I want to travel for a long weekend to Costa Rica. I will be travelling alone and am interested in an active vacation. Any recommendations?
that's certainly a wide open question. what exactly is a 'long weekend'? the travel time back and forth from new york would make a 3-4 day trip feel rather quick.
if you are a 'beach' type person - then i might suggest you fly into the liberia airport and park it somewhere in the northern pacific region. while i'm not personally familiar with the area - there are many posts at this site with plenty of details for you.
if you'd like a little peace and quiet you might fly into san jose and head to the arenal area. another beach area not too far - and when i say 'not too far' that means not much more than a 5 hour drive! :) - is the manuel antonio area. plenty of beauty, hotels, things to do.
it's hard to go wrong in costa rica. just keep reading and i'm sure you'll get some great ideas! good luck!
How about a little more info about yourself and your interests? WHEN will you be going? How old are you and in what type of condition? Male or Female? Beach person or mountain person? Are you interested in nightlife or getting up at the crack of dawn to go touring? What's your rough budget (1-5 stars)? etc. etc.
Since you don't really have time to travel to different regions, your first decision is where to base your stay. If you have a special interest in beach/ocean activities, then SJ would not be your best choice. Similarly if you wanted to concentrate on the Cloudforest you might want to just go to Monteverde. Or if you had to get some time in soaking in some hot springs and were primarily interested in hoping to see an active volcano then the Arenal/Fortuna area would be better.
Some common active activities include white water rafting (my own favorite) and zip-line tours. Some others are horseback riding, ATV tours, mountain biking (another fav, mostly DOWN the volcanos and very fast), surfing, scuba diving, sportfishing. Obviously the last 3 will be more easily done from a coastal base, but the other activities and many more can be done just about anywhere. Is that what you meant by active vacation? Or did mean just mean driving around the countryside in a tourist van listening to a tourguide rather than just sitting on your duff on the beach the whole time?
Since you'll probably be flying in through the main airport outside of SJ and can do most of the activities as day trips out of the SJ area and since the central valley area offers the widest range of hotels, restaurants and possibly nightlife if you're so inclined, it will probably be your simplest option for so short a trip. Some people don't recommend staying in SJ itself since it is not the most attractive city in the world, but I don't think it's really that bad. If you rent a car you're definitely better off staying outside the city itself. However, for just a few days, you don't really need a car as most tours will pick you up at your hotel. If you stay in the city, most cabrides won't cost you more than $2. Still, unless you like the pace of the urban environment, you'll probably find the more natural setting of one of the nearby surrounding areas more to your liking.
One last tip, until you give me more to work on, since you're time is so limited you might want to consider what they call a 4-in-1 tour or a all-in-1 tour that packs several of these activities into one day. Its not the best way to see but will give you the broadest overview in the shortest time.
Another possible advantage of just basing your short stay in SJ is that you'll also get the widest range of choices in hotels, restaurants and nightlife. In the city, cabs are cheap and
I will be arriving in San Jose on 2/16, and am curious about the weather. A book said that temperatures at night average 55. Thus, what kind of clothes must a person wear -- heavy sweaters and long pants? I assume the daytime calls for shorts and summer tops. Thanks.
I am also traveling alone,Mar 1-10, staying at Hermosa Beach, 40ish female looking for ziplines, horses, snorkeling, sailing, and white-water rafting. Have done my home work! Will try to to squeeze in a volcano evening with hot mud baths and a glowing photographic spectacle, but will not be too disapointed if there's not time for these over just sitting in the sun,
So, which are your days of single travel, and what in the world to you like to do or see? I am a bit of a decider, not a leader , as such, I just say "I'm going there tomorow, care to join me, this is how I''ll play it for the day>"
So, let me know what you think of Karen Costa Rican Adventure Style. You're more than welcome to split the cost of the 3 star 2 queen-bed room I've rented and the lovely sailboat I've chartered for a couple of sunset cruises with snorkleling which will give you back some of what you might have otherwise spent on your own & you've just saved more to spend in booze and wine while you're there.
MArch 1-19-PLAYA HERMOSA
If you're game, come on along,Boys, girls, I have a simple room with 2 queen beds, will not need the room very much, I'm guessing. Share all expenses needing to be shared, shared all experiences willing to be shared, live enjoy-- Adventure, on the level between horsebackriding and zip-lining the canopy tours... think about joining me on Karen's CostaCosta RicaRicaVacation, watch her as she returns to the Pacific Northwest from ONE Beautimous vacation with NO crutches and NO major injuries, with R&R and major suntan making up the major highlights of this trip.
She will then, with newfound friends, be worn out bones and will be able to get home without the aid of some sucky medical device.
So, that's my post about Costa Rica and my trip. That's what there is to do.
Kcabo, sounds as though you have it all together. I wish I could change my dates to join you. Have a great trip!
I will be there March 9-12. Im looking definitely for a more physical vacation. I plan to stay in San Jose and the 4 n1 tour sounds great. Is there a lot of opportunity for hiking during this tour? I also planned on going rafting and must admit this canopy tour has peaked my interest.
I would like to enjoy some nightlife while I am there but am not sure how safe it is? And thanks to everyone for their advice thus far!
There is so much to do, you should have no problem planning an awesome trip. You could be a little more specific, though, if you're looking for suggestions in this forum. The more specific, the better, like what kind of hotel you want to stay in, do you like the beach or the mountains, etc. People like to help here, just need to know what to help you with! Have a great trip!
BTW-My CORRECT travel dates are March 1-10th-I saw my typo after I had posted.
Mac, a travel piece says to be very careful in San Jose at night. Travel by taxi as much as possible, and carry only enough money to get by, leaving credit cards, etc., in your room's safe.
Still don't know your age bracket (or spanish speaking ability), so not sure what sort of nightlife you might be looking for. I go out at night in SJ all the time but I'm a large streetwise spanish speaking (more or less) guy. It might not be the safest for a unaccompanied woman. Most tourists don't go to CR for the nightlife anyway and rise early in the morning for various tours or daytime activities. If you're planning a very active 3-4 days, you'll probably not have the inclination to go out at the end of the day for much more than a nice dinner. Most of the hottest places don't even really start to get going until after 10:30-11PM which will probably past your bed time if you have to be ready to be picked up at 7AM the next morning. If you must burn the candle at both ends, one place I'd recommend is the Jazz Cafe in San Pedro. If you leave after the first show, you might not oversleep the next morning. If you go to a beach area like Tamarindo or Jaco there might be more nightlife geared to fellow tourists which might be more your speed
The 4-in-1 does not feature much extra hiking opportunities. There simply isn't enough time. You might be able to squeeze in an extra 15-30 minute walk during your lunch break at either La Paz or Sarapiqui, but one thing you don't want to do is return to the van late and keep everyone else waiting (you also don't want to do that in the morning when you get picked up if you were out late the night before). Believe me though, by the time you return to SJ in the late late afternoon or early evening you will have had your fill.
The various canopy tours often feature as much hiking as actual airtime. The tours themselves usually only run 2-3 hours. the larger variable is how long it might take to get to the tour site depending on where you base yourself. Figure you will get back early to mid afternoon allowing time to relax or explore around your hotel be it in the country or in the city. SJ actually offers a few interesting sites if you're in the area and have time to kill.
The raft trips also offer as much drive time as river time (thats okay though because the scenery along the way to the river is real nice). That will also probably put you back late in the afternoon and ready for a nap.
BTW, I've also seen a active version of the 4-in-1 tour featuring zipline, rafting, horseback riding and hiking all in 1 day. Since its all in the same area and you're doing it all at once, you'll spend much less total time just driving back and forth to get to various locations. OTOH, because you're squeezing more into just one day you'll have less combined time for all the activities. Overall you'll have less air/water/saddle time then if you did those things spread over several days but not as much less time as you would think. The other negative is that because the activities are all done out of the same base location they may not be the best example of what the various activities would be like on tours that go to the best places for their specific activities. Still it is something toconsider if you're really pressed on time and want to squeeze at least a little of everything into just a couple of days. This one also starts very early and arrives back after dark.
If you're really physically fit and really up for active sports, I'd recommend one of the mountain bike trips. I'll be honest with you, though I'm in reasonably good shape, I found some of the uphill stretches were very challenging due to the thin air at 3000m. However, the routes are mostly downhill and flying down a twisty mountain road at speeds up to 60km/hr is a thrill that can not be surpassed (IMHO, it makes rafting and ziplining seem ho-hum).
One thing I would not recommend though is doing a DAY trip from SJ to Arenal/Tabacon. Thats 3-4 hours driving EACH way or 7-8 hours out of your day just getting to and from there. If you really want to include that in your itinerary, you should definitely just go there and stay at least one night. You could do your raft trip on the way there (or back). And there are several canopy/zipline/hanging bridges tours just in that immediate area saving you a lot of drive time for that activity. There are also hiking and horseback riding opportunities there. For nightlife there is soaking in the hot springs and, if you're very lucky and its clear enough, watching the glowing volcano/lava flows
Thank you all for your advice, again it was very helpful. Are there any tour companies you would recommend over the other?