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Trip Report

Tampa, Florida
Destination Expert
for Monteverde
Level Contributor
14,112 posts
98 reviews
21 helpful votes
Trip Report
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We were fortunate enough to enjoy a week in early March, just before things got really crazy. I could fill a report just with what I observed, both good and bad, regarding responses to the impending COVID-19 disaster. The Costa Rican response - mostly good. Behavior of other tourists - mostly disappointing.

In an attempt to fend off negative comments, I have a very good understanding of viral transmission and we took all possible precautions before, during, and after our trip. I'll add that travel recommendations are not one-size-fits all. What's sensible for mature independent travelers is not appropriate for families with young children. (I'm still having nightmares about the toddler sitting on the airport floor sucking her thumb, in Ft. Lauderdale.)

I also apologize to those who had no choice but to cancel vacations. Our plans to isolate were enhanced by the lack of large tour buses and throngs of tourists in the popular spots. Even in normal times, there's a lot to be said for driving yourselves and staying in free-standing cottages with kitchens.

Looking forward to happier times, and Pura Vida days ahead, here is my trip report:

We flew into SJO, got our Vamos sedan, and headed out to Turrialba early the next morning. The Vamos experience was excellent, as always, but the same model we had last year, a Dzire, was on tiny little tires, practically a low-rider. Gonna try to prevent this in the future. Ironically, the roughest roads were in the Cartago and Turrialba areas; driving to Monteverde is now a breeze.

We went rafting on the Pacaure, just the two of us and a guide, with Explornatura. Water levels were low, which was perfect for us. Shout out to Eduardo! This was a very enjoyable experience, even with some heavy rain towards the end. I'd highly recommend!

Getting back earlier gave us more time to drive to the Cahuita area, for a two night stay at 3 Bamboo. The deluxe tree houses are fabulous and the location is great for exploring the area. We enjoyed the trails at Cahuita NP and a tour at Jaguar Rescue Center. Both were great but my advice is to save anything on the Caribbean coast for days when large cruise ships are not docked. We explored early in the day but saw cruisers approaching as we headed back to home base both days.

From there we traveled back to the Cartago area, stayed at Hotel Grandpa's for one night, and visited Irazu the next morning. We lucked out with blue skies, fluffy white clouds, great views, and no rain for the duration of our stay. Wouldn't have done this any differently (well,maybe larger tires on the Dzire).

We collected our things from Grandpa's and headed to my happy place, Monteverde. We enjoyed three last nights in our superior cabin at Los Pinos. The trails at the Reserve were great, as always, and we hustled back home having been gifted with the bare minimum CR therapy.

Like many others, we are hunkered down at home, both of us able to isolate and work (harder than I ever have) remotely. It won't be long before I start thinking about our next trip to Costa Rica (trying not to worry about the big plans we had for Peru this summer).

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
75,920 posts
143 reviews
46 helpful votes
1. Re: Trip Report
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WOW what a great report....now days many great possible visitors will have your fresh first hand report...sick and tired of reading the same thing all the time..LOL

roadadvsiro

Clare, Michigan
Level Contributor
182 posts
23 reviews
27 helpful votes
2. Re: Trip Report
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Thanks for the report. Reading these almost makes me feel like I'm back there. Almost. Sigh.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
75,920 posts
143 reviews
46 helpful votes
3. Re: Trip Report
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Chandrock...please come back we are here waiting for you...

roadadvsiro

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Slovenia
Level Contributor
24,837 posts
61 reviews
51 helpful votes
4. Re: Trip Report
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Thanks for your trip report. Any words of your flight back? Was it already within government imposed restrictions? Did you encounter problems with airlines?

Tampa, Florida
Destination Expert
for Monteverde
Level Contributor
14,112 posts
98 reviews
21 helpful votes
5. Re: Trip Report
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We flew home two days before the real trouble began. Our original flight was with Copa and they're not good with communication.

I'm no fool, so we checked on flight status FREQUENTLY, and explored options with other airlines a few times each day. We were able to switch to Southwest once it was clear Copa was canceling.

Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
6,434 posts
27 reviews
11 helpful votes
6. Re: Trip Report
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Thanks mlmdaisy

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Slovenia
Level Contributor
24,837 posts
61 reviews
51 helpful votes
7. Re: Trip Report
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Thanks. To give your answers an time perspective, when did you start and end your trip?

Tampa, Florida
Destination Expert
for Monteverde
Level Contributor
14,112 posts
98 reviews
21 helpful votes
8. Re: Trip Report
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We arrived in CR on March 14th and left for home on the 21st.

Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
24,056 posts
70 reviews
183 helpful votes
9. Re: Trip Report
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Thank you for the trip report.

Re "my advice is to save anything on the Caribbean coast for days when large cruise ships are not docked. We explored early in the day but saw cruisers approaching ...": We were not affected by cruise ships at all during our stays on that coast... It looks like it has become a concern... As we had been to other destinations (Caribbean islands, but not only), where our stays were negatively impacted by cruise ships' crowds often "descending" on the same resorts' beaches, where ppl were staying, and it made the stay of the hotel guests barely possible. In fact, the hotels had arrangements with cruise ship companies to open up their restaurants and other facilities to cruise ship groups for a day or for 1/2 a day, having not revealed it to its actual guests. In fact, we sometimes had to leave for a full day just to avoid the next anticipated "invasion". When staying near Cahuita, how did know when the next cruise ship was scheduled to arrive? You checked the Limon port schedule somewhere or just saw ships in the distance on both the days?

Tampa, Florida
Destination Expert
for Monteverde
Level Contributor
14,112 posts
98 reviews
21 helpful votes
10. Re: Trip Report
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Yes, there are several websites from which you can see the Limon cruise ship schedule. Once cruising is back to normal, you'll be able to see these dates months in advance.

For what I saw, there's a ship in port almost every day. However, some have hundreds of passengers while others have thousands.

It's well worth the trouble to schedule your time on the Caribbean coast to avoid days when the giant ships are in. Either that, or plan to get our very early AM or hang around your hotel.

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