First Time to Costa Rica - Need advice

Old Apr 21st, 2009, 07:54 AM
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You might check Interbus. I think I'd be comfortable leaving MA early that morning. If there are no traffic accidents/jams, etc. you should be okay, just allow enough time to get to the airport early.
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 01:33 PM
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We had an international flight that left around 2:30-ish (if I remember correctly) and were able to make the drive from MA in plenty of time. It's about a 3 hour drive and you'd want to add some padding in case of slow traffic. Hopefully Interbus has a schedule that makes sense for you.

Your other options would be private driver, or domestic flight from MA to San Jose. Definitely heed the advice to be at SJO about 3 hours before your international flight because you never know what the check-in lines will look like.
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 03:40 PM
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For Tortuguero Canal Tour, I went with a company called Mawamba and stayed at the Mawamba Lodge, you can go for 2 nights or 3 nights. Two nights is enough.-great experience! They pick up in SJO and bring you back. Highly recommend this area of C Rica, its really the jungle. I write a blog for fun and education. You can find me at google costa rica learn. I talk a lot about this Tortuguero experience. The shuttle bus services are interbus and grey line. You can find them on web. Have a great trip.
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 09:17 PM
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Absolutely head to Arenal right away. Even if you get a late (4:00 ish) start, you'll have very little driving left to do after it gets dark. Very little. No problems; good road.

I like Colibri's suggestion with the 3/3/3/1 split--but certainly you could make it back on the last morning barring an accident of some kind blocking the road (it happens). You should leave by 7:30 or so for a 2:30 flight.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 05:00 AM
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Okay, here's another question: My friend now can't make this trip. Do I do it alone or hook up with a small group company? I need to go in May since work begins in June. The longer in May I wait, won't it be rainier?
Any suggestions as to what companies I can look for that have small groups. By the way, I am an extremely young 62 and a very seasoned traveler. What are your thoughts?
thanks,
Susan
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 06:12 AM
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I think it depends upon what you're most comfortable with. Plenty of people travel alone to CR and enjoy it.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 02:35 PM
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That's such a bummer, Susan! It's always more fun to go with a friend, but that doesn't mean you can't have a phenomenal time on your own (or with a tour group).

Tully, who posts here frequently, has made several trips to CR on her own. She always seems to have a ball. Maybe she'll add her two cents...

The places you have on your itinerary are all very traveler friendly, and it will be easy enough to have your hotels line up day trips and individual guided tours for the things you want to do.

As VG said, it comes down to your comfort level of being on your own, or wanting to have steady company for your trip.

None of your other friends or family are interested in joining you? Heck, I'd jump at the chance to go to CR (in fact, I already have jumped at that chance on more than one occasion... ;-) ).

The aforementioned Tully frequently visits CR in May and lots of other posters repeatedly go in June and July. Be prepared for some rain showers (take a rain jacket or poncho along), but you won't likely encounter endless downpours; usually a shower or two in the afternoon/evening hours...
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 02:55 PM
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Very easy & fun to travel on your own and May is a great time. Sorry can't write more now but will write later.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 03:02 PM
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I've gone to CR both ways: with friends in May and solo in October and had a wonderful trip each time. Since you have a couple of weeks, you can split your time between being on your own and being with a tour group for either a day trip or a week depending on what you fancy.

In October, I booked my lodgings/activities for the first five days before I got to CR so that when I got there I'd have a home base (of sorts) from which to orient myself. Also booked a four-day package for my last week because I got a really good deal for a jaunt into the Osa Peninsula. Then I winged it for the next three weeks in between and my last night in CR.

You should have a great time either way ;-)
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 03:40 PM
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Eressa.. where did you find a four day package trip?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 09:52 AM
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I'd go it alone, given your description of yourself. You'll meet people along the way here and there.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 10:08 AM
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The funny thing is you may end up seeing the same people over and over. Our next door neighbors from Arenal ended up staying at the same tiny B&B where we stayed in MA. We went snorkeling one day, and saw almost everyone from our boat at the restaurant that night. A couple we met at Cano Negro, we ended up seeing at a restaurant in MA. I guess we all end up going to the same places!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 12:04 PM
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From another tour operator actually. I had heard that it would be quite a challenge even getting to the Osa Peninsula during October (lots of rain), that a lot of the lodges would be shut, etc. but I decided to chance it anyway and was happy I did. The rains weren't really an issue and followed the same pattern in other parts of the country: mostly clear in the morning with some late afternoon/early evening showers.

I flew on Sansa into Palmar Sur and stayed at the Punta Marenco Lodge. I booked directly with the lodge and the package included pick up/drop off at the airport, the boat transfers, lodging, all meals as well as three activities: the Rio Claro hike, the visit to the Corcovado NP and the excursion to Isla Cano (with the tilde over the n).

http://www.puntamarenco.com/

There's also another tour operator I mean to try next time I visit: http://www.mapachetours.com/ I met the owner and one of his lead guides on a rafting trip I took with the tour operator who recommended Punta Marenco to me. They have multi-day packages as well.
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