Some thoughts about planning a trip to Costa Rica

Old Jan 27th, 2004, 07:38 AM
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Some thoughts about planning a trip to Costa Rica

I have joined the forum only recently, but as someone who lives in Costa Rica, works in the tourism business and has helped many family and friends plan their trips to Costa Rica, I feel I have some insights to the subject of planning such a trip and I thought I would share them with you.

Basically 80% of the people who come to Costa Rica from North America, have the same amount of time for their vacation (between 8 and 11 days usually), more or less the same budget, the same basic knowledge about the main attractions, and the same dilemmas about which mode of transportation to use. And almost everyone goes around with a strong feeling that whatever they will do or wherever they will go, they?ll still be missing on something. To avoid this uncomfortable feeling, let me tell you something right now ? you are right, whatever you will do and wherever you will go, you will still be missing on something, and let me add, you will want to come back for more. This is something, I think, that people have to acknowledge and embrace, and not fear or feel uncomfortable with? Costa Rica is small in size but very large in what it has to offer, and this is what is so wonderful about it.

Knowing this, and not stressing over it, can really make people?s decisions about their itinerary much easier. What I am trying to say is that you shouldn?t stress too much if it is better to go to Monteverde or to Tortugero for example ? both are wonderful and unforgettable! It doesn?t really matter that much. This is exactly why people have such a hard time deciding ? it is because everything they hear sounds so wonderful.

In general, for first time visitors, I think a combination of a volcano (be it Arenal, Poas, Irazu?), beach (Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, Tortugero?) and central valley (for beautiful day trips, mountains, rain/cloud forests?) is ideal. Any combination will work for almost anyone, and will give a decent taste of Costa Rica (remember, you will want to come back again anyway...).

This brings me to another issue ? because it is a little bit hard to travel in Costa Rica (only from a technical point of view, the roads are not very good, the distances on the map are misleading...), I think it is more important to take the time and really think about what kind of traveler you and your travel companions are. Do you feel comfortable renting a car, or do you prefer a shuttle service? Perhaps a personal driver? Are you very active and want to do adventurous things (canopy, rafting, snorkeling), or do you prefer to relax and watch the sunsets, or maybe a combination? (on the beach, in the mountains). Do you like to stay in the same place for a few days, or move around a lot?

Because of the technical difficulties of traveling in Costa Rica, thinking about these things, I believe, is very important in designing an itinerary which you will feel comfortable with and enjoy. Where to go, and in what order, will come together better if you think about the kind of traveler you are.

These are just my thoughts and insights, but hopefully it will make some of your decisions easier. If you want to contact me directly, feel free to write to my email.

Thanks and Pura Vida,
Neta
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Old Jan 27th, 2004, 07:58 AM
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You said it all very beautifully Neta.

You are right of course.
There is so much to see and we (tourists)try to take it all in at once.

That is why I am coming back and I will see Costa Rica in parts and enjoy the area I happen to be visiting at that time.
Thanks for a well comments well stated.
Percy
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Old Jan 27th, 2004, 04:36 PM
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Great post Neta, very well said. That feeling of longing and "missing" something is what has taken me back to Costa Rica three times and is also the reason I am going back this summer.

I think a lot of travelers to CR will find this post very helpful and reassuring!
Patty
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Old Jan 27th, 2004, 05:21 PM
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Well said Neta. Even after 12 years of traveling down there I still feel as though I am still missing something. Every year there is always something new and exciting to discover.
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Old Feb 11th, 2004, 03:30 AM
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Old Feb 19th, 2004, 10:32 AM
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 12:33 PM
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Old Apr 2nd, 2004, 11:42 AM
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Old Apr 20th, 2004, 03:02 PM
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Old Apr 20th, 2004, 03:03 PM
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