Trip Report

May 24th, 2004, 11:02 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 13
Trip Report

I'd like to first thank all of the people on this board who have posted and from whom I gleaned so much useful information.
I just returned from a wonderful and exciting 8 day trip to Costa Rica. I'm going to try to hit the highlights so as to help others who might be thinking of going.
Flew to ATL to SJO...no problems. Rented a car from Thrifty (a little Toyota Yaris sedan). I was initially concerned about not having a 4x4 but the little car worked fine. First night stayed at Hotel Grano de Oro on Calle 30. Excellent hotel! I can't say enought about this cute little hotel in the city. It's immaculately clean. The staff are extremely friendly, and the restaurant has amazing food. If ever I return to CR, I will definitely stay there again. Day 2: Drove north through Heredia toward Poas Volcano. We decided to visit the La Paz waterfalls instead of the Volcano (based on our timetable). The waterfalls were amazing. They also have a very cool collection of butterflies and hummingbirds. If you get a chance, visit this place. Then we drove to La Fortuna. We stayed at Arenal Paraiso (in a standard bungalo). The bungalos are nice, but there were lots of insects (I guess that's what we get for visiting the rainforest). Day 3: Canopy tour at Arenal Paraiso was very cool (several platforms) - never felt unsafe at all. Ate in Fortuna at a little pizza place called Vagabondos (excellent pizza). Visited the hot springs at Tabacon. It is definitely pricey ($29) but it's beautiful and that's what you go on vacation for, right? Day 4: While in Fortuna, we also decided to do an inflatable kyacking trip through Desafio Adventure Company (ask for Suresh - he's a blast). The trip was awesome. It's definitely a work-out, so you need to be in decent physical shape, but I'd highly recommend it to anyone who loves outdoor adventure. We also discovered that we had a flat tire, but it was easily fixed at the local gasolinera for 1,000 colones - about $2.50). The volcano was shrouded in clouds for the first two days, but the final night it rained quite heavily and we saw the amazing lava flowing display from our porch. Day 5: An interesting drive from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio via San Ramon. There were quite a few potholes along the road, but we made it (be sure to take a right at the church in La Tigra - there's no sign). The road to Quepos had some very bad patches and dangerous bridges, but we took it slow and steady. We stayed at Villa Roca in Manuel Antonio. It's a very clean and simple hotel catering to mainly gay and lesbian travellers. The infinity pool at the hotel is amazing. Day 6: Lounged at the pool. Ate at Barba Roja's (great nachos). Great day. Day 7: Went to Manuel Antonio National Park...beautiful beaches and amazing wildlife. Ate an amazing meal at Karolas (get the lobster - it's to die for). Day 8: Travelled back to San Jose. Stayed again at Hotel Grano De Oro. Ate at Machu Pichu - great Peruvian restaurant just off of Paseo Colon. Day 9: Turned in the car and flew back to the states.
Awesome trip. While in Manuel Antonio, we did encounter a couple who had their bags stolen from their car right in the middle of the day so be smart and always lock your car doors. Don't leave anything of value in full view of passers by.
Thanks again. Hope my trip report helps someone else.
likembrave is offline  
May 24th, 2004, 11:10 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,204
What a wonderful report! Thanks, and welcome home! Actually, locked car doors have very little to do with theft in Costa Rica. Never, ever leave anything in view. . .we've even been told that out of sight in the trunk is not secure. Just a few precautions can make a world of difference!
shillmac is offline  
May 24th, 2004, 11:32 AM
  #3  
koa
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
The best advice is dont leave anything in the rental car, not even the trunk. I work in law enforcement in a tourist orientated area and I see people constantly having all their valuables stolen. Never assume ceratin areas are safer and the middle of the day is actually prime time for thieves. It only takes a few seconds to get ripped off!
koa is offline  
May 24th, 2004, 12:52 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,574
Thanks for the trip report. We are going to CR in August for the first time so I love reading other traveler's trip reports. We are going to many of the same places, Arenal, La Paz & MA, as well as Poas and Alajuela, but traveling in the opposite direction of you (going to MA first), then Arenal, etc. Thanks for reminding us about the thieves. My plan is to make most of our stops after we have checked into our hotels so we won't have luggage in the car.
Kwoo is offline  
May 24th, 2004, 04:16 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,574
I just thought of a question...How long did it take you to get through customs, get your luggage & pick up your rental car at SJO?
Kwoo is offline  
May 24th, 2004, 04:48 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6
We will be in CR in June and we are debating to return a car or not. We are flying into Liberia and staying in Flamingo. Most of the info I have gotten about renting a car is the Toyota Yaris but like you I am concerned about needing more of a 4x4 like the guide books say. So you would recommend the Yaris?
MamaF is offline  
May 24th, 2004, 05:50 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 144
Thanks for the great report, Likembrave. Sounds like you had a great trip! Can you describe Arenal Paraiso's canopy tour in a bit more detail? We're trying to decide which canopy tour to do. We'll be staying at Arenal Paraiso, so theirs is certainly convenient, but I'm wondering whether it's a lot smaller than others. Did you feel as though it was long enough?
JoBurritt is offline  

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