Help Needed with Costa Rica

Old Jun 10th, 2002, 06:00 AM
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Help Needed with Costa Rica

I need everyones help/opinions. My husband and I (mid 20s) are planning on taking a vacation June 22nd-26th. Originally I was wanting to go to Belize so that we could see some beautiful water, scuba dive and fish. He is now changing his mind and wants to do something different so he wants to go to white water rafting. So, I'm thinking maybe Costa Rica might be a fair compromise. But, I need help deciding if it's feasible to do the things we want to in a short amount of time (3 full days). We live in Houston and could arrive in Costa Rica by noon on Saturday. We would like to be able to white water rafting, do some type of jungle tour (the one where you're suspended in the air on the cable) and possibly fish. Is there one town where we could stay and base all of our activities from? If so, how far of a drive will we be from everything? We really don't want to have to rent a car either. We would rather just take transfers from the airport to our hotel and then to all of our activities. Sorry for the long post but I want to be as thorough as possible. Any help you could provide would be appreciated. Thanks!
Old Jun 10th, 2002, 06:28 AM
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Lynn, 3 full days may not be enough to do justice to CR but I think you may be able to pull it off. We went to CR twice in the last 2 years and really like it a lot there. I did a lot of research before our trips so I will try to offer some advice to you.
I would say that you should base yourself at a hotel outside of San Jose and just take day trips from there. There was a post in the last couple of days that had very good tips on white water rafting but the title was something like "Where should I stay in San Jose" (I will top it for you). Our favorite places to stay outside of San Jose are Xandari in Alajuela ( and Vista del Valle in Grecia ( If you arive in San Jose on Sat. afternoon you will be able to have a relaxing evening at one of those places. Then the next day take a rafting trip, then the following day take a day trip including a canopy tour (I will try to look something up for you) and then the last full day take a day trip that to the Pacific coast (Jaco area or Quepos area are not that far away from SJ and doable as a day trip).
I would say you can do all of your activities within 2 hours of SJ. We found both hotels I recommended very helpful in arranging activities and making reservations.
I will look for some more info for you and post it here.
Old Jun 10th, 2002, 06:37 AM
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Thanks so much for the info. Yes, please post any additional information that you might have. Thanks again!
Old Jun 10th, 2002, 06:40 AM
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Lynn, check out (what to do and fishing sections) for some one day rafting and other types of tours. Also search the net for "costa rica one day tour" and you should be able to find a lot of places offering tours. Also, on our first trip we used a travel agency that had very good suggestions for places to stay and activities: Costa Rica Connection ( Check them out as well.
Good luck in your planning.
Old Jun 11th, 2002, 03:35 PM
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Message: Lynn

You'll be busy, but I also think you can pull it off. Everyone recommends the Xandari, which I'm sure is all they say. Another option you might try is the Hotel Martino. It's outside of Alejulela, and they will pick you up from the airport for free. You can book via the internet and Mr. Martino was very nice to us. Rates during your timeframe are also reasonable, $50 pp no meals and $59 pp with breakfast & dinner included as well as taxes, which add up.

My other suggestion would be to stay in San Jose at the Grano del Oro, they also have a web site under (or something along those lines). Their rooms are about $85 + tax, but they have an excellent restaurant and they can book your tours for you. Everyone says to get out of San Jose, and that's generally good advise, but you won't really have any time to rent a car or do CR the way most people on this site do it (stay of at least 7-14 days or more).

You could also use any one of the raft companies: Rio Tropicales, Adventuras Naturales, or Tico Tours (you can get a tour book for their local numbers). We used the last one to do the Pacaure (great time BTW), and they will pick you up from your hotel in San Jose for $90 pp.

They say the canopy tour at Arenal is one of the best, but I'm sure you could also book this tour from whatever hotel you're staying at. This will be an all day deal with transporation, plus you'll hopefully get to see the volcano and they may throw in the hot springs.

Fishing wise, I think there are a couple of marina choices in Jaco. There is a resort type Mariott (something like Los Suenos) and they are either building a marina or have one, you might want to check out their US 800# for info. If not, the marina in Jaco probably has boats you can rent, but even in the off season might be pricey. We didn't go fishing, as our research indicated that a half day would be about $250-$300 pp.

Hope this info is helpful and you have a great time!
Old Aug 28th, 2002, 09:12 AM
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Lynn- Just to respond about Belize....

My husband and I had the most incredible vacation experinece in Belize. We did 4 nights on the mainland at Ian Anderson's cavesbranch and had the coolest, most adventuresome exscursions from cave tubing to rapelling into the "black hole drop." (go to the website The jungle cabanas were really neat. We then went over to Ambergris Caye and had tremendous snorkeling and a few day trips sailing. great place to go.
Old Aug 28th, 2002, 05:50 PM
Jay Weinstein
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See my Costa Rica Trip Report dated August 21, 2002.
Do yourself a favor do not restrict yourself to 3 days. That's really absurd. I packed in many activities into my tiny vacation of 9 days but 3 days? Do they include travel days?
Good diving in Guanacaste; great white water rafting in the Pacuare near San Jose; good canopy tour in Arenal and Monteverde. Just can't do it all in 3 days.
Old Aug 31st, 2002, 03:15 PM
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3 days is going to be tough as you'll be spending an awful lot of time on the road instead of relaxing. The closest place to fish is Jaco, which is 2 hours from San Jose. The closest place for serious rafting is Turrialba, which is 2 the other direction. The scuba diving in CR is not going to be impressive if you were considering Belize. The conditions here just aren't great.

If you were to ONLY do fishing, rafing and canopy...AND could extend your trip to 4 days, I think Manuel Antonio would do the trick. Rios Tropicales (the biggest rafting co. in CR) now does rafting trips down a smaller river near Manuel Antonio, there's a canopy tour 45 mins. from there AND excellent sport fishing. It's also one of the neatest beaches in CR and has a great Nat'l Park. You can fly there from San Jose in 35 minutes, so if your Int'l flights worked out (meaning you arrive early and depart late) you could feasibly spend your entire time there.


Old Sep 1st, 2002, 05:29 AM
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just a friendly reminder folks... you'll see this question was posted in june, regarding a trip IN june, and undoubtedly this couple has already returned from cr.... no need to reply here anymore! (just trying to save you time and energy)
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