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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 31st, 2010, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 151
I'm with RAC. Riviera Maya. But don't stay in an all inclusive. Splurge for one or two nights at the Tides Riviera Maya, just outside of Playa del Carmen. Then stay at a boutique hotel in Playa del Carmen (much cheaper) to be around the action. If you want to see the ruins, try the Club Med Villa Arqueologicas by the ruins. Then you can get up early and explore the ruins before all the buses get there. It's breathtaking.
Shooie is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9
San Juan Sur for beach and Ometepe island, lake / mountain / volcanoes. Nicaragua.
Oasisofthetoucans is offline  
Apr 8th, 2010, 05:26 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 25
Tough question! Just took my first trip to CR last summer and was blown away.

However, Spain is my first love. I lived in Granada (south of Spain) for 6 months and was able to access beaches, culture and divine food for relatively cheap. At this time, airfare might be where you spend the most money but if you start tracking flights now (I recommend www.kayak.com), you can keep an eye on it.

For an added thrill - Morocco is only a ferry ride away..
thisblonde is offline  
Apr 8th, 2010, 08:31 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 109
Although we enjoyed Costa Rica very much, we felt like tourists there, probably because we did not have the good luck we did in Panama. So often travel is like that--you plan something great, and it's good. You take a flyer on something good, and it's great.

For our "flyer", we took a bus from San Jose and a boat to Bocas del Toro, where our host resort, Au Natural, picked us up for a 45 min. boat ride to their natural hideaway on a lagoon on Bastiementos Island.

From then on, we were lost in time. No need to dress up, but it is definitely not nudist, as its title could suggest. Although it's a resort, you feel more as though you have a tropical family cabana and your uncle, a fabulous French chef, is getting dinner ready.

By the time you leave, you own those hammocks down on the dock, watching the sunset. At night, wiggle your feet in the water to see plankton glowing back at the night sky. Sleep in--nobody else is up. Plenty of chance to explore, learn, hike, snorkle, picnic with your private guide, Nothing to buy.

I hear you can have similar experiences in Nicaragua, down by San Juan del Sur, at the eco-lodges. Check it out.
sandals is offline  
Apr 11th, 2010, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 209
Hi Parkersunshine,

I read your CR trip report and used some of your ideas to plan my trip there. We like you guys enjoy some adventure, some pampering, local culture and good food.

Many suggestions you are getting are in Central America, but I was getting the feeling that you were looking for something vastly different culture wise.

We have been go Belize and felt that it isn't much of a difference from CR. Great snorkeling and some good inland jungle and wildlife activities. We did a day trip across the border to Tikal in Guatemala which was the highlight of our inland portion of the trip. We saw some similar wildlife there as we did in CR, but less of it. Accommodations in Ambergris Key in Belize are similar in price or even more than what you might pay in Manuel Antonio. We don't recall the food there being all that special though.

The Riviera Maya also offers good beach, good food, and some culture, but probably less on the wildlife front. But still not a huge departure from what you saw in CR, other than being more developed.

We have also been to Peru for 8 days, but didn't visit any beaches there or the amazon. We did a day trip to the Nazca lines from Lima and then went to Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Culture is noticeably different there from CR, but there are definitely some similarities too. Food is pretty good.

The Galapagos would be great, but that plus a couple days in Quito would be all that you could do in 10 days. May likely break your $5000 budget though unless you go on one of the really small boats. My friends got really sea sick for a day on one of those so I avoided it and went on one of the larger boats (Celebrity Xpedition), but the cost for our trip including international and domestic air was $10,000. Well worth it though!!

We have also traveled to Thailand a few years back. Probably cost us $5000 for 14 days including international and domestic air. Hotel and food here is much cheaper than all the above destinations (Great BnB for $30 a night and the Marriott in Bangkok was an oasis at just over $100 a night). We went from the interesting city and culture of Bangkok to the northern jungles and then ended in the southern beaches. I feel it really does offer a great blend of all that you enjoyed in CR, but with a completely different culture and food. Definitely a departure from Central America.

Look at different travel dates if you can to see if that alters the cost of your airfare. We spent $1000 for international air there. Last year we went to New Zealand during the Christmas holiday season though and air was $3000 per person. Yikes! Luckily we had a friend with an excessive amount of miles and we just paid him the general value of his miles which was half that. So I can understand how international airfare can scare you off. I think Thailand is calling you!!
koala is offline  
Apr 11th, 2010, 06:11 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 279
My best place would be Borneo. The Borneo Rainforest Lodge is one of the most amazing places. After the rainforest there is extremely beautiful snorkeling in Malaysia. We also loved Ecuador, Napo Wildlife Center was so beautiful and very reasonably priced.
lhgreenacres is offline  
Apr 12th, 2010, 07:49 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 200
"koala" you are correct, we want to move away from Central America to expand our traveling footprint. Would have highly considered Argentina & Buenos Aires if only the seasons were different and we could have the hot heat we love.

"thisblonde" we were considering Spain as I read they have some nice beaches but I got lost in all the information of where to go etc. I am not familiar with Europe at all and became overwhelmed. If you have any specific information such as cities to see, and what to do while there and what beach is a must I'd be open to hearing about it!
ParkerSunshine is offline  
Apr 12th, 2010, 05:03 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,007
I'm with VG...Try St. John and Virgin Gorda in the Virgin Islands. Both are off the beaten path and beautiful. I spent my honeymoon at Caneel Bay on St. John, but can't afford to go back now.

All three of my sibings have been recently to St. John, rented houses and had a fabulous time.

The Greek Islands are on my bucket list, but I can't speak to them!

Good luck!
Deb15July is offline  
Apr 12th, 2010, 05:07 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,007
I have one more comment! Heehee!

I spent 5 wks in Spain many years ago and loved it. Barcelona is magnificent and there are several beach towns on the way there from Madrid if you travel by train. Valencia was also great, but my trip was during college and my expectations for lodging were very basic. Only thing I required was a HOT shower. But I would go back in a heartbeat.
Deb15July is offline  
Apr 15th, 2010, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 26
This may sound too simple, but we just returned from a week in Puerto Rico.

It was easy and inexspensive to get to, it is not too scary to rent a car to drive around and it has some diverse areas. The rain forest is not on the scale of Costa rica, but is a great experience.

We stayed in San Juan on the beach, but everyday took a day trip somewhere. When we ate at a real locals type place food was very inexspenve. $15-$25 for dinner for 3.
Techtravler is offline  
Apr 15th, 2010, 01:20 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 23,877
Tech, did you guys see any interesting wildlife there?
volcanogirl is offline  
Apr 16th, 2010, 02:33 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 26
No wildlife in in the Rain Forest other then some Puerto Rican Parrots. There are Iguanas all over the island, but that does not compare to monkeys.
Techtravler is offline  
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