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Costa Rica

Posted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:27 am
by brak
We are planning a 10-11 day trip to Costa Rica and want to spend half of it on the Pacific Coast. Idea is to have one base of operations and to explore from there. Oso is a bet too rough for us. We are into nature and water, and don't want to rough it but don't need luxury either. Ideas on towns to stay in, places to stay (would prefer beachfront or ecological), and things to do? Thanks.The other half of the trip will use La Fortuna as base of operations.

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:40 am
by youngt2
Did something similar for our honeymoon. First half was in La Fortuna, second half was in Tamarindo beach. Lovely place and beautiful beach. There is a large variety of places to stay from huts to luxury houses. We stayed at B&B. Lots of restaurants in the town and things to do, but we mostly stayed on the beach for that part of the trip :)

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:11 pm
by CMD1
In Guanacaste I really like Playa Grande, although it's been a few years. Can see the enormous leatherback turtles there too. Can't go wrong with most of that pacific northwest coast. As mentioned you can also go to the volcano Arenal either as a day trip or for a couple days, easy drive. Lake Arenal is beautiful too, makes for a well rounded trip.

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:25 pm
by Starfish
brak wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:27 am
We are planning a 10-11 day trip to Costa Rica and want to spend half of it on the Pacific Coast. Idea is to have one base of operations and to explore from there. Oso is a bet too rough for us. We are into nature and water, and don't want to rough it but don't need luxury either. Ideas on towns to stay in, places to stay (would prefer beachfront or ecological), and things to do? Thanks.The other half of the trip will use La Fortuna as base of operations.
We used Airbnb around Domincal. You can drive easily to tunnels beach, Manuel Antonio, or more south.

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:35 pm
by RubyTuesday
Check out airbnb for houses for home base. We love montezuma, and playa de Santa Teresa area (puntarenus provence).

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:35 pm
by Nowizard
Check out se como no, supposedly where Jimmy Buffett stays. Near the coast, Arenal, rain forest, etc.

Tim

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:59 pm
by Cosmic Pony
We stayed in an area called Playa Avellanas two years ago and loved it. It is about 30 minutes from Tamarindo where there are lots of good hotels and restaurants but it is quite rural and the beach was one of the best I've been on. Tamarindo would be a good option if you want more of a resort town experience. There is a JW Marriott nearby too if you want a safe eating experience and the restaurants there were open late. We took a side trip to Lake Arenal, found it disagreeable to go to a place that was cold and wet (altitude, rain forest) when that what we were escaping back home, so left early and went back to the beach. The volcano at Arenal has been dead for years.

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:12 pm
by Watty
Be very careful in the water, there are often bad currents and waves on the Pacific coast and many people drown there every year.

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:24 pm
by Freddy
Watty wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:12 pm
Be very careful in the water, there are often bad currents and waves on the Pacific coast and many people drown there every year.
Very true. When we stayed in Manuel Antonio (many years ago) we were on the beach when they fished out a drowned tourist. Rip tides can be severe on the pacific. There is a reason why some suggestions for tourists are to not go in the water past your waist. Oh, and usually no lifeguards on any of the beaches.

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:00 pm
by elcadarj
VRBO’d in Jaco. Nice little beach town good restaurants, nice beaches. Were there during US spring break. Costa Rica follows the American school calendar so the Costa Rican’s were on spring break, too. We did not stay in a resort so we interacted with Costa Rican’s on spring break from San Jose, Europeans, and, of course, Americans on spring break. Wonderful time, family friendly, just south is Playa Hermosa, an outstanding surfer’s beach community.

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 7:24 am
by theplayer11
do some fishing!!!

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 7:37 am
by BogBod
We have always started our trip in La Fortuna and then ended on the Pacific Coast. The rationale was to do the active stuff (ziplining, hiking, waterfall rappelling, etc. first and then relaxing on the beaches (although ending a trip relaxing at Tabacon would be mighty nice).

Osa is the immersive nature experience, but it is more demanding.

Manuel Antonio is more touristy (-ish), but is still not bad at all, and getting a guide to take you through the national park is pretty amazing. Capuchin and squirrel monkeys will run right out past you, and the guide will help you see the more hidden sloths and birds. The beaches in Manuel Antonio are much calmer than Osa (in some parts, rough in others). We like the local food you can get at a soda (the name for the local eateries), which vary in quality, but were generally not so impressed by the restaurants in Manuel Antonio. Go for the experience of nature, not the food.

We have also stayed further north on the Guanacaste Peninsula. It all depends on where you stay. We stayed at Punta Islita, but it has changed ownership since we were there many years ago, so I cannot vouch for it.

Have a great trip!

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:45 am
by brak
Thanks for all the great replies.

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:15 am
by mrb09
BogBod wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 7:37 am

We have also stayed further north on the Guanacaste Peninsula. It all depends on where you stay. We stayed at Punta Islita, but it has changed ownership since we were there many years ago, so I cannot vouch for it.

Have a great trip!
The hotel at Punta Islita is a Marriott "Autograph" hotel now, which is what Marriott does when it buys smaller properties and doesn't reform them into a standard Marriott form factor. Stayed there for 4 days last May on Marriott points , had a great time, I'd vouch for it. It is fairly remote, about an hour's drive from Samara -- looks closer on the map, but dirt road was pretty slow going.

Re: Costa Rica

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:22 am
by texasdiver
We have taken various trips to Costa Rica and our favorite Pacific Coast town is Playa Carillo which is just south of Samara on the Guanacaste Peninsula. It has a fabulous undeveloped pristine crescent beach that is rarely crowded. Fly into Liberia airport instead of San Jose, rent a car, and you are good to go. We have always used VRBO to find rentals in the area but there are also hotels. It's a sleepy place without much nightlife or fancy restaurants but you can find that next door in Samara which is only 10-15 min away. With a rental car you are close to pretty much everything and there are a couple of local tour operators who can arrange whatever you want. You can also drive up the peninsula and visit all the more popular gringo beach towns like Samara, Nosara, etc.