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Backpacker in CR, need some help!

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Backpacker in CR, need some help!

3 buddies and I are going backpacking in Costa Rica for a week during our Spring Break in March. We are looking for the cheapest, best way to experience Costa Rica and have an adventure doing it. We're flying into San Jose then planning on Heading to the Pacific Coast. I heard Montezuma, Manuel Antonio, and Coco/Flamingo Beaches were good places. Tell me, are we going to be able to go and just make reservations at hostels along the way? Or are they in Montezuma, etc going to be full? Can one really get by with about $30/day? We want to do some activities but only those that are within our expenses. Any suggestions of things you must do and best places to do them? Where are some good hidden treasures, like jungle swimming holes or waterfalls that we can hike to for free? What are the places we should try to stop at and what places are good to skip. We're looking more for adventure and laid back people rather then partying at discos. I heard Jaco is fun but considered the "armpit" of Costa Rica. Any advice to help us along the way would be much appreciated!

Bend, OR
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1. Re: Backpacker in CR, need some help!

I feel like a sponsor for the carribean, but based on what you said you should check it out. it is much cheaper over there than the pacific side, the people are great and super laid back, (more of a semi rasta scene), quiet beaches with great swimming/snorkeling and amzing jungle hikes. You definitly nailed the pacific towns and Jaco. It would be tough to go to any of those towns you mentioned and guarantee yourselves a place to stay in March. I backpacked CR with my girlfriend a few years ago for 10 weeks and spent at least a week in all the places you mentioned if you want more specifics on them. Like 2 great waterfall hikes in Montezuma etc.. $30 per person is very doable, but will be more dificult on the pacific that time of year. there ar some campgrounds around the country for a few $$, but are becoming more scarce and the price is going up. I highly reccommend getting Lonley Planets guide to CR. it is what every packer used when we were there and helped us with concact #'s and ideas on cheap food etc.. If you bring a packers stove with you, you can cook for real cheap as we did.Anyway, let me know if you have some other specific questions. hope this helps. Get the book : )

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2. Re: Backpacker in CR, need some help!

SillyBilly,

Thanks for the advice. We checked our expenses and it's looking more like we've got around $70/day. But we're still trying to eat/sleep cheap so we can play more. I would love to know details about good waterfall hikes. Out of Coco, Flamingo, Samara which is the best place to stay? Or does it not really matter. I think we'll just kind of fly by the seat of our pants without reservations except in San Jose first and last night. Any good suggestions to safe, cheap places to stay? We want to do a canopy tour, any suggestions of best, cheap place to do it in? Is theft in the hostels something to worry about? Can you drink the water?

Bend, OR
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3. Re: Backpacker in CR, need some help!

Are you guys getting a car? If not, playa Flamingo is a bit removed from Tamarindo, which is really the hub of that area. Hub meaning more food selections, lodging, etc. I wouldn't reccommenr drinking the water there. Depending on where you stay, they may have water coolers in the room with purified water, but don't use the stuff out ou the sinks. We brought our water purifier and saved a ton of $$ not buying bottled water. $70 is a great budget and you should be able to do quite a bit. Theft is a concern most places, but especially watch your stuff in San Jose and on all the busses. Make sure your bag makes it on the bus if you are not loading it and don't store things over your head. Sorry, but I don't have a lot of lodging ideas for the places you just listed. We stayed in Tamarindo and drove to Playa Flamingo to check it out. Very beautiful.

Bend, OR
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4. Re: Backpacker in CR, need some help!

Oh yeah, and as far as lodging when you leave to come home, I would stay in Aljueala (sp) as San Jose is a total armpit. I fyou can pull it off, just get on the bus or rent a car right when you get there, and sleep on the plane. Time in San Jose in my opinion is watsed time. The waterfall hikes I know of are all out of Montezuma.