First Time Travelers to Costa Rica

Old Jun 11th, 2007, 03:14 PM
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First Time Travelers to Costa Rica

A friend and I are going to Costa Rica in August. We will be there for roughly 25 days. We've both done the backpacking through Europe thing but have never been to latin america. We are planning on staying in Costa Rica for most of the time but would like to venture to a few other countries as well. What is the best way to travel; someone told us flights are fairly inexpensive? Also, any recommendations on other countries to visit? As we would like to visit all of them, time becomes an issue. Finally, as it is our first time in Costa Rica, we are looking for recommendations of things to do and places to visit as well. We are both active outdoorsmen and enjoy hiking, rafting, kayaking, climing, and camping? We are open as far as accommodations, so some input there would be nice as well. We are both going in blind, so we are just looking for recommendations so we can start to plan accordingly...both of us are flexible and open as we would like to get the best out of our trip. Thanks in advance for any and all help.
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Old Jun 11th, 2007, 03:51 PM
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Get yourself a good guide book. I'm thinking you might enjoy spending a little time up in the Guanacaste area, Rincon de la Vieja National Park, then venture into Nicaragua, perhaps Granada.

Take in Arenal at some point (3 nights or so), spend a little time at the beginning or end in San Jose so you can white water raft the Pacuare. Fly down to Bocos del Toro, Panama, take the water taxi back to the Panamanian mainland, bus it from Almirante over to David (supposed to be a beautiful drive), hang out in the Boquete area a bit. Fly down to Panama City if you are interested in visiting the canal.
You can also go to the southern Caribe area of Costa Rica and bus down to Panama, taking the water taxi over to Bocos del Toro. This would allow you a few days in that Caribbean area of Costa Rica around Puerto Viejo.

If it appeals to you, you could also arrange to spend a couple of days at Tortuguero. The turtles will be nesting, and seeing them is a phenomenal experience.

If you can work it in, try to get down to the Osa at one of the lodges. Wildlife viewing is excellent there, and there are a lot of things to do. A good area is in and around Puerto Jimenez.

These are just a few suggestions. You've given a tall order, and 25 days will fly by like you won't believe. You'll find yourself thinking, "if I had just one more week". We're going for 7 weeks this summer, and once again have run out of time to do some of the things we thought we might do this year! It's amazing. . .
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 05:56 AM
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Thank shillmac, it will be very helpful in getting us started.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 06:54 AM
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You're welcome. Once you get your mind around some highlights, there are lots of Fodor folks who can help you tweak it here and there until your itinerary is perfect for you.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 11:36 AM
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skibum,
while costa rica sounds like a perfect way to spend your summer, are you sure that you wouldn't rather stay in michigan with an extremely overweight cat named pickles? just something to ponder
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Old Jun 13th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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The Osa Peninsula is wonderful - you can hire a small boat from Puerto Jiminez that will take you down the river (saltwater crocodiles included) and into Drake Bay, then onto land on the Peninsula itself. We avoided the resorts and stuck to a tiny guest house (literally a shack next to someone's house) and did our hiking from there. Amazingly dense forest and wildlife. Gorgeous beaches. People were friendly and there wasn't a lot of English spoken which we really enjoyed, and at least our small place was without electricity except at dinner time. Close to the Panamanian border as well.
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