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Trip Report - 21 day trip to Costa Rica – Jan 1 – Jan 21, 2009

Trip Report - 21 day trip to Costa Rica – Jan 1 – Jan 21, 2009

Old Feb 1st, 2009, 08:43 AM
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Trip Report - 21 day trip to Costa Rica – Jan 1 – Jan 21, 2009

21 day trip to Costa Rica – Jan 1 – Jan 21, 2009

Thanks to all, we planned our trip from all the great info we received here!

We started with uneventful, easy flights (flew from Chicago to Houston to SJO), then zipped thru immigration. Private driver Danny Jimenez
www.costaricatourdriver.com was waiting with our names on a sign for our drive to Arenal. Danny was great, I would highly recommend him. We only stopped for drinks and fresh cheese at a stand in the mountains – delish snack. It was very foggy and rainy and was very happy to have a safe driver. Stayed at Lost Iguana for 4 nights, really liked this resort. The room was a little dated, smelled musty, not the cleanest – thick dust on fans, spider webs. But great views, comfy bed. Ate all meals at the resort. Too far to go into town - $20 each way by taxi. We were too tired to travel that far after our very active days anyways. We loved the tilapia ceviche. Breakfast buffet was very good. Loved horseback riding to the falls, hanging bridges (get a guide, you will see more!) we saw toucans and monkeys. Didn’t think the food at hanging bridges was anything to hold out for. Liked Eco Termales, didn’t like the dinner at all. I would not recommend the dinner. We thought Cano Negro was ok; the bus ride is way too long. We did see animals, (sloths, iguanas, monkeys, lots of birds) but we saw lots of animals everywhere we went. Also, everywhere we went, ticos said mosquitos are no problem this time of year, except perhaps if you are hiking in the forest. But I used repellent and still got plenty of bites.

The day we left for AOL for 3 nights, was the only day we had rain for the entire day of our whole trip. Which was fine, we spent the day traveling and relaxing, and reading. Stayed in the Smithsonian rooms, again, ok clean wise, very minimal , with a fantastic view of the Volcano, with beautiful grounds. This place is birders paradise, we also saw coatis, ocilla, and a snake. We had a leak in our ceiling right onto the bed, so they moved the bed over. Left it that way for the 3 nights. Food here was ok, breakfast buffet was good, ate fruit and French fries for lunch – stay away from the burger. My DH enjoyed the tico meals. Dinner was usually good. We had a very large spider in the bathroom, my DH was able to catch it and take it outside. Also, saw the snake on the hanging bridge going toward the pool area/Smithsonian rooms. 2 nights here probably would have been enough. But gave us the chance to go into town (La Fortuna) for dinner our last night. We ate at La Choza del Laurel, thought the food here was ok too, but, maybe we ordered the wrong thing. We did not order the chicken. Nothing much to the town. We saw lava all three nights, the volcano was very active the entire time we were there. The last night I watched the volcano for over 4 hours and the clouds finally lifted - what an awesome sight. I could not get my sleeping DH to get up to see perhaps this once in a lifetime sight.

I felt the earthquake which was on the day we were leaving for MA. We took the interbus with 4 young ladies (we are a couple in our mid-fifties), which made our trip more interesting. The trip took longer (about 6 hours) because some bridges and roads were damaged from the earthquake. What a beautiful ride.

Manuel Antonio
Next, we spent 4 nights at Villas Nicolas. They upgraded us to a suite, with a large beautiful covered patio with a dining table, chairs and hammock. Again a gorgeous view. Since we had a kitchen we decided to make our own breakfasts (not included here) and lunches. We enjoyed great fresh fruit, and avocados. They are now serving dinner here at Villas Nicolas and the food was great, we ate there the last 2 nights. We also ate twice next door a Si Como No, once at the grill – excellent and the more upscale seafood restaurant, which was good, but pricey. We took a private tour of MA Park arranged by VN, which was great. We saw monkeys, leaf ants, frogs, lots of birds. Also loved spending time on beach 1, where you can get chairs and umbrellas for $10 for the day. Waiters come around for food and drinks. Also they sell fresh fruit and trinkets. It got a little annoying, but really enjoyed the fresh fruit and lovely swimming in the warm waters here at the beach. Didn’t find it too crowded at all, but tourism is down.

Lastly, we flew Sansa from Quepos to Puerto Jimenez. 5 glorious nights at BdC. Carlos picked us up at the airport. We stayed in the Lapas cabina. My only complaint is the netting on the bed is only three sided – I don’t get it. Again, they say, you don’t need the netting, but for a bug-a-fob it is comforting. We did leave the doors open at night, because it did get warm. DH did have to get a spider or two off of the netting. No major bug incidents, although I was not that comfortable at night in the three sided netting. We did find, I think it was bird poop, on the floor. Glorious place, but not sure I would go back. The food is wonderful as are the people. We hiked all the trails, even hiked up from the gulf side after picnicing on the beach and swimming. Did not want to do any off property tours if it took you back to town, which is a very extremely bumpy 45 minute drive. DH did water repelling which was done from the resort next door.

BdC drove us to Iguana lodge on the beach for our last 3 nights. We loved this place as well. Very low key, miles of beach front with very few people, walk down a ways and plenty of skinny dipping in privacy can be had (DH again). The food here was very good as well; DH thought it was better than at BdC. The deluxe cabina is like a large screened in porch, with shutters for privacy, I felt better about the bugs until it rained. We were invaded by big black ants, even found them on the inside of the netted bed, which had four sides of netting!!! I was not a happy camper!

Flew back to San Jose, stayed at Orchideas Inn for our last night. Room was large and clean enough. We ate an early dinner at the restaurant which was good. Left too early to get the included breakfast. We had an uneventful flight home as well. All flights were smooth and on time, except our flight left early from Puerto Jimenez to San Jose, so don’t get to the airport late for those internal flights. It took at least 50 minutes to get thru customs in Houston. Loved Costa Rica, it really is like paradise; not sure when we will return, only because there are so many more places to see.
bbdlw is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2009, 05:22 PM
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You stayed at some great places. So glad you had a nice time. Some trips are "buggier" than others! AOL truly is a birder's paradise. Thanks for the trip report!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 05:05 AM
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How was the rappelling at El Remanso? Been thinking about trying that for a while.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 02:28 PM
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DH really enjoyed the water rappelling. He said it was lots of fun and the guides were great.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 03:45 PM
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Whenever we stay somewhere with a musty smell, we crank up the ac. It wicks all the moisture out of the air; it's the dampness that makes the smell. It's always taken care of the problem for us. I carry a small bottle of Febreeze too.
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Old Feb 4th, 2009, 08:47 PM
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Sounds like a pretty near perfect trip! Thanks for sharing!
hipvirgochick is offline  
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