Costa Rica - Independent Travel

Old Dec 8th, 2010, 05:24 PM
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Costa Rica - Independent Travel

Thanks for the info on Tortuguero.

We've been going back and forth re tours or independent travel. A good tour is Caravan, but I am unsure how it would be to travel with 40-44 people. It also seems there is alot of bus travel. The other tours I looked at didn't go where I wanted.

I am sure I can book the hotels myself, and that the hotels can arrange day tours. I guess I have to book the tours in advance. I'm unsure about arranging transportation from one city to another - I have no framework re prices. For example, how much would it cost to go from San Jose to Arenal, Arenal to Monteverde?

Can someone help?

By the way, I have sent e-mails to various websites in C.R. and my e-mails do not seem to be going through. Has anyone else had thei problem?

mollybee
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 08:18 PM
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mollybee, I suggest you choose one of your accommodations...pick one which has a good reputation for service and for booking tours. Then you can work with this hotel (or b&b) by email and they can help you set up your day-tours, transportation, and they can even give you advice on good hotels to stay in for other areas.

An example of a small b&b which has a good reputation for helping you plan your trip is Pura Vida hotel in Alajuela. I didn't stay there but my daughter spent the first night of her honeymoon there and they were treated really well. I notice their web-site has tons of info and they do book tours and drivers etc.

Good luck. Don't go with a big tour, that's my advice.

Lots of travellers on this forum can also give you great advice...listen to the ones who have travelled to Costa rica multiple times. (I have travelled once to Costa rica, and we are headed there for a second trip in january.

Haven't had problems with emails going through. Maybe it's the time of day? Sometimes they might take a couple days to respond by email.
Melissa5 is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2010, 08:52 PM
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Be sure to check your spam folder for the CR e-mail replies.
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Old Dec 9th, 2010, 01:12 AM
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Tours are ok if you are into that sort of thing

but early AM bus calls crammed in with others

is not great for me...you will see a lot at good value.

www.caravan.com good for price have seen some complaints

mainly about guide/room quality(no AC) on some tours.

Tauck CR costs more but offers a higher qaulity tour.

Personally prefer to DIY

www.gotmyfare.com has some nice cheap fly drive packages

or

www.lovescostarica.com

www.travelexperta.com

www.crreferrals.com

can help you with planning if needed.

Local EM quality from CR is atrocious

lots of times they do not even get your EMs on their end

due to spammers and spam filters...

A good guide like Fodors Gold Guide will healp you a lot.

Happy Journey,
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Old Dec 9th, 2010, 09:30 AM
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Just to give you an idea of costs, we paid about $140 to go from SJO to Arenal. It's about a three hour drive. There's a shuttle service called Interbus if you want something less expensive. Hotels can book tours for you, or you can book them yourself. Check out Sunset Tours and Desafio.
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Old Dec 9th, 2010, 03:51 PM
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We used a private driver, Wilson Rojas, to take us between SJ and Monteverde ($150) and then from Arenal to SJ ($140). The great thing is that the drivers also act as guides and fill you in on stuff about CR and also are great at pointing out wildlife. They will also stop for meals, sightseeing if requested. I would not hesitate to use Wilson again.

We traveled between Monteverde and Arenal on a Jeep-Boat-Jeep setup and that was with Aventuras el Lago at a cost of $25 cash per person. It was an interesting way to travel between the cities and can be done in reverse order.
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Old Dec 9th, 2010, 05:42 PM
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We did Jeep Boat Jeep, same as Deb, to go between Arenal and Monteverde. We used Desafio and paid $25 per person; I think they've raised their rates to around $30 per person now. There are some pretty views, and cutting across the lake saves you time on the bumpy roads. We just used taxis in Monteverde.
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