Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed
My daughter and I are planning our first trip to Costa Rica. We fly into San Jose on November 25 and return from Liberia on December 17. We are both very fit, love to be in the outdoors and hike. We are not into the nightlife, zip lining or snorkeling. Our focus is nature and engaging with people and communities.
I have just started doing research but I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. Here are some of my preliminary questions.
Car Rental: I prefer to use local transport because of both the expense and stress of driving. I would rather enjoy the view from a bus window. However I know that it also gives up a certain amount of freedom and ability to stop and explore on a whim. I have heard that a GPS is mandatory as addreses do not really exist and that the price of gas is very high. So...feedback?
San Jose: We are planning to spend the first day here for a brief look around but i do not know if it is worth it. We land at 4:30 pm so I am not sure if we could still travel anywhere close by at that time of day. If we decide to spend a day in San Jose does anyone know of a good walking tour company preferalby with a food focus on local markets and foods? I have read about Barrio Birds but cannot seem to find much.
Drakes Bay and Carribean coast: I have heard a lot of fabulous things about Drakes Bay and the Oso Peninsula but lodgings seem expensive and access tricky Would I be better to spend time at Tortugara or the Cahuita National Park? Is the weather so rainy on that coast that I should just skip it?
Monteverde Cloud Forest: It seems like this is on everyone's tour itinerary so are there other cloud forests that are less crowded and in the same area that I should visit?
Montezema: This sounds like a really interesting town with some great hikes, beaches, etc. Worth exploring?
Homestays: These sound like a nice alternative for lodgings. Has anyone had any experience wiht these in Costa Rica?
Thanks for your feedback and help. Mary