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SakuraSakura Dec 28th, 2010 02:03 PM

Destination Idea for a mini beach vacation in Nov
I am trying to use my saved airline mileage on this trip, I’d like to start planning in advance and book as soon as they allow me to.
My daughter & I had such a wonderful vacation in Costa Rica during summer, hoping to go back in Nov for a mini beach vacation time. We only have 5-6 days this time but you know we have this “gotta go back” itchy feeling ever since we came back (it’s like addiction), so I have to plan this.

What we are looking for is a small resort/hotel ($150 per night or less) right or near the beach, casual nice restaurants & shops within walking distance or short cab ride so I don’t need to rent a car, and will be safe when we’re out (won’t do it late night). Not much into snorkeling/scuba but be relax and enjoy swimming in beach & pool. So far, Puerto Viejo, Samara, Flamingo or Tamarindo(not surf point area) looks like what we are looking for.

My 1st question is - Should I choose Liberia as arrival/departure city instead of San Jose? There is no direct flight from Newark Liberty Int’l to Liberia in Nov, we have to switch at Miami or Houston and total flight takes 8-9 hrs. To get to San Jose is no problem, 5 hr direct flight daily so I tend to choose San Jose because of shorter travel time. However, when it comes “how to get there”, San Jose makes difficult as starter point because it takes 4 hrs to get to PV or probably longer travel to others. I do not want to rent a car so we must find a car service (not cheap) or interbus connection. Liberia seems much easier when heading to the beach destination (but no direct flight from where we are from). Do you think it’s worth to choose Liberia as arrival/departure city instead of San Jose? (if so, I must cross out PV)

Or, do you have any other recommendations/suggestions for a nice beach destination within 2 hrs from SJO? How about Jaco? Sure is closer to San Jose but I don’t read so many positive comments.

Finally, how is Nov beach weather-alike? (beginning of Nov). It’s little confusing because some hotels I viewed categorized Nov as high season while others priced in low season.

I’d appreciate your input/feedback/suggestion. Thank you.

hipvirgochick Dec 28th, 2010 03:05 PM

If you're going in the beginning of November for beach time I would go with Puerto Viejo and flying in/out of SJO. It's going to be more than 2 hours drive, but I would not choose Jaco over PV because of the distance.

mlgb Dec 28th, 2010 04:52 PM

November is not a good bet for beach weather. You might be lucky, or you might have rain the whole time. If you are going around Thanksgiving that is when you are seeing high season rates, but the rest of the month should be heavily discounted.

Nor do I think that I would be recommending Puerto Viejo to someone concerned about safety.

Perhaps save it for a better time of year (like January).

hipvirgochick Dec 28th, 2010 05:53 PM

I've been to Puerto Viejo several times. Solo and with a tween daughter. I have no problem recommending it.

qwovadis Dec 29th, 2010 04:35 AM

beautiful on the coast private beach

a little over 1 hour from the San Jose airport...

would be perfect for a short stay like this.

usually can pick up deals from $140/nt on

sites like my #2 choice also super nice CR Climate guides

lots of rain in Nov bump to Dec-Jan if you can.

You other areas ok lodgings not as nice particularly

Carib side sort of rustic druggy dodgy rasta backpacker vibe.

Ok if that is what you want though...

Happy Journey,

SakuraSakura Dec 29th, 2010 06:32 PM

Thanks everyone.

I didn't know that much rain can be expected in beginning of November, sounds like it is very unpredictable. *sigh

I wish our schedule can be more flexiable. Unfortunately, the beginning of Nov is only week she can be off from school, I can be off from work and not high season yet for beach destination in general so it is a good chance I can use my airline mileage.

hip - I know, I found a several nice hotels in Playa Negra & Playa Chiquita area but Nov seems not good time to visit, typically caribe coast.

mlgb - You're right. Perhaps keep the beach idea for next long visit.

qwovadis - Thank you for the links. Actually, Villa Caletas looks very beautiful and not expensive as I thought. Xandari costs more for sure, looks very very nice though. Introduced by many travel & resort magazines & tv shows. It's listed on "Gold List - World's Best Hotels" in this month's Conde Nast too.

hipvirgochick Dec 30th, 2010 07:43 AM

Sakura - sep-nov is actually the best time to visit the Caribe around Puerto Viejo. It is their "summer" time. Although gwo always posts the same exact thing about the area, IMO people are really missing a wonderful area if they skip it.

SakuraSakura Dec 31st, 2010 12:30 PM

hip - I will search more & keep my option open. I will also contact some lodges in PV area and ask for their knowledge & opinion too.

I met British family when we were in Costa Rica, they just travelled Puetro Viejo area & told me how much they enjoyed.

Thanks again everyone. Happy New Year!

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