We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

First time to Costa Rica! Need advice.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
603 posts
72 reviews
Save Topic
First time to Costa Rica! Need advice.

We will be flying into San Jose for a week stay.

We are regular travelers to the Yucatan Peninsula, have also been to Ambergris Caye, Belize and Roatan Honduras and loved it.

About our likes/dislikes:

We've done Eco resorts and loved it, but we're on a budget for this trip, maybe $1k for the week stay for two adults. Looking for safe, clean lodging, something quaint. We don't need television, phone or fancy amenities, but would like something comfortable, I'm assuming we'd want air conditioning for the month of May or June??? Something in close proximity to restaurants and things to do. We aren't into the all-inclusive or large resort feel, but don't mind the occassional drink poolside with a good book, and mingling with the locals. Something with a balcony to enjoy a view would be nice, though we are used to beach vacations, this obviously isn't it, so I'm looking for suggestions and ideas.

We are a bit adventurous, but try to blend in with the locals as much as possible, and safety is a priority. Recommendations?

What should we do while we're there???? Local food is a must, we also like zip line tours, jungle tours (I'd love to see exotic animals), enjoying our coffee in the morning in a quaint setting, and getting a real taste of the local culture. Nothing "americanized" please. If I'm traveling this far, I don't want to hear American music at my hotel! LOL.

Are travelers checks a necessity? What is the currency?

Tell me what you like, and why. Thanks much.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
50,307 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: First time to Costa Rica! Need advice.

Hi Kim...if you are looking for Mountain...Arenal Volcano area could be that place...is about what you are looking for...and is about 3 hours drive from San Jose...it is a small hotel there that fit your description Hotel El Sesteo...about 5 minutes to town and restaurants...walking...nice pool...nice bungalows...and good deal...

If you are looking for beach...Manuel Antonio...about 3 hours from SJO...Hotel La Posada Inn, Inn On the Park, Hotel Cabinas Espadillas they also fit what you are looking for!

You can rent a car and drive to either place!

Just buckle up and enjoy the ride in PARADISE!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
603 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: First time to Costa Rica! Need advice.

Thanks Roadadvisor. I know my husband wants to see the Volcano, but a beach would also be nice too. Is there any transportation (other than flying or driving yourself) from San Jose to Manuel Antonio? Will taxis go that far? LOL. I suppose I'm reaching for the stars....

Edited: 12:06 am, January 21, 2010
Winnipeg, Canada
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
7,829 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: First time to Costa Rica! Need advice.

Kim,

Arenal and Manuel Antonio are around 5 hours apart. You can take a scheduled shuttle like Interbus or else hire a driver.

http://www.interbusonline.com

The currency of Costa Rica is the colon. The current exchange rate is about 550 to the dollar. (It has been up to over 580 but fluctuates) But US $ are widely accepted. These days travellers cheques are not recommended. Lots of places don't like them, so you may have to end up having to go to a bank to cash them. There are lots of ATMs

For more details on transportation and money matters, I suggest you have a look at the Top Questions for Costa Rica at the top right of the page of the Costa Rica forum.

Given the places you have visited, are you divers? If so, although you can dive in CR, it is not supposed to compare with some of the other places you list.

You may however hear some American music - combined with Latin music all over Costa Rica. Some people consider Manuel Antonio quite Americanized. I personally like it. We eat at local sodas and spend time in Quepos, the town nearby. And there are no McDonalds or Pizza Huts in the MA area and no strip full of high rise hotels. So I think it is all relative.

pura vida

raquel

Pensacola, Florida
Level Contributor
12,945 posts
54 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: First time to Costa Rica! Need advice.

For more exotic best wildlife head for the Osa

www.corcovado.org

www.loookout-inn.com

www.jinetesdeosa.com

in adittion to excellent suggestions above.

Pensacola, Florida
Level Contributor
12,945 posts
54 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: First time to Costa Rica! Need advice.

www.lookout-inn.com oops

6. Re: First time to Costa Rica! Need advice.

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12:17 am, July 21, 2010