I will be going to Costa Rica for a 10-day trip at the end of August. I will spend most of my time in Monteverde, La Fortuna, and Manuel Antonio. Does anyone know of any good, cheap hostels in these places? Is it necessary to book ahead usually?
Also, my plane will touch down in CR at 12:30 pm, and the bus for Monteverde leaves San Jose at 2:30 pm. Do I stand a reasonable chance of catching it, or will I be stuck in the city for the night? Is it necessary to buy bus tickets ahead of time?
And, finally... Any advice on what I should pack for the trip? I want to travel as light as possible, but how much clothes, shoes, etc will be sufficient? I'm worried I'll omit something glaringly obvious.
Any advice will be greately appreciated. Thanks!
Your best bet is to buy Lonely Planet Central America on a Shoestring and it will give you all the info you need or want for YOUR trip.
Why rush when you can have a relaxing day and night in San Jose and if you are only going for 10 days just take a shoulder bag with 2cargo,2shirts, a pair of flipflops and carry it on the plane so you dont have to wait for luggage.
Have a great trip and many more.
al de bes Mon
We had the same question, but things worked out well for us. Our flight landed around 12:30, but the immigration and customs at CR was reasonably fast and we were out of the airport around 1PM. When we went, we did not take the public bus (which would have cost us very little, but there was the hassel of locating the bus, going to the bus station etc.). Instead we made a booking at interbus online (http://www.costaricapass.com/default.asp). They charge $30 per person and eventhough they claim they start at 2PM, they adjust a little to your requirements i think. In our case, we made the booking with Interbus (they are prompt replying to emails) and they asked us to take the taxi to this restaurent called ROSTIPOLLOS (about 5 min from airport) and wait there. Around 2:15-2:30, one mini-bus came to the restaurant area and the driver came in and called for us. There were 6-8 of us in the minibus and the ride was very comfortable. We reached Monteverde area at around 6pm.
I don't know about Manual antonio .. but I can give you a couple of suggestions for Santa Elena and La Fortuna. These are not youth hostels but B&B or cabin kind of places run by families. I am not sure whenis the peak season .. so if it is peak season you could book in advance..
It gets a bit chilly in MV in the evenings. it rains a lot too. So you may want to have a light raincoat for your cloudforest hikes. Besides that i can't think of anything unusual that you'd need out there in CR.
As jackboy said, Lonely planet was an invaluable guide when we were in CR. Make sure you are not buying a 3 yrd old edition though..
We travelled with backpacks .. and I second jackboy on the 'carry light' suggestion. But I am not sure if SJ is worth a day..
Thanks to all for the advice. I will look into the Interbus system for getting to Monteverde, and hopefully it will work out.
Also, I've been using the Moon guide to the CR, and it seems quite informative. Is Lonely Planet that much better? I wonder if it's worth the money to get one now that I've planned out most of what I'd like to do.
concerning transport in Costa Rica you might want to check out this thread http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=13224.
Have fun travelling,
Manuel Antonio was the best destination I went to in Costa Rica. Lots of wildlife, both in the national park and just outside hanging around. I saw both capuchin and squirrel monkeys, and my friend saw a few sloths (including a mother and child). It's a little more expensive to eat and drink than some of the other locations, but still very worth it.
I stayed at the Cabinas Piscis. Highly recommended hotel. $43 / night for a double room with private bath. Very basic, and cold showers, but it's only 100 meters to the beach, and the beach is near deserted. The beach and sea bottom are all sand. The surf is good - not too big that you can't swim, but big enough that you can pull out a surfboard or boogie board for some fun.
From 4:30 - 6:30 go to the Marlin Restaurant for 2 for 1 drink specials. For dinner, head to the Costa Verde restaurant for excellent BBQ (it's pretty pricey though, so save up a few bucks). Eat breakfast on the beach at one of the sodas for a few bucks.