I am travelling in Costa Rica during Easter week and I have heard this could be a problem. I dont have any hotels booked. I was hoping to be at the Caribean beaches at this time. Will I be able to find anywhere to stay? Any general advice on the difficulties Easter Week causes to travelling and tips on how to spend 3 weeks in Costa Rica would be appreciated.Also any recommendations for hotel/hostel in Alajuela for approx $40 to $60 would help.
I spent some time in Costa Rica over Christmas a couple of years ago. Recommendations would have to include rafting down the Rio Pacure. This river offers serious grade 5 rapids and so much more besides. As well as the expected adrenalin buzz there is the beauty of floating through primary rainforest - and the water's really warm (a real pleasure for anyone who's ever rafted in places like NZ). Also horse riding up to the Monteverde Cloud forest is a fantastic experience (even if you haven't ridden before, although be prepared for some serious backside bruises!)
I visited Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast (a few hours south of Puerto Limon). A really nice place, very chilled out hippy type vibe. Not too built up but with a few bars and laid-back live music. The jungle also comes right down to the water here so lots of opportunities for wildlife spotting.
I've also heard that Costa Rica practically grinds to a halt over Easter. I'd suggest finding somewhere nice and putting your feet up for the week, or alternatively get to somewhere where there's lots to do nearby
I did the same rafting as Mikey B and would highly recommend it as well. Good fun, exciting and also nice and relaxing at times in the middle of some sublime nature.
Stayed at a place in Puerto Viejo (around mid December 2003) and loved it (it was pretty quiet then since there had just been some flooding and the roads weren't fully opened yet). Accommodation was about 5 USD a day for a bed and up so if your quoted budget is per day you should be fine. On the other hand, I am not familiar with Alajuela so if that is a real touristy spot, then it might not be enough that time of the year as I believe Easter and Christmas in the touristy areas are prone to significant price hikes...
Stay away from the real touristy areas and you should be fine though.
I booked a budget room through this website, under the accommodation section. I can only recommend Freddy at the Hotel Mi Tierra. Freddy will cook you up a big breakfast every morning and they are only 5 minutes from the airport in Alajuela and they pay for your cab. it will show you the price on this site when you look it up. good luck and Pura Vida!!!!
I think Mikey B gave you some good advice. Puerto Viejo is a pretty cool place on the Carribbean side. If you visit there buy the banana bread. Some US expat with glasses was always riding around selling it. It was the best I ever had and cheap too! I never let him go by without grabbing some.
On another note, as stated by others, Easter week (Semana Santa)can be difficult to get around. Buses run on a holiday schedule and things generally grind to a halt. I would go with Mikey B's advice to get where you think you might want to be and kick back for a few days. Things really started to slow down about mid week. I'd say get where you're going by the Wednesday prior to avoid problems.
Enjoy Costa Rica! I spent two months there in 2002 and loved it. My favorite part of the country was the Nicoya Penninsula but each area had its charm. Enjoy your trip. If you have any other questions please feel free to get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org
I almost forgot. If you do end up in Puerto Viejo and need lodging look up Tosoro Charlie. Just ask around in town and someone will direct you. The hotel is called Tosoro's or something like that. The name of the guy that runs the place (or did in '02) is Charlie. He's a cool guy who took good care of my friends and I. We showed up during Semana Santa and couldn't find a place to stay. He made room for us. He's and expat from Boston who used to run a limo business there years ago. His story about how he went from 150 limos to running a hotel in Costa Rica is missing a few key elements but that's part of the fun of meeting people in places like that. Anyway I share that tidbit in case he's still there. You never know when a little info might help you out. Good luck!