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Forums » Costa Rica » Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed

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mschwik

Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed

by mschwik »

Hi Everyone,

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

 

 

 

 

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billiv

RE: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed

by billiv »

Monteverde is fabulous. Loved it.  We didn't have any problem with large crowds of people, but maybe it depends on what time of year you visit.  We also enjoyed the Arenal Volcano area very much.

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Catalina_Cuervo

RE: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed

by Catalina_Cuervo »

Hi Mary,

You have a lot of time in your vacatin and could cover a lot of ground. In my experience planning vacations I would recommend having a combination of transfers and also renting a car during part of the trip. You can start out with shared shuttles and after you have seen road conditions you can take the plunge and start to navigate some yourself with a rental car.

In general Drake Bay and the entire Osa Peninsula can be expensive due to the remote location. Most lodges include all meals and some activities in the price so although it looks expensive when you factor in all that comes with it the costs are justified. Getting into the area and back does add to the cost. Drake Bay is a little easier to access. You can take a small internal flight or you can take a boat from Sierpe into Drake Bay. Depending on your overall budget you could have time in the area. There is no other area that I think comes close to the level of wildlife and untouched areas that you can get in Corcovado. Please note that if you do add in Drake Bay you should do this towards the end of your time here to have better weather. The further into the trip you do it the better the weather will be in Corcovado.

San Jose I think you can skip. Although there are a few city tours worth doing the real beauty of our country is outside the city. 

Our Caribbean is nice, beautiful beaches. You will be visiting outside the turtle nesting season so you may or may not want to include Tortuguero. The area is still worth visiting either way. The Caribbean does lack infrastructure in some ways but it can be a fun addition to the trip.

I like Montezuma but I prefer areas such as Samara further up the coast. Monteverde is popular, some alternatives include San Gerardo de Dota or the Los Angeles cloud forest areas. There is cloud forest near Poas Volcano as well, you can find some nice alternatives.

Although we plan a lot of trips we call "Volunteer Adventures" which is a vacation that spends a part of the time doing volunteer work, we do not normally use homestay options. I wish I could be more helpful with that. I do know that there are some avaialbile though so you should check around and see.

Take a moment to see my photo gallery here on Frommers. These are client photos that have been sent in and it is a good representation of some of the things you may see on your own adventure. I hope this was helpful in some way, please if you have more quesitons ask away. Have a beautiful adventure to my country, I am sure you will love every mionute of it :)

Best Wishes,

Catalina Cuervo B.

 

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chet596

RE: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed

by chet596 »

I would like to express my deep gratitude to Costa Rica Driver and Adventure (www.drivercostarica.com) , and Leo Rodriguez and his team for a fist class service and experience throughout our journey. We were a family of 12 (three generations!) and Leo and his team tended to our every need, sensitivity and request with such attention and devotion.  Truly this made our trip stress free and such a pleasant and easy trip throughout.  We found their details by surfing the internet for driving companies and naturlly were aprehensive in booking them with no previous contact or personal recommendation.  

My concerns and anxiety were displaced from the moment our journey started.  We as a family are truly touched by their service and would not hesitate to recommend their services to any travelling party or family looking to explore Costa Rica.  Feel free to get in touch with me personally if you would like a personal recommendation.
Chet (London, UK)  chet@indigozen.co.uk

Leo, best of luck with your business and I wish it grows from strength to strength as you truly have built it on hard work, ethics and a passion to ensure your customers experience a wonderful journey with you.

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brianjohnson

RE: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed

by brianjohnson »

What an awesome trip you are planning! I absolutely love Costa Rica and that's awesome that you are interested in both nature and food. At LocalAventura, we actually offer what I think would be a perfect tour for you, as it provides you with your two big interests: hiking/nature and food! We have a phenomenal day trip which is a chocolate tour hike through the rainforest. The hike shows you the different cacao trees in Costa Rica and you will harvest some of the seeds and learn how to make chocolate! After, you can try a large variety of different native chocolate foods! It's a fantastic tour with a local from the area. Use the code LocalAventura15% to get a discount on your first day tour. Here's the link to the tour: https://goo.gl/6SPBjF

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mschwik

RE: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed

by mschwik »

In Response to Re: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed:[QUOTE]

What an awesome trip you are planning! I absolutely love Costa Rica and that's awesome that you are interested in both nature and food. At LocalAventura, we actually offer what I think would be a perfect tour for you, as it provides you with your two big interests: hiking/nature and food! We have a phenomenal day trip which is a chocolate tour hike through the rainforest. The hike shows you the different cacao trees in Costa Rica and you will harvest some of the seeds and learn how to make chocolate! After, you can try a large variety of different native chocolate foods! It's a fantastic tour with a local from the area. Use the code LocalAventura15% to get a discount on your first day tour. Here's the link to the tour: https://goo.gl/6SPBjF


Posted by brianjohnson[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the great information.  This chocolate tour looks great.  Do you have tours in other parts of Costa Rica? 

Avatar
brianjohnson

RE: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed

by brianjohnson »

 

In Response to Re: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed:[QUOTE]

In Response to Re: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed:[QUOTE]

What an awesome trip you are planning! I absolutely love Costa Rica and that's awesome that you are interested in both nature and food. At LocalAventura, we actually offer what I think would be a perfect tour for you, as it provides you with your two big interests: hiking/nature and food! We have a phenomenal day trip which is a chocolate tour hike through the rainforest. The hike shows you the different cacao trees in Costa Rica and you will harvest some of the seeds and learn how to make chocolate! After, you can try a large variety of different native chocolate foods! It's a fantastic tour with a local from the area. Use the code LocalAventura15% to get a discount on your first day tour. Here's the link to the tour: https://goo.gl/6SPBjF


Posted by brianjohnson[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the great information.  This chocolate tour looks great.  Do you have tours in other parts of Costa Rica? 


Posted by mschwik[/QUOTE]

Hi mschwik, Yes, we have currently have three tours in Costa Rica, the chocolate tour, a surfing tour, and a nighttime rainforest hike (my personal favorite!) and they are all personally vetted by us and locally-guided. If you're interested in having thirty minutes of free travel advice, we would love to chat with you and you can find our information on our home page: https://goo.gl/jcoS4R

And here is the link to the other Costa Rica tours: https://goo.gl/d6x3yS

We'd love to chat with you about your upcoming trip! Check out the other tours and contact us for free travel advice :) thanks! Safe travels!

 
Avatar
mschwik

RE: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed

by mschwik »

In Response to Re: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed:[QUOTE]

 

In Response to Re: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed:[QUOTE]

In Response to Re: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed:[QUOTE]

What an awesome trip you are planning! I absolutely love Costa Rica and that's awesome that you are interested in both nature and food. At LocalAventura, we actually offer what I think would be a perfect tour for you, as it provides you with your two big interests: hiking/nature and food! We have a phenomenal day trip which is a chocolate tour hike through the rainforest. The hike shows you the different cacao trees in Costa Rica and you will harvest some of the seeds and learn how to make chocolate! After, you can try a large variety of different native chocolate foods! It's a fantastic tour with a local from the area. Use the code LocalAventura15% to get a discount on your first day tour. Here's the link to the tour: https://goo.gl/6SPBjF


Posted by brianjohnson[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the great information.  This chocolate tour looks great.  Do you have tours in other parts of Costa Rica? 


Posted by mschwik[/QUOTE]

Hi mschwik, Yes, we have currently have three tours in Costa Rica, the chocolate tour, a surfing tour, and a nighttime rainforest hike (my personal favorite!) and they are all personally vetted by us and locally-guided. If you're interested in having thirty minutes of free travel advice, we would love to chat with you and you can find our information on our home page: https://goo.gl/jcoS4R

And here is the link to the other Costa Rica tours: https://goo.gl/d6x3yS

We'd love to chat with you about your upcoming trip! Check out the other tours and contact us for free travel advice :) thanks! Safe travels!

 

Posted by brianjohnson[/QUOTE]

Hi Brian,  I would love to take your tour!  We are staying at the Arenal Country Inn.  Where is the La Fortuna Bull Ring where your tour begins?  Can I take a local bus and if so how far is it?  Thanks,  Mary

Avatar
brianjohnson

RE: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed

by brianjohnson »

Hi Mary, 

Awesome! The best way to figure out all the logistics is to give us a call, and you can find our contact information on our page here: https://goo.gl/daUKPh and we will offer you travel advice on the best way to take one (or more!) of our tours and how to get there. We can even give you other tips and hints about other places in Costa Rica, so that you get the best experience possible. We hope to hear from you soon! Thanks, Brian

 

In Response to Re: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed:[QUOTE]

In Response to Re: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed:[QUOTE]

 

In Response to Re: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed:[QUOTE]

In Response to Re: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed:...

Thanks for the great information.  This chocolate tour looks great.  Do you have tours in other parts of Costa Rica? 


Posted by mschwik[/QUOTE]

Hi mschwik, Yes, we have currently have three tours in Costa Rica, the chocolate tour, a surfing tour, and a nighttime rainforest hike (my personal favorite!) and they are all personally vetted by us and locally-guided. If you're interested in having thirty minutes of free travel advice, we would love to chat with you and you can find our information on our home page: https://goo.gl/jcoS4R

And here is the link to the other Costa Rica tours: https://goo.gl/d6x3yS

We'd love to chat with you about your upcoming trip! Check out the other tours and contact us for free travel advice :) thanks! Safe travels!

 

Posted by brianjohnson[/QUOTE]

Hi Brian,  I would love to take your tour!  We are staying at the Arenal Country Inn.  Where is the La Fortuna Bull Ring where your tour begins?  Can I take a local bus and if so how far is it?  Thanks,  Mary


Posted by mschwik[/QUOTE]

 

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Alan00000

RE: Starting to plan itinerary and feeling overwhelmed

by Alan00000 »

Get a free map free this website. It Will help a lot http://costa-rica-guide.com/maps/free-waterproof-map/
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