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First time Costa Rica - Does this itinerary make sense?

First time Costa Rica - Does this itinerary make sense?

Old Mar 26th, 2010, 10:18 AM
  #1  
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First time Costa Rica - Does this itinerary make sense?

We are going on our honeymoon beginning of December- we want a little adventure, nature, and beach. I do not want every place we go to be a tourist trap. My plan is Arenal (tourist trap) for the volcano and some nature, then instead of MA (tourist trap from what I understand) - we would go to Uvita area just south for more remote beaches and nature. Then we would go to Osa, possibly stay near Puerto Jiminez, to really experience the jungle aspect. Would the Uvita area and Osa be too similar in terms of remote jungle? Is it a waste of time to do both? I was also thinking that possibly instead of Arenal, we could go to Rincon De la Vieja - still have some volcano features, and less touristy. I saw some amazing hikes here too. I don't know if transportation would be too much of a hassle though. I really appreciate any feedback people have on these ideas!
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 10:26 AM
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If you're looking for non-touristy, definitely go to the Osa; it's amazing. Best wildlife we've ever seen and absolutely beautiful. Bosque del Cabo is wonderful if you can swing the price. Arenal isn't that touristy to me, but maybe it's because we stay on the edge of town on a big property with huge grounds. We could go hours without even seeing anyone else. Love the volcano and adventure activities, so maybe still go with Arenal but stay somewhere not right in the center of town like we do. Sounds like MA would be too touristy for you. You might check out Shelter from the Storm in Dominical; it gets rave reviews.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 10:39 AM
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Villas de las aves in Uvita is breathtakingly beautiful in Uvita. Check
out my trip report for details.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 10:41 AM
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Excuse my english...
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 10:49 AM
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I guess I have to stand up here once in a while for the term "tourist trap" because it's used sometimes loosely on the forums and not what I'd compare with some places that really fit into that category. Arenal and MA are more traveled for many reasons, a couple being they are easy to get to and offer a bit of everything. Those areas do have more hotels and restaurant choices, maybe even more vendor stands on the beach or souvenir shops. That said, they are both unique and beautiful areas and well worth visiting.

Depending on where you stay in Osa, I don't think you'd find too much similarity with Uvita, however it's true that both areas are less traveled than Arenal or MA, and both offer some really wonderful and more isolated places to stay. As vgirl mentioned above, Shelter from the Storm is fabulous. In Osa, I really feel you can't beat Bosque del Cabo in comparison to some of the other lodges in that area. I don't think it would be a waste of time to visit both of those areas at all.

So it really does have a lot to do with what your interests are and what you want do see and do when you're there. It's really hard to list my favorite areas in order...but Osa is definitely at the top. Tortuguero, Puerto Viejo, Dominical...are all great for different reasons as well.

I'm not sure I helped at all, but just my perspective on things.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 10:52 AM
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Thank you for your responses. I will check out the places you recommend. Volcanogirl - where was the place you stayed at, and do you recommend it? Costaricalover - I have heard of that place and many others in the Uvita area that people say are spectacular; one of the reasons I am looking there. I will check out your report - thank you!
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 10:55 AM
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Thank you also hipvirgochick - I would love to see the Caribbean side also, as I hear it is beautiful; but it rains frequently? I am worried it would be too much traveling for us. Sounds gorgeous though...
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 11:10 AM
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Vgirl is talking about Lost Iguana just outside of La Fortuna, next door to the hanging bridges. It and Arenal Observatory Lodge are the best lodges to see the volcano flow and is recommended by many on this forum.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 11:20 AM
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The Lost Iguana is gorgeous. It's on a huge property with lots of acreage, gorgeous grounds with a river that runs through it, hiking, and beautiful volcano views. It's one of our favorite spots. We get the rooms that have the jacuzzi tub on the balcony. It's a very quiet property set out by the lake. Agree with hip on Tortuguero; we loved it too. Great wildlife and different because of the canals.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 11:29 AM
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Wow, Bosque del Cabo looks amazing - but well out of our price range. Any other recommendations for less expensive lodging in the area?
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 11:59 AM
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N, regarding Lost Iguana, be sure to check out their specials page; sometimes they run a free night special, etc.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 12:23 PM
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Villas des las Aves is great, I agree with costaricalover. We didn't stay there, but had dinner one night at the restaurant and had tours of the casitas and surrounds. Very vibrant and beautiful view overlooking the fork of a river. A little longer bumpier drive to get too than Shelter from the Storm with the ocean view.

BDC is well worth the splurge if even for 3 nights. It's about a 4 hour drive from Uvita. But if you can't swing it completely understand! You can check places like Cabinas las Caletas, Pearl of the Osa, Luna Lodge...unless you go very basic or in town, due to the isolation and inclusiveness of the lodges and cost of operations, you will tend to pay a bit more in that area. Since when I'm at BDC I'm not renting a car, paying for transportation, restaurant meals, souvenirs, tours, etc., besides it being just all around wonderful, the cost of BDC makes sense for me but I try to throw in some budget places too.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 12:28 PM
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Oh, and as far as Puerto Viejo goes, it's a bit off the beaten path too, since even the closest airport is closed. It's a great area though and great affordable accommodations. December would probably not be the best month. I've been in March and May and we had terrific weather. Going back late June this year. Best (less rain) months are Sep-Oct and even November, but last year was unseasonably rainy in November.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 02:12 PM
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In the Osa penninsula, has anyone had any experience at the smaller lodges - like yellow coco or camp jiminez? These places are very inexpensive and right on the beach. Obviously more rustic. Curious what people think.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 02:29 PM
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shillmac has stayed at Yellow Coco so hopefully she'll chime in here, and I think it gets decent reviews on Trip Advisor. Cabinas Jimenez is in town, so near a public beach area and within walking distance to restaurants and things, but not on the nicer beach and more secluded like Yellow Coco is. Did you mean Cabinas Jimenez or Camp Jimenez? I don't know of any Camp Jimenez.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 02:40 PM
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Yes you're right - it's cabinas jiminez that I'm talking about. Thanks!
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 04:26 PM
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You may also want to look at spme of the rentals in Matapalo, I'm staying at one of them - Surfside Bungalows - in May. Lots of nice places down there but you would need to bring food for yourself. Also down in Carate there is the very pretty Laguna Vista Villas, Lookout Inn and La Leona, all 3 provide meals.
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