First Trip to Costa Rica

Old Jan 27th, 2007, 01:03 PM
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First Trip to Costa Rica

Hi Everyone-

My fiance and I will be taking our first trip to Costa Rica, our honeymoon, for approximately 7 - 9 days at the end of May.

We've been researching a good deal and have yet to set a really definitive itinerary, but this and many other sites and travel guides have provided a good start. But looking at this forum, it seems there are so many out there with specific insight and experience, that I wanted to simply ask what everyone thought were the things "not to be missed" and what places are over-hyped.

We're looking to spend one or two days surfing at a beginner beach. A few days exploring the beautiful wildlife and a few days of pure relaxation and soaking in the culture. We're really open to anything -- and don't want to miss the best parts.

Would love to hear your thoughts on must-see's, places to stay, or even itinerary suggestions. Thank you!
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Old Jan 27th, 2007, 01:42 PM
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Hi Alex!
Congrats on your upcoming marriage!
My family of 4 went to CR and had THE best trip...and this was with a 7 and a 17 year old!
We rented a jeep, which gave us a lot of freedom.Roads really are not too bad.Some large potholes, but nothing too much worse than LA or NY!

We started our trip at the Villablanca Cloud Forest Hotel. Beautiful,surreal location. Romantic casitas, great food and a spa! We hiked and did horseback riding. Cost about $22 for 1.5 hrs and we roamed over gorgeous ,mist shrouded hills, with a foal as our escort!

Next, we headed to Arenal...saw and heard the volcano in all its glory, did zip-line canopy tour, white-water rafted,soaked in thermal springs,did the Hanging Bridges and ate at some truly good local restaurants.

Finished our trip at the Fiesta premier on the Pacific coast. Apart from swimming,snorkelling and relaxing, we did a jet ski tour to see leatherback turtles and dolphins. Also drove to Rincon de la Vieja, another volcano very different from Arenal.

Be prepared to see lots of Fauna...coatis,sloths,crocs,toucans, howler monkeys...

If you stay on the Pacific coast, I've heard good things about the Four Seasons. Definitely nicer for a honeymoon!

Any questions, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]

Good Luck! Lori
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Old Jan 27th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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This is so helpful! Thank you Lori! We can't wait to go -- Villablanca sounds wonderful and we are definitely doing the ziplines and hot springs. Thanks again!
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Old Jan 27th, 2007, 04:35 PM
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If it's your honeymooon and your first trip to Costa Rica, you should go to Bosque del Cabo on the Osa Peninsula for several days. I admit I've not been there, but it's where I'd go if I was choosing now based on what I know/have heard/have seen of Costa Rica.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 04:04 AM
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Congratulations on your upcoming marriage and honeymoon!

Dry season in Costa Rica is December-March everywhere except the southern Caribbean. It can get quite wet inland at altitude and especially in the southern Pacific region.

Nicoya and Guanacaste (northwest pacific) will provide the best weather for May.

I would suggest Malpais/Montezuma for a good beginner surfing location and Casa Chameleon ( ) for your honeymoon destination.

Everyone loves the place. See some reviews here.

Surfing in this area is good for beginners (like in Tamarindo) because of the sandy bottom (many places elswhere the bottom is exposed reef).

Have a fun vacation!
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 01:10 PM
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These are great. Thank you Rogerd and Glover. I've seen some photos from Bosque del Cabo, which looks incredible. I know May is the start of the rainy season and perhaps it makes sense to spend time in Mal Pais -- is it likely it will be raining all the time inland? Some days of showers wouldn't be too bad, but it would be a shame if it were downpours the whole time.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 01:17 PM
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The rainy season is somewhat of a mis-nomer IMO. I've gone 3 May's in a row and have had, maybe, a total of 3 hours where rain stopped what I was doing outside. Bosque is what I would call a must see, but it all depends on what you're looking for.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 02:38 PM
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im not sure id describe Mal Pais as a 'beginners' surf beach, but a beautiful beach and nice hotels and restraurants and less crowded and cleaner than Tamarindo:

Overhyped is Monteverde. Must sees are Osa Peninsula and Arenal Volcano:

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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 03:48 PM
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just got back from CR on my first trip. we went to pacific coast side (playa flamingo area) and arenal. We lovced arenal area and wish we had spent more time there. Lots to do, and it is what we pictured Cr to be - rainforest, adventures, soaking in hot springs, etc. We stayed at the tabacon and loved it.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 05:10 PM
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I've been to Costa Rica 3 times - different areas of the country each time. My vote for wildlife and relaxation would be a small resort on Osa - it's very hot and humid there but the wildlife is amazing and waking up to howler monkeys at 4AM is an interesting experience.

Enjoy - some places were better than others for me but I've never really stayed in a "bad" spot in Costa Rica.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 05:18 AM
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Tamarindo has many surfing schools and it looked like a lot of beginners were our there giving it a try.

We just returned and the web page may be helpful to you

Have fun and enjoy the scenery and warmth.

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Old Feb 14th, 2007, 12:11 PM
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Happy Honeymoon! In January, we chose to get married at Bosque del Cabo with our immediate family as guests, and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect wedding. I think it would be a fantastic destination for your honeymoon! Throughout our week long stay, the owners, Kim and Phil, and the entire staff made us feel like honored guests.
The level of communication leading up to the trip from Kim assured us we had made the right decision in choosing Bosque. We had many questions and a few requests, and Kim handled every one of them with professionalism and friendliness.
It is not easy to get to Bosque del Cabo, as there is an hour long, extremely rugged ride to the nature lodge once we landed in Puerto Jiminez. For this reason and about a million others, we were very glad we’d chosen to stay for a week. Bosque is located on the Osa Peninsula and is truly one of the most gorgeous places we’ve ever been.
My husband and I stayed in Mariposa, surely the most wonderful of the casitas because it backs up to the jungle, and is therefore more private than some of the others. In addition to the lovely outdoor shower, it has a gorgeous outdoor bathtub. Every day our room was decorated with tropical flowers, and it was always spotless. Our parents stayed in two other casitas, equally beautiful though a bit less private. Our siblings lived in Casa Miramar, a terrific open air house. They were up for the ˝ mile walk to and from the lodge and enjoyed the privacy that afforded.
Every morning we woke to howler monkeys, and near dusk the scarlet macaws cawed and soared overhead. We saw white-faced monkeys, coatis, huge blue butterflies, and toucans on the immediate grounds of Bosque almost every day. Some great hikes allowed us to see poison dart frogs, beautiful birds, and more monkeys. The flora and fauna were stunning.
Phil and Kim have a true commitment to low impact living while still providing the most luxurious of stays; the soap is organic and biodegradable, there are few lights in the cabins, and the food is perhaps exclusively locally grown.
The meals were fantastic and served buffet style. There were eleven people in our party, so we sat with just our group, which was lovely. Miguel cooked dynamite seafood, beef, pork, and outstanding vegetables and fruits. Each day at happy hour, complimentary appetizers were laid out by the bar, located next to the pool. The appetizers and frozen drink concoctions were terrific. Both the bar and restaurant staff were impeccable and always ready with a friendly smile. Jose not only worked at the bar and provided gorgeous flowers for our wedding, but he also serenaded us with Spanish songs played on his guitar.
Part of the reason we chose Bosque for our wedding was so everyone in our party would be able to participate in a variety of activities. Gerly at the front desk was always ready to help us with any excursion. We enjoyed the zip line, guided nature tours, surfing, massages, fishing, and rappelling from waterfalls. Perhaps best of all, we could take a number of different hikes on our own throughout the grounds to discover such beautiful places as the tide pools of the Pacific, waterfalls that run into the ocean, swimming holes, different types of rainforests- almost all of it virtually our own even in the high season. I think we could have stayed a month at Bosque and still have plenty more to see and do.
For us, Bosque del Cabo was the perfect place to get married, and I think it would be a fantastic place for a honeymoon!
Best of luck!
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