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Thread: Costa Rica?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA

    Costa Rica?

    Anyone been to Costa Rica and have suggestions for things to do, places to go? My wife and daughter are going this summer (she's 20, the daughter, not the spouse). They like hiking and nature stuff. Will spend probably 2 days at the beach, but the rest of the time would like to see cool rain forests, hanging bridges, etc. Any recommendations would be great, including cool places to stay.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Playa Del Coco is on the Pacific Coast, not too far south (or east) of the Nicaraguan border - and is a nice beach, with beautiful views, and almost all the locals speak English pretty well (if that's a consideration). Any hotel or hostel in Central America will have all kinds of connections to tours, activities, etc, for the other things you wanna do besides beaching it.
    Don't waste your time on House of Cards S6!
    -We found out Frank was critical to making anyone else in the show interesting...not a surprise...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    We've been twice and stayed in Guanacaste, on the Pacific side on the ocean, at the RIU Palace both times. It's all inclusive and a fair price but there are many resorts to choose from. The second time we took a day trip to Arenal, which is the country's main volcano in the rain forest region, but Costa Rica actually has many volcanoes with hot springs and mud baths. Many people stay in Guanacaste for a few days and then take a bus to Arenal and stay there for a few days, but we preferred to do a day trip. It's like taking two separate vacations because the regions are so completely different.

    Any resort they go to will have excursion companies in the lobby with brochures of the many things to do. It's really a vacation where they can be as active as they want -- there's so much to do! It's a fantastic, beautiful country and the people are well educated, speak excellent English, love tourists, and are generally friendly and welcoming. Some of the things we did were zip lines, horseback riding, whitewater river rafting and tubing, hot springs, mud baths, sightseeing river boat rides, and hiking.

    The only mistake you seem to be making is not joining them!
    Rich
    "Failure is Not a Destination"
    Coach K on the Dan Patrick Show, December 22, 2016

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    We've been twice and stayed in Guanacaste, on the Pacific side on the ocean, at the RIU Palace both times. It's all inclusive and a fair price but there are many resorts to choose from. The second time we took a day trip to Arenal, which is the country's main volcano in the rain forest region, but Costa Rica actually has many volcanoes with hot springs and mud baths. Many people stay in Guanacaste for a few days and then take a bus to Arenal and stay there for a few days, but we preferred to do a day trip. It's like taking two separate vacations because the regions are so completely different.

    Any resort they go to will have excursion companies in the lobby with brochures of the many things to do. It's really a vacation where they can be as active as they want -- there's so much to do! It's a fantastic, beautiful country and the people are well educated, speak excellent English, love tourists, and are generally friendly and welcoming. Some of the things we did were zip lines, horseback riding, whitewater river rafting and tubing, hot springs, mud baths, sightseeing river boat rides, and hiking.

    The only mistake you seem to be making is not joining them!
    Good advice...all of it. We owned a hotel in Nicaragua on the Pacific coast just about 15 klicks from the Costa Rica border, and heard great things about Guanacaste.
    Don't waste your time on House of Cards S6!
    -We found out Frank was critical to making anyone else in the show interesting...not a surprise...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Previous threads on the subject:

    Seeking advice-Costa Rica vacation this June (2017)
    Greetings from Costa Rica !! (2018)

    Send private messages to some of these people if they don't reply here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Summerville ,S.C.
    Quote Originally Posted by Udaman View Post
    Anyone been to Costa Rica and have suggestions for things to do, places to go? My wife and daughter are going this summer (she's 20, the daughter, not the spouse). They like hiking and nature stuff. Will spend probably 2 days at the beach, but the rest of the time would like to see cool rain forests, hanging bridges, etc. Any recommendations would be great, including cool places to stay.

    Thanks!
    https://lacarolinalodge.com
    Nice place I thought.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by HereBeforeCoachK View Post
    Good advice...all of it. We owned a hotel in Nicaragua on the Pacific coast just about 15 klicks from the Costa Rica border
    San Juan del Sur, I presume? My wife's from Managua so I've been to Nicaragua a bunch, though not so much San Juan del Sur.

    As for Costa Rica recommendations: it was a while ago but we stayed at the Arenal Observatory and loved it. It's quite memorable to see a volcano erupting at night. There are hot springs around there too. And consider a tour of a coffee or chocolate farm if you're into that sort of thing.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    San Juan del Sur, I presume? My wife's from Managua so I've been to Nicaragua a bunch, though not so much San Juan del Sur.
    .
    Yes indeed. Owned the Hotel El Pacifico in San Juan del Sur, for two years. Lived their full time for a year of that. We have many stories of hotel guests, most of which cannot be believed unless told over adult beverages, in our repertoire. But that's okay, most of the stories involved adult beverages also...
    Don't waste your time on House of Cards S6!
    -We found out Frank was critical to making anyone else in the show interesting...not a surprise...

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by HereBeforeCoachK View Post
    Yes indeed. Owned the Hotel El Pacifico in San Juan del Sur, for two years. Lived their full time for a year of that. We have many stories of hotel guests, most of which cannot be believed unless told over adult beverages, in our repertoire. But that's okay, most of the stories involved adult beverages also...
    I believe it. We did a two week Nicaragua circuit 6-7 years ago and stayed at a lodge just north of San Juan del Sur near Playa Marsella and Maderas. Our stay there coincided with Semana Santa. If you owned a hotel right in the middle of town during that, eh, good Christian celebration --- hooo-boy --- I'm sure you do have some good stories. How'd you come to own the hotel if you don't mind my asking?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post
    I believe it. We did a two week Nicaragua circuit 6-7 years ago and stayed at a lodge just north of San Juan del Sur near Playa Marsella and Maderas. Our stay there coincided with Semana Santa. If you owned a hotel right in the middle of town during that, eh, good Christian celebration --- hooo-boy --- I'm sure you do have some good stories. How'd you come to own the hotel if you don't mind my asking?
    We spend the week before Semana Santa (ie, Easter week) stocking up so during the four really crowded days, we do not leave the hotel. Rooms were going for 300% of normal, and we were packed.

    As for the hotel, we made enough money to live comfortably in Nica, and we had to leave the country because my wife developed severe migraines, every day, after we had been there maybe 6-7 months. So after a year, we moved back, and a couple ran the hotel for us. They did not do great, and we didn't do great on the sale - but of course, we looked at this as a long term thing....

    Of course, given that the country went into free fall last April, we're considered extremely lucky to get out when we did.
    Don't waste your time on House of Cards S6!
    -We found out Frank was critical to making anyone else in the show interesting...not a surprise...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    I keep offering to go to Costa Rica on a research trip, with DBR footing the bill.

    No luck.

    So far.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by HereBeforeCoachK View Post
    We spend the week before Semana Santa (ie, Easter week) stocking up so during the four really crowded days, we do not leave the hotel. Rooms were going for 300% of normal, and we were packed.

    As for the hotel, we made enough money to live comfortably in Nica, and we had to leave the country because my wife developed severe migraines, every day, after we had been there maybe 6-7 months. So after a year, we moved back, and a couple ran the hotel for us. They did not do great, and we didn't do great on the sale - but of course, we looked at this as a long term thing...

    Of course, given that the country went into free fall last April, we're considered extremely lucky to get out when we did.
    Cool. Sounds like quite an experience and I'm sure you and your wife have some great stories (though, I'm sorry to hear about her migraines and hope she's on the mend). I think the ex-pat couple we stayed with must have seen the writing on the wall with the political situation because they sold their lodge in the past year or so and returned to the states, too. Thanks for sharing - got some folks with interesting experiences on the board to be sure.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh
    Quote Originally Posted by jimsumner View Post
    I keep offering to go to Costa Rica on a research trip, with DBR footing the bill.

    No luck.

    So far.
    Atlanta in August and Murfreesboro in September sound like fine alternatives. You can show us your new tats at the Pitt game in early October.
    [redacted] them and the horses they rode in on.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post
    I- hooo-boy --- I'm sure you do have some good stories. How'd you come to own the hotel if you don't mind my asking?
    We were looking for a hedge starting in 2014...for this country...a potential landing spot. Nica was considered the 'new Costa Rica' - the opportunity in 2014-15 that Costa Rica or Belize were 20-30 years ago. And all those countries, all tiny, are very similar...same beauty, same oceans, same surfing, same type of volcanos and so on. Nica hadn't seen as much appreciation of values. More bang for our buck.

    So we just took a chance once we were empty nesters. Amazing all three of our kids managed to get down to visit within the first 90 days...even though we were 1700 miles away. And I gotta tell ya, there are some things about Nica I do not like, but the whole vibe with the guests from all over the world...and the beauty, and so on, was exactly was we expected it...which was good. The wife's migraines? Not sure why they came, but 95% better now that we're back.

    Here's the new hotel owners website: http://elpacificohotel.com
    Last edited by HereBeforeCoachK; 01-24-2019 at 01:45 PM.
    Don't waste your time on House of Cards S6!
    -We found out Frank was critical to making anyone else in the show interesting...not a surprise...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO
    Quote Originally Posted by Udaman View Post
    Anyone been to Costa Rica and have suggestions for things to do, places to go? My wife and daughter are going this summer (she's 20, the daughter, not the spouse). They like hiking and nature stuff. Will spend probably 2 days at the beach, but the rest of the time would like to see cool rain forests, hanging bridges, etc. Any recommendations would be great, including cool places to stay.

    Thanks!
    Here's my take from about five trips there. Costa Rica is the preferred destination for new students of tropical biology around the world. The reasons are germane for tourism: (1) A wide variety of tropical habitats, from dry deciduous forests (northwest); wet, humid forests on the Caribbean side; high mountains (including timber lines and mist forests); etc., etc. (2) It's safe. (3) The roads are good. (4) Tropical diseases, like malaria, are largely absent.

    The central valley including the capital San Jose is relatively high and comfortable (cools off when the sun goes down). I have done white-water rafting in CR -- the water is much warmer than here in the Rockies.

    The Osa Peninsula is really, really wild, and there are small eco-resorts there.

    I would personally always go to La Selva, a rain forest area run by the Organization for Tropical Studies (HQ is at Duke), where guided tours are available (bring binoculars if you have them). Accommodations on the preserve are basic, but fine. Then there is Monte Verde, where one can see the Resplendant Quetzal.

    I personally don't care as much for Guanacaste, the northwest province -- it's really hot and dry -- but there are numerous resorts plus the airport at Liberia. When I went on a bird trip there many, many years ago, we used the Birds of Mexico for the Guanacaste and the Birds of Panama for the rest of the country.

    Haven't written all this, I now want to go back.
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO

    Arenal Volcano

    The Arenal Volcano is worth seeing and experiencing. While Arenal is not especially high (5,500 feet), it is an active volcano. Instead of spewing lava, it expels large boulders that sound like distant artillery.

    The main warning is that visibility in the area can be restricted -- mists and clouds -- but while I was there, the winds changed on the third day (Trade Winds) and it became very, very clear.

    I understand how one can really like Guanacaste. My objection is that "it's Mexico" -- a wonderful place but a dry deciduous forest and not the essence of Costa Rica. When I think of Costa Rica, I love the presence of rain forests at all elevations and on both coasts -- triple canopies, including majestic tropical trees that are complete ecosystems -- moss, orchards, monkeys, sloths, many kinds of birds and lizards.

    There is a wet and a dry season, so check rainfall for your dates.

    Cheers. Having written this again, I can't wait to return.

    Kindly,
    Sage
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    raleigh
    we highly recommend Bosque Del cabo on the Oso peninsula...also, a trip up to Peace Lodge, La Fortuna (to see the vocano) and Monte Verde



    you will have an amazing adventure...
    "Either they're going down, or we are! Kirk out!"

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Richmond, Va
    We stayed at Dreams Resort in the very NW of Costa, all-inclusive. Wife and kids went to Nica to hike, zipline, volcano-watch, horseride, etc. while I was fishing for Roosterfish (caught 5, lost 3, biggest about 50 lbs.). Fun trip, beautiful place. Would do it again, but would research it more to get more out of it, ala, deep-sea fishing for Marlin and sailfish, etc.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by duketaylor View Post
    We stayed at Dreams Resort in the very NW of Costa, all-inclusive. Wife and kids went to Nica to hike, zipline, volcano-watch, horseride, etc. while I was fishing for Roosterfish (caught 5, lost 3, biggest about 50 lbs.). Fun trip, beautiful place. Would do it again, but would research it more to get more out of it, ala, deep-sea fishing for Marlin and sailfish, etc.
    That resort is about 30 kms from the hotel I owned in Nica for a couple years.
    Don't waste your time on House of Cards S6!
    -We found out Frank was critical to making anyone else in the show interesting...not a surprise...

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