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First time to CR, Caribbean Side in August?

New York
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944 posts
200 reviews
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First time to CR, Caribbean Side in August?

Good afternoon,

I will be traveling to CR very shortly and have been advised to avoid the Pacific Coast, Manuel Antonio, and the Volcano Arenal during the time of our visit (August 16-22) due to the rainy weather.

Is the Caribbean Coast an OK alternative for a first-time visitor? Any suggestions for a 6-day visit? Is transport relatively easy from San Jose? Thank you in advance.

Quintana Roo, Mexico
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1. Re: First time to CR, Caribbean Side in August?

September and October are the most beautiful months in the Caribbean side. If you're going in mid Aug, I would expect a little bit of rain. We were there in late Oct last year and most of the time was sunny and hot, and then shower at night to cool off everything.

There are lots of nice beaches in the Caribbean side. Lots of surfers. You can do some nature hike, visit the Jaguar Rescue Center, Sloth Sanctuary, hire a guide to take you to Bribri to see how natives live (and try their freshly made chocolate!).

From San Jose to Puerto Viejo there are buses, shared shuttle (I recommend http://geckotrail.com/transport.htm) and you can also hire private driver (I recommend http://www.tucanlimoservices.com).

Slovenia
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2. Re: First time to CR, Caribbean Side in August?

Even in dry season, Caribbean side is my favorite. More so in rainy season. September and October are driest months on Caribbean side, and also late August has mostly sunny days (at least ours were).

Tortuguero and Cahuita/Puerto Viejo are a great combination. Or you can even throw in a rafting on Pacuare River being dropped off in Puerto Viejo. Or visit Irazu and/or Turrialba on your way to Puerto Viejo. But that one would require renting a car.

In short, yes, Caribbean side is much better choice then Pacific side. No hot springs but plenty of other activities. I am sure that nothing can compare to kayaking in the Gandoca lagoon (if lucky one can even see a manatee). two national parks (Cahuita and Gandoca-Manzanillo) plus Tortuguero, plenty of wildlife and nature. Good vibe and some nightlife in Puerto Viejo. Also a notch less expensive then either Arenal or Manuel Antonio.

You can fit the Irazu on your way back from Caribbean side, but only if you will take a specified tour/private driver, or you will have a rental car.

New York
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3. Re: First time to CR, Caribbean Side in August?

We have settled on the Caribbean side, yes!

Next question:

Do we stay in Puerto Viejo or Cahuita? With only three days I feel like we could arrange transport to Cahuita. P.V.

We would like to be near a strip where we can easily stroll around and not be in an area too remote.

Thanks so much!

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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4. Re: First time to CR, Caribbean Side in August?

Tough decision. Cahuita is much smaller yet it has much better beaches nearer to village, and walk-in national park. Puerto Viejo has more to offer, better night life. Just chose one, you will return for more.

Atlanta, GA
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5. Re: First time to CR, Caribbean Side in August?

I'd probably go for something in Puerto Viejo, simply because there;'s more to walk (or bike - bike rentals are cheap and everyone tools around on bikes down there) to in the immediate vicinity. Day trips are easy to arrange to Cahuita for the national park and snorkeling, and its maybe 30-40 min north of PV.

New York
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6. Re: First time to CR, Caribbean Side in August?

We are deliberating between the Lotus Gardens, the Lizard King, and Exotica Lodge. All have similar reviews, and seem to be very low-frills, which is fine with us. We just want hot water and maybe A/C.

Anyone have any personal knowledge of these inns?

Punta Uva, Costa...
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7. Re: First time to CR, Caribbean Side in August?

If you stay in town, you might want to check out http://www.hotelguarana.com/ or http://www.cabinascasaverde.com/ . But I prefer to stay in Cocles and points South where is quieter and better beaches and wildlife viewing. Due take a taxi at night to get around.

8. Re: First time to CR, Caribbean Side in August?

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