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Best 1st Time Destination (not doing a resort package)

Halifax, Canada
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80 posts
31 reviews
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Best 1st Time Destination (not doing a resort package)

Hello experienced Costa Rican travellers.

My girlfriend and I plan to travel to Costa Rica very soon for the first time and are looking for the best recommended destination.

We most likely will rent a car, she speaks fluent spanish and I fairly decent. We enjoy beauty and exploring, as well as night life and culture.

In addition, we are trying to not blow the budget.

Any recommendations of what area to fly to?

Thanks so much for your assistance

San Jose, Costa Rica
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3,528 posts
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1. Re: Best 1st Time Destination (not doing a resort package)

If you only want 1 destination I would fly into San Jose and go to the Manuel Antonio Rain Forest and beach area. If you want to do 2 destinations I would add the Arenal Volcano area for relaxing hot springs and adventure tours.

Uvita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Uvita, Ojochal
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2,646 posts
45 reviews
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2. Re: Best 1st Time Destination (not doing a resort package)

Though Manuel Antonio is nice it is also one of the most developed and touristy locations, a favorite among travel agents due to the easy choice of comisionable accomodation. The standard cand visit to Costa Rica Arenal then Manuel Antonio. Maybe Monteverde

If you are like me and prefer to visit parts of a country that have more locals than tourists or if you like unspoiled beaches and rainforests there is a good choice.

South Pacific Uvita/Ojochal/Dominical area, further south Drake Bay, Puerto Jienez & Cabo Matapalo. Or caribbean Puerto Viejo or Cahuita. Guanacaste also has some lovely areas. Alternate volcanos is Rincon de La Vieja, Turialba, Poas & Irazu. Alternate for cloud forest San Geraldo de Dota, Tapanti NP, Chiripo.

If you let us know what you want, beach, wildlife, tours, volcanos, cloud forests, etc.

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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14,265 posts
61 reviews
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3. Re: Best 1st Time Destination (not doing a resort package)

You should go to the Caribbean side. From Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca you will find what you are looking for (just avoid Puerto Limon). There is natural beauty, rural life, not too touristy places, and relaxed nightlife in Puerto Viejo de T. For real culture make a visit to a BriBri village.

Halifax, Canada
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80 posts
31 reviews
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4. Re: Best 1st Time Destination (not doing a resort package)

Thank you all for the replies. It ended up we are flying into Liberia, so, if there are recommendations for this area please share if you would.

My lady will enjoy a couple days at a resort, in addition to my more adventureous ideas.

Much thanks,

5. Re: Best 1st Time Destination (not doing a resort package)

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