Costa Rica anyone?

May 4th, 2019, 09:10 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 170
Costa Rica anyone?

Hi everyone,
I am not wealthy but travel is a priority, and I do tend to steal the life of the rich and famous when I travel. Here's what we were planning , and please be patient with me.
Dec 2019: Venice/Sicily/Malta (set in stone; travel paid and most hotel prepaid)
Dec 2020: Costa Rica (nothing paid for yet; all (gorgeous) hotels, travel route and tour guide from "tours by locals" selected; in depth talks with tour guide)
Dec 2021: Africa (Kenya and Uganda - safari and primate walk)

1st question: I am finding traveling Africa in luxury to be ridiculously expensive, but believe it to be a trip of a lifetime. Should we bump it up and not go to Costa Rica?. What makes Costa Rica worth it? If one has only 5-10 additional great trips of a lifetime, does Costa Rica belong on the list (Note I have already been to Hawaii, Eastern Australia, Egypt, China (including Tibet) and Paris.)
2nd question: our tour guide for Costa Rica is very flexible; where should he be taking us - what would be the most memorable and unique things to see?
3rd question: Would someone strongly recommend another South American country in lieu of Costa Rica? Why? While I have never seen Machu Picchu; I have been to Mese Verde, which I am told is similar but not as grand.
Costa Rica is not listed among the tags; so I am tagging all the South American countries. Sorry if this is confusing.
SkaiSW is offline  
May 4th, 2019, 06:07 PM
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Moved to Central America
Moderator3 is offline  
May 6th, 2019, 09:42 AM
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Costa Rica is listed under the Mexico/Central America board. We love it there and take a trip there just about every year. It has everything from volcanoes to beautiful waterfalls to cloud forests, wonderful hiking, gorgeous natural hot springs, adventure activities, and wildlife sightings like sloths and monkeys and beautiful quetzals. The people are warm and friendly. It's easy to plan a trip yourself without a planner if that interests you.
volcanogirl is offline  
May 6th, 2019, 10:50 AM
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We enjoyed CR quite a bit also. I went with my sister several years ago and last year returned with my husband for a couple weeks. I'm considering a 3rd trip in the next couple years. For me, CR is really about the outdoors - scenery, hiking and walking, animal spotting. I'm from California, and the ecosystems are very different from what we have at home, so learning about the flora and fauna or an area so different is really interesting to me. I like the beaches on the Caribbean side quite a bit too. It's a fairly easy country to travel in - fairly small, good infrastructure, nice people.
november_moon is offline  
May 7th, 2019, 03:43 AM
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Thank-you all for your kind responses

We will go to Costa Rica.
SkaiSW is offline  
May 7th, 2019, 04:55 AM
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Of all the Latin American countries I've visited, Costa Rica is one place I've no desire to return to. The country has its attractions, but its food and culture pale in comparison to Peru. Likewise Guatemala, México, Colombia. Even Venezuela, but now's not a good time to go!
Back to Peru. Mesa Verde can't compare to Machu Picchu. But the country is so much more than that. Research Cañón De Colca, (deepest in the world?), Arequipa, Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Lima, Cuzco, Peruviam Amazonia, Lake Titicaca and its floating islands, Nazca Lines, Hiram Bingham train just for starters. For sure a trip of a lifetime. Luxury or backpacking.*
baldone is online now  
May 7th, 2019, 09:32 AM
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The Arenal area is one of our favorites. If you want an upscale hotel, we've enjoyed both Nayara and The Springs Resort and Spa. There are simpler properties we've enjoyed as well such as the Lost Iguana and the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Check out the Mistico Hanging Bridges, the Bogarin Trail, the Fortuna waterfall hike, adventure activities like ziplining at Sky Trek and rafting with Rios Tropicales. You can do the Cano Negro boat tour to see wildlife; the Penas Blancas safari float is also fun. For natural hot springs, Tabacon is beautiful and elaborate. On our last trip we did a fantastic cooking class with Chef Scott at Costa Rica Cooking - a wonderful four course meal. You might also like Bosque del Cabo on the Osa Peninsula; check out the video on their website to see what it's like. Wonderful for hiking and wildlife spotting. We saw all four species of monkeys there, plus toucans and scarlet macaws, even an anteater. We like Tulemar Bungalows in Manuel Antonio for beach time. If you want something all inclusive, I'd take a look at the Guanacaste beaches.
volcanogirl is offline  
May 7th, 2019, 01:42 PM
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baldone - One of my very good friends felt the same way about CR. He and I have a lot of the same interests and enjoy many of the same travel destinations, but he was one-and-done for his visit to CR. His comments about CR were very similar to yours, and pretty much true. For me, some destinations are about food and culture and other destinations are about other things.
november_moon is offline  
May 9th, 2019, 06:51 PM
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Costa Rica is like Hawaii with monkeys. The birds are good, as is the coffee in the right places.

Definitely not a place for culture and museum lovers. Quite a bit too "Americanized" with all the expats everywhere. Not especially inexpensive anymore.

I'm probably also a one and done, although I enjoyed my visit, I think Colombia is similar (good birds, good coffee) but more interesting food and some excellent museums in the main cities. Good contemporary culture especially in the coffee regions and Caribbean.

Last edited by mlgb; May 9th, 2019 at 06:54 PM.
mlgb is offline  
May 14th, 2019, 07:54 AM
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Costa Rica is certainly very affordable compared to African safaris, or European trips.

But, it is a mistake to visit Costa Rica expecting that it would be what you'd hope for out of a trip to Guatemala. It's a very different country with different strengths. It is not a foodie destination. It lacks historical villages and distinguished architecture.

What it does offer is the chance to get up close and personal with nature--not only as tours from the hotel, but while staying in lodging that allows you to be immersed in nature.

There's a very simple solution for avoiding the "over-touristed" experience for the country--don't go do the same three places every travel agency brochure promotes--Arena/La Fortunal, Manuel Antonio, and Monteverde.

Generally, I give a thumbs-down to the idea of a tour guide showing you around the entire country. Such a generalist is not going to be able to provide you with much information or insight into the natural areas. They won't be as good at spotting birds or sloths, or explaining how a given ecosystem works. Wasted money you could spend on local guides who will provide a more valuable experience.
RAC is offline  
May 19th, 2019, 07:56 PM
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Actually I found South Africa good value thanks to the exchange rate with the USD.
mlgb is offline  
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