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COSTA RICA 9 DAY ANNIVERSARY TRIP

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Sep 20th, 2011, 01:12 PM
  #1
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COSTA RICA 9 DAY ANNIVERSARY TRIP

I am new to the forum, and seeking some friendly and experienced guidance. Volcanogirl, I am counting on YOU! I have read so many wonderful posts.

My husband and I will celebrate 10 years June 1. He has never flown or been out of the country, and my experience has been limited. We are dreaming of a Costa Rican vacation! We don't want a packaged trip - we really want to go as explorers. We would like to be able to rent a house in the Central Valley - OROSI. However, we want to be able to branch out from there. We don't want to rent a car because of the hefty security deposit and our unfamiliarity with the highways, etc.

I guess my question is - would it be reasonable to rely on the public bus system to get us from town to town or lodging to lodging, and skip around the country that way? Would we be better off to rent a house for a week, and then hire a driver in town or use the bus system to get to a few places within that vicinity? We are on a BUDGET, but we very much would like to visit BOTH coasts, see at least one volcano, rain forest, etc. We are open to new experiences, and want to sample the authenticity of Costa Rica without the pre packaging. Could we perhaps land in SJO, and take the bus from there for the next 7 days, around the country and to various lodgings?

I appreciate any help/advice.
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Sep 21st, 2011, 03:15 AM
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Shillmac is buiding or has built a house there

most knowledgeable about that area might PM her

www.vrbo.com/226957

lots of other good rental options but not cheap

Personally prefer www.hotelcasaturire.com there

My wife and I had an amazing stay there

from $90/nt when there last GREAT food vibe

thebusschedule.com for your budget bus options

watch for theft put nothing in the overheads

cheap but not great... driver/guides from $50 per half day

my fav if you do not want to rent a car...

odysseytourscr.com Al/Diego dosgringoscr.com 2 good ones


Congrats,Happy Travels!
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Sep 21st, 2011, 03:23 AM
  #3
 
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Also

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tucan-...85033364863689

Luis aka RoadAdvisor over on TA

Helpful guide mostly good reviews...

Personally find rental the best way to go for cost and

flexibility econos from $200/wk usually pay for a whole week

with what 1 day long drive with a driver would cost...

mapache.com
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Sep 21st, 2011, 04:37 AM
  #4
RAC
 
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With only about one week of full days, I don't think you can visit many areas within Costa Rica while relying upon public buses. You'd spend most of your vacation sitting in or waiting for a bus.

If you're staying near Orosi, you can see the Irazu Volcano end Tapanti rain forest, or you could swing up to Sarapiqui for fantastic (and affordable) rainforest experiences,and then the Caribbean, or you could head straight to Tortuguero (though this may be more expensive).

My best advice would be to read a guidebook and pick out 2 main areas to stay/visit, based on appeal and logistical possibility. You won't have time to see all of the must-sees--that would take at least two months.
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Sep 21st, 2011, 04:40 AM
  #5
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Also, for hotel recommendations it helps to know what your budget is. $75/night? $200/night? Etc.
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Sep 21st, 2011, 05:39 AM
  #6
 
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Good advice from RAC. It takes longer to get from Point A to Point B than appears on a map. Also, check out a public shuttle, such as Interbus, for affordable transportation. Yes, what is your budget?

You truly can't go wrong; in three (hopefully going on four) visits, we are yet to be disappointed by any area we've visited!
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Sep 21st, 2011, 07:42 AM
  #7
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BUDGET is $75 - $100 night. although, we are open to splurging beachside or volcano side. We say we are on a budget, so there is some type of control there, but we are not looking for CHEAP CHEAP.
With car rental: the thought of driving in SJO terrifies the living daylights out of me. Also does the thought of being in a foreign country, putting a security deposit down, and the possibility of any type of fender bender - not being familiar with all of their laws, but being familiar with the rate of traffic accidents, etc. I don't want to expose ourselves to unnecessary risk. Thoughts?
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Sep 21st, 2011, 09:17 AM
  #8
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You don't need to drive inside San Jose--the airport is about 15 minutes west of there in Alajuela. It's not scary like New York--mostly annoying and confusing--no street signs.

For various areas that have been/will be suggested, here are places we've stayed we can personally recommend:

1) Arenal Area--Arenal Observatory Lodge has the best views, hiking, and wildlife of any location, lodging or otherwise, in the area. It's remote--about 30 minutes from town using some rough roads. Standard room (volcano view from balcony) runs about $110 tax and breakfast included and Smithsonian (direct volcano view from your bed with private balcony) runs about $135 a night, tax and breakfast included.

http://www.arenalobservatorylodge.com/index.php

2) Manuel Antonio--La Posada Jungle Bungalows are practically in the national park--only separated by an iron fence. Rooms are about $67-$78 per night, tax and breakfast included, while poolside bungalows are about $89/night, tax and breakfast included.

http://www.laposadajungle.com/index.htm

3) San Jose airport area/Alajuela: Orquideas Inn. $94 night, tax included, gets you a room with volcano views, a king sized bed, etc. Lovely grounds and pool, about 20 minutes from airport, on the crossroads for roads leading to the airport, Manuel Antonio, Arenal (plus Grecia and Sarchi and Zarcero) and Poas volcano.

4) Sarapiqui area--Selva Verde lodge--guaranteed monkeys and toucans, plus who knows what else. Very good service, well-established lodge with its own private wildlife reserve--central to all activities in the area. River room is $113, breakfast and tax included.
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Sep 21st, 2011, 09:42 AM
  #9
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THank you kindly for the excellent info! I really appreciate it, and we will certainly give our time and attention to looking at your suggestions. I have heard wonderful things about Selva Verde. If you have a beach suggestion, let me know - Pacific side, or Caribbean side?
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Sep 21st, 2011, 09:51 AM
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With limited time, I would just pick two places to stay. Arenal and Manuel Antonio for example. Doing day trips from one place will eat up too much of your time. Good suggestions above.
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Sep 21st, 2011, 10:51 AM
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Hi, J. I agree with everyone else; day trips eat up too much of your time. Arenal and Manuel Antonio make a nice split for a first trip and both areas are fairly easy to get around with lots of activities, hotels, and restaurant choices. Silencio del Campo is very popular in the Arenal area if you want to check it out. We really loved Tortuguero on the Carib. side but the turtles won't be there during your time frame, and that was a big highlight for us, so I'd lean more towards Manuel Antonio. The beach inside the park is very pretty, and there's easy access to wildlife.
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Sep 21st, 2011, 11:03 AM
  #12
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Thank you Volcangirl, Michele Y, RAC, and qwovadis! I am definitely getting excited, just thinking about these options. Keep me in mind if any other ideas cross your minds. I will stay on the C.R. forums for other timely info. I appreciate the help!
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Sep 21st, 2011, 02:39 PM
  #13
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We've only done the Pacific side beaches. Not sure which would be better this time of year.

Forgot the links for the other two lodges/inns:

www.selvaverde.com
www.orquideasinn.com

Our favorite beach place was Ylang Ylang in Montezuma, which is fairly splurgey. ($180/night)
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Sep 21st, 2011, 03:07 PM
  #14
 
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I agree with previous posters - highly recommend staying in 2-3 areas. You could take Interbus between locations. Great value, and extremely prompt.

If you're interested, my husband and I did a 10-day trip in December 2009. I have a recap here > http://www.fodors.com/community/mexi...trip-recap.cfm

We stayed in:
- Arenal (Arenal Observatory Lodge -- well worth it!)
- Monteverde (Rustic Lodge - loved!)
- Manual Antonio (La Posada Jungle Bungalows - great value and location!)

Used Interbus for all but one transfer (hired a private driver for Monteverde-Manual Antonio as a splurge).

Enjoy planning!
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Sep 27th, 2011, 06:32 AM
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Sep 27th, 2011, 08:24 AM
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In 9 days, you could do Arenal (volcano), then Monteverde (rain forest), and Manuel Antonio (beach and monkeys) without difficulty.
Volcano Lodge (Smithsonian rooms fab); beautiful views, close up, and some nice hikes, great pool)
I liked Cabina de los Pinos (http://www.lospinos.net/); terrific price, great setting/grounds, nearer the park than in town, but close to restaurants, grocery. Very helpful owners.
Lots of options in MANP area!
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