Trip Report from CR - June 18 - 25

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Jun 28th, 2005, 06:41 AM
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Trip Report from CR - June 18 - 25

My husband and I just returned from a fabulous week in Playa Grande and I thought I would pass on what we did and saw and the things we learned and would do differently. We flew into Liberia and had arranged to be picked up by Tamarindo Shuttle. We had been quoted several times at $15/per person and that we would have a bi-lingual guide, neither of this was true. Our guide didn't know any English and unfotunately our Spanish is extremely limited so it was a very long ride to Playa Grande. Then when we got to the hotel the driver explained to someone at the hotel that we owed him more money that it was actually $20/per person. Not that it was a lot more money but it still annoyed us. We let it pass and checked into Las Tortugas and were driven up to the apartments. We had a little apartment that included a hammock and it looked perfect. The rooms are in need of some repairs but we still enjoyed our stay (even though the mattress was only two egg crates stacked together). We told ourselves we weren't there for luxury and actually ended up enjoying our room. We immediately changed into our bathing suits and enjoyed our day at the beach and a nice dinner at the hotel. All the employees at Las Tortugas were so nice and accomodating.

On Sunday we spent the morning on the beach and then walked to get a water taxi into Tamarindo and spent the afternoon there. We ate at Copocabana's for lunch and enjoyed our meals and then spent the rest of the day wandering and watched an amazing sunset on the beach. We had pizza at Portofino's before catching are pre-arranged taxi ride back to Playa Grande. Our drive was wonderful and spent the ride teaching us Spanish while we tried to teach him some English.

On Monday it was extremely hot so we spent the day at the pool just relaxing and then had a fabulous dinner at the Rip Jack Inn and ended up staying at having a few Imperials at the bar...they have awesome bar tenders and you can't beat the cheap beets.

On Tuesday we were off to Rincon with J&C tours for the Buena Vista Mega combo tour. Eytell was our driver and he was amazing, ask for him if you use J&C. He was actually early picking us up but didn't rush us at all he sat down and enjoyed a cup of coffee while we finished breakfast at the hotel. Then we headed out. This was the only day we have rain but it didn't ruin the day at all. First we took a 45 minute horseback ride down to the natural hot springs...what an experience. You start out in a steam room for 5 minutes and then cover yourself head to tow in mud and let it dry for about twenty minutes. By this time it was pouring so we just sat with the mud on enjoying the monkeys yelling and the birds chirping. When that dries you take a very cold shower and then hop int he various hot psrings. It rained the whole time we were doing this but honestly I think it made the epxerience even that much more fun. From there you take a tractor to a water slide which is so much longer than I thought, I was actually terrified going down but it was fun to slide down through the forest. From there we walked to the Buena Vista lodge were we enjoyed some typical Costa Rican food and got stuck there for a while in the dark as a terrible thunderstorm rolled in. When that past we moved onto the canopy tour...how amazing and what a rush!! It was actually just my husband and and and our two guides so we really were able to take our time and enjoy everything. We were back to the hotel by around 7 and just crashed.

Wednesday and Thursday were spent lounging on the beach so my husband could enjoy the good waves as he's a huge body boarder/surfer. We enjoyed on night at the Rip Jack Inn and another one at the Playa Grande Inn...both have wonderful owners and bar tenders. John Logan at Playa Grande in is such a great host!

Then on Friday we spent the morning in Tamarindo again and then took a fabulous sunset tour with Mandingo Sailing. I highly recommend this tour. Andree the owner and boat captain is a fascinating man who has been all over the world and has so much to share. It was a great way to end the trip. Had another dinner at Playa Grande Inn and then crashed once again from exhaustion.

On Saturday we took a final walk down the Playa Grande beach with the Las Tortugas dog, Avellanas and then headed to the Liberia airport.

We had such a wonderful trip, the weather was perfect, the syrfing was good and the people are amazing!! The only things we would do differnt is rent a car and probably spend some nights in different parts of the country. Other than that we couldn't have asked for a better trip.

I am more than happy to answer any questions.

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Jun 28th, 2005, 06:55 AM
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I just realized I made a million typos and misspellings in my post...sorry about that, guess I should have proofed it before posting.
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Jun 28th, 2005, 11:30 AM
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Great report! I have reservations at Las Tortugas for Feb. & was hoping to find some feedback on that hotel & tours in that area. Did you send a deposit to the hotel prior to your arrival? Were the rooms clean? Any additional info would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Jun 28th, 2005, 12:14 PM
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Petite - Are you staying at the actualy hotel at Las Tortugas or at their apartments? We stayed at the apartments so I really don't know much about the actual hotel rooms. I actually paid for our room in full before we even got to the hotel and had no problems whatsoever. As far as the apartment itself, there were definitely repairs that needed to be made but nothing that ruined our stay there. The only real bad thing is that our mattress consisted of two egg crates...no actual mattress, not very comfortable. We were so tired at the end of the day though so we kind of just got used to it. The staff at the hotel was very nice and the food at the restaurant was suprisingly good. However we did prefer the food at the Rip Jack (pricier) and Playa Grande Inn (very inexpensive). Both of these hotels are only about a two minute walk. Will you have a car? It's not very easy to get to Tamarindo from Playa Grande. They will call a cab for you from the hotel but it's about a 45 minute drive and costs $25/each way.

Brittany at the hotel booked our sailing trip and we absolutely would recommend it. Our tour to Rincon we booked on our own before we went. I just emailed J&C tours directly and arranged the tour, payment wasn't due until we arrived and they wanted US$.

Oh, that's another thing, everywhere took US$ that we went to. We didn't have a cent in colones so don't worry about that. There are no ATM's however in Playa Grande so make sure you have plenty of cash, most of the tour groups won't take travelers checks either. As soon as you get to Las Tortugas give them all of your money, passports and other valuables to put in their office safe, there are no in room safes and you will want your stuff locked up (I've heard this is true in all of Costa Rica). You can get your stuff from them at any time between 7:30 am - 9:00 pm...this was never an issue and we felt so much better knowing it was locked up.

If you want any more info on tours or the hotel or have more specific questions just ask. We were clueless going there!!
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Jun 28th, 2005, 02:04 PM
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Thanks so much for all of the great info! We're flying into San Jose & we'll be renting a car. We spent 10 days in CR last Feb & drove from SJO to Arenal, Monteverde & Manuel Antonio. We just fell in love with the country & people. We can't wait to go back. We will be staying at the actual hotel not the apartments & I did send a deposit. I'm glad to hear that you didn't have any problems with that, I was a little nervous about sending it. All of the tours you did sound like things we'd like also, it's good to get good recommendations. Thanks again!
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Jun 28th, 2005, 03:59 PM
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august

Glad to hear you enjoyed the waterslide.

Isn't it something when you finally hit that pool at the bottom.

I also did the canopy tour there,and yes it was quite an adrenalin rush , but you know what!! it prepared me for the bigger one in Monteverde a few days later.

Did you get pictures of yourself covered with mud..?

Most people do not because they leave their camera in the locker and their hands are "muddy " anyway...
but it is a good tip to tell others who will be doing this tour to bring your camera right to the mud baths,
as there is...
always someone there with "clean" hands to take your picture.

I can identify with everything you did and I am happy that you had a good time.

If that thunderstorm had not rolled in you might have taken a nature walk over some suspension bridges to the Buena Vista Falls...oh well there is always next time..and if you are like me there will be a next time.

Good Report I enjoyed reading it


Percy
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Jun 29th, 2005, 04:57 AM
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Percy - We had the best tour guide and he offered to take pictures of us covered in mud and in the hot springs. People have gotten quite a laugh seeing us covered head to toe in mud. I was surprised how hot the mud was but it felt fabulous...just a shock when you first put your hands in it.

Without a doubt we will be back to CR. We have already started talking about where to go and what we want to see. It was an amazing country!
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