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Desperate for CR Honeymoon advice

Old Apr 26th, 2006, 03:17 PM
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Desperate for CR Honeymoon advice

Good evening,

I have been reading the forum for a while to gain as much information as is possible. However, I still need help with my honeymoon planning.

We want to go to Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica in late September (18th to be exact). For the rainy season, we believe Nicoya would be a better fit than M.A. Also, we are looking for a slower pace, but with activities and other outings still available.

That being said, I am having the biggest issue with our itinerary and our hotel. Here are the two options I have:

TWO PLACES
9/18 - Arrive SJO around noon. Check in at airport hotel. See a little of SJ.
9/19 - Check out and grab Sansa Air to Tambor. Check into Ylang-Ylang, Montezuma.
9/20-23 - Montezuma

9/24 - Check-out and take bus to Milarepa, Santa Teresa
9/25-28 - St. Teresa
9/29 - Check-out, bus back to Tambor, fly Sansa to SJ. Check-in to hotel. See another sight.
9/30 - Check-out and head to SJO for flight home

ONE PLACE
Just like the above, but stay at Ylang-Ylang in Montezuma the entire time.

Here are my real questions:
1. Is Montezuma and the close surroundings enough to entertain 30-yr old newly weds for nearly two weeks?
2. Any opinions of Ylang-Ylang (www.elbanano.com)? I have read nice things
3. I have read mixed reviews of Milarepa. Should this be enough to keep us away from the hotel and Mal Pais/St. Theresa? I have fallen in love with the idea of this hotel already. Should I change my mind?
4. We are pretty adventurous. Can we find enough excursions in Montezume or St. Theresa (i.e. sport fishing, snorkling, scuba, hiking, wildlife tours, etc)?
5. What other hotels offer single bungalows, on the beach (or a very short walk), that have a restaurant, and rent great rooms for $150-200/night are available in the area?
6. Should we spend the night in SJ just so we can catch a plane to Tambor or just go ahead and take a longer bus trip?
7. We can do this without a car, right?

I am also considering Casa Chameleon, which is just on the edge of my price range, yet highly rated. Also on the list is The Place, Luz De Vida (www.luzdevida-resort.com), and Casa Caletas all the way up in Coyote (www.casacaletas.com). What else comes to mind?

So, for the love of God, help me! I am a real planner, but this is impossible. There is just too much to choose from. I have to book soon, so your advice is greatly appreciated. Until then, I will keep reading.

-Hunter
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Old Apr 27th, 2006, 04:36 AM
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More information -

I have completely dropped the idea of staying at Milarepa. I found the reviews here and at tripadvisor.com to be too up and down. I cannot risk a bad experience at a hotel on our honeymoon.

Ylang-Ylang and Casa Chameleon are the top contenders now. We can either stay at one the entire time (10 nights or so), or split between the locations. Thoughts?

Also, after reading more trip reports, I am inclined to rent a car out of SJO for the entire trip. It would only be marginally more expensive than intra-country flights and buses. Plus, it would make it easier to get around the Mal Pais area and we would not have to spend two nights in San Jose.

Thoughts on this or my other questions above?
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Old Apr 27th, 2006, 06:44 AM
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Spent a month in CR in March, one week on playa Grande, three on the Osa. I opted to not rent a car, and really enjoyed flying around the country on Nature air. The beautiful views I got of the country were astounding. I don't regret flying instead of driving (you get there so fast) and one avoids all the headaches and theft possibilities that seem to come with renting a car in Costa Rica.
Of course, I couldn't tool around and explore as easily as some people could, but to me it was worth not dealing with the headache of a car.
A small warning: you read about alot of theft and flat tire scams on this site associated with rental cars. Well, I met alot of people it happened to, so heed those warnings. I met one young couple who had purses and luggage stolen while some nice samaritan helped them with a flat tire. And I met three people who had ALL of their luggage stolen while they did things this site advises against: leaving your stuff in your car unguarded while you check in, have lunch, or use an ATM. And it sounded like a big huge bummer to try to replace a passport and shop for new clothes while on vacation. So if you rent, don't leave your stuff in the car for a second! Apparently, it's amazing how fast they can in and out in broad daylight with lots of bystanders around...
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Old Apr 27th, 2006, 11:59 AM
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Casa Chameleon and Ylang Ylang were both great! We just spent our honeymoon in Costa Rica and stayed at both. Casa Chameleon was more on the luxury side and we liked it the best but Ylang Ylang was right on the sand and very charming. We liked Mal Pais better than Montezuma overall. The waves were VERY LOUD at Ylang Ylang but for just a few nights it was no big deal. The little huts on the beach were different and fun. Casa Chameleon was more relaxing because we really felt the owners were there to guide us and help us make the most of our vacation. Which they did! We felt like we discovered a secret place. Which we did, sort of. They only have two villas so we really felt everything was there just for us. They made us feel very special. We loved Costa Rica and it was the best place we could have picked for our honeymoon. Also, we had a car and I could not have imagined doing it without one! Especially Mal Pais. But you just won't see and be able to do
everything without a car there. We flew to tambor air strip and picked the car up there. It was easy and we did not have any problems with the car or theft of any kind. Maybe there are more problems in other areas but no one we met or talked to had any problems.
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Old Apr 27th, 2006, 01:16 PM
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Great information.

Sounds like I have found good hotels. The choice of whether to stay at both or just one is probably mine to make.

As for the car, I did not think about the theft/crime risk at all. That is some to keep in mind. However, I am still inclined to get a car. It is only marginally more expensive than Sansa air with ground transportation. Also, I have heard again and again that you need a car in Mal Pais.

Has anyone done Mal Pais or St. Teresa without a car and felt they were fine? I either here "you need a car" or "we didn't have one, but we should have".

Hunter
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Old Apr 27th, 2006, 02:41 PM
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WORST news ever - Casa Chameleon is booked for all of September. I just heard from Anita and I am crushed. Certainly good for them and well deserved, but bad for me. I asked to be notified in case of cancellation, but I doubt that will pan out.

Well, Ylang-Ylang it is then.
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 07:40 PM
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See if you can get the beachfront cabina at Tropico Latino--very nice location.
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Old Apr 29th, 2006, 05:10 AM
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I have not looked at that hotel yet. I will check it out. Thanks.

For the time being, I have booked Ylang-Ylang for the entire trip. I am going to check out a couple other places over the next week and make adjustments if necessary.

I am even considering Tulemar in Manuel Antonio.
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Old Apr 29th, 2006, 08:52 PM
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Tropico Latino (the front beach cabina) is not a luxury property, and sorry, I overlooked or forgot (not sure how!) that is was your honeymoon! Congratulations!

Definitely you will need a car at Malpais/Ste. Teresa. . .it would be very inconvenient not to have one.

Have you looked into Flor Blanca? It is a beautiful property in Ste. Teresa. More appropriate for a honeymoon, perhaps!
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Old Apr 30th, 2006, 06:22 AM
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I looked at Tropico Latino, and I don't think it is right for us. Looks great though. Thanks for the tip nonetheless

At this point I am only looking at Ylang-Ylang in Montezuma and Tulemar in Quepos/Manuel Antonio. They both seem good.

I am almost leaning towards Tulemar because it is still a bungalow, has a few more amenities (i.e. A/C), and you don't have to walk for 10 minutes on the beach to get anywhere. I know MA is more traveled, but I think Tulemar might do well at blending romantically remote with modern luxury. Plus, it is easier to get there and back.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 05:17 AM
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peptidbond - I have stayed at El Sano beach bungalows and truly enjoyed our 4 nights. We did a snorkle trip, horseback riding, lots of relaxation and hammock time and a bit of hiking. But I really can't see enough activities for 2 full weeks.

We did not have a car, we flew, because I could not justify having a car sitting in town for our 5 days. But for 2 weeks I think you will want to have a car.

I notice you mention MA. MA will offer you lots of activities to choose from, I would recommend the first half of your trip at MA and then ending in Montezuma. Or look at Montezuma and then heading up the Nicoya to Nosara or Tamarindo or Samara or others. With 2 full weeks you have more than enough time to do at least 3 locations with no stress. Have you totally ruled out doing anything in the interior such as Arenal or the Central Valley?

Lots of great places to stay near SJ that will offer you opportunities to see volcanoes, waterfalls, rafting, etc. You ask should you stay overnight? Yes, I would recommend you stay 1 night on arrival and departure, but I would highly suggest you consider 2 - 3 nights either at the end or beginning of your trip to take advantage of the beautiful outings offered in the Central Valley. Have you by chance looked at Vista del Valle Plantation Inn, Peace Lodge, Xandari, Finca Rosa Blanca or others in the near to SJ area?
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