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Costa Rica Vacation plan in late June and early July



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 28th, 2007, 04:59 PM posted to rec.travel.latin-america
AA
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 18
Default Costa Rica Vacation plan in late June and early July

We are a family of two adults and three kids : 12, 11, and 3. We are
exploring
a trip to Costa Rica. Do we really have to buy a package? We'd rather not
to save some money and be able to do extra activities and/or stay in better
accommodations. Any recommendations
thanks
AL


  #2  
Old May 28th, 2007, 08:40 PM posted to rec.travel.latin-america
Nick and Judy
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 38
Default Costa Rica Vacation plan in late June and early July

A package is not necessary. Allow extra time if you are renting a car,
because what may look like a short distance mileage-wise will take longer
depending on road conditions. Luckily it should be dry that time of year. Do
not miss the canopy tour in Monteverde, worth every penny! Beautiful country
..
"AA" wrote in message
...
We are a family of two adults and three kids : 12, 11, and 3. We are
exploring
a trip to Costa Rica. Do we really have to buy a package? We'd rather
not
to save some money and be able to do extra activities and/or stay in
better
accommodations. Any recommendations
thanks
AL



  #3  
Old May 28th, 2007, 09:36 PM posted to rec.travel.latin-america
Mr. R
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 10
Default Costa Rica Vacation plan in late June and early July

I agree with Nick and Judy. Although Costa Rica, by Central America
standards, is safe and prosperous, the roads can get a little tricky in bad
weather ... particularly the secondary roads.

As for package vacations, I wish more people would only use them in
exceptional circumstances. There are so many excellent resources (travel
books, Internet, etc.) where a great trip can be planned. Not only is it
cheaper ... it's just more fun, and it's the difference between a traveler
and a tourist.

"Nick and Judy" wrote in message
et...
A package is not necessary. Allow extra time if you are renting a car,
because what may look like a short distance mileage-wise will take longer
depending on road conditions. Luckily it should be dry that time of year.
Do not miss the canopy tour in Monteverde, worth every penny! Beautiful
country


"AA" wrote in message
...
We are a family of two adults and three kids : 12, 11, and 3. We are
exploring
a trip to Costa Rica. Do we really have to buy a package? We'd rather
not
to save some money and be able to do extra activities and/or stay in
better
accommodations. Any recommendations
thanks
AL



  #4  
Old May 30th, 2007, 02:54 AM posted to rec.travel.latin-america
k[_1_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 130
Default Costa Rica Vacation plan in late June and early July


"Mr. R" wrote in message
...
I agree with Nick and Judy. Although Costa Rica, by Central America
standards, is safe and prosperous, the roads can get a little tricky in bad
weather ... particularly the secondary roads.

As for package vacations, I wish more people would only use them in
exceptional circumstances. There are so many excellent resources (travel
books, Internet, etc.) where a great trip can be planned. Not only is it
cheaper ... it's just more fun, and it's the difference between a traveler
and a tourist.

Oh my God, do you know how snotty you sound? I haven't heard that hateful
phrase in years. I'M A TRAVELER beats chest not a tourist tourists look
down and try to hide their sobs I take it you deem yourself a 'traveler',
so tell us how many countries you've 'traveled' through without looking at
the sights, staying in the fancy hotels, checking out the local cuisine,
like you would as a tourist. Tourist does NOT mean bus, anymore than
'traveler' means rental car.

Costa Rican roads are pitiful by any standard, in any weather. As a result,
rental cars are expensive, and usually beat up. I drive there without
hesitation, but that's me. We saved a ton once by taking a 'bus' vacation
in CR, meaning the local converted school buses. It was a ball, but we were
young then, and didn't have children in tow. We barely spent what's lunch
money these days.

To the OP, if you can find a tour that's geared to families with kids, and
within your means, by all means take it. Only Mr. R. will look down his
nose at you, and I'm sure you'll all love CR in all its beauty, its people,
and its great food. If you go to Guanacaste, the beaches are great, and you
can rent horses to ride on the beach. Unlike most places, you can actually
run the horses.

Arenal is kind of astounding if you don't already live near a volcano. It
goes off all the time, and you can stay in a facing cabin, where you can
watch the almost constant eruptions from your bed or porch. La Fortuna, at
the base, is a town with an old-west flavor.

By all means, budget in a canopy tour, and there are many. Not cheap, but a
lot of fun and very memorable.

There are also all kinds of day tours - river rafts, birding, jungle hikes,
fishing ... the list goes on.

You can feast on fresh fruit every morning, and native dishes (lots of meat,
fish and rice, and on the salty side) the rest of the time, and if you stick
to local places that's where you'll save big time.

I trust you'll have a great time there as a tourist. We always do, and will
be returning permanently as residents in just a few more years, and we will
not be living in a gated 'community'. Not.

keith


  #5  
Old May 30th, 2007, 03:17 AM posted to rec.travel.latin-america
janerene
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 23
Default Costa Rica Vacation plan in late June and early July

We never rent a car, but have found good transportation everywhere we've
wanted/needed to go in Costa Rica. (We've been there 3 times) When you go
with a driver who knows the area, they can get you there faster because they
know all the back roads (which are unmarked on the maps and have no street
signs). They know where the roads are washed out in rainy season. They
know where the pot holes are--some the size of a Volkswagen! You also don't
have to worry about your car pooping out on you when you are in a more
remote location. When that happens, you are STUCK! We met some folks up
around Arenal that that happened to. The were literally stuck until the
rental company that they had rented from in San Jose decided to bring
another car up. In the meantime, they were liable for the car, if they were
to leave it. You can also find a chatty driver who is more than happy to
tell you about his country. Unless you have unlimited time to try to
navigate the backroads of CR, I'd tell first timers to CR to use a driver,
the buses, and minivans. BTW, Best Westerns have minibuses that go between
all their locations--I think there are 5 around the country. Which ever way
you decide to go though, you will love Costa Rica. Jane

"k" wrote in message
. net...

"Mr. R" wrote in message
...
I agree with Nick and Judy. Although Costa Rica, by Central America
standards, is safe and prosperous, the roads can get a little tricky in
bad weather ... particularly the secondary roads.

As for package vacations, I wish more people would only use them in
exceptional circumstances. There are so many excellent resources (travel
books, Internet, etc.) where a great trip can be planned. Not only is it
cheaper ... it's just more fun, and it's the difference between a
traveler and a tourist.

Oh my God, do you know how snotty you sound? I haven't heard that hateful
phrase in years. I'M A TRAVELER beats chest not a tourist tourists
look down and try to hide their sobs I take it you deem yourself a
'traveler', so tell us how many countries you've 'traveled' through
without looking at the sights, staying in the fancy hotels, checking out
the local cuisine, like you would as a tourist. Tourist does NOT mean
bus, anymore than 'traveler' means rental car.

Costa Rican roads are pitiful by any standard, in any weather. As a
result, rental cars are expensive, and usually beat up. I drive there
without hesitation, but that's me. We saved a ton once by taking a 'bus'
vacation in CR, meaning the local converted school buses. It was a ball,
but we were young then, and didn't have children in tow. We barely spent
what's lunch money these days.

To the OP, if you can find a tour that's geared to families with kids, and
within your means, by all means take it. Only Mr. R. will look down his
nose at you, and I'm sure you'll all love CR in all its beauty, its
people, and its great food. If you go to Guanacaste, the beaches are
great, and you can rent horses to ride on the beach. Unlike most places,
you can actually run the horses.

Arenal is kind of astounding if you don't already live near a volcano. It
goes off all the time, and you can stay in a facing cabin, where you can
watch the almost constant eruptions from your bed or porch. La Fortuna,
at the base, is a town with an old-west flavor.

By all means, budget in a canopy tour, and there are many. Not cheap, but
a lot of fun and very memorable.

There are also all kinds of day tours - river rafts, birding, jungle
hikes, fishing ... the list goes on.

You can feast on fresh fruit every morning, and native dishes (lots of
meat, fish and rice, and on the salty side) the rest of the time, and if
you stick to local places that's where you'll save big time.

I trust you'll have a great time there as a tourist. We always do, and
will be returning permanently as residents in just a few more years, and
we will not be living in a gated 'community'. Not.

keith



  #6  
Old May 30th, 2007, 12:27 PM posted to rec.travel.latin-america
NealR2000[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 5
Default Costa Rica Vacation plan in late June and early July

On May 29, 9:54 pm, "k" wrote:

Oh my God, do you know how snotty you sound? I haven't heard that hateful
phrase in years. I'M A TRAVELER beats chest not a tourist tourists look
down and try to hide their sobs I take it you deem yourself a 'traveler',
so tell us how many countries you've 'traveled' through without looking at
the sights, staying in the fancy hotels, checking out the local cuisine,
like you would as a tourist. Tourist does NOT mean bus, anymore than
'traveler' means rental car.


I think you are the one who is being snotty. Mr. R's response was
fine and not in the least bit offensive. Yours was. He came across
to me as someone who wants to encourage people to travel having done
their own research. Why do you assume that he, and travelers like
him, would somehow miss good hotels and food? Travel books have all
that stuff.

  #7  
Old May 31st, 2007, 12:51 AM posted to rec.travel.latin-america
k[_1_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 130
Default Costa Rica Vacation plan in late June and early July

"NealR2000" wrote in message
ups.com...
On May 29, 9:54 pm, "k" wrote:


I think you are the one who is being snotty. Mr. R's response was
fine and not in the least bit offensive. Yours was. He came across
to me as someone who wants to encourage people to travel having done
their own research. Why do you assume that he, and travelers like
him, would somehow miss good hotels and food? Travel books have all
that stuff.

Sorry, but Mr. R describes a tourist, then claims travelers are somehow
better and would never do what a tourist does. It makes no sense, and it's
a phrase that's been banned from all the good travel magazines. Travel is
the part where you waste time in airports, sit in cramped planes and buses
and trains, and go from point A to point B, where you become a tourist if
you do anything else at all. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a
tourist, and there is nothing at all wrong with the people who choose to go
on group tours. Nothing.

We prefer solo travel, but will often take a tour to somewhere new,
especially somewhere with a language we can't decipher, which describes most
of Asia. If we go back to a place, it's on our own. A lot of the fun of
going places is meeting people, and you will never do that if you're already
viewing them with disdain because they're 'tourists' and you're somehow
better than that.

Mr R advised against being a tourist, and offered nothing useful. I made
several suggestions and comments about my favorite country. I guess I'm
just not accustomed to being talked down to by elitists like Mr. R, but if
that's your thing, go for it.


  #8  
Old May 31st, 2007, 07:48 AM posted to rec.travel.latin-america
AA
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 18
Default Costa Rica Vacation plan in late June and early July

I appreciate the input received so far, but I wished we could get more
guidance and advice than criticizing each other.
thanks


"k" wrote in message
et...
"NealR2000" wrote in message
ups.com...
On May 29, 9:54 pm, "k" wrote:


I think you are the one who is being snotty. Mr. R's response was
fine and not in the least bit offensive. Yours was. He came across
to me as someone who wants to encourage people to travel having done
their own research. Why do you assume that he, and travelers like
him, would somehow miss good hotels and food? Travel books have all
that stuff.

Sorry, but Mr. R describes a tourist, then claims travelers are somehow
better and would never do what a tourist does. It makes no sense, and
it's a phrase that's been banned from all the good travel magazines.
Travel is the part where you waste time in airports, sit in cramped planes
and buses and trains, and go from point A to point B, where you become a
tourist if you do anything else at all. There is absolutely nothing wrong
with being a tourist, and there is nothing at all wrong with the people
who choose to go on group tours. Nothing.

We prefer solo travel, but will often take a tour to somewhere new,
especially somewhere with a language we can't decipher, which describes
most of Asia. If we go back to a place, it's on our own. A lot of the
fun of going places is meeting people, and you will never do that if
you're already viewing them with disdain because they're 'tourists' and
you're somehow better than that.

Mr R advised against being a tourist, and offered nothing useful. I made
several suggestions and comments about my favorite country. I guess I'm
just not accustomed to being talked down to by elitists like Mr. R, but if
that's your thing, go for it.




  #9  
Old June 1st, 2007, 12:56 AM posted to rec.travel.latin-america
k[_1_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 130
Default Costa Rica Vacation plan in late June and early July

I guess I'm not sure what your questions are. Yes, you can save some money
by doing the trip on your own, but how much you'll save is an unknown.

I just looked at car rental prices for the last two wks of June, and right
now Europcar is the best, with a RAV-4 for US$221, and I believe you'll be
stuck with $15-20 per day for mandatory insurance. That should be a good
vehicle for your family. You can get out from under the mandatory insurance
if your credit card provides it.

At Arenal you can get a 2-bedroom cottage for a night or two, You'll have
to look into specific hotels to see if a 2-bedroom suite is more or less
than just getting two rooms. Food is inexpensive, and depending on how
you're willing to eat it, it can be downright cheap.

So, without going totally el-cheapo, the five of you should do okay on $200
most days for room and board. That will buy rooms at a decent place, and
three square meals. I just noticed that you have a 12-yr old, so figure a
bit more for that one, if he/she is anything like ours at that age.

What might make a tour more appealing to you are the things you'll do on a
tour. Yes, you can take all the same boat rides, jungle tours and the like
on your own, but they're pricey if you do it yourself. A typical tour
includes at least a jungle boat ride and a canopy tour, another boat for
birding near the coast, and visits to volcanos. On your own those could add
up to serious money. Tours often also include things you can't do on your
own, such as farm or home visits. As someone else mentioned, Costa Rica is
not the easiest place to navigate. Major roads are kept in decent
condition, but the trucks in front of you won't be, so even short distances
on good roads can take long, and become very aggravating. Secondary roads
on the Pacific side are usually in good repair, but you often have to guess
where you're going. On the Caribbean side the roads tend to be awful, as
are most unpaved roads in the country.

Our second and third trips there were with tours, and we learned enough to
keep going back on our own, but we usually stay at one of several
destinations and kind of park there. We wouldn't know these places and our
friends there if we hadn't visited first on tours. (Our very first trip was
as backpackers, and we rode the bus everywhere we couldn't walk. We didn't
learn much, except that the climate, people, and food were to our liking.)

You don't mention where you're coming from, either, and there are now
international flights into the airport at Guanacaste, so if you want a beach
vacation you can check out flights into there.

If you're city lovers, San Jose doesn't promise a lot, but it's nice enough.
There is a gold museum under Plaza de la Cultura, that is very neat indeed,
and probably the best museum in the country. Watch your step on all but the
main sidewalks, because the rest are maintened by the same folks who take
care of the back roads, and it's very easy to trip and fall.

You have to balance some things when deciding whether to take a tour or do
it on your own. If you hate the idea of touring, then go for it on your
own.

It's your first time there, and possibly even to that part of the world,
then a tour makes a whole lot of things easier. The downside to tours is
that they will always include things you probably wouldn't do on your own.
In CR these days, that will include a visit to Sarchi, which is famed for
its oxcarts. The tradition and fame are real and deserved, but the
presentation these days is bogus for the most part.

On our first trip, the Sarchi oxcarts were still in demand and we saw the
craftsmen putting them together. Even then we saw some that were being sold
with extras, like slide-out bars and plumbing for a wet bar. You probably
wouldn't want an oxcart anyhow, so they sold all kinds of beautiful wood and
leather goods. They still do, but now the tags say made in Philippines, the
leather isn't real, and you can save the better part of a day by not
stopping. It's gone from good and interesting to pure hokum.

Look at some of the tours available on the Internet. Most are inexpensive,
and you can compare to what you'd spend on your own. Of course, if you just
want a beach vacation, then Guanacaste is probably your best bet. There are
many miles of unspoilt beaches in many different communities. You'll want
to keep an eye on your kids, because the surf can be tough, but it's simply
gorgeous - California with warm water, if you will.

Have I answered the questions you haven't asked yet?

You will love Costa Rica regardless of your mode of travel. Your only
disappointment will likely be the amount of litter along the roads in such a
'green' country, but taking out the trash doesn't seem to be a habit that's
taken hold yet.

Keith


"AA" wrote in message
news
I appreciate the input received so far, but I wished we could get more
guidance and advice than criticizing each other.
thanks


"k" wrote in message
et...
"NealR2000" wrote in message
ups.com...
On May 29, 9:54 pm, "k" wrote:


I think you are the one who is being snotty. Mr. R's response was
fine and not in the least bit offensive. Yours was. He came across
to me as someone who wants to encourage people to travel having done
their own research. Why do you assume that he, and travelers like
him, would somehow miss good hotels and food? Travel books have all
that stuff.

Sorry, but Mr. R describes a tourist, then claims travelers are somehow
better and would never do what a tourist does. It makes no sense, and
it's a phrase that's been banned from all the good travel magazines.
Travel is the part where you waste time in airports, sit in cramped
planes and buses and trains, and go from point A to point B, where you
become a tourist if you do anything else at all. There is absolutely
nothing wrong with being a tourist, and there is nothing at all wrong
with the people who choose to go on group tours. Nothing.

We prefer solo travel, but will often take a tour to somewhere new,
especially somewhere with a language we can't decipher, which describes
most of Asia. If we go back to a place, it's on our own. A lot of the
fun of going places is meeting people, and you will never do that if
you're already viewing them with disdain because they're 'tourists' and
you're somehow better than that.

Mr R advised against being a tourist, and offered nothing useful. I made
several suggestions and comments about my favorite country. I guess I'm
just not accustomed to being talked down to by elitists like Mr. R, but
if that's your thing, go for it.






  #10  
Old June 1st, 2007, 02:21 AM posted to rec.travel.latin-america
AA
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 18
Default Costa Rica Vacation plan in late June and early July

The most informative so far. I thank you so much. You made me start
contemplating between self guided vacation or a tour.
Do you have any recommendation for tours?
Thanks
AA

"k" wrote in message
news
I guess I'm not sure what your questions are. Yes, you can save some money
by doing the trip on your own, but how much you'll save is an unknown.

I just looked at car rental prices for the last two wks of June, and right
now Europcar is the best, with a RAV-4 for US$221, and I believe you'll be
stuck with $15-20 per day for mandatory insurance. That should be a good
vehicle for your family. You can get out from under the mandatory
insurance if your credit card provides it.

At Arenal you can get a 2-bedroom cottage for a night or two, You'll have
to look into specific hotels to see if a 2-bedroom suite is more or less
than just getting two rooms. Food is inexpensive, and depending on how
you're willing to eat it, it can be downright cheap.

So, without going totally el-cheapo, the five of you should do okay on
$200 most days for room and board. That will buy rooms at a decent place,
and three square meals. I just noticed that you have a 12-yr old, so
figure a bit more for that one, if he/she is anything like ours at that
age.

What might make a tour more appealing to you are the things you'll do on a
tour. Yes, you can take all the same boat rides, jungle tours and the
like on your own, but they're pricey if you do it yourself. A typical
tour includes at least a jungle boat ride and a canopy tour, another boat
for birding near the coast, and visits to volcanos. On your own those
could add up to serious money. Tours often also include things you can't
do on your own, such as farm or home visits. As someone else mentioned,
Costa Rica is not the easiest place to navigate. Major roads are kept in
decent condition, but the trucks in front of you won't be, so even short
distances on good roads can take long, and become very aggravating.
Secondary roads on the Pacific side are usually in good repair, but you
often have to guess where you're going. On the Caribbean side the roads
tend to be awful, as are most unpaved roads in the country.

Our second and third trips there were with tours, and we learned enough to
keep going back on our own, but we usually stay at one of several
destinations and kind of park there. We wouldn't know these places and
our friends there if we hadn't visited first on tours. (Our very first
trip was as backpackers, and we rode the bus everywhere we couldn't walk.
We didn't learn much, except that the climate, people, and food were to
our liking.)

You don't mention where you're coming from, either, and there are now
international flights into the airport at Guanacaste, so if you want a
beach vacation you can check out flights into there.

If you're city lovers, San Jose doesn't promise a lot, but it's nice
enough. There is a gold museum under Plaza de la Cultura, that is very
neat indeed, and probably the best museum in the country. Watch your step
on all but the main sidewalks, because the rest are maintened by the same
folks who take care of the back roads, and it's very easy to trip and
fall.

You have to balance some things when deciding whether to take a tour or do
it on your own. If you hate the idea of touring, then go for it on your
own.

It's your first time there, and possibly even to that part of the world,
then a tour makes a whole lot of things easier. The downside to tours is
that they will always include things you probably wouldn't do on your own.
In CR these days, that will include a visit to Sarchi, which is famed for
its oxcarts. The tradition and fame are real and deserved, but the
presentation these days is bogus for the most part.

On our first trip, the Sarchi oxcarts were still in demand and we saw the
craftsmen putting them together. Even then we saw some that were being
sold with extras, like slide-out bars and plumbing for a wet bar. You
probably wouldn't want an oxcart anyhow, so they sold all kinds of
beautiful wood and leather goods. They still do, but now the tags say
made in Philippines, the leather isn't real, and you can save the better
part of a day by not stopping. It's gone from good and interesting to
pure hokum.

Look at some of the tours available on the Internet. Most are
inexpensive, and you can compare to what you'd spend on your own. Of
course, if you just want a beach vacation, then Guanacaste is probably
your best bet. There are many miles of unspoilt beaches in many different
communities. You'll want to keep an eye on your kids, because the surf
can be tough, but it's simply gorgeous - California with warm water, if
you will.

Have I answered the questions you haven't asked yet?

You will love Costa Rica regardless of your mode of travel. Your only
disappointment will likely be the amount of litter along the roads in such
a 'green' country, but taking out the trash doesn't seem to be a habit
that's taken hold yet.

Keith


"AA" wrote in message
news
I appreciate the input received so far, but I wished we could get more
guidance and advice than criticizing each other.
thanks


"k" wrote in message
et...
"NealR2000" wrote in message
ups.com...
On May 29, 9:54 pm, "k" wrote:


I think you are the one who is being snotty. Mr. R's response was
fine and not in the least bit offensive. Yours was. He came across
to me as someone who wants to encourage people to travel having done
their own research. Why do you assume that he, and travelers like
him, would somehow miss good hotels and food? Travel books have all
that stuff.

Sorry, but Mr. R describes a tourist, then claims travelers are somehow
better and would never do what a tourist does. It makes no sense, and
it's a phrase that's been banned from all the good travel magazines.
Travel is the part where you waste time in airports, sit in cramped
planes and buses and trains, and go from point A to point B, where you
become a tourist if you do anything else at all. There is absolutely
nothing wrong with being a tourist, and there is nothing at all wrong
with the people who choose to go on group tours. Nothing.

We prefer solo travel, but will often take a tour to somewhere new,
especially somewhere with a language we can't decipher, which describes
most of Asia. If we go back to a place, it's on our own. A lot of the
fun of going places is meeting people, and you will never do that if
you're already viewing them with disdain because they're 'tourists' and
you're somehow better than that.

Mr R advised against being a tourist, and offered nothing useful. I
made several suggestions and comments about my favorite country. I
guess I'm just not accustomed to being talked down to by elitists like
Mr. R, but if that's your thing, go for it.








 




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