Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Mexico & Central America (
-   -   Please , help on Costa rica trip (

samy Oct 8th, 2004 01:48 PM

Please , help on Costa rica trip
Friends, I'm posting for the first time on this forum.we are palnning to go to Costa rica from 24th - 31st december. As there's very little time left we have to book the air tieckets very quickly. So here are my questions will realy Appreciate help of all "Guru's here!

1. what will be the itinery considering probably we will have 6 days(excliding travel there), please note that this is our first trip, we do like hiking and other phisical activities.

2. We were thinking of taking guided tour package, do you have any good experinces with any one?

3. what would be the avg cost of decent hotel per night ?


shillmac Oct 8th, 2004 02:31 PM

Hi samy,
You will love Costa Rica. It is an excellent location to combine a little beach time with some of the beautiful inland areas. I'd recommend 2 days in the area of Arenal Volcano and 4 days at one of the many beach areas on the Pacific coast (or Caribbean for something a little different and less traveled). The culture over there is more Caribbean, less Central American.
Christmastime in Costa Rica is extremely busy. The local kids are out of school and many families enjoy the same special vacation areas that we tourists like. In addition, people flock there from the U.S., Canada, and any number of other countries at Christmas. Finding a hotel or resort at this time is going to be difficult. You do need to get on it right away. Your choice of beaches and other areas will more than likely be dictated by what you can find available. The good thing is that every location has lots to see and do. Entire country is very beautiful.

From recent posts by folks who are doing last minute planning for the holidays, I believe there are some properties available in Playa Tamarindo, which is a popular area providing a full range of activities.
Another very pretty (and very popular) area is Manuel Antonio National Park--lovely beaches.

At Arenal, you might find a room at Arenal Paraiso (although they were almost full when we booked early in Sept. last year). Also try Montana del Fuego.

You need to do a search of any areas you think you might be interested in, including Arenal and Tamarindo, and see what is available asap.

Be advised that there are 3 seasons price-wise. Green (our summer and fall) is the lowest; high season (December-April in Costa Rica); and PEAK SEASON, which includes Christmas and Easter. Peak season prices are fairly steep. Good luck!

samy Oct 8th, 2004 03:11 PM

Shillmac, thnx a bunch , do you know of any good tour companies which will take care of hotel + tranportation + some activites for 7/10 days ??

shillmac Oct 8th, 2004 03:51 PM

No, I'm sorry, I don't. We always just set everything up ourselves. Ordinarily, you can just "get there" and work it out as you go, but not during this particular time. Hopefully someone else will have some suggestions for you.

Oh yes, you might try Costa Rica Expeditions. They have one of the best reputations in the country. I think they are rather expensive, but I don't think you'll hear anything negative about them. You might look at their website. Also, if you do a search on Fodor's it might turn up some previous posts that will point you in the direction of a good tour company.

shillmac Oct 8th, 2004 05:48 PM

There is a company called Costa Rican Adventures that offers tours (including private). I came across the website while looking for something else pertaining to CR. You might take a look at it. 7 day tours.

samy Oct 12th, 2004 11:44 AM

Shillmac, we finaly found a tour company at decent rate. Our itinery inlcudes TORTUGUERO, Arneal and Monteverde. We are skipping Manuel antonio because hotels requires min 3 night stay during that period and we are not that much into beaches so we thought we will skip it. Instead we are planning to take

* either one of near by islands
* or near by volcano/scenary

Any suggestions regarding that??

thnx a bunch

shillmac Oct 12th, 2004 04:17 PM

I'm sorry, but I don't think I understand what you mean. Could rephrase it or something? Nearby islands or nearby volcano? Give it another shot--been teaching all day. Guess I'm brain dead!

samy Oct 12th, 2004 05:23 PM

Shillmac, Sorry that was not clear let me try again.

for seven days we will be going to Touterego, Arneal and Monteverded, we are skipping Maneul antonio(because 3 nights is minimum there which will be too much of a stay at beach town for us)

Now we could either end our trip here or do ONe of the followings, which our tour companies offers:

1> Paos volcano ,La paz falls ,sarapqui and Braulio Carrillo (all of this is one option)

2>Paos volacno and Sarchi.

3>tortuga island tour

4> Irazu Volcano, Lankaster and Orosi.

hope I din't confuse you again :(


shillmac Oct 12th, 2004 07:05 PM

Thanks. Perfectly clear. What a great trip you have planned! I haven't done the Tortuga Island trip and haven't talked to anyone who has, but that would certainly give you a nice little beach experience. I've read up on it, and it sounds like a fun day.

Poas/LaPaz/Sarapiqui is an excellent tour. This is the same tour that is frequently called the Highlights Tour, and I'd highly recommend it. A long day, but very well done. Gorgeous drive and very informative.

Poas-Sarchi would be a little less strenuous/time consuming and Sarchi is definitely a fun little town to visit--go there for sure if you want to make souvenir shopping a part of your experience.

Irazu/Lankaster/Orosi also a great way to spend a day. Not a lot of help, am I? This area, too, is absolutely beautiful. The Orosi Valley is spectacular and Lankaster Gardens interesting

Irazu is different from Poas--very cold and bare. Poas is nice because it offers you a little bit of hiking through some nice secondary forest, which will be included in the tour.

To really experience the country more fully, I'd go with #1 or #4.

Just curious, what tour group are you using? Be sure and let all of us know how it went.

samy Oct 13th, 2004 06:43 AM


thnakks a lot! I think we will go for #1 then , you are its a highlight tour, but I was not sure if its commanan name used by all.

Anyway though our first problem , that of tour company is resolved(we are going with ABC tour company) now we are struggling to find out better airfares :(. We willbe going from Dec23-Jan1.


shillmac Oct 13th, 2004 09:13 AM

Buen viaje! Airfare usually more expensive around the holidays. Bummer. . .:( You'll enjoy the Highlights Tour. I did it last year when I was traveling on my own. On another trip, my husband and I drove the southern trip to Orosi Valley. On the highlights tour, I was one of about 12 in a medium sized turismo van--not a huge group. We had a wonderful guide and learned SO MUCH! Enjoy!

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:58 PM.