Costa Rica?

posted 3 years ago in Travel
Post # 2
Member
954 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

chocolatecoveredstrawberry:  We’re planning on going there for our honeymoon in August. We’ve just decided on it, so our research as just started, but I’ll let you know if we find anything interesting! Are you planning on staying at all inclusive resorts or hotels?

Post # 3
Member
219 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

chocolatecoveredstrawberry:  I don’t think you need that much time in either place.  La Fortuna is great for maybe two days, especially if you don’t like heights and now that I think the volcano is out (if it has started flowing again, I strongly suggest seeing it).  Manuel Antonio is VERY crowded. Great wildlife, but the beaches there aren’t the relaxing type–at least I didn’t think so. What type of vacation are you looking for?  And what type of accomodations? Budget?  I’ve been there a few times for a couple of weeks each though not in the past couple of years.  

Post # 4
Member
307 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

chocolatecoveredstrawberry:  manuel antonio is breathtaking we stayed at LaFortuna too it has gorgous views, ask them for the rooms with the best view and privacy, (we complained as they tried to walk us up to the fourth floor of the main building) and they upgraded us into a oceanview suite at no charge. definately have pizza at their pizza restaurant soo soo good and go to Kapi Kapi (Si Como No isn’t that great as everyone seems to think) for dinner it is the most romantic restaurant with the most delicious food And caphiranas! The beach at the Manuel Antonio national park is one of the most beautiful beaches i’ve ever seen and i’ve seen lots of them Just watch out for the monkeys they do come off the trees! Aside from Manuel Antonio, Arenal is great we saw the volcano itspretty cool if you catch a glimpse of the active top at night, we went to the hot springs, Tabaskon is a beautiful place to stay or go for a day id never seen anything like it in my life, we did a bunch of zip lining there and hanging bridges and a horse back ride to the waterfalls it was phenomenal best trips of our lives to date, my FI and i are still trying to top the experiances we had in costa rica its a beautiful countrly, we also went to playa samara stayed there for four days it was great we stayed at the pequeno gecko verde which were these little bungallows nested in a tropical garden with gorgeous flowers and monkeys everywhere! such fond memories of costa rica! Unforgettable! I think you will have a blast!!

Post # 5
Member
307 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

i disagree that manuel antonio is crowded we stayed 4 days and wanted more! The beach is amazing at the national park so dont listen to the negative comments! 

Post # 6
Member
136 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

Oh I am completely in love with Costa Rica! We did a similar itinerary to you this time last year. I don’t think you’ll have to worry too much about it being crowded, as we went in peak season (February) and didn’t find it crowded AT ALL! Just the opposite, in fact.

Manuel Antonio: We stayed at a place called La Posada, which is run by an American guy – it is in an amazing location down by the entrance to the park and close to the beach. The grounds are lovely and each bungalow has a hammock outside next to the pool. The staff is also so nice, they invited us to a beach bonfire while we there and we had a great time getting to know them! We spent time at the gorgeous MA beach and ziplined (which I thought was way scary too – eek! Not doing it again! Haha). We also had some great restaurant experiences – Dragonfly Thai is right on the beach, and Barba Roja is up the hill overlooking the water with a live band and singer (and dancing!). Manuel Antonio was our favorite part of the trip.

We stopped in Monteverde for 2 days before La Fortuna, which was a TOTAL change of pace – sort of chilly, mountainy, etc. but the Cloud Forest hike was out of this world. We also did tours of chocolate and coffee plantations. If you have extra time, it was a neat stop!

While you’re in La Fortuna, you HAVE to check out Tabacon. A day pass is $80 and includes full use of the hot springs, multiple pools with swim up bars, and a huge all you can eat buffet lunch. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been! It’s one of the top luxury resorts in the world and is just totally romantic and unique. We also did a horseback riding tour to the La Fortuna Waterfall, which was spectacular.

Sorry for such a long post, but it was truly a trip of a lifetime! Hope you enjoy!

Post # 7
Member
293 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

FI and I are considering going to Costa Rica for our next vacation or maybe a mini-moon after our wedding (if we have the money). Check out eco hotels in Costa Rica, there’s so many of them and they’re often really cool places, with local food, and very eco-friendly (I’m a total hippie in some ways, so I love the sound of it). There’s one place in particular I remember (but not the name, sorry) that’s a yoga retreat that sounded amazing.

Trip advisor has a lot of advice, too, about when to go and what hotels are nicest – check them out. They say to avoid the Riu all-inclusive in Costa Rica, too, because apparently it doesn’t have great service (and some other issues I don’t really know much about but sound bad to me).

Post # 8
Member
178 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015 - Los Willows Wedding Estate

I studied abroad in CR for a month in 2012 and I fell in love with Manuel Antonio. Its picture perfect. Reminded me of pirates of the carribean. Since it was school travel for me and my friends we only traveled on the weekends so we only stayed there for two days.

And if you are planning on staying on the west side of CR try going to tortuga island in Puntarenas. Its a one day trip and it is gorgeous

We also went to Puerto Viejo (on the carribean side of CR). Its a more relaxed atmosphere the streets are mostly dirt but we rode bikes about 7 miles south and relaxed at the nicest beach ever (and technically its the mediterranean sea)

Post # 10
Member
307 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

chocolatecoveredstrawberry:   we went in august which is rainy season and it rained a lot but usually it started at 6pm and went through the entire night by 7am everything was dry and sunny. 

Post # 11
Member
2720 posts
Sugar bee

We went in February and had a great time! I highly recommend using Anywherecostarica.com. They were great! All the transfers were smooth and everyone was friendly. We stayed for four nights outside of La Fortuna. I think I would have been fine with three nights. I second Tabacon especially during the day but it could be crowded. We did a lot of hiking and nature-ish stuff. I liked our hotel – Arenal Springs Resort but the walls were paper thin and the beds were hard. I don’t recommend driving! Navigation and customs are completely different. I’m so glad we didn’t drive. 

Oh, I think the time you want to go is in the really rainy season though. 

Post # 12
Member
2720 posts
Sugar bee

 

Just a few photos I had on my phone from the resort. Sorry the last one is flipped wrong. 

Post # 13
Member
219 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

chocolatecoveredstrawberry:  I second La Posada for Manuel Antonio. They are (or at least were) really budget-friendly but was actually the place I wanted to stay even without regard to budget. The place is beautiful and it is right outside of the park exit. You can walk to the beach and the park entrance–in fact, it was on this walk that the squirrel monkeys would come out and play. You aren’t limited by a cab unless you want to go up the hill, which we did to go to dinner a few times and to a spa.  Definitely do a guided tour while you are there–it’s worth the money because you will see so much more and the guide will use binoculars to set up your camera.  And I totally agree that Si Como No isn’t worth the hype–the food was okay but not the worth the effort or $$ and the spa was beautiful but the services not. 

For La Fortuna, I also second at least going to Tabacon.  It’s gorgeous during the day and gorgeous in a completely different way during the night.  A lot of people say it’s overrated, but I’m not one.  I like it better at night because it’s less crowded.  Staying there is a trade-off. I think there are much better places for the money, but you do get free entrance into their hot springs if you are guest (and they have great breakfasts).  My favorite thing to do there is the canyoning.

You said you were scared of heights so ziplines would not be enjoyable, but for some reason, at least for me, canyoning was different. I’ve done ziplining a lot and I have no idea why because i hate because of the heights! But canyoning was awesome. In La Fortuna the canyoning starts with a couple of drops which could be scary (but felt entirely different from ziplining) and the rest isn’t a lot  heights (but it is very wet). I keep planning to jump down for a weekend to do it again and so my FI can see the volcano, but I do believe the volcano isn’t pumping out the lava.  If it has/does start again, this is definitely something to see.  I didn’t want to stay at the hotel that faced the majority of the lava flow at the time (it was too remote), so I hired a taxi to take me to that hotel, ate dinner there overlooking the volcano which was nice enough to erupt the entire time, and then take me back down. If it starts again, I’d recommend doing something similar because it is magnificent!

If you choose to add a third location, I again agree with the others—Samara or Monteverde. I think Monteverde is the typical add on for your itinerary because it’s close and it gives you a good feel of everything that Costa Rica has to offer.  I haven’t been but people really love it (I always get pulled away by beaches and turtles).  You’ll save time on transfers and if you are looking at going with a pre-planned tour, this would be common.  If it were me, I would go to Samara.

Driving is a pain and I’ve always avoided it. The public bus works well, is dirt cheap, but not exactly comfortable. Private transfers rock but are expensive. Flying is nice because it is super fast, but it is really expensive, really really limits your packing ability (I have special CR bags I had to buy for flying because the weight and size limits are soooo small), and they cancel a fair amount.  Interbus is a good middle of the way to go to get places.  It’s a shuttle that goes in between places throughout CR.  It’s air-conditioned and comfortable.  The times are set so its rigid. Grayline Tours also provides the same service.

If you take a late flight and end up having to stay in San Jose for a night, I’ve had good luck at both Casa Laurin and Adventure Inn.  It’s pretty simple lodging, but nice enough, clean, good people.  Adventure Inn has kitchen. I had a really late plane one time, got there after the kitchen closed, and they made me dinner anyway.  Both places have great people and are safe.

 

Post # 15
Member
6273 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

i stayed 3 places when i was there in July 2007.

i remember Tabacon was one of them in the hot springs by Arenal Volcano.

I did not go ziplining but I did go canyoning, horseback riding, and snorkeling.

Costa Rica is a gorgeous country.

Have a great trip.

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