Best Accommodation in Costa Rica / surrounding area

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Best Accommodation in Costa Rica / surrounding area

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Costa Rica
1. Posted by RobmanB (Budding Member 12 posts) 11w Star this if you like it!

Hey there! I'm pretty new to the whole solo-travel scene, and am setting off mid-January to (most-likely) Costa Rica, and plan to travel around the world for at least a year. I've been to Mexico a handful of times but that's the extent of my international travel, so far. As of now I hope to explore Central/South America for about 6 months before continuing on. I chose this region to start off in for a few reasons: 1) I hope to learn a lot of Spanish. 2) I want to learn to surf. 3) I love the outdoors and all the wilderness adventures that are offered in this area.

But, having never traveled here, I'm unsure of what the best option is for accommodation. I like the idea of hostels, but also like the idea of having somewhere a bit more permanent such as a short-term apartment. I have seen others post about an apartment in Sámara, Costa Rica for $500/mo and that would be perfect, but I do not know how to go about finding a place to rent, especially because based on what I'm reading, rentals are hard to find in January. Do you have any recommendations for finding a place that might still be available?

Regarding Hostels, do you have any that you recommend? I would love to be right on the beach, in a prime surf-area, if possible. Also, is it essential that I book in advance, since it will be busy season when I arrive, or will it be ok to find a place day of?

Or, is there a better place in Central America that I'm overlooking, that might be less busy this time of year? I've considered El Salvador because I've read the surfing there is amazing as well, but as of now I have no solid reason to choose one place over another.

Any help/recommendation would be very appreciated!

2. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 413 posts) 11w Star this if you like it!

For a short term apartment, you may have luck in expat areas - Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama feature these. Expat or "snowbirder" areas are bound to have facebook groups.

I know of loads of these groups here in Mexico and use them - they have all sorts of listings regarding apartments and rooms to rent, by the week, month and/or last minute. - I suspect you may find similar facebook groups in the other countries I mentioned above.

Also, airbnb can be a good place to look - often listed places offer long-term discounts for entire apartments or rooms.

Easter can be a tough time to be anywhere in Central America without a solid plan as it seems entire countries are on the move aboard buses. Accommodation can also be difficult to find at that time. In this case it may be a good idea to hole-up somewhere low key and wait for the dust to settle unless you already have transport and a place to stay sorted out for that time of year. Mid January??? Well, at least the crush of Christmas and New Year has passed...

If you're looking to get surf lessons and board rental cheap, I'll suggest some places in Nicaragua over Costa Rica or El Salvador, if you'd like. Many places in this region offering surf lessons and rentals on the Pacific Coast have basic rooms to rent out. Sometimes a room, along with the rental and lessons, can be a good deal depending on where you are.

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Dec-2019, 01:44 GMT by road to roam ]

3. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1456 posts) 11w Star this if you like it!

Costa Rica is apt to be a bit more expensive and have more English speakers because tourism is a large part of their infrastructure. So I agree that Nicaragua would be cheaper. I'm trying to remember other places where I have seen surfers - Lima, Barbados and the Virgin Islands come to mind. Of course on Barbados they speak English. There is a big surfing competition there in the fall

4. Posted by RobmanB (Budding Member 12 posts) 11w Star this if you like it!

Quoting road to roam

For a short term apartment, you may have luck in expat areas - Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama feature these. Expat or "snowbirder" areas are bound to have facebook groups.

How did you go about finding such groups on Facebook? Also, and this may sound dumb, but can you speak to the current status of Nicaragua? I’m unfamiliar with the area, but based solely on the US travel advisory the country is listed as “Reconsider Travel”. But if that seems like a better/less crowded/cheaper option, and equally as safe I would definitely consider there. Especially if that area is more suited to a beginning surfer.

Quoting road to roam

Easter can be a tough time to be anywhere in Central America without a solid plan as it seems entire countries are on the move aboard buses.

In your opinion should I try to be out of that region during Easter? Or would it just be best to have accommodation figured out before hand and try to avoid traveling via bus?

5. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 413 posts) 11w Star this if you like it!

RobmanB

TBH, my gal is the one who has a facebook presence and knows how to search up things on there. We do have a facebook page for our website but my limited knowledge of HOW to find a group is to simply search in the appropriate field within facebook, like you'd search anywhere else for something on the web. Try searching on facebook for "Costa Rica groups" or something similar. Join a group you like the look of. There may be a more efficient way to look for groups, or it may be as simple as I just described it - have a look around.

It's been several years since we've been to Nicaragua when things were quiet, but the situation seemed heated due to political and social reasons not too long back. I've just now read the current warning and why it's given level 3 status. This wouldn't cause me to exclude Nicaragua from travel, but some folks may feel it's wise to avoid.

For Easter, I don't think you need to be out of the region, although I don't know how much time you plan on devoting to the region. Again, keep in mind buses will be full up to a week prior to and several days after that holiday.

Consider being somewhere not too-visited at that time, or try to book your travel and lodging ahead of time. Easter is a big deal and being able to see how it is celebrated in many cities, towns and villages in the region shouldn't be missed. Just be aware of the power of planning for this time, then having a solid plan b to back it up.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Dec-2019, 12:46 GMT by road to roam ]

6. Posted by RobmanB (Budding Member 12 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Thanks @road to roam! I've located a couple groups on Facebook, per your advice.

Can you recommend possible surf lessons and cheap board rental in Nicaragua or surrounding area?

7. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 413 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

In Nicaragua I can suggest good places to surf, as I mentioned, rather than a bunch of establishments that rent and give lessons. San Juan del Sur is ground-zero for surfing in Nica - more for the amount of surf schools geared toward visitors rather than surf conditions - there are better and cheaper places to surf than SJDS. I DO know of a place near SJDS which used to be cheap, Madera Surf Camp, which looks to have gone eco and swish. They didn't even have a website in 2014 - how things change... Still, give 'em a lookie online as you may find it one of the cheaper options in that area.

Look up Playas Pie de Gigante, Maderas, Paso Caballos, Huehuete, and Las Penitas. Some of these beaches require a bit more thought and planning to get to than the immediate area of SJDS - that may or may not be for you. These beaches will likely still have establishments offering cheap boards and lessons. Again, they may be so basic they don't have websites, but you may find some reviews and photos for these establishments on TripAdvisor or similar sites.

8. Posted by RobmanB (Budding Member 12 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Awesome, Thanks @road to roam. You've been a lot of help!

9. Posted by thegeegs (Budding Member 20 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Well, well well... Not only do I live in Samara, but I work in Real Estate and, if you can find a good place to stay for $500 a month in January, you had better take it fast!

There is usually almost NOTHING here to rent in high Season and if there is, its expensive, so if you havent already booked, DO IT NOW!

If you need any help at all with CR or with Samara in particular, let me know, happy to help you!

10. Posted by thegeegs (Budding Member 20 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Quoting RobmanB

Thanks @road to roam! I've located a couple groups on Facebook, per your advice.

Can you recommend possible surf lessons and cheap board rental in Nicaragua or surrounding area?

if you are coming to Samara, there are several great people who can teach you here and the waves are not that big... If you have some experience, there is a "secret" surf break not too far away....