Notices

Costa Rica--suggestions on places to visit

Reply

Jan 2nd, 2013, 12:34 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 68
Costa Rica--suggestions on places to visit

I am interested in visiting Costa Rica for the first time in March for 7-8 days. I understand that the last week of March is holy week (Semana Santa) and so prices are higher and places book up fast. I certainly will want to avoid this week. I am a bit overwhelmed though after reading the forums and getting advice from friends. We are a couple in our early 40's who enjoy adventure but also the beach/relaxation time. We enjoy mingling with the locals and trying different food. We are not interested in 5 star resorts but do like a clean, comfortable place to stay. My boyfriend enjoys renting a car and exploring on his own (is this safe?) I hear the arsenal volcano should not be avoided. I hear Uvita is gorgeous. I also am interested in the Tabacon Hot Springs. We love to kayak and snorkel as well. I guess I need a little help on narrowing the region down to visit first before looking into hotels. Any help is greatly appreciated as I know we can't do it all. Thank you!
suzyeq is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 2nd, 2013, 12:56 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 22,983
Yes, the Arenal area is great. If you stay in the area, you can visit Tabacon; Eco Termales is also nice. Silencio del Campo is a popular place to stay if you want to check that one out. We also like the Lost Iguana if you want a jungly feeling. You can kayak at Lake Arenal; there's also kayaking at the Springs Resort and Spa at their Club Rio. We haven't found good snorkeling in CR. We've always felt very safe everywhere that we've gone. I wouldn't drive between cities at night though just because the roads are rough and not always well marked. Never leave valuable in your car unattended.
volcanogirl is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jan 2nd, 2013, 03:59 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4
Costa Rica is relatively safe to explore on your own, you should just be a little careful in the big cities (San Jose) at night. And the price level is normally higher than in neighbouring countries, I don't know how much semana santa matters in that respect.
Nice spots on the west coast are the National Parc Manuel Antonio near Quepos, the peninsula Nicoya (Montezuma - beach resort for surfers&alternatives) and National Parc Corcovado. In the center, you have Volcano Arenal, National Parc Monteverde. On the Pacific Coast, the only place I can think of is Turtuguero, but it only makes sense to go there during turtle breeding season which starts about July.
Travelphilia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 2nd, 2013, 08:37 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 30
We've been several times, and ditto the above comment about Manuel Antonio, Quepos and Montezuma! The best places to chill, you can hit Jaco between the two. Although they look close together on the map and its safe to drive, the roads are narrow and there are alot of slow trucks, cars and farmers.
We stayed in Arenal on another trip at Baldi which was AMAZING, something like 27 pools or various degrees and incredible gardens. Even if you don't see the volcano, its an experience.
beckysbuys is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2013, 04:24 AM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 68
Thank you for your help. I like the idea of chilling in Montezuma. Is there enough to do there for one week? Is it too much travel time for a one week stay in CR to try to do both Arenal and Montezuma?
suzyeq is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2013, 07:59 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 22,983
You could do both in one week. Most people usually stay about three nights in Arenal; we love it there so we usually spend four or five. Have always heard good things about Uvita and Dominical, but haven't been there yet ourselves.
volcanogirl is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2013, 10:26 AM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 68
I definitely think we would love Arenal for the adventure but would like to balance our trip with chilling on a beautiful beach and mingling with the locals...heard uvita is awesome but would love any other suggestions on a great beach area to stay for 3 or so days..thanks so much for the help!!
suzyeq is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2013, 10:36 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 22,983
The only beach area we've visited is Manuel Antonio. There's tons of wildlife there and a beautiful beach inside the park, but if you want mingling with locals, I'd lean towards going somewhere else. It's very nice but touristed, and we thought it had kind of an American feeling to it - lots of American restaurant and hotel owners. In addition to all the suggestions above and Dominical and Uvita, lots of people seem to like Puerto Viejo, Samara, Nosara, and and the Flamingo Beach area. I hear good things about Ylang Ylang since you asked about Montezuma; lots of people seem to enjoy staying there. Mal Pais is another one.
volcanogirl is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jan 4th, 2013, 06:04 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 68
Thanks for your help. Definitely set on going to the Arenal for a few days and then off to a beach town for relaxation. Has anyone heard good things about the Mountain Paradise Hotel near Arenal. The other spa/resorts seem too pricey and I am looking for more a moderate priced hotel which is NOT all inclusive. I have also been checking out the Montezuma region. I liked the Ylang Ylang hotel but appears to be an all inclusive which is not our style. Think Manuel Antonio area seems too americanized. Any other hotel suggestions for Montezuma region or another laid back beautiful beach area to relax? Thank you for all your help. This is all so overwhelming!!
suzyeq is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 5th, 2013, 08:38 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,801
Arenal & Manuel Antonio. A great and popular combo. A good intro to the country.
We spent 8 days between the two and had a teriffic time.
steviegene is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 5th, 2013, 06:49 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 885
I have been to Costa Rica twice, just came back from trip 2 new years eve. We had an amazing, time and didn't repeat anything. I will be doing a trip report but not ready yet to spend the time on it. 1st trip was into Liberia, to La Carolina, to Arenal, then ferry to Montezuma (Ylang Ylang), Mal Pais and St. Teresa, and then Rincon de la Viejo. Ylang Ylang was a highlight for sure, jungle elegance. The food was amazing. the pool, the monkeys, the beach. Ahh. I would double check about it being an all inclusive. I remember eating lunch off the property.

This most recent trip was San Jose arrival, down the coast to Uvita (Tikki Villas), amazing beaches between Uvita and Ojochal, to Carate in the jungle (Lookout inn) , back to the beach in Ojochal (El Castillo) - incredible beauty, and then into the mountains to a fantasy place called Monte Azul.

If I can be of any help, let me know. If you love the water and love to swim I can tell you that the beaches along the coast in Uvita and Ojochal were perfect in my book. Quiet gorgeous palm tree lined beaches, not built up, no high rises, not americanized, water temp. was perfect, the water was clear and clean and the waves were gentle but a blast for body surfing with no undertows. ,
Juldie is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:27 PM.