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FAMILY OF 5 FIRST ADVENTURE IN COSTA RICA REDUX (or what's been going on with the Costa Rica Fodor's crowd?)

FAMILY OF 5 FIRST ADVENTURE IN COSTA RICA REDUX (or what's been going on with the Costa Rica Fodor's crowd?)

Old Oct 19th, 2008, 03:31 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 541
FAMILY OF 5 FIRST ADVENTURE IN COSTA RICA REDUX (or what's been going on with the Costa Rica Fodor's crowd?)

shillmac, volcanogirl, tully, hipvirgochick and other regular Costa Rica posters - I've had a long absence from this forum as my recent travels have been exclusively in the U.S., but what's the latest from CR? Any great trip reports, new regular posters, or new tips for things to see or do there? Please bring me up to date.

Also, I've been a little frustrated with the search feature in this forum. I've suggested over the last few months to several friends and acquaintances interested in traveling with their families to Costa Rica to search for the names of hotels where we stayed, or locations we visited, for our impressions. They all say they cannot locate our trip report by searching that way, and I've confirmed this. (Maybe we irritated some Fodors powers that be?) Nevertheless, this kind of defeats one of the purposes of posting reports, doesn't it? So I decided to list below key words and a link to our report in the event others interested in traveling to CR with their families (especially teenagers) want one family's subjective impressions of them while they're still at least somewhat fresh:

rental car
La Fortuna
Lost Iguana
Sky Tram - Sky Trek
La Choza de Laurel
La Catarata
Cano Negro
Arenal Observatory Lodge
Puente de Amistad / Tempisque
Harmony Hotel
La Dolce Vita
Lagarta Lodge
Doka Coffee Plantation
Pan American Highway


Regards to all.
MRand is offline  
Old Oct 19th, 2008, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 157
Hi MR loved reading your past post I wish I were a fodors CR expert I am taking my second trip with a teenager in Jan. I found your trip report of great interest.Good luck planning your next trip. How about trying Osa.
cmazza is offline  
Old Oct 19th, 2008, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
Greetings, MRand. . .good to see you back "on the block" and hope your recent travels have been "pura vida"!

It makes my brain too tired to try to update you! LOL!

Agree with the search function not working so well. . .and I know a lot of people will benefit from your trip report--as I recall it was outstanding!
shillmac is offline  
Old Oct 19th, 2008, 05:16 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,146
Welcome back, MRand! Hey, I didn't know we were allowed to go somewhere other than Costa Rica.

I completely agree about the search function. I've even tried to find some of my old posts when I know the title, and I still can't locate them with the search function. Maybe someday they'll get that figured out.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Oct 19th, 2008, 06:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
Here's how you do it. You misspell your screen name in the title (such as "shillman". . .and from that day forward, whenever you want to pull up that report, you just type in that misspelled screen name!
Very simple . . .
shillmac is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2008, 04:58 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 5,541
Hello MRand. Well I'm leaving for Buenos Aires in a couple days, so I'm "cheating" on CR But I will be back down there in June with those wil and crazy gals hipvirgochick & shillmac, plus mr shillmac to keep us in line! We are trying to hold a GTG at Bosque late June, there is a thread floating around somewhere - but like you mentioned with the search function useless it's hard to find! Haven't decided on an exact route myself but thinking of the Dominical/Uvita area prior to the Osa. If you looking at a new trip I can suggest Bosque del Cabo in late June would be a great time
tully is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2008, 05:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Here Here! Come on down MRand! It's gonna be a great time--pura vida right and left!

Tully. . .thinking about you. How about those Rays?! And I know you're smiling big on the other front as well, as am I.

Enjoy the week, knowing you have so much to look forward to at the end of it! Buen Viaje. . .
shillmac is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2008, 08:37 AM
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Posts: 541
Thanks for the invite. I've missed having time to check out this forum, especially to urge families to take advantage of all CR has to offer. Bosque del Cabo certainly sounds tempting. Argentina and Chile intrigue me too. But with kids in college, will first need to see what the economy does in the next few months.
MRand is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2008, 10:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,537
Hi MRand! Welcome back. Every year when I visit my eye dr., I fill him in on all of our travels. He is intrigued with Costa Rica. I gave him info on how to get to my trip report, but also gave him your screen name and check out your report, since it was so well written.

I hear you about finances. I did have the guts to look at our 3rd Qtr. mutual fund statements, but it has gotten uglier since then. Oh well, its just money, right?

Costa Rica news: New place has opened in Arenal by the Peace Lodge people. Very pricey:


We here are all of the opinion that we can't really afford it, but it looks great. The big white elephant next to Campo del Silencio opened, I believe. And a rapist was running loose in Puerto Viejo. Not sure on his status or if he is behind bars. A poster on this site had a family member assaulted by him. She posted to warn about being alert and keeping safe.

Have you written any other trip reports for other destinations? Let us know.

MichelleY is online now  
Old Oct 20th, 2008, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 12
Hi guys. This seems to be the place that all the "experts" are hanging out, so I have a question...I called AAA and had them work out a tour for me, through General Tours including Arenal, Tortuguero and MA,1 week long, including 12 meals, all tours and entrance fees, all lodging and transfers. The price they came up with for June 2009 is $8272. Does that seem expensive? I have some idea of the tour costs from various websites, but no idea about food costs. Please help me figure out if this is worth it!
knicola is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2008, 03:16 PM
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That price seems outrageous to me.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2008, 03:50 PM
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Holy cow, send me $500 and I'll get ya there for less than half that.

Seriously, post a thread here what you want to do and a relative bidget and it can easily be worked out. You can also contact Pat Hewitt, he posts here often (sorry don't have his email handy) and he can set up for you as well and I'm positive for much much less.
tully is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2008, 03:52 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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oh and shillmac, the Rays? I didn't even know til today, everyone talking at work, lol. Obviously baseball is not my sport. But yes we had a very special guest in town today, too bad again I didn't get to go I'll drop ya a line before I head to BsAs, already packed!
tully is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2008, 09:25 PM
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Holy Cow is an understatement! Hey, I'll plan your trip for a THIRD of that and do it for just $400! LOL

No, that's too much money. Does it include airfare (not that that would make it more reasonable)?

You should be able to fly to Costa Rica, take a domestic flight up to Tortuguero and back, then to Arenal for 2-3 nights, on down to Manuel Antonio for 2-3 nights, all meals included, one week for $3000.

Airfare: $600
Domestic air package to Tortuguero, one night: $400, includes food
Transfer to Arenal: $150 ??
3 nights Arenal: $500
Food Arenal: $150
Transfer to MA: $150
3 nights Manuel Antonio: $500
Food Arenal: $150
Extra night in San Jose? $100

What am I forgetting, everyone? This is less than $3000.

Good luck--cut those people loose! We can all help you. Is this for just one person?

Tully, Tully, Tully. . .LOL

Too much soccer and not enough besbol! Do you live near Tropicana?

Yeah, with all that $$, some of it yours (and mine), you'd think he could find some time to visit Oklahoma. It could happen! LOL!
shillmac is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2008, 09:27 PM
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Okay, okay. . .tour costs. Let's see, that is all included in the Tortuguero package. Let's say you do 3 tours at Arenal, go to the hot springs, and do a couple or 3 tours at Manuel Antonio plus entrance to the park. Add another $500.
shillmac is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2008, 09:36 PM
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Me again. Just wanted to add, that the hotel estimations I quoted were generous in that you can have a very nice room at several choice hotels, either location, for $125-$150 per night. Nearly all include breakfast. You COULD reasonably stay 3 nights in either place and have all meals for $550 total. And you can transfer by Interbus for $35-$50, rather than the $150 I quoted (that would be for private driver). My preference is to rent a car, about $40-50 per day. So there are ways to cut expense without foregoing anything in the way of convenience or quality.
shillmac is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2008, 08:59 AM
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Have a great trip, tully! I can't wait to read your trip report.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2008, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 12
Ok guys...you are fantastic! I also contacted Tico Travel, and after I decided that their package tours were too much she worked this one out:
2 nights at Arenal w/transfer, breakfast and dinner, volcano tour and hot springs
3 nights at MA with hike, zipline and breakfast, transfer back to San Jose

Might be a couple more meals included...$3700...still too much though, based on your responses.

She worked this to include what we want. I think one way to save money (and probably my husband's sanity) is not to try to see everything, so if we get to Arenal and MA that should cover us unless we want to do a day rafting trip out of San Jose. I worry about the transportation between hotels, so I like the idea of them arranging it for me, but do you guys think it is better to do it ourselves?

I sound like a travel newbie, but this is my first "tropical" travels and it seems different from Venice, Rome, etc!

Thanks for your help. I will take notes on your posts and try to work it out to see if I can do it cheaper than Tico Travel.

knicola is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2008, 12:45 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,750
MRand -- Welcome back to the forum. You've been missed! As Shillmac said, too much to sum up into one thread...you might have to poke around the forum a bit. ;-) Would love for you to join us in June!

Kristy -- Do contact Pat Hewitt as I'm sure he can help you with some semi-independent travel for much less than some of the package deals. I haven't found it any more difficult to travel than Europe, quite frankly, but I understand your apprehension.

Lot's of frequent travelers to CR here who helped me plan my last 2 trips with great success. I put everything on an excel schedule by day. Int'l airfare, hotels, budget for meals, budget for tours (or exact prices if I'm planning ahead), transportation (Interbus, intra-flights, rental car, taxi), and of course misc. gifts for myself and others.

By the time you're done researching and planning you'll have learned a lot more about the country before you even get there!

Good luck!

hipvirgochick is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2008, 12:46 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 12
I just realized that I didn't tell you that there are four of us...my husband, me and our two children, 22 and 18 years old. Is it still too much?
knicola is offline  

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