Costa Rica--Guided Tour or Car Rental?

Old Oct 10th, 2006, 09:31 AM
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Costa Rica--Guided Tour or Car Rental?

Hi All!!

We are planning our first trip to CR and can't decide which is best: guided tour or independent travel with a rental car. We've heard that the roads are bad and unmarked and retal cars are targeted by theives, so there is some concern with that. Also, looked into some guided tours-obviously less freedom, but also less worry. Has anyone tried "costa rican sun tours"? Any suggestions would be greately appreciated!!!
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 11:32 AM
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I would vote for renting a car if you want sense of adventure. My husband and I have been to Costa Rica twice and we drove both times.

We also heard that road condition is bad so we rented 4-wheel drive on our first visit. Well, the road was surprisingly good condition. The condition at home in NYC is much worse (we have potholes everywhere!). On our second visit, we rented a regular sedan and we were just fine.

Road signs are not well posted but you can still figure out by carefully reading the map.
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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This answer to this question depends on how you feel about both options really, as there is no "best". I would much rather rent a car, drive myself, maybe get lost and find some cool new & unexpected places.

However, I realize that's not for everyone. Reading your intial question, I get the feeling that you are nervous about possibly driving. If that is the case - and it's issue that you feel would affect the total enjoyment of your vacation - then I'd say go with your gut and don't drive.

That being said, just because you don't drive doesn't mean you necessarily HAVE to go on a guided tour. There are plenty of transportation options avaialable to you, such as hiring a private driver to get to your destination, etc. then going on your own from there. That depends a lot on where you are going and what you are planning to do. More information along those line might help you get some additional advice from folks.

I do agree w/ Mochi that the roads aren't THAT horrible.
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 02:05 PM
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You can get a custom tour or transfers so you get to do exactly what you want. I'm not sure where Mochi drove in Costa Rica, but there are indeed some very bad roads. It's up to you, but the advantage of letting someone else do the driving is that you sit back and enjoy w/o worrying about a thing. I recommend a travel agent in Costa Rica if you want to price out a custom tour. Write to [email protected] and tell her Sandy sent you!

Sandy
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 07:17 PM
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Almost forgot...for our first trip to Costa Rica, we used Pat Hewitt from Costa Rica Travel Exchange (www.lovecostarica.com). He pops up on these boards from time to time as well.

I highly recommend him for helping you book your first trip, regardless of what kind of transportation you decide upon...he'll answer any questions you have.
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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 09:58 AM
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You might want to consider Interbus for transfers. .

www.interbusonline.com

However, we too enjoy driving. We know there are some risks, but it has always gone very smoothly for us. And we love the adventure and the freedom of it. Doing what we want, going where we want--when we please.

Most roads are in decent condition. There are a very few roads that are awful. You may well end up on one of them depending on your itinerary, but I think it is safe to say that MOST of the roads you will be on will surprise you--especially after listening to all the horror stories!

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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 10:48 AM
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Thank you everyone for your help!
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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 07:16 PM
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Contact Leo Rodriguez and he will advise you even if you don't use him, or unable to secure his guiding/transporting services due to him, being so busy. He will gladly give you his opinion on driving/road conditions in the area you are inquiring about or answer any question you might have. He is a college grad and LOVES his country and it's scenery. [email protected] Pura Vida from South Dakota, USA
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Old Oct 21st, 2006, 01:56 PM
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Is the road from Arenal to Monterverde good enough to rent a sedan rather than a 4x4?
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Old Oct 21st, 2006, 03:00 PM
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The main roads are maybe OK for sedan, but if you want to go to the coast or just enjoy to go where you want, I very strongly recommend 4WD. We have been in CR three times and going again this winter.
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