Costa Rica - suggestions?
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DH and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica in early Sept next year. We'll be there for a week. Any suggestions for things to see/places not to miss would be great!! I want to spend at least half the time at a beach resort type place. Any ideas? Which has nicer beaches/scenery - the Pacific side or the Caribbean side? Thanks for any and all suggestions!
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My family and I went for 2 weeks in the summers of 2009 and 2010. We love Costa Rica! The first time we went with my DH's cousin and his wife who is originally from there and we did a lot of touring around the Country. Since she is from there, and fluent in Spanish, we had no problems. I don't recommend doing this unless you are fluent in Spanish. Once you get out of the more tourist areas there is not a lot of English spoken. The second summer just my family went and we chose instead to rent a house on Guanacaste in Playa Hermosa and loved it! We were right on the beach! We went scuba diving, zip lining, and visited 2 active volcanos. Our daughter took a surfing lesson in Tamarindo and loved it. There is so much to see and do there. You will love it!! My only suggestion is that if you think you will be spending a lot of time on Guanacaste (my favorite) be sure to fly into Liberia rather than San Jose as it can be quite challenging to drive there and expensive. Just let me know if you would like any other information.
Thanks for all of the info, Amy! I looked on a map and saw that Guanacaste is on the Pacific side. Have you ever been to the Caribbean side? Are the beaches different? I just ask because I much MUCH prefer the Gulf beaches in the US to the Pacific beaches. I wonder if it is a similar difference in Costa Rica. Thanks for the tip about Spanish. DH does not speak it fluently, but he knows quite a bit having spent some time in Venezuela and also taking Spanish all through school. I may grab the Spanish Rosetta Stone so he can brush up before our trip. I appreciate all of your tips!
You are welcome! I love to talk about Costa Rica! We have not been to the Caribbean side. DH's cousin's wife who is from there said the Pacific side was definitely where we wanted to be. I think there are sections on the Caribbean side that aren't as safe or easy to get around as the Pacific side. I recommend doing some research on that. There are a lot of roads in that beautiful country that are downright frightening!!! Trust me, if you rent a car make it a 4 wheel drive one. From what I experienced, the Pacific side was: safe, roads were good, BEAUTIFUL beaches, tons to do and experience, nice places to stay, and great places to eat. The hardest part for me was realizing that their hotels are not like ours. My children are still on the young side, so nice, modern hotels are what we prefer. So that is why the following summer we rented a house, which was beautiful, and toured from there.