Feed Back onTentative Costa Rican Itinerary Please

Old Jan 16th, 2003, 09:23 AM
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Feed Back onTentative Costa Rican Itinerary Please

Thanks to information from this forum, a trip to the library & searching the internet, I’ve come up with a tentative 10 day itinerary. We do not want to rent a car so will have to figure out transportation. I would appreciate your comments/opinions/suggestions.

Fly from Denver to San Jose - probably have to spend the 1st night in San Jose
Next day fly to Liberia and head to Tamarind for 3 days
then to Monteverde for 2 days
Arenal for 2 days
Fly to Quepos/ Manuel Antonio area & spend final 3 days
Fly back to San Jose for flight back to Denver

Once we have the itinerary figured out we will probably use a Costa Rican travel agency to help with details.

Thank you, Terri
Old Jan 16th, 2003, 10:00 AM
Rudy and Odette, Tamarindo, CR
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Delta has flights straight into Liberia now, so that would probably give you some extra time. Why fly to Liberia from San Jose instead of directly to Tamarindo? Check out the domestic flight schedules of Sansa at www.flysansa.com. For good and reliable bus (A/C) transportation from Tamarindo to, for instance Monteverde, see www.graylinecostarica.com or www.costaricapass.com.
Life in Costa Rica is easy and easy to arrange.
Have fun!
Rudy and Odette, Playa Tamarindo,
www.geocities.com/casalaloma , www.geocities.com/travel_scuba
Old Jan 16th, 2003, 11:16 AM
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Rudy & Odette,

Thanks! That’s just the kind of info I was seeking. I didn’t know there was an airport in Tamarindo. If I do get a direct flight into Liberia (as opposed to San Jose) would we then get another flight from Liberia to Tamarindo? Or is it too close to bother with? Also, can you swim in the ocean in Tamarindo or is it to rough? We’re planning on being there around the end of March.
Old Jan 16th, 2003, 11:27 AM
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As was mentioned, Delta is flying into Liberia from certain airports stateside. Should you end up doing this check with your hotel in Tamarindo about possible transportation between Liberia and T.
Lacsa is offering some really good airfares and have expanded service to many stateside airports.
Why fly to Liberia from San Jose to get to Tamarindo?? Sansa has several direct flights daily from San Jose to Tamarindo. From the airport in Tamarindo you can get a cheap taxi to the hotel.
For more in country flights the two in country airlines are Sansa (Taca Airlines) and Nature Air (Formerly Travel Air). They both have web sites to look at for flights and prices. You can easily make the flight arrangements on line.

Greyline, Interbus and another outfit based in Monteverde all have inexpensive shuttles between major tourist areas while in CR. The Monteverde outfit also has special trips between Monteverde and Arenal by Jeep boat Jeep or horseback (you go through the mountains instead of around them). You can contact them at Monteverdeinfo.com or at Pension Santa Elena web site.
You will have to get to San Jose to fly to Quepos as there are no longer any flights from Arenal from what I understand. They may have started them up again but I haven't heard anything about it. You can easily take a private bus from Arenal to Quepos/Manuel Antonio.
The same is true from San Jose to Tamarindo if you have to spend the night and want to try the bus. Fantasy bus (Greyline) has a bus leaving San Jose at about 7am and goes directly to Tamarindo (approx $21). It would take a little longer than flying but the buses are comfortable and think of it as a way to see a little more of the country.
Two last options would be 1.(less expensive but way more than the private bus or flights) private van transportation or 2.(more expensive) Charter flights at several hundred dollars each way. I have done both several times. The vans usually have two people, one of whom can give you a little mini tour about the places you are passing on the ride. Sharing a ride could lower the cost. One nice thing about the private van is the flexibility. If it is just you using the van you can leave and arrive at more convenient times than the bus (within certain times so they can get back home before dark) and if you need to stop for a potty break or just have to have something to drink you can ask them to stop. An advantage to a charter flight would be that you could fly out of just about anyplace (Not Monteverde).
If you do go through a travel company down there you will have a better idea of what is available to ask them to arrange for you now.
Have a wonderful trip
Old Jan 16th, 2003, 03:35 PM
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Terri, you could arrange to have drivers (private ground transfers) and be driven from place to place; very reliable and easy to arrange. Costa Rica Expeditions can arrange things like this for you: www.costaricaexpeditions.com
Old Jan 16th, 2003, 07:11 PM
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I have flown from Miami to Liberia on LACSA, the national airline, heading into Playa Tamarindo. LACSA is interesting but I can't recommend it. They seem to oversell each plane by about 30 seats, leaving a bunch of unhappy pople each time a plane leaves. If you don't get there at least two hours prior to takeoff to protect your confirmed reservation, bump city. Liberia airport is fun,looks like a large thatched hut, but not large at all, I would be sure to have ground transportation arranged prior to landing. It is about 45 minutes to Playa Tamarindo. Playa Tamarindo is a small, quaint, beach town. Most of the hotels are owned by Europeans and some Americans. Beach is nice. We were there in July to fish when the water is calmer so I think there may be some larger waves in the winter. This is a pretty well-known surfing destination and I suspect it is in the winter and spring that the surfing is done.

Sansa flights are great fun, usually about 8 people in a small plane. Be advised that they do not fly after dark, only daytime flights so plan accordingly. In Quepos everyone loads up in a taxi van/bus and they drop you in order at your hotel. Quepos is much larger than Playa Tamarindo, but still not a large town by any standard. Manuel Antonio park is worth the visit, when you see everyone stop to look at a lump way up in a tree it is a sloth taking a nap. You will probably see an iguana or two and the monkeys will come around looking for handouts. We stayed at-get this-the Hotel California and had small monkeys on our balcony. We did not have hot water for showers, however. There is only one road between Quepos and Manuel Antonio and a bus runs regularly between them, just flag it down. Many of the hotels are on this road. Most of the hotels are not on the beach, in fact I am unsure if any of them are. For that matter, there isn't much beach available. I don't remember any around Quepos, have to head to Manuel Antonio. Quepos is world renowned for its sportfishing, that is a great time of year for it (especially sailfish). Charters are up to about $600 I am afraid, but if you have an inclination it is a world class opportunity. I used Bluefin and would use them again.

I haven't been to the volcanoes, but will someday. I might add that we had an extra day in San Jose, so hired a taxi as a guide and went into the surrounding country for a day and had a great time. I can't remember the name, but there is a town with an apiary in front of the church we enjoyed, (NW of San Jose) plus the ability to question someone and see some of the non-tourist destinations. I love Costa Rica and can't wait to go back.
Old Jan 17th, 2003, 06:54 AM
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Wow, Great information here. I appreciate you all taking the time to reply.

Sounds like transportation is easy and it’s just a matter of deciding what to use. We love the beach which is why we planned on visiting one on each end of our trip. Sounds like Quepos isn’t really a beach town but we could stay in Manuel Antonio? Or any other suggestions for a beach with ocean we can swim in (not too rough, no strong undertow). Maybe even snorkel from shore?
Old Jan 17th, 2003, 08:03 AM
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Quepos and Manuel Antonio are basically the same place. Quepos is the "town", and Manuel Antonio is the 7km stretch between Quepos and the Manuel Antonio park where all the hotels are. I don't think any are beachfront, as they are on mountains, but most have great views. I had the same experience as Bill at Hotel California with the monkeys on our balcony, although I did have hot water there, and I was under the impression all the rooms do, so I'm not sure why Bill didn't. Have fun.
Old Jan 18th, 2003, 05:02 PM
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We had brought all of our snorkeling gear with us when driving down the Pacific coast and never came across an area that was suitable for it. We tried it once near Manuel Antonio but it was a little nerve-wracking with the water so choppy and rocks around.
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 04:09 PM
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Hey, I was in Costa Rica last April and I had the most amazing time. One thing you have to do in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area is check out Riosparaiso.

Basically this company called Gaialinktours offers a tour where you horseback ride along a river and through the rain forest to this remote biological reserve on a mountain. The mountain is not far from Quepos, and you can leave in the morning and return that evening.

This tour was EASILY the highlight of my trip and one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had. There is a canopy tour on the mountain that is breathtaking. If you're in Costa Rica you have to do a canopy tour at least once. The canopy tour at Riosparaiso took you over a valley between the mountains; you looked down with the wind in your face and saw the river like a string below. Its genuine rainforest, so you're totally in the treetops.

The best part though is the natural hotsprings. You walk down to a little cleft where a stone staircase spirals to a rickety bridge over a stream. When you cross you feel as if you've entered another world. Never in my life have I felt so far from home. I knew I was in paradise. I swear I felt like a discover, and this was the fountain of youth. You can only stay in the hot springs for up to ten minutes, but afterwards we played in the stream, and watched the vapors from where the water hits the rocks, rise into the trees.

Its kind of remote, and when I went the company had just started up, so you really are kind of discovering something new. It truly feels like an adventure, and the guides take good care of you. I don't know who you're booking your trip with, I booked with Gaialink, but no matter how you book or whats your itinerary, check out the web site www.gaialinktours.com, and remember, when you're in Quepos, to check out their office. If you go up to the mountain, it will definately be the highlight of your trip. If there's a full moon, you can even stay in a lodge on the mountain overnight, and do the canopy tour under the light of the moon! SOOOO Dope.

Enjoy Costa Rica. You'll have a blast. Its such an incredible country, and I'm going back soon. If anyone has any places they'd like to recommend, please do so, I'm always looking for things to put in my next itinerary.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 10:27 AM
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Hola Teri,
I have driven all over the west coast from top to bottom. I agree with everything that the posties have said except no hotels on beach in Manuel Antonio. We stayed at Hotel Karahe which has rooms both on the beach side and other side of road. The restaurant is closer to the water and sports capucchin monkeys around 5 in the evening. Food was good but we ate at better restaurants in area. You are able to walk down to end of beach area where all the vendors are from hotel grounds. Quepos is simply a big town with a few nice shops.
What hotel are you staying at in Tamarindo? If you fly on Sansa to Tamarindo they will pick you up.
I'll be in Tamarindo on Feb. 12th - 22nd - flying into Liberia from N.Y. during school vacation. We have a place in Playa Longosto - you will love the town and many great restaurants.
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