just back from cr

Old Dec 12th, 2005, 04:31 PM
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just back from cr

thank you all who use this forum, wonderful info and i used it all to plan my own trip. with 2 teenage boys was freaking that they would hate the trip and be turned off travelling forever, but it was not the case, this was a dream vacation and the boys were sorry to leave.
for those of you thinking of hiring drivers. we used COSTA RICA SHUTTLES (we used them from bolanos airport to arenal, monteverde to playa hermosa, and they delivered our passports to us when we left them behind NOTE TO SELF:REMEMBER TO GET CONTENTS FROM HOTEL SAFE! the drivers were helpful, bilingual and on time. a very relaxing way to see the country.
here's where we stayed:
ORQUIDEAS INN (lovely, reasonable and close to the aiport rather than going into san jose)
DRAKE BAY WILDERNESS RESORT (6 nights pckge)
fabulous time, the osa peninsula so very rich in plants, animals everything in abundance here, we found nothing else compared to drake bay. good food, not elegant but since we are family of 4 elegance is not the preference of the day.
ARENAL OBSERVATORY LODGE (2 nights)
smithsonian room floor to ceiling windows directly facing the volcano, witnessed the red hot action from 0300 to 0500 very exciting for our 2 teenage boys. did the morning tour, swam in the pool, and did 2 other local hikes on the property. good food, lovely views from the restaurant, lovely private grounds. very quiet not at all like tabacon which when we drove by had 15 million cars outside, but to be fair everyone who went to tabacon said it was beautiful. the observatory lodge is far away from everything so unless you have transportation, you're staying put which was just fine to us.
MONTEVERDE EL SAPO DORADO LODGE (fountain suite - 2 nights) found the reception desk not very helpful but beyond that the room was lovely, beautiful and private. they have their own hike on their property which you can do for up to 5 hours. restaurant was pricey for us.
HOTEL EL VELERO (basic room 2 doubles) room was basic and inexpensive but this hotel is right on the beach. lovely setting, restaurant open air looking out to ocean, good food, reasonable prices, the staff was FANTASTIC, VERY FUN, good ambassadors.
flew out of liberia.
TOURS:
SANTA ELENA CLOUD FOREST (REALLY SPLURGE FOR A GUIDE YOU DO GET ALOT OUT OF IT, AND THEY ARE EAGER TO SHARE THEIR KNOWLEDGE)
SELVATURA HANGING BRIDGES(LOTS OF $ SPENT HERE IN BUILDING THE PROPERTY, HANGING BRIDGES (WE WERE 2 CHICKEN TO DO THE CANOPY ZIP LINES) WERE VERY IMPRESSIVE AND YOU GOT A GREAT VIEW OF EVERYTHING - INCLUDING THE PEOPLE SCREAMING AS THEY FLEW BY, LOVELY TRAILS TO WALK ON
AND AN IMPRESSIVE REPTILE GALLERY LEATHERBACK TURTLES @ PLAYA GRANDE (VERY EXPENSIVE IF YOU HIRE A TOUR OPERATOR YOU CAN DO IT CHEAPER IF YOU WANT TO RENT A CAR AND DRIVE ON YOUR OWN, BE PREPARED FOR BUMPY ROADS THOUGH. WE ARRIVED AT THE OFFICE AT 1800 AND SAT UNTIL 22:30 WHEN THEY CALLED US ALL UP. APPROX 10 VEHICLES SPEEDING THROUGH NARROW, BUMPY DIRT ROADS IN PITCH BLACK IT WAS HILARIOUS! ANYWAYS, WE WITNESSED A LEATHERBACK DEPOSITING AND BURYING HER EGGS AND THEN WATCHED AS ANOTHER ONE CAME OUT OF THE OCEAN. THESE THINGS ARE HUGE! IF I WERE TO DO IT AGAIN I WOULD PROBABLY RENT A CAR, DRIVE TO PLAYA GRANDE (BEAUTIFUL BEACH IN ITSELF) STAY THERE, DO THE TURTLE THING AND THEN HEAD BACK TO THE HOTEL ROOM MINUTES AWAY FROM THE OFFICE. AS IT WAS WE TOOK A TOUR, LEFT THE HOTEL @ 1600, AND GOT BACK @ 0200. I FELT IT WAS WORTH IT, BUT IT WAS TIRING.
anyways, thank you again to all, enjoy costa rica, but go to enjoy it, don't go to buy property please, the guanacaste area that we saw was just rife with developments. which does so spoil the natural beauty of the country and it's peoples. and that's my political message for the day.
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Old Dec 12th, 2005, 08:28 PM
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earthmama,
Thanks for the report. What a blessing to share this adventure with your boys!
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 01:54 PM
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Sounds like a great trip! Would it be okay if we rented? Who could resist living at least part of the year in that little piece of heaven?!

I agree with you the development is way over the top. Too much, too big, too extravagant, too "American excess".
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 02:04 PM
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Hi earthmama,
Thanks for your trip report. We are leaving for Costa Rica on Xmas Eve and spending two nights at El Velero. Can you tell me more about the beach? We have been to Costa Rica before but never to Playa Hermosa. Also, do you have any restaurant recommendations for Playa Hermosa? Did you happen to do a day sail with the El Velero boat? We are happy to hear the staff is pleasant as we are spending Xmas eve and day at that hotel.
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Old Dec 14th, 2005, 09:46 AM
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jola! karenlf, what a wonderful place to spend christmas. Playa Hermosa is a lovely strip of beach, very scenic. We only ate @ El Velero because the food was good and reasonable, and we enjoyed the staff, treated our boys very well. there was a pizza/pasta place just 1 min walk from there and i believe there is a restaurant farther down the beach. i sat on the beach being lazy, reading and doing my sudoku and one day we hired ALONSO FALLAS LARA ([email protected]) for a boat trip for a couple of hours. he took us out snorkeling, showing us the local fish, clear waters here and he has the gear too, but we did encounter tiny jellyfish in a couple of places. We were happy with his abilities. We paid $120 us for the 4 of us for 2 hours. The waiters know him as well. The closest bank is in playa cocoa (10 min taxi). Playa Hermosa is where there is huge development happening here and that is the only really negative thing i can say that was disappointing. We did not use their sailboat, but it looks nice! This is where we booked our tour of the leatherback turtles, so if you read my posting that might be something you'd be interested in doing. i found it to be quite pricey, but i'm glad we did it for our boys. Wish Luis at the front counter FELIZ NAVIDAD and really enjoy yourselves! and PS TAKE YOUR SUNSCREEN! we saw several baking tomatoes out there....
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