Costa Rica during March 2008

Old Sep 22nd, 2007, 03:39 PM
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steviesmom
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Costa Rica during March 2008

My husband, teenage son and I will be going to Costa Rica (Central Pacific are) during Spring Break March 2008. We are from southern california and have heard that this is like Hawaii was 30 years ago. We will be staying at the Los Suenos Marriott on the coast. We were thinking about doing some tours such as: Canopy, crocodile safari, seeing Manuel Antonio park and the volcano. We will be there about eight days. Any ideas or comments about the tours or hotels? I appreciate your input.
 
Old Sep 23rd, 2007, 06:24 AM
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Asking again.........I would like to hear some ideas from anyone who has gone to the central pacific area. Has anyone gone to Manuel Antonio park? or are there some good alternatives? Asking the experts as well.

Thank you!
 
Old Sep 23rd, 2007, 06:34 AM
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MA is a great area with lots of activity. It would be great if you could actually stay there, so you wouldn't have to be going back and forth in your car or with a tour group.
Highlights of that area are the park, Finca Valmy horseback riding (waterfall), and possibly the Damas Mangrove tour.

Have heard Los Suenos is excellent, but maybe less ideal for those who want to be active in the ways you have mentioned, due to its location.

Also, if you could split your trip, I think all of you would enjoy the Volcan Arenal section of the country as well. Lots to see and do there. But it is not a day trip from Los Suenos. . .way too far, about 4 hours one way. That's not to say your hotel won't OFFER that tour, but it would make a lot more sense to stay in the Arenal area for 3 days or so and really enjoy it. It's worth it.

You can do canopy tours either location, although Arenal probably offers the best. Crocodiles are in the Rio Tarcoles north of Los Suenos.

3 days Arenal and 3 days Manuel Antonio would give you a lovely overview of Costa Rica treasures. I don't know about being like Hawaii was 30 years ago, somehow I doubt that. Having been to both places (13 years since Hawaii) I don't see much of a comparison. Others may see it differently!

Good luck in your planning. Whatever you do, you will have a great time! Enjoy!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2007, 07:14 AM
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steviesmom - I was in Maui and Kauai as a kid in the late 1960s before they were very built up. The Arenal area, drive to from Arenal to Nosara, and Nosara area of Costa Rica that we visited this summer very much reminded me of the way I remember Hawaii then.

My wife and I returned to Maui and Kauai in 1986 and the development that had taken place there in the intervening years was amazing and in many ways dismaying.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2007, 07:16 AM
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I also agree wholeheartedly with shillmac's recommendations for your trip, though I'm just a one-timer and she's the expert.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2007, 07:42 AM
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Thanks, Shillmac and MRand!

I appreciate your input about MA and in general. A couple of other questions.....is there a good place to see turtles and where is there good surfing? Appreciate your input. Thanks so very much!
 
Old Sep 23rd, 2007, 11:15 AM
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Not so much an expert. But just enjoy talking about it!

Playa Grande is the place you'd have a chance to do both. With luck, there might still be a few turtles nesting there (the giant leatherback) in March. Their season is Dec.-March. It's probably about a 3.5 hour or 4 hour drive from Los Suenos to Playa Grande, and would need to include at least one night.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2007, 12:42 PM
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Thanks Shillmac! If you think of anything else, please post your welcome comments.
 
Old Sep 24th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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I don't know if you've seen our trip report, but Nosara had fantastic surfing:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...6&tid=35045117

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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 05:18 PM
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Mrand

Saw your message and began reading your adventures of Costa Rica when you traveled this past July. I am reading a couple of pages a day, so that I may absorb everything. You are certainly a good writer. I keep picturing everything you said in my mind.....your small rental car, 6'3 son. flat tire and tomorrow I am on to the next adventure of yours. Thanks again for emailing me with regards to this. The rest of you going to Costa Rica should read MRands travel notes.

Stevie mom
 
Old Sep 30th, 2007, 03:09 PM
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Dear Shillmac or MRand,

Is it worth it to go to Tortuga Island? Please advise. Thanks.
 
Old Sep 30th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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steviesmom - will have to defer to shillmac on that one.
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Old Sep 30th, 2007, 07:52 PM
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Can't help! Haven't been there (having done similar so many times in the Bahamas), but I'm sure it would be a fun day. Others have said so, haven't really heard any negs on it.
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Old Oct 6th, 2007, 03:22 PM
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Shillmac and MRand......what do you think about a crocodile safari......and the volcano hike? Any other ideas or comments with regards to activities? I'd appreciate your comments. Thanks so much. MRand.....read your trip report. It was fantastic. Thanks.

Stevie's mom
 
Old Oct 6th, 2007, 06:10 PM
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The volcano hike is a good choice--you're speaking of Arenal, right?

I don't know a thing about crocodile safari, but it probably isn't something that would appeal to us just to see crocs. Seems to satisfy us to stop at the Rio Tarcoles bridge and see the crocs sunning below.

That said, we were on a mangrove tour near Villas Lapas (about an hour up the coast from Manuel Antonio) in July with huge crocs swimming all around our boat (they were literally everywhere). I was glad it was a BIG boat! We were the only ones on it very early one morning. The tour was for birding purposes, but the very young guide/boat "captain" wasn't as knowledgeable as we had hoped. We DID get to see some huge crocs! So that was our "safari"--and it worked nicely for that purpose! I seem to remember seeing a brochure at the hotel front desk for just a crocodile tour, but the mangrove tour sufficed!

You'd enjoy a mangrove tour (like the one I mentioned) as well, and it would be close to your location. We put in right next to Tarcol Lodge, if that info will help any in your planning once you arrive.

Also, you'd most likely enjoy Turu-Bari park. Have I already mentioned it to you? We haven't been, but have heard nothing but good about it. You'll also be very near to Carara Biological Reserve, a great place to see the scarlet macaws early a.m. and late evening.

You are approaching a full week!

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Old Oct 6th, 2007, 06:12 PM
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Forgot to say, agree with your comments regarding MRand's report. He could author a book--and all the Fodorites would buy it!
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Old Oct 7th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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Thanks, Shillmac. Appreciate your input. I think we are ready to go!
 
Old Nov 19th, 2007, 05:23 PM
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Question for Shillmac or MRand......

Since we are going in March will we need hiking boots or will our Keen watershoes do? Also do we need to be vaccinated? I keep hearing all kinds of things and am concerned and want to be prepared. Also, I would love to buy my husband a coffee table type book of Costa Rica. Are there any out there? Thanks for your help.

Stevies mom
 
Old Nov 19th, 2007, 05:43 PM
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Yes, there are some nice coffee table books, depending on just what you are wanting. You will be able to find some nice ones in the gift shops at the airport. What I usually do is look at them, decide what I'd like to have, then wait until I get home and order them from Amazon. Saves a LOT!

There are a couple of good Costa Rican history books as well. . .

Costa Rica--the Last Land the Gods Made

Costa Rica Reader

etc.

But I'm thinking you'd prefer something with a lot of beautiful photography.

Look for things done by Michael and Patrica Fogden. . .

I don't have Keens as they were a bit wide for my foot. I've enjoyed the Salomon Tech Amphibians. The only thing I've heard about the Keens is that they do allow little pebbles to get inside which can be quite annoying. For hiking, we never take hiking boots but rely on our regular tennis shoes (walking shoes). The last 2 trips, though, I've left those at home even and have just used my Techs. They don't do so well on slippery wet trails, but in the dry season should be just right.

Hope this helps!
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 06:34 PM
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Agree with Keens and Tech's for good choices. I preferred the Keens, but have a wide foot and like the more sandal like shoe better. Either way, check out Travel Country for good pricing. We bought our Tech's there on sale for $39.99 last year and they tend to have good pricing.
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