Not sure what to do...Costa Rica or Not???

May 27th, 2002, 06:00 PM
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Not sure what to do...Costa Rica or Not???

My husband and I are thinking of going to Costa Rica the 3rd week of June for our 1st Anniversary. We are looking for a Beach Vacation that offers more...(such as: Snorkeling, Volcanos, Waterfalls, Hot Springs, Hikes, etc.

If we go to Costa Rica...we would probably go to the Arenal area for a couple of nights (volcano, Hot Springs, etc.) and then Guanacasta for the last 5 nights (and maybe some day trips). concern is the time of year...the weather (rainy season)...and mosquitos. Can anyone give me some advice on this or suggest someplace similar?? Does my itinerary seem ok? Also, do you need shots before going to Costa Rica?

May 27th, 2002, 09:14 PM
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If you only have one week, St. Lucia is a smaller island but does has everything that you're looking for and better beaches than Costa Rica .
May 28th, 2002, 05:06 AM
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Please don't worry about the weather too much. It will probably be wet in the Arenal area, but it's almost always so. I've known people that have been to see the volcano 2 or 3 times and never have, due to cloud cover, but I have only been to that area once, and had two very clear days, so you never know. Don't don't expect to see the top of the volcano, but go for the beautiful surroundings and you'll be fine. As for the northern Guanacasta area, Tamarindo and points further north, the most rain you'll be likely to see will be late afternoon showers. It's VERY unlikely it will rain all day. The mornings and early afternoons will be sunny, and you'll welcome the afternoon showers as it will be be very hot and humid! Go! Enjoy!
May 28th, 2002, 10:04 AM
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St. Lucia is not an option. Our Best Man and Maid of Honor are getting married a week after our 1 year anniversary. They are going to St. Lucia for their Honeymoon and we are postponing our vacation and going away during the same time.

Is there another Island that you can recommend?
May 30th, 2002, 06:16 AM
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Costa Rica...its amazing!!! My wife and I took a trip in July, rented a Nissan Pathfinder for two weeks and drove to Arenal, Manuel Antonio, Dominical, Cabo Metapalo (Lapa Rios! WOW), and then to San Isidro de Dota. Its an adventure, and the safest country you'll ever travel to. It only rained in the late afternoon and NEVER put a damper on our plans. The weather always cleared up by evening or early morning. GO. You'll come home and never forget the adventure you had.

p.s. my wife HATES bugs, and we never had any problems with insects, just bring along the strongest DEET money can buy.
Jun 3rd, 2002, 05:05 AM
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For bugs: There is a new knd of insect repellant called "Cactus Juice", no chemicals, nothing toxic and it has a nice sunscreen factor as well. It is actually good for you. You will see it around when you get to Costa Rica, it s a little expensive for here, but it is so great!
Best wishes!
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ps. I have only been to Arenal once, in the heart of the rainy season n October, it was clear every night and erupted every night. The weather patterns there have their own micro-climate and honestly don't think the time of year has a lot to do with it!
Jun 3rd, 2002, 05:37 AM
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Your itinerary sounds good! Off to Arenal Volcano and hot springs for a few days then on the the beach.
The northern Guanacaste area should be fairly dry during your stay. As the other post mentioned we usualy get an afternoon rain then a nice sunset. Either Tamarindo or Playa Hermosa will offer you lots of activities as canopy tours, snorkeling, horse back riding, fishing, Palo Verde river tour, Rincon mud baths, etc... It isn't all that busy right now and green season rates are in effect. Happy anniversary!
Jun 3rd, 2002, 11:37 AM
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Spent a day at Arenal during the rainy season (October). It was sunny through the afternoon. Then the rain hit late afternoon while we were sitting in the hot springs. Then cleared off around dusk in time to see the volcan erupt and got cloudy again. So I guess it all depends.
Jun 4th, 2002, 04:22 PM
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I am thinking about taking a Windstar Cruise to Costa Rica. The ports are Puerto Caldera, Playa Flamingo, Quepos, San Josecito, Curu Reserve, Tortuga Island, and San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua.
Those of you who have been to Costa Rica- does this seem like a good itinerary? Will I be missing out by going on a cruise?

Mike, thanks for the info about the bugs. It's not so much that I hate bugs, but that I am concerned about the diseases spread by them.
Jun 5th, 2002, 06:42 PM
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Still looking for advice.
Jun 6th, 2002, 12:55 PM
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Lisa, I hope I don't offend, but IMO, yes, you will be missing out GREATLY by trying to see Costa Rica by a cruise. The port cities are never as nice as other areas, and how much can you see by day tripping? If you do the cruise, please don't say you've 'been' to Costa Rica!
Jun 7th, 2002, 08:03 AM
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I've been to Costa Rica and I've been on a cruise (Caribean locale). My experience is that a cruise is about cruising --- yes, you do make stops, but you barely get a taste of what the town/culture is all about. Plus in your instance, you'll be missing out on a couple of the unique and wonderful things about Costa Rica. None of the volcanoes are located along the coast. What's a trip to CR without experiencing the rumble of Arenal or at least a look at Poas? Additionally, you won't have opportunity to trek thru a cloud forest (Monteverde).

Greykittys --- I went to CR without any vacinations. I don't believe any are required. Perhaps if you'll be on the east coast (Caribbean side) they might have a recommendation re: malaria. And I heavily emphasize the 'might'. Check on the website to see what they say. Healthwise, CR is one of the safer countries to visit in Latin America.
Jun 7th, 2002, 01:57 PM
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Just got back June 5 from 10 nights in Costa Rica and had a GREAT time. We checked the net for weather before we left and it predicted thunderstorms everyday of our trip save one cloudy day. While there, it rained only a few days in the evening and did not deter us from doing anything, save Monteverde (they don't call it a cloud forest for nothing!). Besides, you are going to a 'rainforest' expect to get some rain.

As an aside, and I don't mean to be rude, but it rains a lot in Hawaii too, and NO ONE evers complains about Hawaii or even questions the rain as much as the rain questions re:Costa Rica.

Bug wise--I'm alergic to mosquito bites (they turn into huge welts) so it was an issue for me as well. I looked into shots and only got a Hep A, which you can easily contract in the Western US. Did not take malaria pills, as they are not 100% effective anyway. I don't believe I read anywhere about any malaria outbreaks in CR over the last several years. Though they do recommend them for remote areas of Limon/Caribbrean coast. I took along some DEET and was fine. In fact, I didn't even get a bite until the last night. I read about all the weird diseases too (dengue fever, malaria, some weird 'l' word, which I won't attempt to spell, for something you can contract from swimming in water contaminated by animal scat...So far no fever, no problems and we rafted the Pacaure as well--very cool BTW.

A suggestion I'd make would be to go to a boutique hotel in Jaco (you could do a couple of day trips from there to Manuel Antonio, Carrera Nat'l Park and a croc tours, etc) called Villa Calletas. It's at a beautiful and romantic location over looking the water. The little restaurant is okay for breakfast, lunch, drinks and snacks, etc. but we felt their fancy restaurant for dinner was very mediocre and over-priced.

If you need more info let me know.

The people are great, the roads in some parts are as bad as they say--but they make wonderful stories to tell when you get back. If you drive, be prepared to make a few wrong turns, and get stopped by police (though we didn't, nearly everyone we met during our CR travels seemed to get stopped at least once and some more than once).

I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time!

Safety wise, the travel books seem to give you a lot of warnings about pick-pockets--even the rental car company told us not to leave anything in the car and to back into parking places, to deter the spare tire on the back from being stolen. We didn't have any trouble. In fact, at the Grano de Oro restaurant (highly recommended) in San Jose, my husband's wallet fell out of his pants and the waiter promptly gave it to him and suggestedc he be more careful.
Jun 7th, 2002, 02:09 PM
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One more thing...

Rent a 4wd vehicle! Several locals said we didn't need it, but we used it on the way to Monteverde and I don't know what we would have done without it. We had a 2002 Mitsubishi Montero that worked very well and we drove all over the place.

And, with regard to the cruise question, I would agree. It's just not the same. However, if that would be the only way you would travel to CR, then go for it. They probably have a side trip to Manuel Antonio that you could take (bring a bathing suit as they have nice breaches in the nat'l park) out of Quepos. I don't remember the other ports you mentioned, but they probably have other side trips as well.
Jun 9th, 2002, 09:00 AM
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Would recommend Manuel Antonio Beach over Guanacaste. Try Si Como No or La Mansion. Or the Villanita which you can view at Happy travels.
Jan 8th, 2007, 09:04 AM
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What about the Jewels of Costa Rica tour by Trek America and Footloose Tours? Anyone taken it? What time of year or does it matter for temp/rain?
yellowball is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 09:41 AM
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June is a great time to visit, the first rains make them country turn green, but most places you visit will only have a bit of rain late afternoon/early evening>
guanacaste is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 09:49 AM
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Quick reply to your question about "rainy season and mosquitos". Have visited CR a couple of times in June. Been "armed" with lots of bug repellent and hardly ever used it! It does rain but most storms are quick afternoon afairs. Remember, it's warm...if you don't mind getting a little wet you'll dry out soon enough.
lglass is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 10:14 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Regarding the rain check out this site. It has average rainfall in different areas during the year.

I would recommend sticking to Northern Guanacaste area - Tamarindo, Flamingo, Coco, etc. You will have much less rain here then in other parts south. My friends went to Manuel Antonio in July and had rain almost every day.

Stick to Northern Guanacaste and your itinerary sounds good.

Travel Dr. recommended Hepatitis shots - they recommend these even for traveling to the Caribbean.
Naplo999 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 10:19 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Regarding the cruise - yes I think you would be missing out on seeing costa rica just doing a cruise. The port areas are generally not that great. The best parts of costa rica are generally a little more remote then where a cruise ship can get to.
Naplo999 is offline  

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