many many questions!

Jun 15th, 2004, 11:14 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12
many many questions!

My fiance and I will be heading to Costa Rica for 10 nights in September. We want to stay at 3 hotels for 3 nights each. Would renting a car in San Jose be a good idea? If so, please provide some advice about where to rent, how much to expect and any and all insurance we will definitely need. We want to visit these three hotels:
Villa Caletas
Tule Mar
Tabacon Resort & Hot Springs
We also would really love to throw in a couple nights at Flor Blanca, but I think it's totally too far away from those places. What would you recommend our itinerary be and what to visit in what order? Thanks in advance for any advice!
jinxie7 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 800
I think you picked good places to stay but if I were you I would add 1 more night to your stay at Tulemar and just do 2 nights at Tabacon. I would do it in this order:
4 nights at Tulemar
3 nights at Villa Caletas
2 nights at Tabacon

Or you could do it in reverse as well.

Remember that you may need to spend the 1st and/or last night near the airport if your flight arrives late and departs early.

Renting a car: we rent from directly from Dollar in Costa Rica and had good prices and good service from them. We usually get a large 4x4 for about $460 or so a week. With your itinerary you will really not need a 4 wheel drive so you will save money by renting a sedan.

Florblanca is a lovely place but not easy to get to (we spent a few nights there last summer). I think you will really enjoy the places you picked, so save Florblanca for your next time ;-)
Iza is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 07:10 AM
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Thanks for your advice! My fiance just decided he only wanted to stay for 6 nights, which is not a lot of time in Costa Rica, but oh well. How do you think we should split them up? Oh, and what is the "holding" on a credit card that the rental agency puts on? Can I use my visa Check Card and do they actually "take" the money out, or just make sure you have it available in your account? Thanks in advance!
jinxie7 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 07:30 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 37
I sorry but I am against the Tabacon! It's very crowded and expensive...also the view of the volcano is not THAT great. I talked to others that stayed there and they said forget about peace and quiet!

Why don't you stay at another hotel and visit the hot springs. Check out Hotel Las Lagos (five mintues from hot springs). It has it's own thermal pool, waterslides, flowers galore, great food, and PRIVACY and much cheaper! You will not find privacy at Tabacon!
Wes2004 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 08:33 AM
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Expensive = Not a problem. I guess I just figured that during the wet season, it wouldn't be as crowded. I really like the jacuzzi in room and the facilities seem nice. I tried to check out the hotel you suggested, but I couldn't find a website.
jinxie7 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 117
With only 6 nights, and with the possibility of having to spend at least one in San Jose, I'd leave Tabacon for the next trip, and split the night between both places.

As for the car, another option is to pre-arrange it from here as part of a package, which may also save you on the hotels...Definitely go with a car, though, especially if you're going to Villa Caletas.

As for the deposit, I'm not sure what they'd do with a check card. If possible, I would use a credit card, as they put a hold on that money (last time I did it it was around $1000, I think) so it's no longer available for you to use as part of your credit line, and they release the hold once you return the car.

Let me know if you have any other questions...


ebrener is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 08:50 AM
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I definitely want to see the volcano and hot springs on THIS trip, so maybe I'll just not go to Tulemar or something like that. And I definitely don't want to stay in San Jose. My flight lands at 11 am, so I figured that would be plenty of time to drive to our hotel. Am I wrong in assuming that? I'll see what I can do about a prearranged package. I have no credit cards, so I hope that we can still rent a car. My fiance doesn't have any credit either (we are trying to stay out of debt) but he is on a card with his parents. Although I doubt it has $2000 available credit. We might not be able to rent a car after all. I really hope it works out though.
jinxie7 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 800
If you only have 6 days, spend 2 days at the volcano and a 3-4 days in Manuel Antonio (Tulemar). I think if you drop a destination from this trip it should be Villa Caletas.

If you can't rent a car, private transfers, tourist shuttle buses and domestic flights work well.

If your flight arrives at 11 am, you may be able to catch a flight that same day to Quepos (Manuel Antonio). You don't really need a car there (buses and taxis are plentiful and inexpensive). Then arrange for a private transfer or take a tourist bus to Arenal and then do the same for coming back to San Jose.
What time does your flight leave on your last day? It takes at least 3 hours from Arenal to SJ airport so if you don't have enough time, drive the day before and stay the night in one of the nice hotels outside of the airport (Xandari or Vista del Valle are both great choices for staying near the airport but not in San Jose).

I didn't really care that much about Tabacon when we stayed there last year but it definitely is the most upscale choice in that area. My husband liked it just fine. You will have free access to the hot springs (which open early just for the hotel guests). Other hotels in the area are more rustic and although I liked that, it sounds like you may be looking for a more upscale place.

Iza is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 10:13 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 356
As far as I know, every car company will require a valid major credit card & will not accept debit cards. So, you might run into a problem & need to just use transfers/in-country flights.
sclubb is offline  
Jun 17th, 2004, 04:35 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1
Not sure about how it would be in Sept. but we stayed at Tabacon 1 night end of May and enjoyed it. I'd recommend 2 nights at most there. We only briefly saw lava but the hot springs were awesome, the room was large and quite nice and we didn't hear a lot of noise. Food was adequate. We went to Tabacon first and finished at Quepos (Manuel Antonio), took an afternoon flight from there via Nature Air to SJO and made it in plenty of time for our early evening flight back to the States. Have fun, whatever you decide!
mechagrrl is offline  
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