Trip Report - 7 days in Costa Rica

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Jul 7th, 2004, 10:36 AM
  #1
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Trip Report - 7 days in Costa Rica

I went down from June 25 - July 2.
Here is a summary of my experiences.

This is my second trip to CR. We arrived at the Liberia Intl Airport, which surprisingly consisted of a big metal barn and a runway. Quaint.

We rented a Daihatsu Terios from TriColor. The vehicle was in fairly good condition w/ 47,000 kilometers on the clock. Very cheap (for CR) rental there, but it wasnt as nice as the ones we saw coming from other rental agencies. But if you want new, you pay for new, right?

We headed up to the Rincon De La Vieja volcano. First off, the road was just plain bad, but get used to it. It wont be the last. We stayed at the Rincon . . . Lodge. We got a bungalo there for $85/night for 4 of us. Nice room and property there, but do yourself a favor and stay in Liberia for far less $$ and just drive in/out. It would be much less expensive, and the food at the lodge was . . . well, interesting. No choice, just, here's your food. No-one in our group enjoyed the food there. But we hiked to the big waterfall in the Volcano park there, and it was really beautiful. Just bring water, and dont freak out too bad when you hear the howler monkeys for the first time. Dont worry, they wont eat you.
Next we went to Arenal. Another warning: The rainy season makes landslides common. The road was covered about 1/2 hour from La Fortuna, and the backhoe clearing it out broke down. So we had to go around. We followed the Turismo busses down some cowpath to Venado, and it was a harrowing experience. Ditches to cross, mud pits to pass, and cliffs on either side of you - At night in the rain. Dont get me wrong, Im 25 and adventurous - this road was BAD! Finally we get to La Fortuna and get a hotel for cheap. The Soda's there are very good. For the 2 days we were there, we never could see more than a couple hundred feet of the base of the Volcano. >
Maybe next time I'll go toward the beggining or end of the rainy season.
We did some rafting on the Rio Toro, which was a lot of fun.

Next we tried to go to Monteverde. We were told the road was still closed from the landslide, so we tried to go the other way around the lake with the assurance we could "cross the river". We get to the river, and a local tells us that we can cross it, but there is another landslide a little ways up the road. >
The landslides are getting a little old!
So we go back, and check out Landslide #1. They are just clearing it when we get there, and they let us through.
So on our way, we go through Tiliran, and head up to Monteverde. More rock road. My organs are beginning to settle near my knees.
There in Sta. Elena we stayed at a nice little place called the Sunset Hotel, owned by a very nice German man. The hotel had a beautiful view of the mountains and the Gulf, and the food was excellent! We had a nice relaxing evening chatting with the other guests. I highly recommend this place. The next day we went on the Selvatour Canopy tour. Fun and cheaper than Skytrek (which I did once before), but on this one, there were a lot of people and I felt like cattle on zip lines. They herded us through as quickly as possible. One thumb up, one down. The area up there is really beautiful though, and the climate is perfect!

From there we headed out and down to Tamarindo. The roads are good once you hit Las Juntas all the way to close to Tamarindo, and although the maps may not say it, there is a new bridge over the gulf of Nikoya where the Ferry used to be. Very nice! But watch for cops!

Tamarindo has gotten way to . . . er, touristy for me. Prices are high for most things. Also it seems to be very drug oriented now? We were offered drugs repeatedly, and you'll see tons of paraphanalia. If thats what you're into, then you'll love it, but I like the more "pure" laid back type of beach town. Surfing was nice.
We stayed at Hotel Cocodrilo. A nice but cheaper hotel owned by some French people. Direct access to the beach but watch out for the Crocodiles! (thus the name).
Next time I'll head down lower on the peninsula and see how it is down there.

Headed back to the Airport and reluctantly came home.
DrummerDaveB is offline  
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Jul 7th, 2004, 01:59 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Thanks for the report! I'm sorry to hear of your landslide troubles and that you didn't get to see the Volcano in action. It sounds like you still had fun though!
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Jul 7th, 2004, 02:13 PM
  #3
koa
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I also experienced some of the drug culture in Tamarindo. Early one morning I was on a dawn patrol to surf playa negra. I missed the turn and ended up at the turn around down by the beach. I then was approached by a guy asking if I wanted cocaine. His partner was totally freaked out on drugs. He was swinging on a tree and making weird sounds. Needless to say, I got out of dodge fast! I ended up staying in playa grande which is a lot more laid back than Tamarindo. The beach and the surf there is also better than Tamarindo.
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