Help! Quick first trip to Costa Rica

Dec 13th, 2006, 06:42 PM
  #1  
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Help! Quick first trip to Costa Rica

I was just offered the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica the end of January with my husband on business. We'd arrive on a Sunday afternoon, and he'll work Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday in San Jose.

Are there day trips with an organized group available to take into the countryside that I can look into for those days?

We would have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday together to see what we could of the country before returning home on Saturday.

I'd love any suggestions as to how I could make this trip successful!

Please help! I know alot about travel to Europe, but nothing about Costa Rica.

Thanks so much for any help you can provide. I need to decide quickly so I can buy the airline ticket!
Images2 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 06:54 PM
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For Monday, check into the Highlights Tour through Ecoscape. It is absolutely excellent.

www.ecoscapetours.com

Tuesday, I'd suggest a day trip to Volcan Irazu, Lankester Gardens, and Orosi Valley.

Your hotel should be able to arrange both.

Once your husband is free to travel with you, you would enjoy making your way up to the Volcan Arenal area for a few days. Check out Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Garden on the way. Once there, there is a LOT to do. Enjoy Tabacon Hot Springs (a don't miss in my opinion), a day trip to Cano Negro, the Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfalls, or Skytrek Ziplines. All tremendously fun--in different ways!

Returning to the airport area, you might be able to stop by Sarchi and Grecia, a couple of great little colonial towns. Sarchi is good for purchasing souvenirs (check out the oxcart factory) and Grecia is just downright pretty.

Get yourself a good guidebook such as Lonely Planet and read up on all of these options. There's also whitewater rafting on the Pacuare out of San Jose. You might prefer the beach and could travel to Manuel Antonio instead of Arenal area. There's a lot to do down there as well. Both locations about 3 hours from the airport--easy to get to. Good luck and have a great time!
shillmac is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 07:37 PM
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It depends on what you like when you travel. Arenal- La Fortuna and Monteverde were so overly touristy that I did not enjoy those towns at all. I would suggest flying to a lesser known place and enjoying it for a couple of days. I went to Drake Bay and stayed at Las Caletas Cabinas and it was extraordinary. You can check it out at http://www.caletas.co.cr/index.html. You can fly there from San Jose and enjoy a couple of days, go to the rain forest on a tour and enjoy the beach and howler monkeys.
sukiduper is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 08:10 PM
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I just got back Monday night from my first trip to Costa Rica and definitely want to return. It is a beautiful country and so much to see. I was on a tour so was able to see quite a bit in 10 days. Would suggest Tortuguero, Sarchi, Jaco, either of the two volcanoes to name a few site to visit.
nanarue is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 04:22 AM
  #5  
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"Once your husband is free to travel with you, you would enjoy making your way up to the Volcan Arenal area for a few days. Check out Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Garden on the way."

Is there transportation to Arenal Volcano area besides renting a car? I want to make this trip easy and I've read that the roads are so bad in CR that it's not a good idea to drive yourself.

Thanks so much for your great help!!
Images2 is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 04:29 AM
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Roads to Arenal are in great condition by Costa Rican standards and would pose no problem for you whatsoever. That said, yes there is other transportation. One of the most reliable forms is Interbus, a small, secure turismo van that offers transportation all over the country. It will cost you about $30-$35 per person for each transfer.

www.interbusonline.com

And yes, flying somewhere for a couple of days would be a nice way to spend your time as well. Someplace like Punta Islita if you'd like a little luxury by the sea. We've always found that driving through the little towns has given us such a nice perspective of the country and its people. But your time is short. . .

Another transfer option would be a private driver. Many Fodorites prefer this method of transport and could recommend drivers to you.
shillmac is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 03:33 PM
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all shillimacs suggestions are spot on!
i think punta islita is the nicest luxury boutique hotel in costa rica.
guanacaste is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 07:51 PM
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Sigh. . .just wish I could speak from personal experience on this one. It sounds just great and the website looks very nice. I don't think I've ever come across a bad review of PI.
shillmac is offline  
Dec 25th, 2006, 07:56 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
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I'll second the thumbs-up for Interbus. My boyfriend and I took it to Monteverde, and had a GREAT driver ... he even stopped so we could take pictures of howler monkeys!

Stay away from Gray Line/Fantasy Bus ... not as nice OR reliable.
merrywood is offline  
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