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Wouldn't suggest CR unless into surfing or rainforest--

Los Angeles
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Wouldn't suggest CR unless into surfing or rainforest--


It's been my dream since I was a kid to visit the rainforest and glad I finally fulfilled it by visiting CR. Recently got back from an eight day trip and hit the following destinations:




Manuel Antonio




First off, wouldn't suggest under any circumstances to stay in San Jose. The town is dirty and pollution is rampant.

Secondly, if you're thinking of going to Manuel Antonio, think twice. MA was one of the biggest disappointments of the trip. Wayyyyyyyyyy overrated and not clean.

Arenal is overrated as well. Also, if you're compelled to visit, know that if you don't stay in a certain area near the volcano you won't see lava and will have to drive at night to catch a glimpse. Apparently there are only a few hotels with lava view and the area they're in is sketchy. Also took a look at these hotels and they were unimpressive.

jaco was not great either, but we had to stay there. We had reservations in MA, but canceled ASAP.

Monteverde was the best part of the trip. The Monteverde Reserve is absolutely amazing!!! The town is clean and we felt really safe.

Dominical was hit and miss. The little town is dingy, but certain areas had beautiful beach and jungle. This was the second best part of the trip.

We rented a little 4x4 with GPS and thank goodness we did! I definitely suggest this.

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1. Re: Wouldn't suggest CR unless into surfing or rainforest--

I wonder if part of your opinion is based on exhaustion from trying to do so much in such a short time. Although it isn't my favorite, Costa Rica gets more tourists than the rest of Central America combined. Your number one complaint was dirt. Sorry, but it's the Third World. Money is tight and they splurge it on things like education and health care. Want a place filled with folks with little brooms and long handled dust bins... try Disney. I'm curious, what were your expectations that weren't met? Other than dirt. Did you go with the childhood vision as a concept of reality? They can't stoke up the volcano. What could have been better? What other reasons are there to avoid some of your stops? I think I may be the only one to really like San Jose. I agree about Monteverde... fantastic stop. Did you go to the orchid garden? So many miss it.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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2. Re: Wouldn't suggest CR unless into surfing or rainforest--

Sorry to heard that you had some bad experiences...coming from LAX maybe you saw the same thing in a smaller scale...a dirty town and rampant pollution...and Manuel Antonio...as bad and disappoinment as Marina del Rey for us!

Arenal...you are correct some places offer better volcano views...

Nice to know that an area as Dominical that a lot of people do not really like at alll was a good area for you!

GPS...totally agree with you!


Shawnee, Kansas
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for Puerto Vallarta
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3. Re: Wouldn't suggest CR unless into surfing or rainforest--

For me... one of the the central reasons for visiting CR is the chance to see wildlife....in the wild. Just wondering if you saw a lot of wildlife? The wildlife was absolutely thrilling to me. Now that I'm home only 5 days I'm trying to break the habit of looking for Monkey's, butterflys, various lizards, bugs etc.

Definitely you didn't research enough before visiting Arenal. At Arenal I knew ahead that I was staying where I wouldn't see lava flow unless I drove to the other side. I also knew that I might not even see the Volcano so went with no expectations in mind. But we lucked out and the Volcano was in full view for 2 days. We drove to the other side one evening and couldn't see the flow, but that was OK cause I knew that might happen.

It seems like you went too many places. I know for me my first impression of where I visited was not my final impression. It takes at least a couple days to get below the surface of each locale. We went three places in 11 days and drove to each so we saw the places in between as we drove through but by driving through or only staying one night I wouldn't trust my judgement to give a trustworthy opinion that other travelers should take as fact.

Edited: 29 March 2010, 14:47
Durham, Connecticut
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4. Re: Wouldn't suggest CR unless into surfing or rainforest--


Your input is always good and your advise better. As hard as it can be, I really wish you would not get defensive as it takes away from the great information you share. I think it is fair to say, those of us that read here regularly see your point without you having to make it...and we agree. If you don't like the negative comments, why provide the same?

People get it or they don't.

Keep up the great advise!

Edited: 29 March 2010, 14:59
Fairfax, VA
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5. Re: Wouldn't suggest CR unless into surfing or rainforest--

I highly disagree with this poster and wonder what there initial expectations of CR was before going there. CR is a MAGICAL place that has beautiful people, beaches, food, culture and land.

Punta Uva, Costa...
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for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
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6. Re: Wouldn't suggest CR unless into surfing or rainforest--

You missed out on the Pura Vida experience!

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7. Re: Wouldn't suggest CR unless into surfing or rainforest--

i was very surprised to see a negative comment about CR. And like everybody else, i did feel hurt that the poster had a bad experience in this amazing country! It has everything you would ever need...execpt for snow, which is good unless u want to ski...which i do miss sometimes...but otherwise its amazing and the people are too. Oh and by the way, Costa Rica is not a third world country, epsecially because they decide to "splurge" on good education and healthcare. Sorry i didnt mean to be sarcastic here, and i am thinking that the first commentor meant it as sarcasm as well! maybe you should come back and stay a little longer, get the full pura vida experience! Take some nature tours in and around arenal...just a suggestion.

Seattle, Washington
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8. Re: Wouldn't suggest CR unless into surfing or rainforest--

Maybe you didn't intentionally mean your post to come across disrespectfully, but it sorta does. Some of your comments show little research was done beforehand, way too much was shoved into a little time frame, and really...we should be grateful to be allowed to visit this beautiful country. While you had a negative experience your post is a bit harsh. There is a reason Ticos are some of the happiest people on earth and I'm sorry you weren't able to take the time to see why. :-)

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9. Re: Wouldn't suggest CR unless into surfing or rainforest--

zacaramarketing-right on.

Costa Rica
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10. Re: Wouldn't suggest CR unless into surfing or rainforest--

I post many times about areas of Costa Rica that people don't visit much - mostly the northern part. There is a whole nother country here that most tourists don't see because they are caught up in the Arenal/Monteverde/Dominical/Manuel Antonio thing.

Sorry EveAria that CR didn't live up to your expectations - it is just that way sometimes. I agree with Cubanon that you missed out on the Pura Vida experience which is just relaxing and chilling and taking a look around you and appreciating the smile of a beautiful child or taking in the fragrance of a steaming dish of gallo pinto or just watching the clouds move across the volcano. Maybe you will try again some day.