KOA's CR Trip

Aug 17th, 2004, 08:33 PM
  #1  
koa
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
KOA's CR Trip

Day one- Uneventful, except for my first glitch. Wheres my surfboard? I am assured it will be in CR later and Continental will deliver it to my hotel. Pickup car from dollar. Some good news, brand new suzuki vitara with auto transmission and a CD player, Sweet! Drive out to Tabacon. Got a little lost in San Ramon, but figured it out. Family tripping out on how people drive here. Also how bike riders and pedestrians in CR seem to be oblivious to traffic dangers. Little kids walking right on the main road. Culture shock setting in! Any way, weather is good and we make it to Tabacon in good time. Junior suite is a big dissapointment. Not worth the xtra money. I expected more for the money. Had to fend off massive bugs in the bathroom. The water pressure was terrible and the jacuzzi on the balcony took about a half hour to fill up. Thats not counting how long it took to get all the massive termites out of the tub. I realize we are in the rain forest, but for $250 plus a night, i expect a lot more! Any way, Im still stoked because Im on vacation and in CR. Day 2 coming up later.
Pura Vida
koa is offline  
Aug 18th, 2004, 08:34 PM
  #2  
koa
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
Day 2- First night at Tabacon. Heavy rain overnight. Wife decides she wants to do 2 tours in one day. First eat breakfast at Tabacon. Good buffet. Then its off to the Tabacon canopy tour. Short but fun canopy tour. My wife is totally terrified but with assurances from our guides and me yelling "Remember all those fear factor episodes you said you could do!", she gets to the end. Quote of the day. My wife saying, "I cant wait too get off this tree and on my relaxing horseback ride" Well after the canopy, we go on a horseback ride to La Fortuna falls. The first clue was going to the "stables". More like a pig pen looking enclosure in a barrio. The I get my horse. Our guide Alberto informs me a few minutes later that this is my horses first trail ride. Great! Its also my first trail ride! We proceed down a busy street, through several pastures and down a muddy hill into a small stream. My sons horse hates my horse with a passion. Every time our horses get close, my sons horse proceeds to bite my horse. Great! By the time we reach the falls, my wife is begging to catch a cab back. My small son is traumatized and my back is in need of a chiropractor. Next installment,La Fortuna Falls and the race back to the stables!
koa is offline  
Aug 18th, 2004, 11:21 PM
  #3  
koa
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
Went swimming at the falls. Beautiful area. Until a small snake falls from the forest into the river, sending my two boys scrambling for high ground. Anyway. time for the ride back. My wife is begging to call a taxi. I tell her to look at the 8 year old girl in our group who is wishing she had a faster horse! So we all head back, but my older sons horse is apparently the team leader. His horse takes off at a full gallop. So does my horse! We finally make it back to Fortuna in one piece and its now raining. We get onto the main road and my small sons horse decides he wants to walk in the middle of the road. Cars are driving by on both sides. If you ever seen how the Ticos drive, you can imagine how worried I was! Well we make it back to the barrio and catch the shuttle back to Tabacon. We then treat ourselves to a great dinner at El Novillo. Great place for food! Tomorrow, more hot spings to soothe my sore back and change of hotel to Los Lagos.
Pura Vida!
koa is offline  
Aug 19th, 2004, 03:49 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,211
Fun report, koa. You won't have any trouble remembering this vacation, I daresay! The horseback ride sounds like pure tension! Hope you got a massage the next day. . . .
shillmac is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2004, 10:13 PM
  #5  
koa
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
Day 3- Is al-qaeda in Costa Rica. Well that what we thought early this morning when Arenal decided to wake up. I never awoke so fast out of a dead sleep before!Had breakfast and soaked at the springs. Then it was off to Los Lagos. What a suprise this place was. We wished we had stayed here the whole time instead of Tabacon. We got a brand new unit at the top of the complex with an unobstructed view or Arenal.Booked our tours for tomorrow, had dinner at El Novillo, then went to bed. Or so we thought. Arenal put a show on for us tonight. It was perfect, drinking imperial and watching the lava flow. Tomorrow, iguanas and our loco tour driver.
Adios!
koa is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 08:43 AM
  #6  
koa
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
Day 4- Good breakfast buffet at Los LAgos. Then its off to the MARINA tour. The first take you a bridge in Muelle that has over a hundred wild iguanas that hang out in the trees. The guides give you cabbage to feed the lizards. There is a restaraunt right there that the iguanas walk through. Not a true wildlife adventure, but the kids loved feeding the giants. They then take you to the MArina zoo, which is decent in some sections and rundown in other exhibits. The highlight for me was the last part where they take you to the termales del bosque. A hidden hot springs thats not as crowded Tabacon, but really nice. Now for the ride back. In one word, "Scary". I guess our tour was running late, so our driver was blazing. My wife had a death grip on her seat. I actually enjoyed the ride. Kinda like a costa rican roller coaster ride. Well we made it back without crashing, had dinner at Los Lagos(which was quite good)Then watched Arenal put on another show. Another great day in CR!
Adios
koa is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 10:18 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,574
I am enjoying reading your trip report. We just returned on Friday from CR. Absolutely love it!! We also saw the giant iguanas (about 24 of them) hanging out in the trees on our way to Cano Negro. When did you go? We were there from Aug 10 - 20, and also saw the red lava flows at Arenal for 2 nights. That was so exciting! I never expected to see the lava in August.
Kwoo is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 10:42 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 138
Koa: Thanks for the trip report. You gave the price of suite at Tabacon. What did rooms at Los Lagos cost? Was b'fast included?
arbegold is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 08:01 PM
  #9  
koa
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
I cant remember the exact price, but it was a little over $100 a night with breakfast.The are several different rates depending on the cabins, views and if breakfast is included. If you stay there, ask for the newer cabins on the top, rather than the older condos. The new cabins have some of the best views of the Arenal in the whole area.
koa is offline  
Aug 24th, 2004, 10:17 PM
  #10  
koa
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
Day 5- Breakfast at Los Lagos,drive up to the mirador observatory. Great view of Arenal from here and a nice small lake. Overheard a local guide explaning that the were cabinas and canopy tours down by the lake until the 2000 eruption. Then it was check out time and time for the long drive to manuel Antonio. First part of the drive encountered lots of rain. weather let up in San Ramon. Everything going good until we come upon a massive traffic jam due to a stalled semi truck. Stop at Tarcoles bridge,brave the scary bridges then finally arrive in Manuel Antonio. Check into Costa Verde. I was very suprised by the room. $60 dollars a night with a perfect view of the National park. My wife intially hated the room and wanted us to leave. The toilet barely flushed and parking was a nightmare. As we see later, she grew to really enjoy the room. Next installment, more monkeys than people?
koa is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 08:02 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 138
KOA
Am enjoying your trip report as we're probably going to follow a similar route this Jan. One more bit of info. Where did you rent your 4x4. Is the Vitara comfortable enough for 4 adults, with minimal luggage?
arbegold is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 06:11 PM
  #12  
koa
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
Argegold: We rented our car from dollar. I got a lot of good comments about them on this site. I really liked Dollar. The staff was polite and professional. I got an automatic car without xtra charge. Automatic comes in handy there with the mountains and occasional traffic jams. I found the Vitara to big enough for my family. Two adults , one teen and a 11 year old child. As long as your group travels light and are not NBA players, you should be comfortable. The only negative thing was finding their baseyard, which is down a small street about a half mile from the airport.
koa is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 04:56 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,574
Arbegold, We also rented a 4x4 Pathfinder from Dollar & were very happy with them. We had an automatic transmission (at no extra charge) which is very helpful going over the mountains. I agree with KOA...the staff was polite & professional. They noted some scratches on the vehicle when we picked up the car & did not try to charge us for scratches when we returned the car. The reason I mention this is because I have heard that some car rental companies try to charge people for scratches/dents that were already there.
Kwoo is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 09:09 AM
  #14  
koa
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
Day 6: More monkeys than people? Thats the motto of hotel costa verde. But so far no monkeys. We have breakfast at cafe milagro. This becomes my favorite breakfast spot. Good coffee and food for reasonable prices. Then its off to the national park. Prior to entering the park, several guides attempt to sell us their services. We decide to do it on our own. I know there is some debate on this,but I thought we seen a lot without a guide. If you are going to use a guide, it seems you can get a better deal here than through the hotels. Walked across the boats the guys put across the river and yes I proceed to knock over all their tips in the water. Oops! Enter the park and see a deer on the beach. What a strange site. Looking for monkeys, but none spotted. We were told we would see a lot of monkeys and if we were lucky, maybe a sloth. Well, we saw no monkeys and a sloth in every other tree! We finally saw a troop of capuchin monkeys toward the end of our hike. We swim at MA beach, then hike back to costa verde. We decide to go eat at el avion. I bought some cheap mini dvds for my player that was now jammed in my player. As luck would have it, we run across a troop of squirrel monkeys! HAd dinner at el avion which is quite good. Tommorrow, day trip to dominical.
koa is offline  
Aug 27th, 2004, 10:47 AM
  #15  
koa
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
Day 7: Have breakfast at cafe milagro. Today we decide to do a day trip to Dominical. I was told the drive is a little over an hour. Yeah right! More like almost 2 hours on a bumpy gravel road with a lot of bridges.The ironic thing is that I found the bridges here to be in better shape than the ones on the main highway by Parrita and quepos. Went surfing at Dominical. Fun beachbreak. I liked dominical. Found it to be a small, laid back town. Some nice places to stay just outside of the beach area. Wish I stayed here longer than MA. Drove south a little to around uvita, then headed back to MA. Nice scenery down here and not as commercialized as MA. Drove back to MA. Got my DVD recorder fixed and planted our selves at Costa Verde waiting for the squirrel monkeys to return. Well they didnt show up! The must have known my camera was fixed! Oh well. Dinner at El Avion. Tommorrow, on to Los Suenos!
koa is offline  
Aug 29th, 2004, 11:14 PM
  #16  
koa
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
Day 8- Last day in MA. Had breakfast at the usual place. Over the course of our stay at costa verde, I made friends with Jorge the security at building D. The only thing is Jorge cant speak a word of english.My spanish is just basic, but we managed to understand each other. On my last day, I asked if I could borrow the water hose to wash down my car. Well jorge proceeds to wash my whole car for me. He did this in his security uniform! He did a real good job! Well when we checked out I slipped him a $20 bill and the smile on his face made my day. My wife couldnt believe how nice the Tico people are.When then braved the gnarly bridges and checked into los suenos. WOW! what a nice place. This would be home base for a few days, and hopefully the surf at Hermosa will be good!We had the dinner buffet(Good thing I had a coupon, because it was pricey) But the food was very good.Booked our tours at the tour desk, then called it a night.
koa is offline  
Aug 31st, 2004, 06:57 PM
  #17  
koa
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
Day 9-Crabs in the exercise room? My wife and I get up early to use the exercise room at los suenos. Couldnt believe a large spider and a crab both had to be escorted out of the room by a worker. Only in Costa Rica! Went to Hermosa beach to surf, while the wife filmed us. When to Jaco to pick up gifts then back to los suenos. Went for an afternoon surf at Hermosa and had a little scare on the road. Was following a local who seemed to be very intoxicated. He montioned for us to pass him, so I did. Next thing I know, the guy comes driving up to my rear at warp speed, almost nailing me!As soon as I get a chance, I pull over to let him pass. He proceeds to blow by me and almost rolls over on a sharp turn. We get up to the bus stop that overlooks Jaco and he is no where in site. Maybe he flew off the cliff. Anyway had a good evening surf and braved the walkers and bikers on the ride back in the dark. Had room service at Los Suenos which is a great deal. First hotel I stayed at room service was way cheaper than the on property restaurants. Tommorrow, 15 foot crocodiles!
koa is offline  
Sep 1st, 2004, 07:27 PM
  #18  
koa
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
Day 10: Okay, I know a lot of people dont agree with feeding wildlife, but what a sight we saw today. We were picked up at Los Suenos and taken to the tarcoles river. There we boarded a small boat. We saw tons of birds, iguanas and jesus christ lizards. But the highlight was watching our boat captain get out of the boat and hand feed a 15 foot crocodile. Awesome! Spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out by the swim up bar at Los Suenos and relaxing. Tommorrow,Canopy Tour for the boys
koa is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:10 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 9
Did you rent surfboards? Did you take surfing lessons? If so how much and where?
freezininmich is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2004, 08:41 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 118
koa- i'm laughing out loud as i read your trip report. thanks for posting!
sactomama is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:03 AM.