Costa Rica - 10 day trip by rental car

Old May 25th, 2009, 01:19 PM
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Costa Rica - 10 day trip by rental car

I am trying to plan a trip to Costa Rica for the end of July. There will be four 25 y.o. guys going and we will be there for 8 full days (plus the 2 travel days). For three of us it will be our first trip to CR, so our initial plan was to rent a car and just drive from place to place. Does anyone have any suggestions? either something we must do or something that would be a waste? Is it feasible to travel by rental car?

Our interests: We want to do a little bit of everything. we would love to go white water rafting, hiking, biking, zip lining to cover our adventurous side as well as some nice beach days to go surfing (a good night life wouldn't hurt either). We did the amazon in brazil a couple years ago so we would also love to see the rain forest and wildlife CR has to offer.

We want to experience the local culture and people so we don't really like staying in fancy hotels. Any suggestions on cities to visit, activities, driving, tours, or where to stay would be great. Thanks.
dkukulka is offline  
Old May 25th, 2009, 06:33 PM
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I think edaviscr's recommendations sound good for you guys.

Arenal is known for it's variety of activities. The SkyTrek ziplines there are a great adrenaline rush, and you'll also have lots of hiking available plus a lava show from the volcano if the weather cooperates.

I haven't been up to Guanacaste yet, but I know there are a number of nice beaches there, and it's a popular area with surfers.

Some of the best white water rafting is on the Rio Pacuare, which can be arranged as a daytrip (or multi-day trip) from San Jose. If you fly into SJO, you could tack your rafting on to the beginning or end of your trip but this would take a day away from one of your other destinations.

If you want a few days that are more immersed in nature and off-the-beaten-path. The Osa Peninsula is phenomenal for hiking and wildlife viewing in primary and secondary growth rain forest.

You don't have to do fancy hotels in CR. There's a wide range of accommodation types available to fit your preference and budget. Once you narrow down an itinerary, people here can make more specific recs if you need them.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 07:05 PM
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I would recommend checking out Puerto Viejo. It is a great area for biking and surfing. It's less touristy, but still has great food, restaurants and vibe. You don't really need a car there since you can walk and bike pretty easily, but some people rent a car there. You could do the rafting on the Pacuare/x-fer from San Jose to Puerto Viejo, or from Puerto Viejo to Arenal. Definitely go to Arenal for your adrenaline adventures, hot springs, the Cano Negro tour is a great wildlife excursion on the river too. Many people do like to have a car in this area because it's a bit more sprawling, but it's not necessary. Taxis aren't that expensive and most tours offer pick up and drop off.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 08:09 PM
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You guys sound like adventurers! I would definitely rent the car and go However, like the other posters say definitely go to Arenal/La Fortuna area. There is a bunch of adventures and a mild nightlife. YOu can do hanging bridges, a Volcano hike, cano negro day tour, and soak away in hot springs.

Then head over the beach for more fun.

My question is, when you say biking do you mean mountain biking, or leisure biking. There are special mountain biking tours, that are great. But for leisure, I'd go with what hipvirgochick said about Puerto Viejo.

Plus, in Arenal, you guys might want get your full on adventure spirit rocking, with rafting and caving and then on the beach, do water sports like surfing, boogy boarding.
Guanacaste beaches like Tamarindo, Playa Grande, Samara are really fun. If you can work it out, I would check out Montezuma as well. Not the best surf, but definitely fun for young guys!

Hope this helps,
Marina K. Villatoro
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Old May 27th, 2009, 11:34 AM
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Julrustica makes some good recommendations, but I'm not sure if that's the itinerary I would select for a group of 25 year old guys. No disrespect intended, julrustica!

Grecia, Sarchi and Zarcero are great, but you can get an overview of them on the drive from San Jose to Arenal, if you take the appropriate route. Sarchi is known as an arts/crafts center, and has lots of shopping opportunities available (which might not be so exciting to guys). Zarcero and Grecia both have notable town squares and very pretty churches, but are not necessarily destinations in their own right. You'd probably enjoy driving through them and maybe making a brief stop in each.

Poas is very cool if you can get there early in the morning to see the crater. I also really enjoyed the Doka coffee plantation tour, but once again, might not make that a high priority for 25 year old guys. The zip lining I would definitely save for Arenal. SkyTrek is a great adrenaline rush!

I wouldn't try to cram both Monteverde and Arenal into your week; too much moving around and Arenal will keep you plenty busy. Hip's suggestion of Puerto Viejo has good merit for your beach time (Manuel Antonio or a locale in Guanacaste could work as well).

As you can see, lots of choices are available. All of them made here have merit, but you have to decide what types of activities are most interesting to you.
cmerrell is offline  
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