FIRST TRIP -- NEED HELP

Old Mar 10th, 2008, 03:35 PM
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FIRST TRIP -- NEED HELP

Hi

i am trying to plan a first trip to costa rica for myself and husband (early 30's)..... we want a romantic getaway but don't need luxury to be happy...infact we like quaint quiet out of the way places...
i have a few questions....it seems like the wet season goes from end of may to end of november...if we wanted to travel in the off peak season...when is the best to get the least amount of rain...is there certain areas of CR we would be better off going to and others that we should avoid..

right now we have about 10-12 days to work with.. we'd like to take a leisurely pace..not afraid to rent a car and drive and would like 2 or 3 places to spend 3-4 nites each at.

we would love to hike some rain forests, do canopy , see volcanos, enjoy a hot spring, hike down to some waterfalls, some beach activites, kayaking , snorkeling etc etc..mostly we want to be away from places too touristy.

we are planning on flying into san jose.... and from there its a clean slate... waiting for advise. thanks
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 05:12 PM
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Hi nycgal,

Costa Rica is such a wonderful destination. I bet you'll absolutely love it!

The rainiest time of year for most of CR would be September/October. Lots of folks here do visit in May, June, and July and don't seem to have many weather woes to report. Both of my visits have been over the first week in December (still considered green season in many areas). We experienced some rain on each trip, but also had some absolutely gorgeous days. Even the rainy days didn't stop us from enjoying ourselves!

Here's a helpful link regarding rainfall patterns in the country:

http://costa-rica-guide.com/Weather/WeatherMap.html

Based on your wish list of things to do, I would recommend the Arenal region (active volcano, hot springs, hiking, waterfall, ziplines, nature tours...). Lots to see and do there. It is a popular tourist destination in CR, but we didn't find it to be overrun when we visited in early December.

The other place I would recommend is the Osa Peninsula for lush rain forests, hiking, beaches (some have strong rip tides, so be sure to ask before swimming...), boating activities, and just communing with nature.

The Osa is a more remote, pristine destination; definitely more off-the-beaten-path and very special. Do a search here on Bosque del Cabo (or BdC) and you'll see tons of posts on a wonderful jungle lodge that many here (myself included) absolutely love.

These are just 2 suggestions. There are many other parts of the country worthy of consideration as well. Costa Rica has such amazing diversity packed into such a small area, that I think it really requires several trips to experience it all!

As a side note: be aware that while you can snorkel in CR, it's not usually considered a world class snorkeling or diving destination like the Caribbean would be...

Good luck with your planning phase!
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 05:21 PM
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We travel in June, July, or August every year and the rain has never caused us a problem. Brief afternoon showers are common, but days can pass without them as well. The Guanacaste province in the northwest tends to be a bit drier as a rule.

Arenal and Manuel Antonio are 2 places everyone should visit once, but they do tend to be more touristy, although not the huge crowds that "touristy" generally means. Especially in June or July or August. Arenal=active volcano, waterfalls, and hot springs; and Manuel Antonio=national park with beautiful beaches and lots of wildlife viewing.

At both places, there is a wide range of accomodations available and you can find clean places with great views for moderate prices.

One of the more out of the way beaches would be Nosara, about 5 hours from San Jose. In the north Pacific you'll find lots of the big all-inclusives, but a hotel like Sugar Beach would be fun for you as well, more isolated and private--also a decent price. Hotel Sugar Beach is also located in an area that allows for exploring to the north and to the south.

Glad you are willing to drive--it's a great way to have flexibility and adds a bit to the adventure if you don't mind adjusting to a different pace and enjoying the sights along the way. Think: chill!

Rincon de la Vieja National Park in Guanacaste would be a fun out of the way place for you as well. Good for a couple of nights. It's a bit on the extravagant and touristy side, but La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Peace Lodge on that property are fabulous. So much to see aned do there--also good for a couple of nights.

On the southern Nicoya Peninsula (accessible by ferry) you have Montezuma with beaches, waterfall, and hiking (Cabo Blanco). Ylang Ylang resort a good choice. We also liked Amor de Mar. Nearby is the surfing mecca of Malpais and Ste. Teresa. Before you get to Montezuma there is Tambor, another choice, but not such a great beach.

Or head over to the Caribbean side to Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo. Lots of cool little hotels over there and definitely less touristy.

It would be hard to go wrong with a combination of Peace Lodge (for your luxury factor, even though you aren't looking for that), Arenal, and either Manuel Antonio, Nosara, or Sugar Beach. Or substitute the Caribbean for your beach experience. . .

Good luck with the planning--it's half the fun!
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 05:27 PM
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Hi Jill!

We must have been posting in unison!

Shillmac will never steer you wrong, nycgal!
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 05:28 PM
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nyc, here's a good website for checking on the weather in certain areas during specific months www.costa-rica-guide.com. They have a section on rainfall, and you can mouse over certain areas of the map, and it will show you rainfalls for each month. We like to travel in July; last summer we went to the Osa and feared getting a lot of rain, and we didn't get any, so it's unpredictable, but the map will give you an idea. If I were you, I'd look into some combo of Arenal, the Osa, and Peace Lodge or Arenal, Manuel Antonio and the Peace Lodge - just one night at PL to give you a bit of luxury.
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 05:29 PM
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Hey, I'm was posting at the same time too - lol.
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 05:31 PM
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We even posted the same link, VG!

Must be a case of great minds thinking alike...

I second the rec for the Peace Lodge, nycgal.
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 06:43 PM
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you guys are so amazing.... i only posted like 2 hours ago, and already i have an amazing amount of information to start on...all of your genuine excitement and enthusiasm is contagious..i cant wait to do some more research and start honing down an itinerary....of course i;ll ck back with you guys along the way....
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 06:50 PM
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May June is a great time to travel, rarely had all that much rain myself and many places start the 'wet' season discounts. Look into aa.com, they had some really low rates for May ($232 r/t!).
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