Initial plan - 2 weeks in CR

Jan 16th, 2008, 04:58 PM
  #21  
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campjulie,
A terrace/patio is very important to us, too. Glad to hear that the views are nice, too. I think BVV is our top choice, for now.

hipvirgo,
Yes, yes, please post back about Finca Valmy. And I know what you mean about getting too attached to the beach…that might happen to us, too. We usually take a 1-week winter trip to a warm Caribbean island (off to Virgin Gorda in a 3 weeks). We’ll have to give that up next year for a 2-week trip to CR - ohhh, poor us

Suzie2,
If the car is not absolutely necessary in MA, we’ll probably use the Interbus – or maybe arrange for a private transfer that will stop more. Any chance for us to see a quetzal in any of the area on our itinerary?
Not sure about the extra driving – we’ll probably save Carara for next time. I’m not a big fan of 1-night stays…

Shillmac,
I guess we’ll have to enjoy the crocs from above only – not a bad thing, after all.

Tully,
Good to know – “horse suited to your experience”. In my case, no experience, hoping for a very calm horse with a pillow on the saddle
xyz99 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 05:05 PM
  #22  
 
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When we took Interbus from Arenal to MA they did stop at Tarcoles to see the crocs. I think that was the second stop on that trip. The drvier we had was really nice. I learned alot about Costa Rica from him. We were the only people in the van for that trip so it was as if it was our own private shuttle.
kencolian is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 05:40 PM
  #23  
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Ken,
Thanks – this helps the decision making. And the wallet
xyz99 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 05:50 PM
  #24  
 
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ken -- Good to know. We're taking that Arenal/MA route on Interbus as well. Like you, we had our "private driver" on our Interbus x-fer from San Jose to Puerto Viejo. He was so cool and even brought his wife and 11 year old daughter with him (they were all in the front), they pointed out things, played music and we all had a great time when we stopped for lunch.

xyz -- Well then, if you go on the horseback ride from BDC, make sure you request the horse my daughter had, "Tranquilo". The name fit perfectly.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 06:32 PM
  #25  
 
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Glad your plans are coming together, xyz.

If you ever get a chance to head south of San Jose a couple of hours (closer to 3), the little village of San Gerardo de Dota (and Hotel Savegre de la Montana) is an excellent place to see quetzals. Monteverde as well, I suppose, but think they might be a bit tougher to see there. They are plentiful at Savegre. We love it there. Perhaps on your next trip!

By the way, we loved the part of Virgin Gorda that we visited summer of 2006--the Baths. Fascinating! We ferried over from Tortola. Would have loved to have seen more--it's a beautiful area of the Caribbean.
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Jan 17th, 2008, 06:32 PM
  #26  
 
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Glad your plans are coming together, xyz.

If you ever get a chance to head south of San Jose a couple of hours (closer to 3), the little village of San Gerardo de Dota (and Hotel Savegre de la Montana) is an excellent place to see quetzals. Monteverde as well, I suppose, but think they might be a bit tougher to see there. They are plentiful at Savegre. We love it there. Perhaps on your next trip!

By the way, we loved the part of Virgin Gorda that we visited summer of 2006--the Baths. Fascinating! We ferried over from Tortola. Would have loved to have seen more--it's a beautiful area of the Caribbean. Have a great trip!
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Jan 17th, 2008, 06:39 PM
  #27  
 
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Sorry for the double post. I tried to add the "Have a great trip" ending after the fact and it posted twice. But DO! Enjoy Virgin Gorda! Do you sail?
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Jan 18th, 2008, 02:09 PM
  #28  
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Shillmac,
I don’t think we can fit Savegre this time, so sad Maybe only if we take a night away from MA, but that will leave us only 3 nights, 2 full days there. I think that would be too little for all that we want to do there: the park, Finca Valmy horse ride, Raimaker, mangrove boat ride, dinner cruise and if possible, even some short beach relaxation time. Just writing all these things down makes me think that even 3 full days might not be enough…we’ll see.

I guess Savegre, the white water rafting, Central Valley and some other spots that I am already considering will have to wait for the next trip. Love Savegre’s bird list and I’m just hoping that we’ll be able to see some interesting birds in the areas we’ll visit (for this is a new interest of mine).

Regarding our Virgin Gorda trip - no, we do not sail. We will be land based in VG, and we’re planning a lot of snorkeling. Maybe we’ll sail someday, if we can share the cost of a boat renting with some of our friends.
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Jan 18th, 2008, 02:45 PM
  #29  
 
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We really liked the BVIs too! Shillmac, did you guys do that crazy hike at The Baths? We had no idea what we were getting into with all those ropes and narrow little passages, but it was really worth it - so beautiful. We got a chuckle out of our hotel on Tortola. When we booked it, they asked us if we were bringing our own yacht.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jan 21st, 2008, 04:00 PM
  #30  
 
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Yep, we did that crazy little hike. Not for the claustophobic! But so beautiful.

Which hotel on Tortola? We stayed at Fort Recovery, but the wedding was at Cane Garden Bay (Myett's).

Yeah, the "yacht" remark would have gotten my attention, too! But for those who sail, a yacht refers to just about any sailing vessel whereas the rest of us tend to think of it as something huge. Our daughter lived the sailing life for a few years--living on a 49 foot sailing "yacht", which is a decent size for a sailboat, but becomes pretty cramped space over the long haul!

We should compare trips sometime!
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Jan 21st, 2008, 04:07 PM
  #31  
 
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xyz99,
The central valley and everything within a couple of hours of it is well worth your time--sometime! Lots of hidden treasure there. You can have a lot of fun visiting some of the more out of the way places. Another place we really enjoyed for birding was Rancho Naturalista near Turrialba. The birding, twice daily, is included in the all-inclusive price of the room and the food is excellent. My daughter and I spent 3 nights there last June and had the best time. Excellent birding.

I'm just 4 years into it myself, but my interest has done nothing but grow! At the beginning I figured it would eventually pass, but it didn't. Now, when I think of spending time in Costa Rica, my first thoughts go to those places where the birding is good. I just wish my husband liked it as much (he is okay with it, but definitely less interest) so I would feel comfortable booking pure birding places. I try to do that mostly when I'm traveling alone (although he enjoys Savegre, too).

I agree that for all you want to do in Manuel Antonio, you shouldn't shorten your time there. We've been there for short visits 3 times, but have never done all of those things--not sure we ever will! I would like to do the horeback tour, though--and the mangroves.
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Jan 21st, 2008, 04:14 PM
  #32  
 
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Ah, thanks for the clarification. I imagined yacht to be something Thurston Howell would have. We had a villa at Long Bay - really pretty. We loved it but my husband had a hard time adjusting to the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle - cabs would come 1/2 hour later than you scheduled them, ferries wouldn't run just because they didn't feel like it even though we had tickets, etc. I think that's why we were so glad to find Costa Rica. It was kind of funny having all the people in the Caribbean telling my husband he needed to relax! One morning at the hotel, our sweet waitress brought me a fruit plate as a surprise at the end of our breakfast, and my husband told her she was so sweet, but we had a cab coming at 8:30, and she just laughed and said no way it would even be there before 9:00. Then we had tickets to go over to St. John, and we go there, and they had decided not to run the ferry, and my husband says, "but we have tickets" - they would just look at him like honey you need more time on the islands!
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Jan 21st, 2008, 05:52 PM
  #33  
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VG, so funny, I too thought that a yacht is one of those big, fancy boats…In any case, we won’t have one I hope you enjoyed the Caribbean and its laid back life, though. We actually like that for a week, and we never had a problem with the ferries or any establishment that runs by schedule – although I heard it can happen, yours is not a unique case.

Shillmac, this birding thing is very new to me, but I’m hooked. More from a photography point of view, though…The problem is that we live in an apt building (no backyard, no feeder), so any opportunity needs to be a special birding trip. Plus, we’re in NJ…..not FL. Not a lot of birds here in the winter…

I hope we can do some of the things I have in mind in MA. I’ll let you know. But if not, there’s always the next trip; at least CR is closer than Europe – and now, a lot cheaper too.
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Jan 26th, 2008, 10:31 AM
  #34  
 
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xyz99 -

Your question about Tulemar vs. Buena Vista villas...

In my opinion, the Buena Vista villas are hands down the better choice. The villas are stunning (hammocks on the balcony and all), the wals to the beach is shorter, the pool area is nice(we were the only ones there most of the time)and the concierge was more than helpful.

Yes, it's only a partial oceanview, however, that view looks out over the jungle canopy and is still pretty good. We've stayed in both and actually didn't think the tulemar view was that much better....
jgoebel is offline  
Jan 26th, 2008, 10:38 AM
  #35  
 
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xyz - I was looking into some sailing in MA. What's the dinner cruise you mentioned above?
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jan 26th, 2008, 12:56 PM
  #36  
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Jgoebel,
Thanks a lot, this makes the decision so much easier – the balcony and the hammocks are very important.

Hipvirgo,
To be honest, I am not sure – somebody on this board mentioned it, and I did not bookmark the thread. But I was hoping to be able to google it when I’ll be closer to make all the arrangements. When are you going? Where are you staying in MA? Maybe the hotel can recommend something? Please post details if you get them, I will do the same. Thanks
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Jan 26th, 2008, 02:24 PM
  #37  
 
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xyz -- I'll be sure to post back after I check around to see if I come up with any dinner cruise mention. Sounds like it could be nice for a mellow evening. We leave 3/22. Yay!
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Jan 28th, 2008, 06:50 PM
  #38  
 
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XYZ, I hear you. And I'd love to see some of your photos sometime. Good birding photos aren't that easy to come by! I have a few lucky ones.

You'd enjoy Rancho Naturalista in Costa Rica, near Turrialba. The little snowcap hummingbird found there is really something! And so many more! The birding (twice a day) is included in the price of the room, about $130 pp per day. Includes fabulous meals and wine with dinner. It's not a bad deal!
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