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Thinking about 2nd trip to Costa Rica; have a few questions. Also have an unrelated question for Shillmac...

Thinking about 2nd trip to Costa Rica; have a few questions. Also have an unrelated question for Shillmac...

Old Feb 1st, 2007, 08:31 PM
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Thinking about 2nd trip to Costa Rica; have a few questions. Also have an unrelated question for Shillmac...

Hi everyone,

Well, we just made our first visit to Costa Rica in December. We loved it so much that we are considering a return trip this year!

The first time around we did the popular Arenal/Manuel Antonio circuit. For trip #2, we are looking at the Osa peninsula and/or the southern Caribbean (Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo etc...).

Travellers would be my brother and I (both 40-ish) and our 68 year old mother. Our targeted travel time would likely be end of November or early December.

So here are a few questions:

-Is this a bad time for the Caribbean coast? I've read that this is the rainiest time of year there. Does this area follow the typical patterns of clear mornings and afternoon showers, or should I hold off on visiting until the drier season?

-If we could manage to visit the Osa on the same trip, would we have to travel all the way back to San Jose in order to fly there (probably to Puerto Jimenez)?

I'm just in the beginning fact finding phase, so I'm sure I'll have more questions as I start to formulate a more concrete game plan.

Thanks for any assistance!

Shillmac, if you are out there, here is my unrelated question: what is your overall take on Puerto Rico? I'm planning a trip with the girls for Memorial Day weekend. We are trying to decide on a location. We live in Florida, and Puerto Rico is a fairly economical choice for us. I've never been there and have heard a wide range of opinions of it as a vacation destination. We would be hoping for some beach and snorkeling time as well as a little bit of shopping, culture, and history. We really need to keep costs reasonable (in the ~600$ range pp if at all possible). We want to feel safe while we are out and about (exercising common sense, of course...).

I know you've been to Puerto Rico visiting your daughter at least a couple of times. Just wondering what your impressions of the place are, since I've learned to implicitly trust your opinions on Costa Rica!

Thanks so much!

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Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 08:58 AM
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Bumping this since its gotten buried fairly far down in the list. Lot's of activity on the CR board the past few days.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 07:50 PM
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So sorry! My daughter has been visiting ME for the past weekend, so have been a little occupied!

Puerto Rico is okay, certainly a few things of interest to do there, but it isn't a place I'd fall in love with and return to time and again like CR.

Old San Juan is very special--great place for outstanding shopping experience! El Morro fortress also would be a great way to spend a little time. El Yunque "rainforest" is okay if you haven't been to CR! Or if you'd just like to do a little hiking in a pretty forest devoid of animals and birds! You can hear the coqui frogs occasionally!

South to Ponce is fun, and a visit to the Seralles "castle" would interest all of you. The Hilton down there is very nice and had a fabulous breakfast. Their restaurant, La Cava, is one of the nicest I've experienced bar none---pricey, but outstanding food and service.

East of San Juan you have the hotel chains. Westin Rio Mar has a nice reputation. My daughter lives very near the El Conquistador and likes that area. There is a little hotel near that huge resort called the Passion Fruit B&B--she thinks it is great, but of course, not on the beach.

PR isn't that inexpensive a place. Kind of pricey, my opinion, particularly the hotels, so that Passion Fruit for less than $100 a night is reasonable, if small. . .

Over on the west side, about a 2 hour drive from San Juan, is Rincon, a surfing area. South of there and back to the east along the southern coast you'll pass through San Germain, very interesting little town and church. We enjoyed the little town of La Parguera and spent a night there.

If you could ferry over to Vieques (or fly), you might enjoy the bioluminescent bay. . .that would definitely add to the cost, though.

South along the east coast and inland from Humacao is a nice forest area where you can sample lechon at several restaurants (roast pig).

We actually haven't spent a lot of time on the beach (go figure, I don't know why!), but there are those gorgeous white sands and turquoise waters typcial of the Caribbean. Luquillo Beach between San Juan and Fajardo is beautiful, one of the best. I think you'd feel safe--I always have and drive all over the place by myself--day or night. Kind of like being in the U.S., only with a Latin flavor! Don't know about the snorkeling, although we've done it over at Vieques. .it was so so. E-mail me if you have more specific questions.

[email protected]

We went to Puerto Viejo in January, which is also a very rainy month, but had a lot of luck! It was stormy all right, at night mostly, and the seas were rough, but the days were decent and the light rainfall didn't hamper our plans. That area, it can rain anytime, any amount, and you really can't ever predict or say, "well, it'll only be a little shower in the afternoon" as you can in other parts of the country. It's just rainy period. BUT again, we've been pretty lucky in 4 visits to that area. The last few really serious flooding disasters have occured with December rains, and frequently the river outlets will rise and it will cut off transportation between Cahuita and Limon, causing a problem with getting in and out. But with a little luck! And the odds are most likely in your favor! And heck, what's a little excitement?

You WOULD need to get back to SJO for your flight to the Osa, no doubt about that. You know there are flights between SJO and Limon now, so would that be helpful to you?

Good luck--I'll enjoy hearing about your planning process--that's always a fun part!
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 09:08 PM
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Thanks so much for the reply, Shillmac! I hope you had a really nice weekend with your daughter.

Thanks for your impressions of Puerto Rico. I'm sure I'll enjoy visiting there if that's the destination we ultimately pick, but I have wondered if it would seem a bit anti-climactic so close on the heels of such an incredible week in Costa Rica. Sounds likely that it will...
Still, for just getting away from work for a few days of relaxation, it may fit the bill.

In the meantime, I continue to peruse the CR forum for true travel inspiration! My mom can actually get a condo unit for a week in Playa Tambor at a decent price, so I've started looking at what we might do in that area to determine if its a viable contender for this year. So far it doesn't speak to me quite like the Caribbean/Osa combo does, but we'll see. The problem with Costa Rica is that there are almost too many choices; hard to narrow it down!

Thanks again for taking the time to answer my post. I definitely appreciate it!
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 10:12 PM
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We're heading back to CR for our second trip too. We absolutely loved our stay at Almonds and Corals - screened lodge tents on raised wooden platforms right in the middle of the rainforest south of Puerto Viejo. We got a great kick out of the howler monkeys right above our tent who peeked in at us and bedded down for the night in the trees right above the camp. Staff were great, though it was a few years back now. If you're looking for a close visit with the animals, I think you'd enjoy this place. The tents have reasonable beds, are fully screened, and have nice hammocks. It's a good mix of enough comfort and adventure.

We've booked Osa peninsula for our first week this time - going to check out the dolphins and whales at Dolfina Amor Eco Lodge. Everything I'm reading about the lodge, their dolphin tours, and the nearby Corcovado Park have me counting the days 'til we go. Enjoy your trip.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 08:17 PM
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Thanks for weighing in, Michele. I've read lots of good reviews for Almonds and Corals. Sounds like a great place with just the sort of wildlife encounters I love!

We are still mulling over our possible itineraries and trying to decide which part(s) of Costa Rica to focus on. The Osa is definitely at the top of the list. I believe you are heading to the Drake Bay side, correct? Is your trip coming up soon? I hope you'll have a terrific time and post a report when you return.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 10:41 PM
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Yes, the Dolfino Amor Eco Lodge is on the Drake Bay side. We travel in mid March, and I will be sure to post about our adventures when we return. We're still up in the air about what to do with our second week. We've been advised to consider Uvita (south of Dominical - smaller town, beautiful beaches, apparently). It's just a couple hours' drive north of Sierpe in the South Pacific part of the country. I think wherever we decide to go, we're likely to enjoy ourselves. We'll be on vacation, afterall.
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Old Feb 14th, 2007, 01:06 PM
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We just came back from our wedding and honeymoon in CR. We chose to get married at Bosque del Cabo with our immediate family as guests, and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect wedding. Throughout our week long stay, the owners, Kim and Phil, and the entire staff made us feel like honored guests.
The level of communication leading up to the trip from Kim assured us we had made the right decision in choosing Bosque. We had many questions and a few requests, and Kim handled every one of them with professionalism and friendliness.
It is not easy to get to Bosque del Cabo, as there is an hour long, extremely rugged ride to the nature lodge once we landed in Puerto Jiminez. (I think you will have to fly back to San Jose to get your flight to Puerto Jiminez.) For this reason and about a million others, we were very glad we’d chosen to stay for a week. It is truly one of the most gorgeous places we’ve ever been.
My husband and I stayed in Mariposa, surely the most wonderful of the casitas because it backs up to the jungle, and is therefore more private than some of the others. In addition to the lovely outdoor shower, it has a gorgeous outdoor bathtub. Every day our room was decorated with tropical flowers, and it was always spotless. Our parents stayed in two other casitas, equally beautiful though a bit less private. Our siblings lived in Casa Miramar, a terrific open air house. They were up for the ˝ mile walk to and from the lodge and enjoyed the privacy that afforded.
Every morning we woke to howler monkeys, and near dusk the scarlet macaws cawed and soared overhead. We saw white-faced monkeys, coatis, huge blue butterflies, and toucans on the immediate grounds of Bosque almost every day. Some great hikes allowed us to see poison dart frogs, beautiful birds, and more monkeys. The flora and fauna were stunning.
Phil and Kim have a true commitment to low impact living while still providing the most luxurious of stays; the soap is organic and biodegradable, there are few lights in the cabins, and the food is perhaps exclusively locally grown.
The meals were fantastic and served buffet style. There were eleven people in our party, so we sat with just our group, which was lovely. Miguel cooked dynamite seafood, beef, pork, and outstanding vegetables and fruits. Each day at happy hour, complimentary appetizers were laid out by the bar, located next to the pool. The appetizers and frozen drink concoctions were terrific. Both the bar and restaurant staff were impeccable and always ready with a friendly smile. Jose not only worked at the bar and provided gorgeous flowers for our wedding, but he also serenaded us with Spanish songs played on his guitar.
Part of the reason we chose Bosque for our wedding was so everyone in our party would be able to participate in a variety of activities. Gerly at the front desk was always ready to help us with any excursion. We enjoyed the zip line, guided nature tours, surfing, massages, fishing, and rappelling from waterfalls. Perhaps best of all, we could take a number of different hikes on our own throughout the grounds to discover such beautiful places as the tide pools of the Pacific, waterfalls that run into the ocean, swimming holes, different types of rainforests- almost all of it virtually our own even in the high season. I think we could have stayed a month at Bosque and still have plenty more to see and do.

Some extra info in case anyone else out there is planning a wedding:
For us, Bosque del Cabo was the perfect place to get married. The owners not only helped us arrange all of the details, but they also attended our wedding, took pictures and video, and helped organize photographs. At Kim’s suggestion, we had the ceremony at Casa Miramar overlooking the Pacific at sunset, and it simply couldn’t have been more perfect. We had asked for beer and margaritas to toast with after the ceremony, and again our expectations were exceeded when two flavors of margaritas as well as a fantastic array of appetizers were provided. It was heavenly. Mauriciou, the gentlemen who married us, was fun, professional, and he, Kim, and Phil felt like old friends by the time the ceremony was over.
It was an absolutely fantastic trip, and we feel so blessed to have started our official life as a couple at Bosque del Cabo surrounded by such big-hearted people living and working in such a gorgeous place.
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Old Feb 14th, 2007, 05:55 PM
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Thanks for your review of BDC Ustogether, and congratulations on your marriage!

If I can pull together a trip to the Osa this year, Bosque del Cabo is definitely my top lodging choice. I've read so many glowing reports of it on these boards that I am thoroughly sold on visiting.
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