I have been dying to go to Costa Rica for almost two years now and I finally have the time and the money! Well, to be exact, I have the money but not all the time I want there which is why I'm writing this thread. I have about a week to 10 days in Costa Rica (I wanted at least a month...) and I want to know what people would suggest that I do? My main plan, tailored to the time I have there, is to stay in one place in Guanacaste so that I can be close to Arenal and Monteverde and the beach as well. I was considering Playa Tamarindo (like my name without the indo ) to stay in and make some day trips. Is that a good enough place to stay or is there somewhere more convenient? Basically, I don't want to be constantly on the move because of my limited time there. Any suggestions?
Get out of San Jose as quickly as possible. There isn't anything worth seeing in San Jose.
2-3 days should be fine for Monte Verde / Arenal.
Never been to Tamarindo. I was in Manuel Antonio and loved it.
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.
The beach right outside the park gets crowded, but head down 500 metres and you practically have the place to yourself.
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. It also has a small restaurant for breakfast / lunch and an honour bar.
There are cheaper places to stay in Quepos.
You may have already gone but I agree...fly in and get out of San Jose. There's so much more in the country to do.
My latest trip had my fiancee and I spending 9 days in Costa Rica last February. We focused on the rainforest and the beach. If you go to Monteverde, stay in Santa Elena. It's actually a town and not a long winding road like Monteverde...read you can walk everywhere. There's a hotel called Don Taco a 10 minute walk from the town centre past the school. If you can get one of the cabins, it runs about $30US but worth it. You have your own cabin with a view of the Nicoya gulf. Make sure you take a canopy tour of the rainforest as well as a night tour. The Santa Elena cloud forest is much less popular and not as busy as Monteverde.
For the beach part, we went to Montezuma on the Nicoya peninsula. There are some amazing little places outside of the main part of town. We stayed in this really nice beach hut that was right on the ocean. Take the day trip to Tortuga, well worth it especially if dolphins start to chase your boat.
Anyway hope you have (or maybe had) a great trip.
I haven't gone just yet. I decided to switch my travel dates, as I have nothing holding me down here (i.e. a job in my field ), so I'll be going in February. Thanks for the info! It is greatly appreciated.
But I have another question... one myself as well as others have asked in the past but maybe I can get answers from different people to better understand what it's all about. Do single woman travellers have problems there? So far, I'm alone on this trip, and I really want to go, so I want to make sure that I'll be ok even if I'm alone. Any advice is extremely appreciated!
Like anywhere else you go, as long as you keep your travel wits about you, but you'll be fine. The country is very safe and very easy to travel. Unlike the rest of Central America, there isn't a military and politics are very low key. In February you'll run into lots of North Americans also travelling so you shouldn't have any problems and lots of fellow travellers to go to should you run into anything. As a matter of fact, one of the people that I've become good friends with was a woman I met on my last trip to Costa Rica. She's 5'4", 105 lbs if anything and she spent 6 months between Nicaragua and Costa Rica without incident. You will of course have the local men being very friendly
One other note, I think that not including plane fare, between my fiancee and I, the 9 days we spent in February cost us about $500 inclusive.
Have a great time and feel free to ask anything else.
Wow! 500$ INCLUSIVE? Damn that is amazing! I can't wait now! I was already excited, and now, with your encouraging words, I just can't wait! If a 105 lbs. girl can do, so can I! Especially since I weigh more and am approximately her height! Just having a little laugh at my expense don't mind me! Now all I need to do is convince my parents that it's ok! Wish me luck!