Costa Rica vs Bahamas

Old Mar 20th, 2015, 03:25 PM
  #1  
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Costa Rica vs Bahamas

Hello!

So I am a first time traveler really wanting to visit a tropical place with my boyfriend. I was set on Costa Rica for the longest time and then the Bahamas came into play. I loved the idea of Costa Rica as I love their site vacationcostarica.com because it really takes a large majority of the guess work out of planning my vacation. There is a lot of help involved there, i just pick a package and have someone tailor it for me. With the Bahamas! OMG there is TOO much to choose from so i am hoping i can get some insight.

I am more of an introvert so a lot of my energy is gained from peace and quiet. However, i do love adventure as well. So i'm looking for something that will allow me the adventure yet once i'm drained from that the peace and relaxation i'd need to regroup.

Both my boyfriend and I love nature so we would definitely enjoy hiking and taking in that beautiful scenery. We also love the beach and would like to try some zip lining, snorkeling and some other water adventures possibly tubing or rafting. Take in some historic sights. He likes the night life, not clubbing but more so nice dinners, live music and wine tasting.

We would be going at the end of this year somewhere around November or December. I've done more research on Costa Rica than the Bahamas. I do know that December is more of a wet season for CR. So if anyone has any suggestions on a island in the Bahamas that could fit what we are looking for that would be wonderful. If I've left anything out please feel free to ask.

Oh yes, budget is probably around $3k to $5k for a 7 day stay. I'd also rather not have to rent a car.
Beautifullyt is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2015, 04:13 PM
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If you go to Costa Rica, I'd do a combination of the Arenal area with Manuel Antonio. In the Arenal area, you can hike at the beautiful waterfall and swim there, raft with Rios Tropicales, visit natural hot springs like Tabacon and Eco Termales, go tubing at the Springs Resort and Spa, zipline at Sky Trek, and hike at the Hanging Bridges. Manuel Antonio has beautiful beaches inside the park and lots of easy access to wildlife like monkeys and sloths, good restaurants in this area too. I would not go to Costa Rica for snorkeling or wine tasting. Those are better in other countries. Also not much in the way of historic sites. Belize is also nice and would offer more in the way of great snorkeling and ruins. I've been to the Bahamas, but really all we did was spend time at the beach, so I'm not much help there. You don't need a car for Costa Rica. For the most part, you can hire private drivers to take you between cities and use taxis in town; taxis can add up though.
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Old Mar 20th, 2015, 04:47 PM
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Thank you for your response volcanogirl! I'd also really love to stay in some upscale/luxury hotels. I may not be in the room too long but coming back to a really nice hotel would be wonderful. I'm looking at the Tabacon...have you been there? The Belmar also looks nice. Last time i was thinking of going to Costa Rica Tamarindo was mentioned...what are your thoughts on that?
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Old Mar 20th, 2015, 06:13 PM
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Beaches/snorkeling/food/wine point more toward the Caribbean, not necessarily the Bahamas (I don't know, I haven't been there in many years). Anything in particular that peaked your interest in the Bahamas? Nature/hiking/adventure tilt more toward Costa Rica. Have you considered Hawaii? It actually offers quite a few things on your list though it would be better to have a car there.
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Old Mar 20th, 2015, 06:39 PM
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I've visited the hot springs at Tabacon, and they're very nice; there are newer hotels that are popular - Nayara and The Springs Resort and Spa are two popular ones. I would pick one of those if they aren't too expensive for your budget. In Manuel Antonio, we like Tulemar Bungalows - they have their own beach and lots of wildlife on site. We love Hawaii as well and agree with Patty that that could suit your needs. Have not been to Tamarindo, but I think of it more as being a surfing town.
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Old Mar 21st, 2015, 05:34 AM
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Nature/hiking/adventure-- costa rica

Beautiful beaches/snorkeling, Bahamas

Not really much snorkeling in costa rica

There are some places to hike in Bahamas but really not known for that

December can be chilly in Bahamas

Luxury resorts are really more in Bahamas (costa rica, even most luxurious is not up to par, but still decent)

Zip line-- costa rica (none in Bahamas)

Everyone has favorite places, I prefer the out islands of Bahamas any day to Costa Rica, but those are my tastes.

You could consider Mexico that has a good combination of both
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Old Mar 21st, 2015, 05:50 AM
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I also think Mexico might fit your needs. The Riviera Maya area has some beautiful beaches, zip lining, snorkeling, hiking, ruins to visit, etc.
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Old Mar 21st, 2015, 07:52 AM
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I disagree about Costa Rica not having luxury resorts. There's been a real shift lately to provide luxurious accommodations. The Springs Resort and Spa for example is spectacular with beautiful luxe rooms, gorgeous volcano views, a pretty river that runs through the property, several good restaurants on site, horseback riding, tubing, kayaking, a spa, and hot springs that you can relax in. This wasn't really the case when we first started going.
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Old Mar 21st, 2015, 10:39 AM
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I agree that you could look into the Mexican Riviera as well given your interests. It also tends to be less expensive.
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Old Mar 21st, 2015, 10:42 AM
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I meant Riviera Maya on the Caribbean side.
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Old Mar 21st, 2015, 01:32 PM
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We don't know why the Bahamas or Costa Rica are the top picks here. I agree that the Caribbean coast of Mexico (from Cancun south to Tulum/Akumal and including Isla Mujeres and Cozumel) have everything on the wish list.
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Old Mar 21st, 2015, 05:36 PM
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Thank you everyone for your replies! i really appreciate it. I've never thought about visiting mexico really. This is why i like these websites. It puts other things on the list to look at. I've also thought about Turks and Caicos. I feel like i'm a little all over the map and i'm really just trying to find a destination and go from there and not keep going back and forth haha Suze, Costa Rica was my first choice because it just looks beautiful and i like that someone will make all the plans for me based on my wish list and i can tailor from there. So basically someone else does most the work for me and that is easier for me personally. However, i will most definitely look into the Caribbean coast of mexico. I did go to Cozumel once, on a cruise when i was 21...that was 10 years ago though so not much memory left from that.

Blamona...which out islands of the Bahamas do you enjoy most?
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Old Mar 21st, 2015, 06:43 PM
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Planning for CR is pretty easy if you decide that's the way you want to go. We've always planned our own based on the great advice that we've gotten on this board.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2015, 08:46 AM
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<i like that someone will make all the plans for me based on my wish list>

I guess I can see why that might be appealing, especially for a first-timer.

I've always done all my own planning but, I'd be the first to admit, my trips are not that complex. I usually go to Puerto Vallarta Mexico, staying in one place in the Old Town the entire time. But have also been to Cabo and La Paz once each. And Hawaii and Jamaica a few times too.

I just pick the destination, do a little online research (Trip Advisor) buy a plane ticket, book a hotel, pack, and go! But I do understand others may like more complex itineraries and to have done in-depth advance planning.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2015, 09:08 AM
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There are several luxury resorts around Manuel Antonio. I liked Arenas Del Mar, although it can be pricy without a discount. They can arrange your local excursions. There is access to the public beach as well as a private beach. You can walk along the public beach all the way to the national park.

At Arenal there is also Arenal Observatory Lodge (although no lava viewing), which has on site trails, naturalists & horseback riding. The lodgings are simpler, but I liked the house I had which was up the hill (I had a car) with a great view of the volcano.

I went in early November, which is supposed to be the end of the rainy season. Turned out it was VERY rainy.

Snorkeling and cultural activities (eg ruins and markets) aren't Costa Rica strong points. It's more about scenery, adventure, surfing.
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