Costa Rica(again) or Belize?

Aug 22nd, 2019, 08:32 AM
  #1  
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Costa Rica(again) or Belize?

My husband and I (early 60ís) are considering a third trip to Costa Rica. We have 10 days allotted. On our first trip we visited Peace Lodge, Arenal (Lost Iguana) and Manual Antonio(Tulimar). Last year we visited the Guanacaste region and stayed at Rio Perdido, the Rio Celeste Hideway and Playa Hermosa . We are looking into going to the Osa(Bosque del Cabo) and back to Arenal sometime in Jan or Feb. We enjoy hiking, wildlife, and interacting with the locals and fellow travelers. My concerns about this trip are twofold. Firstly, I get motion sickness and am worried about the flight and ride to Bosque del Cabo. I havenít seen anyone mention this on the boards. Secondly, I donít know if we will be able to handle the heat and humidity of the Osa. Is this a place better frequented by a younger demographic. Can anyone address these issues. My plan B is to look into a trip to Belize.
myturn2go is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2019, 06:33 AM
  #2  
 
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January and February are the dry season with temperatures a little bit cooler. That means two things: The Osa should not be as beastly hot and humid. (It’s all relative, of course); and, the air should be more settled for flying. (I’ve been on some domestic flights during the rainy season. It’s pretty choppy.)

My heart will always belong to Costa Rica, but I am just back from Belize and fell in love with it all over again. It’s a wonderful place. You can “enjoy hiking, wildlife, and interacting with the locals and fellow travelers” in Belize too.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2019, 06:44 AM
  #3  
 
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While I love the (very unique) Belize Zoo, birding, jungle lodges, botanical garden, and iguana project, the highlights for me in Belize are the wonderful mix of cultures (Creole, Garifuna, Mennonite, Maya, and more), awesome caving (including caves with 1000-year-old Maya artifacts and the bones of victims of sacrifice), the Maya sites, and the incredible snorkeling and diving. It's because of those highlights that I haven't been tempted yet to visit Costa Rica but just booked my 8th (or is it 9th?) trip to Belize.

My photos with blog links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there. Happy trails!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
hopefulist is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2019, 09:52 AM
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hopeful - I love your photos. Thanks for sharing. We are considering going to Belize next year. We've been to Costa Rica a couple times and Mexico several times. I'm starting to think about a trip for next year, and Belize is sounding really good to me.
november_moon is offline  
Aug 24th, 2019, 03:04 PM
  #5  
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Ok thank you. Before we give up on Costa Rica... There are many positive reviews on Ylang Ylang Resort on the Nicoya Penninsula. The logistics of getting there look a little difficult. Could we
Fly into SJO,
Stay one night near the airport,
Drive to Arenal for 4 nights,
Drive back to San Jose
Fly to Tambor
Ylang Ylang for 4 days
Fly back to San Jose

Too much? I guess the difficulty is that we usually choose 2 destinations within our 10 days and I am having a hard time combining 2 different places.

Last edited by myturn2go; Aug 24th, 2019 at 03:04 PM. Reason: spelling
myturn2go is offline  
Aug 26th, 2019, 09:36 AM
  #6  
 
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We really love Costa Rica; we've been going just about every year for fifteen years or so. We like Belize too and have visited twice, but it doesn't have our heart like CR does. The wildlife in Costa Rica is jaw dropping, and the Osa is the best place to see it. Excellent wildlife and hiking at Bosque del Cabo that you mentioned. We saw all four species of monkeys there, along with toucans and scarlet macaws, sloths, coatis, agoutis, etc. Their trails are fantastic, and the views of the water are really beautiful. I get motion sickness going to the Arenal area but didn't going to the Osa. I always take non-drowsy Dramamine just in case. Love Arenal but the ups and downs and windy roads can be tough on the stomach. Bosque del Cabo also has excellent guides.
volcanogirl is offline  
Aug 26th, 2019, 02:59 PM
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The flight down to the Osa is pretty quick; we used Sansa, and it was smooth for us. They do limit the weight of the luggage you can bring on. Regarding heat and humidity, we thought it was pretty warm and humid. We felt a bit damp the entire time we were there - completely worth it though. Our cabin had a small fan that helped to keep the air moving. Have you checked out their video? Not sure if you're still interested in the area, but I think it gives a good representation of what it's like. Dinners are communal there so you get to share stories and compare what you've seen.
http://www.bosquedelcabo.com
volcanogirl is offline  
Aug 26th, 2019, 05:46 PM
  #8  
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Thank you for you replies! I have been encouraged by your enthusiasm. I am able to get a cabina at BdC for 4 nights. I was planning to spend our first night near the airport. This leaves 4 or 5 nights(depending on if we need another night near the airport to catch a 2 pm return flight). I considered the nearby Iguana Lodge but that seems like more time than we would want to spend there. Going back to Lost Iguana in Arenal(which was my first inclination)?
myturn2go is offline  
Aug 26th, 2019, 06:02 PM
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Yes, the Lost Iguana is great; we've stayed there several times. Another place we really like is the Arenal Observatory Lodge. It's the best place for hiking and wildlife in the Arenal area. Lots of beautiful birds there like toucans and honeycreepers and tanagers and oropendolas, many coatis as well, and we've seen howler monkeys. They have a free guided hike every morning. The Smithsonian rooms are nice and have beautiful volcano views if the weather is good. Check reviews and see what you think. It's off a long bumpy road, but we thought it was worth it. You would probably enjoy the Bogarin Trail owned by a local family as well; good place to see sloths, red-eyed tree frogs, poison dart frogs, and cool birds; their trails are easy and flat. Have you already done the waterfall hike and visited Tabacon?
volcanogirl is offline  
Aug 27th, 2019, 04:58 AM
  #10  
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Yes we loved the hot springs at Tabacon! I am hoping to go back there and try Eco Termales as well. We missed both the waterfall hike and Bogarin Trail last time so those are also on the list. I saw that there is a butterfly conservatory nearby. Is that worth the ride out to it? I got very excited about your suggestion of Arenal Observatory Lodge but sadly they are booked for our dates already.
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Aug 27th, 2019, 09:07 AM
  #11  
 
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Oh they are? Darn it, yes, they tend to book up early. Eco Termales is also really nice; it's quieter and smaller than Tabacon but also less crowded. They limit how many people can get in. Have you done the Cano Negro tour and Penas Blancas safari float? Those are both fun too. Desafio is a good company to go with. Have not been to the butterfly conservatory. I believe it's out near El Castillo, and we've never been out that way.
volcanogirl is offline  
Aug 27th, 2019, 05:35 PM
  #12  
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We did the Cano Negro tour but not the Pena’s Blancas float. Is there are tour company that you recommend? Last Question. I am booking flights now. Our flight will leave SJO at 2 pm. Do we need to book a hotel near the airport the night before or could we drive from Arenal and make the flight the same day? Thanks everyone. I can’t believe I got this all planned in less than a week with your help.
myturn2go is offline  
Aug 28th, 2019, 03:14 AM
  #13  
 
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We used Desafio; we've used them for a lot of tours and always enjoyed them. They have excellent guides.
volcanogirl is offline  
Aug 28th, 2019, 03:17 AM
  #14  
 
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If you get up and leave pretty early, you could go the same day. They recommend getting to the airport three hours before your flight, and it's about a three hour drive. If you decide to rent a car, you'd have to allow extra time to return that. Just up to you and what you're comfortable with. We tend to stay closer to the airport our last night just in case there's an accident or traffic jam or something that could delay us.
volcanogirl is offline  
Aug 28th, 2019, 09:42 AM
  #15  
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Thanks again! I will contact Desafio. I have booked 4 nights at BdC, 4 nights at Lost Iguana, and just need to figure out the first and last nights somewhere near the airport. We will rent a car for the Arenal leg of the trip ( we’ve used Vamos and Adobe before) I am pretty happy with the plan although it was tough getting our lodging. My advice to future travelers would be to book more than 6 months ahead of time if you are interested in particular accommodations ( and, of course, get help from Fodorites)
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Aug 28th, 2019, 02:35 PM
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There's a really nice Marriott that we've stayed at on points; they have a beautiful pool area, good food, excellent service, and wild parrots in the trees. Also like Grano de Oro if you'd enjoy a city hotel; they have an excellent restaurant. If you enjoy pretty views, Xandari is beautiful.
volcanogirl is offline  
Aug 28th, 2019, 06:19 PM
  #17  
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I think that I am going to try to book Xandari for our last night because I have been eyeing it for awhile. They have many good reviews on Trip Advisor. Seems a bit indulgent but, in for a penny ... As for our first night, we do have Marriott points. Which Marriott did you stay at?
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Aug 29th, 2019, 04:55 AM
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I believe the name of the Marriott where we stayed was the Hacienda Belen. It's the big colonial style one that's painted yellow; it has coffee plants planted all over the grounds, really nice architecture. If I remember correctly they had a shuttle to the airport.
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Aug 29th, 2019, 06:48 AM
  #19  
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Thanks I will check it out. It looks like they are 10 minutes from the airport and they do provide shuttle service. All I need now is a bottle of Dramamine. LOL
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