Trip Review for CR

Dec 1st, 2003, 01:42 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 8
Trip Review for CR

Hi everyone! We are back from wonderful honeymoon in Costa Rica. First thing I will say is I feel like such a retard for every worrying one second about this trip. It was amazing! Far exceeded our expectations never felt unsafe or dissapointed! Thought I would give a recap for anyone planning. Please feel free to email me if you have questions or would like to see some pics when I have them ready.

We flew Taca from SF to El Salvador and then connected to San Jose, Costa Rica. Taca really wasn't bad. We didn't have any real problems or complaints. The flights were easy and the service was fine. No problems with our luggage. Packed light hoping to not have to check our rolling suitcases but since we each also had a backpack we did have to check the suitcases. No problem very easy! The red-eye was brutal in coach but that is expected.

We arrived in San Jose and there was a driver there to pick us up. Immediately loved the lush green look of Costa Rica. Outside of San Jose is just gorgeous. Stayed at Grano De Oro. Can't say enough about this place just gorgeous. Turn of the Century mansion converted to B & B style hotel. On the outskirts of the city. The food was excellent (some of the best on the whole trip!). We walked around San Jose for an hour or so and visted the Teatro National. Really pretty theater worth visiting. San Jose is a very polluted city but I have traveled to worse so it didn't really phase me. My husband on the other hand really didn't care for it!

The next AM we were picked up and taken to get our rental car. I must say be prepared for small changes ie. roll with the punches. They were supposed to actually deliver the car but then a guy showed up at 8AM and said he was there to pick us up and take us to the rental car agency. No big deal just be prepared to go with the flow and don't sweat the small stuff! The rental car agency is truly the only complaint I had through the whole trip. We rented through National and I wouldn't again. There are tons of other rental car places and I would go with Budget or Toyota Rent A Car next time! The people at National barely spoke English and didn't understand the insurance they were selling in Spanish or English! We went over and over and over what we wanted and ended up with not what we wanted had to call back and have it fixed etc. Turns out in the end we didn't have the correct insurance the entire time. Thankfully nothing happened. Make sure you are clear on what you are getting. Other people we met did not have this problem so maybe just this office was the problem! Anyways we got our car and were on our way!

Made the beautiful drive to Arenal. Roads were no where near as bad as we expected. I highly recommend driving to get a chance to see the beautiful country. Stayed at Tabacon which we loved. The Hot Springs were incredible. So much fun and just gorgeous. The only fair/no so great meal we had the whole trip was actually at the Hot SPrings buffet. I didn't care for it especially since it was $18 per person. The rest. however at the hotel itself was better. We ate lunch one day in the town of La Fortuna at a place called La Cascada and it was really good and cheap.

Next we drove to Manuel Antonio drive took us approx. 5 hours and we really enjoyed the scenery. Stopped in Jaco on the way to check it out. Stayed at Si Como No for four nights. This hotel was great and we really enjoyed it. Best for people who enjoy the pool/bar thing don't mind alot of people or kids. Not that it was crowded but once we moved to Makanda By The Sea we saw the difference. We loved Makanda gorgeous room atmosphere so peaceful. Glad we tried both. While in Manuel Antonio we did the guided park hike, Mangrove Boat tour, ATV's to a waterfall and Canopy Safari. They were all excellent and we enjoyed all of them. I would highly recommend walking the park with a guide the first time. We saw bats, sloths, monkeys, iguana's, birds, raccoons and agoutis. We would not have seen half of these without his assistance and telescope! The beaches are so gorgeous! We went back a couple times and swam in the park also rented boogie boards one day and boarded at the public beach.

Costa Rica is amazing and we plan to go back. The people were so friendly and we really felt comfterable there. We were cautious at first about everything and really loosened up over the days. Ate everything drank the water etc...It's not like Mexico at all where you are nervous about getting sick. I have a super sensitive stomach and was fine. We checked out a lot of other hotels to see rooms and get prices for our next trip so let me know if you have any questions!
drport is offline  
Dec 1st, 2003, 04:37 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 533
thanks for your great trip report! i have a few questions for you. did you need a car in manuel antonio? what was the trip like from arenal to jaco? we are thinking of staying at costa verde, hotel california or la colina. did you view any of these? how long was the canopy safari and the estuary tour? we have been trying to decide whether to go to the caribbean or manuel antonio(don't hve time for both) and wondered if the beaches were full of folks or fairly quiet. where was your best food in manuel antonio? si como no sounds a bit too "busy" for us although the amenities sound good. we are travelling with our 19 year old son and wondered if it would be too "kiddish" for him. do you think he would like the atv trip? thanks fo the heads up on the car rental. hoping you have time to answer while you are still smiling about your trip!
cindyjo is offline  
Dec 1st, 2003, 06:47 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,441
Glad to hear you had a good time. The people are great and one of the main reasons we go back every year. They have very infectious smiles. It is our hope to live in a "Tico" area in an out of the way area rather than with the rest of the gringos.
Suzie2 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2003, 02:40 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 2
Thanks for the great info! My boyfriend is planning a trip down there at the beginning of January with two buddies. Are the hotels expensive? He had heard from a friend that all three of them could get a room for $15/night. Is that right?
shopdoody is offline  
Dec 13th, 2003, 05:21 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,441
There are places to stay to fit every budget. I would suggest they budget a couple of dollars for a good guide book that will tell them what hotels/hostels/pensions, etc are available and for how much. Some places are more limited in having less expensive places. I assume they will be taking the bus so they should check out for bus schedules to get out of the city. Once they are in the little towns the buses will be easier to figure out.
Suzie2 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2003, 08:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 2
Thanks Suzie! However, they are renting a car and plan to stay in hotels and just travel around but I am going to pass along your tip about a good, local guidebook. I know he has the Fodor's book
shopdoody is offline  
Dec 16th, 2003, 09:13 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1
Thanks for information.
We are planning to stay at Si Como No.Did you eat there or go into Quepos?how was food /prices?
Did you set up your excursions to M.Antonio at hotel or where?best deal?
alagold is offline  
Dec 16th, 2003, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,194
Shopdoody, yikes! $15 a night? I find it doubtful that they can find that price in this high season, and it they did, they would probably not want to stay there. As Suzie2 says, get a good, recent guide book and see what it says, but I would think $30+ would be a safer estimate.
Ally is offline  
Dec 16th, 2003, 01:25 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,441
Shopdoody, at pensions like Pension Santa Elena and similar hostel type places you can get rooms for about $5pp per night but they are very limited. If you are going to stay in hotels like you say, forget it.
Suzie2 is offline  
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