Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Mexico & Central America
Reload this Page >

If you loved Costa Rica where else did you love (part II)?

If you loved Costa Rica where else did you love (part II)?

Mar 26th, 2010, 11:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 200
If you loved Costa Rica where else did you love (part II)?

Many months ago I posed this same question with 20+ responses. Problem is most everyone who responded said how CR still remains the best place that they had ever visited! And I need help and direction in planning another trip to somewhere else!

I TOO loved, loved CR but having not traveled a lot my husband and I agree this summer's vacation needs to be to somewhere else.

At first I was thinking Thailand, however, with airfare costing approximately $1800 per person, it is just out of our budget!

So here is what we are looking for:

-10 - 12 days
-Beach is a must (but not needed the whole trip like our time split between Arenal and Manuel Antonio)
-$5K budget

So is there anywhere that you have been that has these things and a similar experience to CR (maybe not as amazing but close to it)???

Please share!
ParkerSunshine is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 999
We've been to many of the Carribean islands and to Mexico (Riviera Maya area) at least 6 times now, we've been to CR twice and are going back this summer as well. Last summer we finally made it to Belize and right now that would have to stand out in my mind as one of my absolute favorite vacations. It offers such a variety of experiences - from ruins and jungle excursions to beach, snorkeling and diving excursions. The people are very friendly and the resorts we stayed at were fantastic.

We went for 12 days and did a split between the Cayo district, staying at Chaa Creek and then the rest of the trip on Ambregris Caye staying at Portofino.

Most of our trip is outlined on my blog, if you go back to the archives from last year, September 2009

ShellD is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,750
I can't believe Thailand has gotten that high! Wow. I paid $570 a few years ago (granted that was a great deal, but still). So cheap once you get there though.

I'll tag along here to see what suggestions you get. I'm always interested as well, but I seem to start planning a trip to CR each time I return! Good luck.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Belize best for beaches in CA but rain in summer

www.belizefirst.com good info

Colombia and Brazil very exotic neat beaches less summer rain.

Of the 2 Brazil www.brazilnuts.com best vibe for me..

Might also consider www.visitperu.com some good beaches

www.vivamancora.com not as good as Brazil...

Happy Hunting,
qwovadis is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 163
Thailand is marvelous! Try EvaAir.com. They are a Taiwanese airline and have super coach flights (big seats, coach service) from the west coast for @ $1300 -- at least they did a few days ago. $1800 is very high for coach. And, like another poster said, once you get there is very inexpensive. ***** hotel @ $70/night. Happy Travels.
kwood1955 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 163
You might also try Peru. Lovely country with much to see and do. Beaches around Pacarus are like a step back in time! You might also enjoy the Amazon area in Peru as well as Machu Picchu and Cuzco.
kwood1955 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 03:23 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 5,541
Maybe a couple nights in Granada for some culture, great food and 2 nearby volcanos then some beach time & wildlife at Morgan's Rock.
tully is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 05:03 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,184
Panama has lots of variety - including all the things you mentioned. Easy to get around - inexpensive to reach, cosmopolitan capital, beautiful mountainous hiking/nature areas, and also beaches. .. Interesting and diverse culture too - more so than Costa Rica. .
glover is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 08:26 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 136
I personally vote for southern Mexico. My husband and I loved Costa Rica, but once I showed him the Mexico I loved (Patzcuaro, Morelia with monarch excursion, Guanajuato, Guadalajara/Tequila, San Pancho which is 1 hour north of Puerto Vallarta, then out from PV), he became a complete convert. We went last November, and it's all he talks about....
Food was great, history amazing, people incredibly kind, and we loved the beaches. Granted, you need at least 12 days and must be well organized to do a trip like this, but I really felt it was unparallelled, and so did the couple we travelled with.
Junejuly is offline  
Mar 27th, 2010, 12:26 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,750
You know I have heard really, really great things about Panama. In fact have met several people in Costa Rica who adore it. I've spent a couple trips in the area north of Puerto Vallarta and I'm sort of surprised with the above comments because I don't think it holds a candle to Costa Rica although it's a very lovely area. Guatemala and Belize would be on the top of my list of places to research with easy accessibility, culture and wildlife.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Mar 27th, 2010, 06:11 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,950
The Riviera Maya sounds like a good fit. Plenty of Mayan ruins, snorkeling, beach lounging, easy access via Cancun, adventure activities like ziplines, snorkeling/diving in cenotes (underground rivers/caves).
RAC is offline  
Mar 27th, 2010, 06:13 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 608
We are looking at Honduras for a future destination - splitting time between the mainland (The Lodge at Pico Bonito) and time on Roatan (undecided lodging). Not sure what it will offer as far as food and culture, but budget wise, it is less expensive than Belize. I read on another forum that many people who had been to both preferred Roatan over Ambergris Caye. Roatan sounds like it will be busier than spots in Costa Rica, but depending upon where we stay, we hope to avoid crowds.
janenicole is offline  
Mar 27th, 2010, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 157
We spent Jan. 09 in Roatan & thoroughly enjoyed our time there. We stayed at Casa Calico which reminded us of the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. We had a kitchen to cook in which was convenient. We walked around & checked out others like Half Moon Bay, & lots of other cute, colorful places. For upscale lodging, Anthony Key Resort was as lovely as you could find. We didn't rent a car. It was easy to walk into town & pick up fresh veggies & fruit. We loved eating out at various restaurants & visit with all of the people around. It was one of the friendliest places we've been. There is a water taxi to take you to West Bay. The snorkeling & diving are the best. We hired a taxi to take us around the island for around $60 for the whole day. It was a great adventure. The Carumbula Gardens are definitely worth seeing. It's a very reasonable place with lots to do.
Idahospud is offline  
Mar 30th, 2010, 12:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 200
any others have input? wanted to bump it up top as I am struggling with the next destination!
ParkerSunshine is offline  
Mar 30th, 2010, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 226
My first thought upon reading your initial question was Thailand--but then I see that you were considering it as well and I see your dilemma. That said, it IS so much cheaper once you're there. Wouldn't rule it out with a $5K budget for that many days. You could do it...

We also loved Roatan, but I thought it was more straight beach (and underwater) activities.

The Yucatan would be great, as others have said. Not the same wildlife diversity as CR, but a similar mix of activities. We loves the cenotes as well.

You might check out our travelogues: www.hitherandthither.net; we have one for each of those three destinations. Look in the column on the upper right of the homepage.
alovesa is offline  
Mar 30th, 2010, 02:03 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 23,877
Have you already done Hawaii? Great beaches, hiking, volcanoes, snorkeling, etc. We love it, but don't know if you have your heart set on Latin America.
volcanogirl is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 04:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 22
I really love CR but I also loved my trip to the Galapagos Islands. And Hawaii. And Honduras. If you go to Copan Ruinas, try Hacienda San Lucas. Have fun!
dinopa is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 07:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,066
Look at Belize. Not the greatest beaches, but they are more than adequate. The snorkeling and diving are world class.

Several different cultures, Mayan ruins, jungles, caves, hiking, birding.

Easy to get around, the buses are reliable and dirt cheap (but they are old school buses, so not the most comfortable).

We took a bus from Belize City to Placencia last week. The ride through the Maya Mountains was beautiful. Some really stunning scenery.
JeanH is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 07:08 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 23,877
Greece is nice too - not sure what the budget would be these days though. Also BVIs and USVIs.
volcanogirl is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 07:28 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 608
Try researching Dominica (not the Dominican Republic). We really want to get there sometime. No wildlife, but the scenery looks beautiful, there are lots of hiking adventures available, and it is still somewhat "off the beaten path." In the northern part of the island, the beaches are supposed to be very nice.
janenicole is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:24 AM.