Costa Rica Travel Blog

Information, News, and more about traveling in Costa Rica

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Costa Rica Travel: Cano Negro Wildlife/Rara Avis

I went to Rara Avis last year. It was another great trip to Costa Rica, and I loved it. The tractor ride is an adventure and hard to describe, the accommodations are clean and the food is great. It is very remote, no electricity, and the stay in the rivers edge cabin is very private (ok this may not be great for everyone), watch for the anteater on the trail to the cabin. I was awakened every morning by the toucans flying over, and I went to the great water fall every day. Great hiking trails. I could go on and on about my adventure there. I'm planning on returning to Costa Rica in Jan. 2006, and want to go some where different, but Rara avis keeps coming to mind and I am having trouble finding a place to go that will top it.

The Caño Negro Wildlife area is a great area. If you want to see all of it go to Los Chiles, there are always some cabins available. Rent a little boat for the next day and enter the area about seven in the morning and you can see a lot of birds, monkeys, sloths, Caymans (from the baby's to the big ones) and return in the afternoon. You can lunch in the little village inside Caño Negro for little money. It is one of my favorite places to go.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Some info about San Jose in Costa Rica

San Jose can be hot during the day, but since it is a pretty good distance above sea level it can get chilly as well. Jeans and sweatshirts are a good idea to have. Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.

Depending on what you plan to do is how much money you will need to bring. If you just want to chill, check out the museums and parks, you won't need much. If you go out gambling and to the discos, the figure is about 2/3 of what you would spend in the US. If you go on Volcano tours or the like, you are looking at $50-$100 per tour.

If you are traveling with a group you should be fine but if you wander out alone try and stay away from the Coca Cola terminal. It's an entire area where most bus stations are and is known for crime. If you have to go there, no big deal, just don't let any of your belongings out of site and try to go during daylight.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Costa Rica: 4 Days in Monteverde/Arenal volcano area

Depends on the length of your trip, but if your time is limited then 2 days in Monteverde will be enough. One day you can spend in the Moneverde preserve and next day you can do canopy tour and sky walk since they are next to each other and the road is horrible - you don't want to go to this direction twice!!! You will still have time to visit Snakes, Butterflies, and frog exhibitions if you are interested. For Arenal, one day is enough to see the volcano. You gotta see its erruption over night though - it is amazing.

Take enough time for travelling. Some friends and I took the route San Jose, Alajuela, Sarchi, Zarcero, Fortuna, Arenal, Tilaran, Monteverde. Roads are bad and they get worse as you approach Monteverde. Last 25 km are bumpy gravel road.

When you are done with Monteverde, you continue your trip south from Santa Elena towards Puntarenas. Same here, first 25km are gravel, it gets better and faster later.

From Puntarenas to Jaco it is a highway and you are there in less than 1 1/2 hours. Make sure you stop at the Tarcoles bridge to see the crocodiles.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Having a Costa Rica Honeymoon in November?

November is the end of the rainy season in Costa Rica. You should be able to go anywhere in the country and experience good weather. Also, Dec-Mar is tourist (dry) season and when hotel rates go up.

Costa Rica is about adventure, nature, and although there are some wonderful beaches, they are not as calm or as blue as you will find in some Caribbean destinations.

Some of the excellent all inclusive resorts in Costa Rica include :

Four Seasons in Papagayo (northwest Pacific beaches)
http://www.fourseasons.com/costarica/index.html

Paradisus Playa Conchal (northwest Pacific beaches)
http://www.solmelia.com/sol/hoteles/jsp/CHome.jsp?idSolRes=5891

Si Como No (central Pacific beaches ...specifically Manuel Antonio)
http://www.sicomono.com/

There are many others obviously but these are examples of first class resorts in really nice areas.

I would suggest that you consider the activities you want to include in your trip to identify which part of the country you want to visit. There are active volcanoes, beautiful waterfalls with swimming holes, world class white water rafting, canopy tours (zip lines through the tree tops of the rain forests), hiking in cool weather due to elevation, hiking in heat (sea level), and plenty of opportunities to experience monkeys, butterflies, sloths, reptiles, birds of all types and so on.

Here is a page containing national parks on a map showing information about each and where they are located.

http://www.fun-costa-rica-vacations.com/costa-rica-national-parks.html

Have a fun vacation and honeymoon!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Corcovado National Park: camping in Corcovado

You can visit and camp within the park system 2 ways, from the north and from the south. I recommend the south via carate, this route is less exhausting, and as the ranger stations are closer together. If you want to stay at Sirena the largest ranger station in the centre and use that as a base camp for day treks you must book this in advance, you can do this easily at Puerto Jimenez office and the rangers there will show you the route and advise on transport to carate, (cheap n easy) you can sometimes arrange food at sirena /and accommodation. (Not always check first) otherwise you must carry all your food and tent for your stay!! . I must warn you that if you are traveling by yourself, your backpack will be very heavy and the temperatures rarely go below 30 degrees and a lot of the first part of the trek are on deep sand in the full sun! I always use a jungle hammock with built in fly/mosquito net, it is very light and extremely comfy. I can not convey to you enough of just what a special and wonderful place Corcovado park is, its worth the mud, rain, and mosquitoes! If you are feeling adventurous, here is a tip, wade through the shallow stream at sirena at night with a torch and you will see baby caimen, fish-eating bats, and poison dart frogs, maybe even a jungle cat!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Suggestions for a 10 day stay in Costa Rica

A typical first timer visit to CR which would include an active volcano, cloud forest, rain forest, beach would be, Fortuna (Arenal Volcano), Monteverde (cloud forest), Manuel Antonio (quepos). These places would be pretty much finished with the rainy season by the end of Nov. It lasts a little longer the further south you go (Osa). The Osa is my favorite place but it is difficult to get to. Flying is the quickest. Pearl of the Osa is a reasonably priced place to stay just outside of Pto Jimenez.
Regarding transportation. Depends on your budget, lots of options. Fantasy Bus and Interbus are around $25 per trip. Local buses are pretty good and very inexpensive. Monteverdeinfo.com has a bus schedule.
Getting to Monteverde from Arenal can be done one of 3 ways. One is by bus/car (5hrs). One is by jeep/boat/jeep where you take a 4x4 jeep and then a boat across lake Arenal and then another 4x4 up through the mountain (3hrs) and the last option would be by horse (3hrs).
Any time you are in the mountains it can rain or be cool and windy. Monteverde can be anywhere from 55 degrees to about 75 degrees. Up there it can be raining in the cloud forest but dry as dust in the town. Taxis most places in CR are pretty plentiful and not terribly expensive.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

White Water Rafting and Beach Advice

I have done a trip on the Pacuare. If you plan to do some rafting you have to do the Pacuare.It is an absolutely beautiful river. The Pacuare is in the central mountain area so you can really go to any beach area from there and its still a drive/ride and a half. Rios Tropicales is a very good outfit I have done a one day and an overnight trip with them. Costa Rica Expeditions is another good company as well as Aventuras Naturales. My friends have also done several trips with Costa Rica Expeditions both one day and overnight. What those places do is pick you up at your hotel in San Jose (most hotels) and then take you for breakfast and then on to the river.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Best Approach to seeing all of Costa Rica

I've never used the bus, but understand they are a very good alternative. The advantage to the rental car is you have more flexibility. On each of my trips, the rental car has proven to be the most expenive part of the trip, so the bus would be much more cost effective. Also, taxis are really cheap. IF there are more than 4 of you, you may look into hiring a van with driver. If you rent a car, make the reservations before you go. I've had good luck with Budget. Make sure you inspect the car inside and out for damages before you accept it and have the attendant note any scratches, etc. Also check to make sure it has a spare tire and radio antenna. There are also some other "hassle" issues with renting a car---driving can be an "adventure" on some of the roads, and you have to be vigilant to theft and breakins. But, if you use common sense, you'll be OK.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Visiting the Dominical area

I have stayed at the Hacienda Baru. It is very nice. It is a little rustic. If you are into surfing you will love it. It is also very quiet, but a couple of miles away is Dominical if you want to get a little louder. A lot of wildlife in Hacienda Baru, monkeys and more. Great path leads down to the beach. No body surfs there but you could because the waves are always kicking in this area. I have been to Dominical 3 times. I rented a 4X4 everytime I went and it is the only way to go, that way you can stop and do what you want when you want. There is a great left point break down I think about 1 - 2 miles south of dominical. It's been 2 years since I went there? Matapalo is the place to surf. I have caught some rides there that were so long I had a smile on my face for like 2 months after. Although I have seen Matapalo too small but not often, and if worse comes to worse you can drive down about 20 -30 mins to Carate beach that always has waves. July is a very good time for surf in Southern CR. The drive from Dominical to Osa is a good 6 hours I would say. Just plan on a day and you will be alright. You can certainly catch the evening glass off, even if you surf in Dominical in the morning and then leave. It is a hard and long drive but very nice. If you like the wild life (animals and such) the Osa is the place to go. Matapalo is very lush and a pretty good place to see the animals.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio should be on a list of things to do in Costa Rica. This is a very popular place to visit. This is due mostly to the wildlife and beauty of the area. Manuel Antonio have mountains and ocean, and lots of activities that are either challenging or educational. The festivals are happening all over the country in January and February, the bulls come to Quepos as well. In Manuel Antonio the activities vary from Sportfishing to Nature Walks. The sportfising is world known for the Marlin and Sailfish. The national park is one of the smallest parks in the country, but is considered to be the most visited. Manuel Antonio have three kinds of monkeys, the Titi, the White Face, and the Howler monkeys. Manuel Antonio also have three and two toed Sloth, and an amazing amount of tropical and marine birds. Since Manuel Antonio is more south than Liberia and San Jose, it rains more there. January is summer and so it is the dry season, but it is still very green.