Tell me about Costa Rica

Old Feb 1st, 2005, 10:24 AM
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Tell me about Costa Rica

Hello, I am thinking about travelling to Costa Rica this summer. What can you tell me about YOUR trip to Costa Rica? I would like to hear about the good, the bad, and the ugly.

John G.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 10:53 AM
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Are you lazy to browse the postings, Costa Rica in topic no. 1 here.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 10:56 AM
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John - Not sure how to post a link to my trip report, hopefully this works:

Being mostly a European traveler, this trip was a huge difference for me but I had a fabulous time, hopefully you will too.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 12:27 PM
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To piggyback on miguel's comment, but not quite in that tone, I have found it extremely useful to browse past costa rica posts. Do a search for all costa rica or put in terms for what you're interested in, "canopy tour," "beach" etc.

Fodor's 2005 CR book is fantastic. I found it better than Lonely Planet's because it goes the extra step of giving editorial comments. For someone needing insight into the best places to stay and eat and things to do, I appreciated the commentary, subjective though it may be.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 02:41 PM
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Greetings John G! A follow-up to the suggestion to read trip reports....As someone who's in your position, and plans to go within the next year, I've found there's little here about the "bad" or "ugly" part. Mostly you'll read enthusiastic and positive reports. There are a few I really apppreciate, as they mention some negatives. One--which all seem to agree on-- is that the roads in some areas are really bad and unpleasant to drive. Another is the issue of theft . Another is about some cases where follow-up on problems was not very effficiient.You'll read about the wonderful people and "pura vida" spirit of Costa Rica. A recent post said something like people there were like people eveywhere-- some exceptional, some good, some indifferent, some rude.
My son and his wife used this forum, went a few months ago for a 9 day trip, enjoyed themselves, loved the places they stayed, and found every day to be an adventure. Granted, it was a short trip. However, they did not come back, as many folks on this forum do, with the feeling that they can hardly wait to return. Still, they had enough great adventures in CR so that I want to go!!
The other factor that may affect your decision are you an outdoor activity/nature lover kind of person.?
A site I recommend, with what looks to be an excellent introductory visit to CR, is This is what I will use when I go. If you email/contact via the site, a wonderful woman named Neta will gladly answer your questions, and even help you plan your trip. Her hotel, La Finca Que Ama, is one I will moast certainly stay at!! So, good luck and enjoyment with your research!
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 02:49 PM
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ThinGorjus (great "handle"!)--Just read your comment at the end of MA Trip report thread about "snotty comments." LOL--right on!!
If you noticed in that thread, someone mentioned the Finca Valmy horseback ride, They pick you up from wherever you want in the Manuel Antonio/Quepos area and take you for a great adventure that you'll never forget, according to my kids, who LOVED it and said it was aboslutely not to ber missed. So, if you go, add it to your list of must-dos. (I think). Have fun! Calinurse
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 03:46 PM
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Dear John G.,
My trip to Costa Rica started about 11 years ago, it was supposed to be for 6 weeks. With a break here and there, I am still here!

Let me tell you what to expect when you come to visit this beautiful country.

If you fly in at night, the twinkle of the lights over all of the Central Valley welcome your flight. Surrounded by volcanoes and mountains the valley looks like a million fire flies greeting you from below.

You land, perhaps go into San Jose for the night and travel on the Pan American Highway for your destination.

The night is cool.... the hotel pleasant, the staff very friendly as are all of the Costa Rican people.

In the morning, you awake to sunshine and the beautiful sounds of birds outside, perhaps small parrots, perhaps one singing a continuous song..... They are everywhere.

Your first adventure might take you to Arenal, one of the most active volcanoes in the Americas. There, you ride by horseback and climb down the park-like slope to the huge La Fortuna Waterfall. You take your suit...but it is very cold to swim.

In the afternoon, you go to one of the many hot springs for a warm dip below the magnificent cone shaped mountain and watch the lava flow down its side.... if clouds permit.

That night, you walk around the small town of La Fortuna and enjoy the people, the fun atmosphere and the food.

Early next day take a van-boat-van trip across the Lake Arenal and up to the Cloud Forest of Monteverde. There you zip through the sky on tree tops and waltz in the clouds on hanging bridges. The private park at the top is quiet and hear music, but there isn't any! If you are lucky, you catch a glimpse of a Quetzal bird with its long flowing tail.

After a day or two there you head to the beaches, congo monkeys greet you, throwing mangos at you when you pass.... the sweet smell of the Pacific and the gentle roar of the waves put you to sleep on the tropical beach....maybe in your room, maybe in a hammock. It is hot; the cool refreshing natural fruit drinks of Costa Rica are welcomed.

After a day or two at the beaches, you travel to Turrialba and go White Water Rafting. There are lots of rivers on which to raft. Class 12,3 or Class 4, you decide and have the time of your life.

Back in San Jose, before you leave, you book a tour to Tortugero.... traveling early in the a.m. through the tiny canals waking up all the animals. You'll get a glimpse of a Jesus Christ Lizard. Perhaps a caymen, lots of monkeys; congos, spider, white face......Toucans sound like swings in the trees and the big crocodile will bid you farewell as your boat glides back down the river.
The beautiful morpho butterly accompanies you on your journey.

You will not have money will want to do everything....your pictures and lovely wooden souvenirs will not fit, you must buy another suitcase for the trip.

You do not want to go! For the rest of your life your vacations are planned around the places in Costa Rica you did not get to come back, year after year until you retire here.

I did!

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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 08:33 PM
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For a good example of differing opinions see the thread "Advise for your upcming trip to Costa Rica" Read all the comments too and you'll get a sense of how hard it is to express anything negative without getting some strong reactions.
As a prospective visitor, I'd much rather know what to realiticaly expect, and am glad when writers post about some negatives as weLL.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 10:53 AM
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CaliNurse, I agree that thread is a good one to read, but humbly disagree that you'll get 'strong reaction' to posting something negative. I went back and read that thread and didn't see anything 'strong' about it. It's just different people relaying their own experiences. When I think of 'strong reaction' I think of something more rude than relaying an opinion. Some people have good experiences with some things, while others do not have those problems at all. Are you saying they can't be telling the truth that they never had any of those 'negative' things happen to them? I have been to CR 14 times and while I don't like all the roads, I've never had anything negative happen to me other than having my flip-flops stolen from the beach. And , those were taken by a tourist, not a local. I know because I saw her with my shoes. (Yes, they were unusual because they were neon yellow with an Hawaiian logo on them.) They happen to match her cute little yellow bathing suit. Yes, it made me mad, but I just went to the store and got a Costa Rican pair for a couple dollars.
Yes, I've been eaten by sand flies there, but that could be many beaches in Belize, or even Florida, so I don't think of that as a 'Costa Rica' negative either. Yes, I've had a problem....maybe even two, with some hotel reservations, but again, same thing has happened in Mexico and Bali, so not necessarily a 'Costa Rica' negative.
I guess that what I'm saying is that different opinion from some of us Costa Rica lovers does not mean we are giving 'strong reactions' to any negative post. We need to hear those too, but have just not experienced them ourselves.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 07:17 PM
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I've been following these postings on and off for nearly two years now, since our own family trip to Costa Rica, and I must admit that I feel hesitant to post any negative comments, for some of the reasons stated above. I did report at the time that all of our belongings were stolen from our rental vehicle. (Yes, I had read the warnings about not leaving valuables unattended in your car, but my husband always makes me feel that I worry too much, and it was just a bad judgement call: we left the locked vehicle on a busy street in Canas, which appeared to be a nice little town, in the middle of a Sunday afternoon for about twenty minutes while we went to pick up some lunch for the kids. Somehow I didn't imagine that anyone would break into a vehicle and haul all our stuff away in broad daylight. (In fact they broke the front door lock and let the air out of the tires as well.) That kind of thing wouldn't go unquestioned by passersby here in Canada, but I guess the rules are different in Costa Rica. I can't say the police were too interested, although we spent a long time making a report at the station. It was a lot of stuff, too, considering that we're a family of five and were travelling for two weeks. That was an unfortunate experience, and we tried not to let it sour our memories of the trip--but then we still had four days to get through with nothing but the clothes on our backs. No one we met--locals and other tourists--was very surprised by our story. Anyway, you can chalk that up to stupidity--although, as I say, I thought at the time that we'd been cautious. But now here's another story: our good friends, who have visited Costa Rica twice before and adore the country, recently treated themselves to a week at the new Fiesta Premier resort. Walking on the road five minutes from the resort, they were held up by four guys who pulled up in a car and pointed a gun at them. One of my friends tried to reason with the guys (not a good idea, I know), but when they tried to pull him into the car, my friends just handed over their camera and backpack. No one was harmed, but it was a nasty experience. The hotel manager was surprised and sympathetic but didn't offer a ride into Liberia to report the theft. This is really their story to tell--and it does make a good story, if nothing else--but they haven't posted it, as I suggested, so I feel that I should. Not to warn people away from Costa Rica, just to make the point that things happen... and they seem to be happening a lot more than people realize.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 08:10 PM
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Sandra, Thanks for your honesty..That is the kind of thing everyone who travels anywhere should be aware of--no mattter where it is. Of course it happens in many places--but that's beside the point as you prepare to visit a particular place.
See the thread "Is Costa Rica safe?" for a wide variety of opinons and reactions to this issue
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