Costa Rica Virgin

Old May 4th, 2007, 09:42 PM
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Costa Rica Virgin

Shillmac, you seem to be the authority on CR here, but by all means, anyone feel free to answer. Here's the 411: First time in CR,4 Days in June. My husband & me(mid 40's), no kids. Looking for: secluded, pristine, beach. Upscale, but tropical& friendly accomodations (not stuffy), basic 'first-timer' tours. Pretty basic stuff, but I'm overwhelmed when I search beaches, properties, & tours. Can you give me some direction?
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Old May 5th, 2007, 07:02 AM
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Punta Islita is the first place that came to mind. Might be a little too remote but to save time, you can fly into the area. Friends of ours loved this place and they are about your age with no kids. We were just talking about PI last night at dinner.

Barcelo Playa Tambor might offer more things to do. It is a larger place. Was used on one of those reality shows. This too is a place you can fly into.

The Ylang Ylang is more casual.

Capitan Suizo is by Tamarindo where you could get out and visit other restaurants.

I tried to come up with ideas for places that you can easily fly into because your time is going to be pretty short and driving can take away from a lot of your beach time. Unfortunately, flying can too. Do you have your flight reservations? What time do you get in? I would hate to see you have to give up two nights of beach time because you have to stay in the city to catch a flight. This is where driving can actually save you time if you get in early enough to get someplace. We could possibly get you to a couple of those places by water taxi from Jaco which would save time from taking the ferry across. See Zuma tours.

Any chance you can fly in and out of Liberia? You could get to Capitan Suizo by driver from the airport even if you get in a little later in the day.

There are a lot of people on this board that can help you. Don't worry about them not having traveled a lot down there. First hand info is always best even if a person hasn't done a lot of traveling in the country. Second hand is okay too for starters. I have personally not been to any of the above places but in 15 years of travel down there have heard plenty about them through friends and others who have been there. I hope your awareness of those places will help get you the responses you are looking for from people who have been there.

I am sure you will have plenty of experts who have been there commenting on the different places. Maybe more specific postings on the hotels will help as well.

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Old May 8th, 2007, 07:27 PM
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Wow, Adrianagold, any way you can squeeze out another day or two? That would open more possibilities for you.

Punta Islita would be an excellent choice for you--if you had more time. So many have recommended it as a great honeymoon location for exactly the reasons you have stated: secluded, upscale, and tropical. Most places in Costa Rica you will find very friendly and welcoming. In having stayed in many hotels, many areas of the country, we've encountered "stuffy" or "indifferent" only once or twice.

The drawback to PI is its distant location from the airport at SJO. And so much depends on your arrival departure times. It would be necessary for you to catch a domestic flight (Sansa or Nature Air) over to Punta Islita and that might not be possible on your arrival day and departure day. Do you have your airfare booked yet?

The same problem exists with the Playa Tambor area--you'd need to fly there because you don't have time to drive and still spend quality time. Both locations are about 6 hours from the airport (ballpark)--and that is AFTER you've been through immigration, picked up luggage, and rented a car. All time consuming.

The Barcelo Playa Tambor wouldn't be my choice. We've stayed there--several years ago. It was "fair", typical all-inclusive, but not anywhere near "upscale" all-inclusive. Besides that, the Barcelo company violated a ton of laws with its destruction of the local habitat, mostly wetlands, mangroves, etc. I felt guilty the entire time we were there as I had read about how they had built without regard for preserving the area. We chose that hotel because we knew some of the staff and dropped by to visit for a couple of days.

Another place you should seriously look into (and within driving distance of SJO) is Villas Caletas. They've gotten consistent great reviews. About a 2-2.5 hour drive from the airport. Classy, upscale, good food. In fact, I'm thinking this property might be your best bet, considering your time constraints.

June is coming right at us! How early in the month are you planning to travel? I'm heading down that way on the 14th.

I wish you lots of fun in the planning and the travel. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with gracious, generous, warm-hearted people. Have a great trip! And if you can "eek" out another day or two, it would be well worth it!
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Old May 9th, 2007, 06:28 AM
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I'd recommend Manuel Antonio. It's a few hours from the airport, but there's enough to do there (beach and hiking in the forest and lots of other things) that you could just stay there. It's not as secluded as some other areas, and a bit more developed, but that didn't detract from it, for me. (At least in the rainy season, when it's not too crowded--we went in May and in June. I don't think I'd want to go there during the high season.) The national park is beautiful, and it's where we saw the most wildlife. Good luck!
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Old May 10th, 2007, 08:00 AM
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I have to second the recommendation of Manuel Antonio.

This is the closest to San Jose of all of the places mentioned. You can even take a 20 minute flight back and forth. This area is deserted in June, and there are good offseason rates at a wide variety of hotels.

Numerous day tours are available too.

I hope this helps! Let me know if I can offer more advice.

Warm Regards,
Pat Hewitt
(Travel Professional)
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