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dhross98 Feb 4th, 2004 02:35 AM

Which area do you recommend in April
I know I want to go to the Tabacon Resort and Hot Springs, but if you had to decide another area in Costa Rica-- What's the best?

I'm trying to decide between Tamarindo or Guanacaste? If you've been, what are the nice hotels/resorts?

costaricafinca Feb 4th, 2004 04:13 AM

Dear dhross98 ,
Guanacaste is the name of the province where Tamarindo is. Perhaps you mean you are trying to choose between Tamarindo and some other beach in Guanacaste. In any case, if I have to choose, I would say Manuel Antonio, which is also on the Pacific side, but more to the south (not in Guanacaste). Manuel Antonio has beautiful forest backed beaches, and the national park has prolific wildlife!
Feel free to write directly to my email for any more information.
Pura Vida,
Neta Talmor

Lisa1271 Feb 4th, 2004 04:17 AM

Not sure of your budget or preferences but if you can swing it I would strongly recommend Paradisus Playa Conchal in Guancaste. Wonderful AI resort, best we have experienced so far. Check my report here for more details.
Lisa S

dhross98 Feb 4th, 2004 10:35 AM

We've spoken to 3 travel agents and they all recommended Paradiscus Playa Conchal. I'm just worried it's too tourist-y. Is that true? If so, is there another resort or hotel that's a bit more remote in the same area?

shillmac Feb 4th, 2004 03:45 PM

You're talking about a part of Costa Rica that is definitely "tourist infested"! All the AI resorts are
"touristy"--mostly Americans and Canadians and Europeans--the Costa Ricans can't affort them! Especially the Paradisus. It is fantastic--if you like a little luxury. But it isn't Costa Rica. If you want to get away from so much tourism, you will need to head to some more remote (and hard to get to) areas. That is the catch. We love Tamarindo. . .we like Paradisus and some of the other hotels in the area. We even enjoy staying at Hotel Brasilito about 5 minutes from the Paradisus for $30 bucks a night --just STEPS from the beach with a hammock on the porch (as opposed to $250 per person per day! at Paradisus). These little places are where you get into the culture more. That is why we prefer to hunt those little places up. . .the food is decent, the place is clean. Most of the workers at Paradisus live in this area, so it's more Costa Rican and less touristy. We like a little of both. . .a couple of days of luxury just because. . .but mostly away from all that-- mixing with the locals. That is what we really enjoy. One of the reasons we stay at Paradisus occasionally is because on earlier trips, we met Costa Ricans, made friends, and some of them are now working at Paradisus with the entertainment team. So it is fun for us to go there and be able to watch the evening shows and visit old friends. Otherwise, it wouldn't hold that much attraction for us. In March, we are going down to Malpais and St. Teresa just because we are hoping to explore a more remote area of the country. That's the whole idea as far as I'm concerned!

Didn't mean to "preach", but Costa Rica is what it is now. You have to work at experiencing the culture in some of these areas! At any rate, you'll have a wonderful time! Enjoy! The people are delightful.

chinahart Feb 4th, 2004 04:19 PM

Shillmac, could you recommend a good driver guide?. We want to go to Arenal during June and then make our way back down to MA hopefully stopping someplace less touristy and more tico on the way back down. We have 10 days. Thanks for any help and guidance you can give!

dhross98 Feb 4th, 2004 09:48 PM

Thanks for the advice. I think I've decided the trip and I think I feel comfortable booking it on my own compared to going with an agent. My only problem now is booking transporation to each place. I think I'd rather drive since I'm not the best flyer... So, any recommendations on how I should go about booking a driver or if you think I should rent a 4X4? This is the intinerary:

1. San Jose to 2 Nights at Tabacon
2. Tabacon to Paradiscus Playa Conchal for 5 nights OR 5 nights at Makanda by the Sea
3. Tamarindo or M.A. back to San Jose.

shillmac Feb 5th, 2004 04:58 PM

Have fun!

Chinahart: Can't help you with that. We always drive ourselves. Have never had problem with that. Perhaps someone else can assist here!

Lisa490 Feb 7th, 2004 12:05 PM

You may want to reconsider about not haveing your agent book your trip for you. I always have my agent do the booking when I travel outside the country. Even if I have done all the research and just hand her the details I feel better knowing that if something goes wrong (missed flight, hotel "lost" my reservation) I have someone I can contact and say "fix it" and it will be taken care of instead of me trying to correct things with no phone and internet for assistance. Just a suggestion.
Lisa s

Percy Feb 7th, 2004 03:53 PM


I hired a private tour guide whenI was in Costa Rica in early November.
I am sure he can take you to Tabacon Hot Springs/Arenal area and then ont to maybe Monteverde and then onto Manuel Antonio.
He would stay over night at whatever place you choose to be at .
But if you were going to stay at Arenal for say 3 days , then he would take you there and then go back home to San Jose and then come backin 3 days to take you elsewhere.
If you are interested I can give you his e mail and phone number

Are you the one that stayed at Playa Conchal Resort last May 2003.!!

mjb Feb 13th, 2004 12:07 PM

If you decide to go to the Paradisus Playa Conchal Resort you will have no regrets. This resort is fantastic. We were there last week and it is the nicest resort we've been to so far. The pool is the nicest I've ever seen, the beach is great and there is an endless list of activities(snorkeling, sailing,horseback, riding, etc and its all included) You can also go out and see the surrounding area such as Tamarindo, Flamingo and Brasilito. I also recommend the Tabacon hot springs for a day.
Have fun.

TVL Feb 14th, 2004 04:16 AM

I don't know if you considered interbus to take you to these places. It is around $25/per person. It picks you up and drops you off at your hotel (check my post Costa Rica #1). The lack of road signs and potholes (definitely get a 4x4) would have been difficult for me to navigate. You are going to have a great time!! If you would like information about the hotel that I collected as a guest at Tabacon check out my post (Costa Rica #2). Hope this helps!

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