We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

First time to Costa Rica

Which Jaco hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Charleston, SC
8 posts
First time to Costa Rica

My husband and I are going to Costa Rica for the first time in mid-April. We are planning on having a rental car and driving from the airport in San Jose to Jaco where our hotel is- is that a good idea to have a rental car (we like to do things independently, and have driven in Europe, and my husband has driven in Australia and Africa, so if it's less complicated than that, we would like to have our own transportation.) Also, we would like to plan some white water rafting, zip lining, possibly surfing, and we would like to go to the M.A. National Park and the Arenal volcano... any suggestions where to go through for the first 3 activities, and any other things that shouldn't be missed? Also, do most places take credit cards, or what form of currency would be best??

Charleston, SC
8 posts
11. Re: First time to Costa Rica

Oh, and yes, we would love to eat local. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for any place for good fish, or any other places that we shouldn't miss!!

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
196 posts
63 reviews
12. Re: First time to Costa Rica

The food at VC is very expensive and just ok. About 5 minutes from there is Herradura. The first place on the beach is La Puesta Del Sol. It does not have a sign and looks like it might fall down at any second. Try the whole fried snapper or one of the rice dishes with shrimp or mixed seafood. Igana is soda located in Jaco. It is just off of the main street down a side street towards the ocean. The road is located across from Best Brands shoes/Beetle Bar. Pescaderia Bertil on the far South end of downtown is the best place to get ceviche. Our favorite is the mixed. You can get a container of it and eat it outside on the bench in front of the store. Next door to that is another great soda. Down the road across from Morgan's Cove is a newer place, but the owners use to own another place in town. The name escapes me...Rancho...Anyway, great example of local food there also.

You are still at least 3 from the Volcano regardless of where you are staying. Plus, you will find so much to do in the Jaco area.

Destination Expert
for Jaco, Bocas Town
Level Contributor
3,896 posts
127 reviews
13. Re: First time to Costa Rica

All good advice so far. Tons of restaurant choices in and around Jaco. Your hotel is beautiful but food is expensive and last time I was there the food was not great. Hopefully they have a new chef. You are not super close to Jaco, probably a 15-20 minute drive into town. Lots to do and great restauratns. Like pumpkin said, the sodas are excellent and very affordable. Tons of tours to choice from. Again great advice from pumpkin on Manuel Antonio.

A great tour to take is to Tortuga Island. The best boat leaves out of Puntarenas, so save that for when you are there. They advertise that trip from Jaco, but wait and do it when you are in Puntarenas and go on The Calypso. IMO Arenal is still too far away for a day trip. I have never stayed in Puntarenas, only gone thru for the ferry or driven thru. I am not sure what there is to do there besides going to Tortuga. Maybe you should do all your adventure tours before you get to Puntarenas and then you can just be a sloth by the pool.

Sounds like a great trip.

crest, ca
Level Contributor
39 posts
2 reviews
14. Re: First time to Costa Rica

Definitely go to Manuel Antonio. The park is beautiful...especially the beaches. Take your own food in containers that will not invite curious critters. (no food sales in park). If you get a guide, he will spot much more wildlife and has a telescope for viewing. If you don't you will still see wildlife, especially if you take cues from the groups who are obviously looking at something. Take what you need for the day and plan to stay from open to close. The crowds are minimal in the morning, and before closing. I only go in May, and it is not crowded then...not to sure about April and the potential of Spring Break crowds. Great restaurants in the area. L Sol on the beach with a great view (Playa Espadilla) above Super Joseth is great for watching the people below and the appetizers including patacones piled with ceviche, avocado and salsa can make a meal. On the hill try Agua Azul or Barba Roja...both have fabulous views of the ocean and great food. Sunsets can be to die for. We take all cash...pay our hotel up front to get rid of a lot of it, and find we get a better deal. You will use US dollars and get change in colones....approx. 1,000colones = $2.Your hotel should have an in room safe. We are pretty budget minded, but still on vacation and I budget $75 per day for the 2 of us. The hotel we stay at provides breakfast. Somedays you may spend next to nothing, eating at a soda and just snacking in the heat. Other days you may want to splurge on a great meal or an adventure. I don't think you can river raft in April as it is too dry. Most of the whitewater trips start in June. Pura vida.

Upper Marlboro
1 post
15. Re: First time to Costa Rica

In August we will be visiting Costa Rica for the first time and staying at the Sanctuary Condos in Playa Azula. I understand that driving in this area can be difficult because of dirt roads. Is it recommeded to do the tours, rent a car, or invest in hiring a driver. The group traveling totals five people.

16. Re: First time to Costa Rica

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 2:18 am, August 04, 2014