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First time visitor - location advice gratefully received!

London
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First time visitor - location advice gratefully received!

Hello,

My husband and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica for 10 days over Xmas/New Year. I know it's not the best time to go from a crowds & costs perspective, but that's when we can go.

We're looking for a chilled out, quiet holiday, and for that reason probably want to rent a private villa (one that isn't part of a complex or resort). I'd like to spend a bit of time on the beach, but also like walking and landscapes.

I've read through most of the Rough Guide but I haven't really managed to get a sense of where the best place to base ourselves would be. My preference would be to stay in one place for the whole 10 days, and take trips from there. So really what I'm asking is if anyone can suggest a location where we'd be within 20 minutes or so drive of a beach, but also in an area that's quiet (if anywhere is at that time of year) and there is good hiking and interesting landscapes to see within an hour or so drive.

Also, out of interest, are there any areas that particularly attract European tourists rather than North American tourists?

Thanks very much.

Debbie x

Costa Rica
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1. Re: First time visitor - location advice gratefully received!

My recommendation would be based on which airport you use: LIR - Liberia or SJO - San Jose. There are, of course, places that suit your requirements but it's difficult to recommend without knowing this. So many choices!

Keep in mind that while Costa Rica is a small country, it is not always quick to get from place to place. www.yourtravelmap.com for distances and driving times.

If you fly into LIR, there are many nice beach towns in the northern Pacific area where you can also have excursions to National Parks within 1 - 1.5 hours. Almost all of them will have condos or villas for rent. Playa Hermosa, Playas del Coco and Playa Ocotal come to mind. You can also check with VRBO for house rentals as well as using the Vacation Rentals tab here on Trip Advisor.

London
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2. Re: First time visitor - location advice gratefully received!

Hey,

Thanks very much. We'll almost certainly fly into San Jose as this seems to be quite a bit cheaper from the UK.

The distance/time map is really helpful - thanks for the link.

Debbie

Saratoga Springs...
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3. Re: First time visitor - location advice gratefully received!

Here is also a link to some of the best beaches in Costa Rica - http://www.mycostaricalink.com/beaches/ I am pretty picky about my beaches (since I'm traveling so far to be near one!), So I used that as my starting point and checked out the surroundings of each area from there.

How much is the difference in cost for the flight to each airport? San Jose is pretty centrally located and from my understanding approximately a 3 hour drive from any beaches. If you opt to stay on the north Pacific side it may be beneficial to reconsider flying into Liberia.

London
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4. Re: First time visitor - location advice gratefully received!

According to Skyscanner it's a difference of £300 ($450) per person...so quite a lot, plus the flights go via the US, rather than Europe, which I understand is more of a hassle because you have to collect and recheck your bags, plus go through immigration.

Saratoga Springs...
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5. Re: First time visitor - location advice gratefully received!

Wow - that does sound like a hassle. I myself am flying into San Jose (from NY) simply because it is so much easier. I would just plan on a few more hours of travel once you arrive, whether you are renting a car or plan to have other transportation arranged (from what I understand there are many hotels and/or companies that provide shuttle service for a fee). Sorry I'm not of more help with a good location!

London
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6. Re: First time visitor - location advice gratefully received!

Anyone got any comments as to how well this villa would meet the criteria I set out above?

http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/p399324

7. Re: First time visitor - location advice gratefully received!

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