Costa Rica trip report

May 19th, 2004, 09:27 AM
  #1  
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Costa Rica trip report

Message: Im back, what a good time Costa Rica was! check out photos at www.smalarkey.photosite.com

We arrived an flew through customs and baggage claim, maybe 20 minutes after we landed we were out of the airport! We drove up to Arenal and arrived at los lagos by 3pm. Los lagos is pretty nice but the big thermal pool was being worked on while we were there no poolside drinks for me. The gardens there are cool and there is alot to do on the property. The waterslide there is crazy, I still have bruises from that thing. Unfortunantly we were never able to see the top half of the volcano because of clouds. But we could hear the boulders rolling down thw moutain! That was pretty impressive. We went to the hanging bridges there and that was allright. My advice would be to go there early in the morning as I hear you can see alot more wildlife. We didnt see barely any, but the walk through the rainforest was nice enough. We did not do the hot springs because my wife is pregnant and was advised to stay out of the hot water.

We left Arenal and headed over to Playa Hermosa. We were not to fond of that area but found an amazing four star hotel for $60 a night in Playa Panama. That place was awesome.

After 1 day we headed down to Tamarindo. Found a great hotel called Hotel El Milagro. It is right at the entrance to $40 a night. What a deal! Tamarindo is a nice lil town kind of the essence of a growing touristy town in costa rica. The beach had great waves for surfing but BIG WARNING do not leave anything unaatended there. They have a big problem with some thiefs stealing backpacks or any thing left unatttended. Always sit near someone and ask them to watch your stuff when you go in the water. We almost learned this the hard way. Also eat at the restaraunts away from the center of town. The food and service is alot better.

After 3 days in tamarindo we went to paradise. Playa Negra. This is what I had in mind when I envisioned my trip in Costa Rica. A quiet hotel right on the beach. The wave there is world class, so even if you dont surf watching these guys was a ton of fun! Hotel PLaya Negra was awesome, The atmosphere was so relaxing, the food was great and the service there was awesome. This place is high on my list when we return. If your looking for a non commercial, non touristy getaway -this is the place.

After 2 days in Playa negra we headed down to Manuel Antonio. We were going to head down to Mal Pais but opted to save that for a later trip because the bumpy unpaved roads were hard on my 5 month pregnant wife.
On the way down to Manuel Antonio we stopped at Rio Tarcoles to see the crocodiles. That was pretty neat but we also picked up a great case of food poisoning at the resturant there. Woohoo. Dont eat their Alligator burger. We arrived in Manuel Antonio and stayed at an amazing hotel there for $60 a night. The view was awesome. We were high on a hill with incredible ocean views. That day we layed in bed and got the food poisoning out of our system. Its great for weight loss! We spent the next day in the park and loved it. We snorkeled and saw some amazing fish.

The next day we left for San Jose in the late afternoon. It started raining right when we left and got dark shortly there after. Let me just say that drive back to the airport area was crazy. In fact you really cant be prepared for the roads in Costa rica. But this drive back was like a roller coaster ride. unreal best describes it. I would reccomend if you drive back the night before you fly out, Stay at the hotel mango. It was quite a bargain at $60 a night and was real conveinant for the airport. It was a really nice hotel!

All in all it was a great trip!!! Costa Rica is a beautiful place. We will return and spend more time in M.A. Playa Negra And Arenal. Those places were the highlights.

Thanks again for all the advice I recieved it really made a big difference and helped us alot!

Pura Vida,
Sean


whirldwid is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 11:45 AM
  #2  
Iza
 
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Sean, thanks for the report! Glad you had such a good time. We visited Playa Negra last summer and it is a beautiful place.

What were the 2 hotels you stayed at in Hermosa and Manuel Antonio?
Iza is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 11:55 AM
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Thanks for the report Sean! Funny, I have the same question as Iza. Please tell us the name of the hotels!
Thanks!
Ally is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 12:56 PM
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Thanks! I was interested in your recommendation of El Milagro in Tamarindo. . we have considered staying here. Sounds like it would be a good deal!
shillmac is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 02:38 PM
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Sean -

Thanks for a great trip report . We leave for CR in exactly a week from today for our first trip ever!! Your photos were great as well.

Thanks for taking the time to post a report. Stay posted for mine the week of June 7th upon my return!!

Lynne
Auntylynne is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 06:06 PM
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Ok the names of the hotels are as mystery. I cannot remember the names of either. The one in Playa Panama is right on the beach. If you go there you cannot miss it. This place has a another hotel in San Jose that is an apart-hotel. But its definantly a 4 star hotel that we paid $60 a night for. Listen to this story. We pulled in and were greeted by the security guard who in turn let us through to talk the manager about room rates. As we pulled in I noticed it was completely empty. I told who my wife to negotiate a low deal "because they needed our business". LOL He started at $80 or $90 and my wife got him to $60 no taxes. As we check in he proceeds to tell me that the hotel wasnt actually open till september. In fact he cant even charge me tax because they are not suposed to be open. So imagine this. We had this whole place to ourselves! There was actually one other tourist couple staying there that we saw once. The pool here looks like it cost a million alone. complete with waterfalls jacuzzi, poolside bar- its in the pictures. At night you can be completely alone swimming in the pool while 2 secutity guards walk the property. We felt like celebritys.

If you go there it is worth one day. You may or may not have the same luck? When I think back on it, I wonder if this managers boss was out of town or in san jose? Who knows, It's worth trying, When we left another couple was checking in. And oh yeah, A great breakfastwas included in that rate. They have a nice lil resteraunt right on thats the beach that is open.
whirldwid is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 06:13 PM
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In Manuel Antonio The hotel was located just over the peak of the mountain. It was like an apartment hotel. You have to go to the restaraunt to check in! This restaunt is an open air place with the under side of the roof painted blue. Its above an office overlooking the seas below. you cant miss it. You go to the restaraunt and they direct you to the office. The restaraunt can be viewed on the left side of the panaramic photo of M.A. you can see it. This place is for sure worth finding. We went to two hotels where the view was similar and both were well over $100.
whirldwid is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 04:05 AM
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How did Playa Negra differ from Hermosa? If you don't surf, can you swim comfortably at Negra? Joyce
trevorjoyce is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 04:09 AM
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ttt
trevorjoyce is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 05:47 AM
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Hermosa was a bay so it was really quiet and calm, it would be good for swimming, but in my opinion it was not that nice. The beach had a dark tint to it so the water was pretty dark - it almost looks dirty. The area was more populated and had more locals there. Playa negra is completely isolated. Its for the most part a surfers beach. The water right in front of the hotel has a rocky bottom. if you walk down the beach about 100yrds to the south the water has a sandy bottom perfect for swimming.

In my opinion I would go straight to the tamarindo/playa negra area, unless you are driving from Arenal. If you are, Playa Panama/Hermosa is worth a stop to try and stay at that 4star hotel. This stop breaks up that drive pretty nice and gives you a chance to see a lil more of that coast.
whirldwid is offline  
May 21st, 2004, 01:57 PM
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I will be going to CR June 20-July 2 along with 6 other 18-21 year olds. I am >40. Should we rent a 4X4 or take the bus? We will be traveling to MA, Quepos, Tamarindo and several other tourist places along the way. Please advise.
kimborg2 is offline  
May 21st, 2004, 02:37 PM
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Dear Kim,
Because there are so many of you (and I am thinking lots of luggage also) you would probably be better off to arrange transportation through Interbus. Small turismo vans. There won't be a need to do much driving in MA/Quepos, and in Tamarindo everything is right there for you within walking distance. You might want to consider even a private driver. Some of the ones (which several vehicles) to accomodate different sized groups have been named on this board. Names are Oscar or Orlando. Enter a search on the board or post a new message asking for this info. Interbus will cost between $30 and $35 per person for each transfer. You will want to start now and compare prices. Another suggestion would be to e-mail Neta. She lives there and has experience with this. She knows the name of another tour company that offers private transfers and I think she would be very helpful. [email protected]
shillmac is offline  
May 21st, 2004, 03:10 PM
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Shillmac,
Thanks for the quick response. I will check out your suggestions.
kimborg2 is offline  

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