car rental and travel

Jan 27th, 2008, 08:13 AM
  #1  
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car rental and travel

My wife and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica from 2/24/08 thru 3/6/08. We like to drive around without making any reservations beforehand and just go with the flow. Is that adviseable or should we specifically plan an itinerary? I would like to fish Tarpon but have not had much luck finding info about it. Also would like to fish in the Pacific but it looks really expensive. We want to rent a car but have been told it can be unsafe. Roads are terrible and break-ins are frequent. Only park in a secured area and never leave anything in the car unattended. Is that true? Where do I find a map of San Jose and the country? Please advise. Thank you.
timthemaster is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 12:40 AM
  #2  
 
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We always rent a car for our two week travels in Costa Rica. 7th trip down is coming up soon. We are young 50's. Thankfully we have never had an issue with theft, flat tire, etc. We mostly have rented a Toyota Corolla and find they are very capable to travel even the rougher roads in the dry season and can climb steep and rocky private drive ways. The Rav4 was good to have for our trip to Monteverde and I would prefer the higher clearance but like to avoid the added rental $$ and gas costs.

We have broken the rule a few times of not leaving our car with luggage in it but highly advise against that. The more I read and talk to others about their unfortunate experiences I see it is very risky. If you stop for lunch with luggage park at restaurants where you can keep an eye on it. I prefer an auto with a trunk to keep our things hidden in a situation like that.

Roads vary from good surface to bumpity bump to "whatch out for the potholes"! I bought my map online from ITMB direct from the company but I believe Amazon.com offers it. It's a good map with much detail though mine is a bit outdated with some of the unimproved backroads shown, now paved. Barnes and Nobles may have maps also.

We always reserve our accomodations because we are very particular where we stay. I'd say from reading you can go with the flow and find some thing with a vacancy in most areas if not peak travel holidays. There are alot of acommodations in popular areas and quite a few mid range to budget in less poular. Just dropping in I've read you can often get the best deal if you are savvy.

Have a wonderful journey!
Earthtraveler is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 04:57 AM
  #3  
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Thank you for your input. It REALLY helps. I have to go to work but will be back later. Do you know anything about Tarpon fishing. I've always wanted to do that but have not had any luck finding reference. Also Pacific side fishing looks a little expensive, although deep sea fishing is something that intrigues me. Any thoughts. Thanks, again.
timthemaster is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 06:23 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 105
"I would like to fish Tarpon but have not had much luck finding info about it."
As far as I know tarpon fishing is good in the Tortuguero area, here are some offers:
www.riocoloradolodge.com
www.jungletarpon.com

Where do I find a map of San Jose and the country? In the internet you find an excellent map of Costa Rica here: www.yourtravelmap.com. If you are looking for a real map I can recommend the map from Berndtson & Berndtson.

"We want to rent a car but have been told it can be unsafe. Roads are terrible and break-ins are frequent. Only park in a secured area and never leave anything in the car unattended. Is that true?" It is true that you shouldn't leave anything unattended in the car. It is safer to take a hotel first and leave the luggage in the hotel and then go sightseeing or go to the beach. Sadly this is the way you should do it.
It is safer to drive during the day and not by night, because it is easier to spot potholes and other surprises on the road. I recommend you to rent a 4x4 in Cost Rica, sometimes it is necessary because of the clearance. I usually rent a Terios from www.wild-rider.com, it is a small 4x4 which is good for 2 or 3 people. A Rav4 is a bit more comfortable but has a higher rental rate and consumes more gas.
Jim_Boo is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 09:50 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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We, too, have used the Berndston & Berndston map for years. It's an excellent resource.

It's very true that you have to guard your car carefully. We even had someone remove the entire lock from the driver's door while it was parked temporarily in front of the Hotel Villa Bonita. ANYTHING can and will happen if you provide the opportunity. Even for a few minutes. The thiefs were going to take the lock and have a key made so they could steal the vehicle.

You'll find that all cities of any size (Heredia, Alajuela, San Jose, etc, Cartago, San Isidro, etc) will offer lots of secure parking inside an enclosed area with an attendant. It costs very little, but if you plan to park in a town and go looking around, you must do this. Everyone does. . .

shillmac is offline  
Jan 30th, 2008, 04:58 AM
  #6  
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Thank you. I am investigating when i get time. I appreciate your input.
timthemaster is offline  
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