I will be in Costa Rica for the first time from June 12th-July3rd. I was originally planning on attending a Spanish Language school down there, but am now considering just staying in hostels and roaming around the country for 3 weeks.
If anyone easygoing, with a sense of adventure, is interested in a spontaneous-intinerary trip, maybe we could meet up!
p.s. If anyone has been there, and considers my plan to be the worst idea they have ever heard, please let me know.
I was in Costa Rica fairly recently and think going is a great idea!
You didn't really ask for ideas where to visit so I wont go on about any at this point. I was there for a few months though and loved every day of it. I'm sure you will wind up having a great time there.
Actually, I would love to know which places you consider to be must-sees.
The school I had initially signed up for was in San Jose. The more I read about the country, the less I think I want to waste my whole time there.
Also, do you know anything about youth hostels there? Reading about them online, it's hard to get a real idea of the differences between them.
Unfortunately I don't know too much about youth Hostels in CR, there is one in a town called Quepos that I really enjoyed.
As far as things to see. There is the Arenal Volcano a very active volcano in CR. There is a lake at the base of the volcano that is warmed by the lava flowing underneath it. I forget the name, but it is a nice spot to swim.
San Jose was ok, but just ok in my eyes. There is a bus terminal downtown though that has very cheap bus fairs to anywhere in the country. Also in San Jose there Parque Central where people go to spend time, it is a very interesting place to people-watch. Very close to Parque Central is a museum which was nice too.
There is a place called the cloud forest which I think is a must see. It is a jungle where the clouds hang very low and is great for adventure tourism.
In Quepos there was also a good bit of adventure tours headed out from there, but Quepos also has a very nice beach front area and a few local dive bars where a handful of expat Brits and Americans hang out, they are a great source of local info I found while I was there.
I had a great time too in a town called Palmalres, but I made some friends there who showed me around a lot. I don't know how much will be going on there at the time you are visiting.
You could go to the carribean coast too. There is a park over there that has a lot of Sea Turtles that come into shore at various times of the year, as well as a few really good wildlife tours that will take you to see some exotic birds and monkeys and other interesting creatures.
There are tons of great beach towns in Costa Rica, I am not too much of a beach person though, so not very many of them stand out. There was Puntarenas though, but the beach wasn't so great there. It was a fun town to visit though.
I do not know the name of any tour companies down there. I tend to travel independantly usually, and like I said I made friends with a few local folks down there who were well connected and took me around the country. Whatever you wind up doing though, you are sure to have a good time there. One word of caution though, Downtown San Jose can be a little bit seedy at night. If you are out and about in San Jose after dark try to stick to the city center located around Parque Central and a few blocks in any direction from there. Outside of that 10 block sq. area or so you will see a much lighter police presence after dark and a bit of a shady crowd.
Just wrote to KristaG she will be getting in San Jose on the 26 of June, you might look her up on travel companion in travellerspoint. I am in San Jose with my wife, we own a guest house for solo travellers who want to meet travelling companions. I think the way you intent to travel is perfect. We have guests that travel like you all the time there is a lot you can do without any problems.