Help First Trip to Costa Rica

Old Apr 10th, 2003, 01:58 PM
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Help First Trip to Costa Rica

Going to Costa Rica the end of May. Flying into San Jose. Then where and what for one week.
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Old Apr 10th, 2003, 07:09 PM
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You tell us what and we can tell you where. Costa Rica has a lot of options. I am assuming you know a little about what is available. My favorite places might not be the same kind of places that you would be interested in.
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 03:55 AM
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Where, when, why, how many people, for how long, what is your budget? What are your intersts? Why did you decide to get your ticket?
I suggest you do some search here, get some ideas, get one or two guide books, then ask questions on this board. Costa Rica is such a great place to visit but one needs to know a purpose of his/her trip.
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 07:00 AM
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We are a husband and wife that were given the air tickets r/t to San Jose.

We enjoy sightseeing, but usually not on our own. We really don't enjoy driving and getting lost. Rather sit on a tour bus. We will spend the weekend near the volcano, another gift of a weekend at the Condessa Hotel. We would like to see the rainforest, the volcano. Should we spend a couple of days in San Jose?
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 09:45 AM
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How old are the two of you? Do you like adventure? Do you like a leisurely vacation or one packed with activities or something in the middle? Do you like scuba diving, hiking, white water rafting, horseback riding, seeing wildlife, birding, etc.? These are important questions.

I posted a trip report called Trip Report, Costa Rica, August, 2002 on this site. Look it up. It may help.

Jay
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 08:56 PM
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There are trips you can take from the Arenal area if you decide to stay there for a few days. Cano Negro wildlife preserve is a nice day long trip. I saw lots of stuff there. A visit to the hot springs is a must.
From the San Jose/Alajuela (airport) area you could take a number of day trips. There is a full day highlight tour where you have breakfast at a coffee plantation in San Ramon, go to Poas Volcano, visit a waterfall, stop for a snack at a mirador, visit a burial site, have lunch at Selva Verde and take a short hike in the rainforest afterwards, and last but not least finish up the day on a boat trip on the Saripiqui river. Lots of monkeys.
You could visit the Basillica in Cartago (a beautiful place), Lankester gardens, Irazu volcano, La Paz Waterfall gardens.
As you can see there are numerous places to go.
Hotel Don Carlos in the historic district is a fun place to stay if in San Jose. It isn't the fanciest place but has a lot of character and is very popular with tourists. They have an excellent tour desk and gift shop.
For a slightly quieter place in the city the hotel Grano de Oro is lovely. They can also help you go on the tours.
You will find that most hotels have someone who can help you with tour arrangements.
The two hotels I mentioned have web sites that you can visit.
There are also the usual Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, Marriott, etc. in the San Jose area.
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 06:49 AM
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We are in our mid 50's and enjoy all the sightseeing we can get, as well as quiet time at the beach/pool.

We are thinking of taking public transportation to antonio manuel park. is this a crazy idea. Hate small planes and driving does not seem to be the recommended mode of transportation.

We were thinking of 2 or 3 night in Quepos.

Appreciate all the comments and help
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 07:43 AM
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Definitely do 3 nights in Manuel Antonio but don't take public transportation. If you don't want to fly of drive take one of the tourist shuttle buses that connect major tourist destinations - I believe there are 2 of them: Interbus and Gray bus or something like that. I have not used them but read a lot of good comments about them here. Your hotel in San Jose can get you information regarding those services and make arrangements for you.
As to San Jose, I would recommend that you do not stay in the city but rather stay at one of the lovely hotels in the surrounding areas. We like Xandari in Alajuela and Vista del Valle in Grecia, but there are also other places in Alajuela that people recommend.
Have a great trip.
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 08:43 AM
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I too am heading to manual antonio. We will be in Jaco for a couple of days and then head to MA for 4 and then back to San Jose to fly home. We were going to take the public bus to each of these places. Why do you recommend not taking them?
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 09:59 AM
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Fantasy (Grayline) Bus/Interbus is a great way to travel in Costa Rica. Monteverdeinfo.com also has a shuttle. It is more expensive than a public bus but the buses are very nice. The public buses really aren't that bad. I have taken many. I prefer to leave San Jose by private transportation of one kind or another just because it can be confusing not to mention dangerous at some of the bus terminals. There are several different terminals so you need to know which one to go to and the Coca Cola terminal is notorious for robberies. You do have more options for times on the public buses to some of the more heavily traveled areas such as Manuel Antonio. Once you are out of San Jose it is a lot easier. The private buses generally have one trip out each day to the various places where the public buses have several. To Manuel Antonio for example there are 3 direct buses and 4 indirect each day. You can catch a bus near the airport also for several places.
For Juice..traveling by public bus between Jaco and MA would be very easy. There are some precautions on the public bus. If you are on a direct trip it isn't so bad but if you get on an indirect I would sit by the window near where they store the luggage so you can watch to be sure yours isn't stolen. If you can get there early and get your luggage on first there is less of a problem. Stolen stuff would be the stuff that is most accessible ie the last to go on.
Lots of times we have a tour company make our arrangements for us. We pick out which hotel and when we want to stay there and ask them to make it happen. Our transportation and hotel reservations are made and paid for ahead of time and with some companies there is no additional charge. Others charge a lot or a little.
There are many private drivers available as well. Most of us who have been going down for awhile know of at least one or two. We actually used one for 10 days last year. He transported us all over the place and he took us out for the day tours. Even with paying him a fee that covered all his hotel etc expenses we ended up with a much less expensive trip than we have had on many occassions.
To stevermb...FYI (don't tell anyone) I am a woman in my 50's. My husband travels with me for 2 weeks a year and then I spend another 1-3 weeks by myself traveling around. Costa Rica is a very user friendly place and has become more and more so over the years.
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 11:43 AM
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The reason I recommended taking the shuttle services instead of public buses is because some of the public buses are not very comfortable (similar to school buses here in the US). Additionally, if you take an indirect bus it stops frequently, so it will take much longer to get to your destination. The shuttles cost a bit more (but are not very expensive) but are much more comfortable.
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