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Helpful tips for a couple of guys on vacation

Myrtle Beach, South...
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Helpful tips for a couple of guys on vacation

I am planning a trip to CR at the end of Sept and beginning of Oct for about 9 days. I am a single 36 year old male and will be traveling with another single guy. I am a poor Spanish speaker but my friend lives in Miami and has minimal/moderate Spanish skills. I chose CR because I have recently begun surfing and would like to spend some (but not all) of my time surfing and improving my skills. I have booked a flight into San Jose and our initial plan is to rent a car, book a couple of nights of accommodations at the very beginning of the trip at some destination and then see where the rest of the trip takes us. I would like to have an idea of some of the options that exist. I am interested in anything that CR has to offer but most specifically I would like to surf, snorkel, and see some nature. I don't mind staying in a "touristy" location and would like to connect with other travelers in their later 20s-30s if possible. Wouldn't mind a couple of days of isolation but I don't want to spend the whole time in complete isolation with just my travel buddy. I am a beginner surfer but can easily catch the smaller waves we have here on the Atlantic on both a long board and recently a shorter 7 ft board, my friend is just learning and has some very basic skills which he wants to improve on. We are both professionals so the budget is flexible but can easily rough it if it leads to further adventure. I like the idea of keeping things open as I would be upset if I booked 3 days of surfing in advance then found out conditions were horrible those days and there was a big swell or better weather in the forecast immediately afterwards. From my understanding the early Oct time is a bit dodgy with the weather but considered the "low season" so I don't anticipate that we will have trouble finding accommodations on the fly.

Some specific questions: What TYPE of vehicle should we rent...is it essential to get a 4x4?

I have looked at the boards and TA website, I like the idea of a surf camp in or around Tamarindo to start the trip but is there something that would be a good stop-over on our drive from SJO?

Is there anything you would recommend is absolutely essential to do during my trip particularly considering the time of year we are traveling?

Are there any in-country resources that you would recommend for us to book a hotel for the next night or is just walking up and asking if a room is available preferable?

My friend is Jewish and needs to find a Shul for Yom Kippur which is Oct 3-4, any recommendations?

We are truly a blank canvas, help me draw some sketches so I can paint a beautiful vacation.

Thanks so much for your time

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Tamarindo
Tamarindo
Province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Witch s Rock Surf Camp
Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
Pablo Surf School
Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
Real Experiences Costa Rica
Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
Secret Spot Costa Rica
Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing, Fishing Charters & Tours
Bermuda
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1. Re: Helpful tips for a couple of guys on vacation

the type of car you should rent depends on the type of vacation you want. the roads between most popular tourist towns are paved, but just about every side road isn't. if you are adventurous and like exploring, even a small 4x4 is a good choice. really you need it for the ground clearance rather than traction. I've had good experiences with adobe, mapache and avis but my favourite is wildrider. perhaps the best advice I can give you is to book direct with the costa rica office and never ever use a middleman like priceline etc.

Portland, Oregon
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2. Re: Helpful tips for a couple of guys on vacation

Hey Man,

I'm a single 28 YO professional guy from Oregon. I'll be traveling to Tamarindo from 10/2 - 10/13, and have booked 7 nights at Witch's Rock Surf Camp from 10/4 - 10/11, which is a pretty reputable camp, and has good reviews on TA. Though I've surfed a couple times before, I'd like to learn properly and focus my energy for a full week on it.

They don't have set date-ranges to take classes, but recommend taking classes Sat - Sat as most other travelers do the same, and you can stay with the same group. Also, according to their website and my correspondence with their team, the majority of travelers are solo travelers, so you shouldn't have issues meeting others as well.

Sounds like you've done some research, so you likely already know that Tamarindo is known for surf and nightlife.

I've never been to Tamarindo or Witch's Rock SC, so this is just the result of my research. However, I have been to CR before, and I would highly recommend checking out Monteverde en route should you decide to go to Tamarindo (or even if you don't). It is beautiful. Skip Arenal - the volcano isn't active anymore, and watching the lava come down the mountain was by far the highlight of that location when I visited back in 2009.

If we have overlap and you're in the area, let me know. I'm always open to meeting other travelers.

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Oregon
Oregon
United States
Tamarindo
Tamarindo
Province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Kingman, Arizona
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3. Re: Helpful tips for a couple of guys on vacation

i think you'll like Tamarindo as well it's a great surf / party / vacation town ... lots of either on the beach or just off the beach lodging options as well as restaurants, cafes, shopping, bars and nightlife...

Another place that I personally love is the Arenal / La Fortuna area with the volcano, hot springs, rain forests, zip lines ect ..

The best advice I can offer to find a Shul for Yom Kippur would be from his local rabbi.

If you have an ipad, i recommend getting the free costa rica travel app from the ICT (official tourism board)

it's filled with high def videos showing the most widely traveled areas here... its free on itunes and there is a link to more info on the ICT homepage at www.visitcostarica.com

pura vida and enjoy,

Randy

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Tamarindo
Tamarindo
Province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Costa Rica
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4. Re: Helpful tips for a couple of guys on vacation

http://www.mavensearch.com/synagogues/C3371

Rochester, New...
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5. Re: Helpful tips for a couple of guys on vacation

We just returned from an 11 days trip to CR. We travelled without 3 kids so I can't speak to any young, singles highlights (that ship has sailed ;) We booked everything through tom Ranieri at Costa Rican Resource (crrtours.com). We had a guide and driver for the whole trip. They recently did a tour with a large Jewish group so they could help with making sure your friend has a good New Year experience. We talked about this a lot with our guide during our trip - we. Didn't have any specific dietary/other needs but were impressed and the level of knowledge at CRR Tours. Especially considering about 80+% of the country is Catholic.

We surfed in Manuel Antonio with Dante's Surf Shop. They were very good. He is reviewed on TA as well. I think Manuel Antonio could be a great home base for you - lots of days trips could be arranged for rafting, beach/surf, he National Park, etc. consider getting a driver rather than renting a car, the driving is pretty treacherous!

6. Re: Helpful tips for a couple of guys on vacation

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Tampa, FL
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for San Jose, Costa Rica
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7. Re: Helpful tips for a couple of guys on vacation

I checked into going to Yom Kippur services in SJ last year and what I found out was not very encouraging. Of the 4 synagogues listed on MavenSearch, I doubt your friend would be interested in Lubavitch. The Sephardic temple might be interesting because most Jewish-Americans are Ashkenazi so it might be very different, however it would probably be in all Spanish & Hebrew. The Orthodox shul is too hardcore for me but your friend might go for that. That left the reform B'nai Israel, which also happens to be, from what I understand, where many gringo expats go for services (and services are tri-lingual). HOWEVER, the problem I ran into when I inquired there was that a) they wanted a ridiculous amount for tickets (they only sold tickets for the whole set of high holy day services even thoughI only wanted to attend 1) and b) they practically wanted blood samples in order for me to reserve (okay, maybe it was only a faxed copy of my passport but they also wanted me to prepay by international wire transfer). Now I realize high holy day services are heavily attended and many places sell tickets, but I've travelled over the holidays to other places before and have always been welcomed very graciously as an out-of-town visitor (without advance tickets) wherever else I've gone (and I've also always donated generously after the services because of it). And I might have gotten over the ridiculous cost they were demanding this time, but having to wire them the money beforehand was just too much for me. Fortunately, it was easier for me in the end to just shift my travel dates and go to services at home. That may not be the case for your friend, or maybe he won't mind paying the high price and jumping through the hoops, or maybe he will contact them and encounter a more accomodating policy than I ran into last year. I can only say that what I ran into left a very bad taste in my mouth.

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Israel
Israel
Middle East
8. Re: Helpful tips for a couple of guys on vacation

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