cabin had two gooseneck reading lamps so we could read in bed. Not sure if they all have that or not. We didn't use the loft area at all, but we went upstairs to check it out. The cabin has a thatched roof, and it's open to the outside at a certain point to let the air circulate. Seemed kind of warm to us up there, but it does have a fan you can plug in. I was worried a bat would fly in through the roof opening, but did not happen thankfully. The people in Manglillo did get a bat while we were there. Eeek!

All the beds have mosquito netting that you can put down at night. The windows are screened and have wooden louvers that you can open to get a breeze. The doors across the front are just wooden louvered sliding doors - no locks. You can leave them open to catch a breeze or close them for more privacy and to keep critters out.

We had fresh flowers in our room, which I thought was a very nice touch. Oh, and it has a hammock. I'm not sure if they all have the same amenities or not; I know some have lofts and some don't. Oh, and it had a safe too, but we never used it.

Feel free to ask me any questions. I too was really concerned about getting a "good" cabin, but I think it turns out they're all good.

I probably would not want to stay in the garden cabins - they have a longer walk to get to the restaurant, and it would freak me out to walk it at night since you have to go over the trails and the suspension bridge. Plus I really enjoy having an ocean view, but people who stayed in the garden seemed to like them.
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 03:37 PM
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Thanks for the description of Toucan. I have had this trip booked for months and we are not going until the last two weeks of November. Now I am in the mountains (working) for the summer and doing a bit of online shopping where I can. So much fun to plan and visualize the places through your reports!

Must confess I was feeling very adventurous when I booked, now the reality of two weeks with two small kids (one who is terrified of most critters and all bugs) is setting in. Zip lines? Sure! Husband driving on the roads of CR? Sure! Wild animals outside our door? Sure! Look for my "Need Reassuring Posts" as the months unfold.

Love the weekender convertible bag on ebags. The purple and pink are not options which will be fine, but just want to be sure I am looking at the same bag. Are there more than one Weekend Convertible? And... did any of you who used this bag also bring a small day pack for hkes.

Much appreciation.

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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 04:17 PM
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It's the Weekender by Ebags. There's just the one, but it looks like eggplant and pink are out of stock.

Definitely bring a day pack, especially with 4 people, for things like sunscreen, bug repellant, chapstick, flashlight, map, camera, rain ponchos, snack. Those water carriers might be nice for the kids to carry themselves. I go prepared on hikes because you never know when you might stay longer than planned and getting torn up by mosquitoes is no fun. We always needed to reapply on the BDC trails. Also, BDC will pack your lunch for you if you think you will be gone for lunchtime, which is nice
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 04:17 PM
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cj, you will do great. I am such a city girl. My husband didn't think I would make it either. He kept saying he wanted to see me live without air conditioning - I keep ours running all the time! Everything may not go perfectly, but you will have such a good time and see amazing things.

There's only one weekender convertible bag that I'm aware of. They run out of certain colors sometime, so that's why the picture won't pop up. My husband got the blue one, and it's cute and still easy to distinguish from the sea of black at the airport.

We didn't have any critters come into our cabin. Some people sleep with those front doors wide open, but we kept ours closed at night. We did get a few bugs but nothing too freaky - mostly small moths. Bosque is actually pretty posh - really nice food, bar, small pool, ice for the drinks, etc. It's amazing they can do all that in the jungle.

Regarding the bag for day hikes, it's nice to have a place to store a couple of bottles of water; you definitely need it when you're doing the trails. We didn't have anything, so we ended up using our camera case. I think any little bag that can go over your shoulder and hold water would be great.

hvc and cbw - funny we have the same bag! I never thought I could fit all my stuff in there, but now I'm a convert to traveling light.
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 03:40 PM
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Campjulie--when will you be at BDC? I will be there with my parents for the last few days of Thanksgiving week. We will be the Asian family (+ my husband) and my parents will probably be bickering. Uh...maybe you'll want to avoid us?
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 04:39 PM
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CBW - LOL!
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 06:11 PM
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cbw - too funny! I suggest you send them straight to Jose for a couple of those margaritas!

Which cabina did you guys get?
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 07:39 PM
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cbw: We will be at BdC for 4 nights - M - F the last week in November with our two kids: the bugophob and picky eater. You may want to avoid us!
Which Cabina did you say
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 07:41 PM
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Oh, I guess we will just miss you, alas! I am not sure what cabinas we are in--we requested Mariposa, our honeymoon cabina for us, and a cabina with a loft for my parents. We also asked that they NOT be right next to each other We'll see!
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Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 10:17 AM
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High Sierra makes wheeled 3 in 1 back packs. The 22"size for carry on has smaller inline skate type wheels,handle on top telescoping,handles on side too. Then removable tough zippered packback,that attaches and reattaches to main wheeld unit. The main unit has hidden backpack straps too,the attached zippered pack has handle too with comartmetns for small items but the capacity for storing two days of clothes.
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Old Jul 24th, 2007, 01:59 PM
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campjulie, I forgot to mention to you that Toucan has a nice bathtub too in case the kids don't want to use the shower. It's very fun to take a bath in the middle of the jungle. Not all the cabins have tubs, but I know Mariposa does. There were two men staying there when we were there, and they were using it to keep their beer cold!
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Old Jul 26th, 2007, 11:14 PM
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volcanogirl: Guess my husband and daughters will have to draw straws to see if cold beer or baths win out! Thanks everyone for your bag tips. I ended up getting EagleCreek backpacks with detachable daypacks for my husband and me... They are light - carry-ons that I think we will get a lot of use out of. I am considering the Weekender bag that so many of you rave about for my girls but may want to go with smaller wheeled bags for them. My husband cannot believe I am willing to take only a carry on. He said, "I think your "new Fodor Friends" are a good influence on you!"
Our trip is still 3 and a half months away - can't wait!
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