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Costa Rica's hidden secrets? & on a Budget

New York City, New...
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Costa Rica's hidden secrets? & on a Budget

Hi All!

I'm sure this has been asked a million times but I would really appreciate any feedback for two girls in their 20s! We booked a trip to Costa Rica for April :) We are extremely excited, and are looking to visit Arenal, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio since those seem to be the most popular.

I prefer less touristy areas, so I am open to suggestions for other cities. I'm more into the local stuff and so I can really appreciate the culture. We love adventure so: hiking, zip lining, horseback riding, suspension bridges, waterfalls, beaches are all on our list!! We want the most breathtaking scenes, I don't care if they're not the most popular, more of the "hidden secrets".

We are also on a budget so the less money the better - will be renting a car. Also I am vegan so any vegan suggestions are welcome :)

Thanks!!!!!! SOOOOOO much appreciated.

Punta Uva, Costa...
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1. Re: Costa Rica's hidden secrets? & on a Budget

I would skip Manuel Antonio and head for Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side.

Slovenia
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2. Re: Costa Rica's hidden secrets? & on a Budget

I do not want to spill any water on your fire, but fact is locals mostly do not engage themselves in above mentioned activities, at least not the ones geared toward tourists. The real local stuff that I do as a local in Slovenia would not appeal much to any visitor from abroad. Just sayin' .

So, if you are really into knowing how an average Tico's working day is you should head to any of the towns/villages that are NOT on the list of gems or hidden gems. No ziplining there, but a lot of hiking (they called it walking), maybe some horseback riding (horse is still often used in Costa Rica), maybe even crossing several suspension bridges (more like wooden planks), and you will have chances to carry your own machete ... ! So avoid any of the places you have mentioned.

To be on a budget use local buses, and as a vegan, gallo pinto is staple food in Costa Rica.

For more close encounters with locals and their culture, come equipped with some basic knowledge of Spanish language.

Pensacola, Florida
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3. Re: Costa Rica's hidden secrets? & on a Budget

I guess I am at a loss as are most of the others here. You say you want to go to less touristy areas, but yet the three areas that you mention, are probably the most visited areas of Costa Rica. As far as being Vegan, you will have to work with the local sodas, as most dishes in Costa Rica do have some form of animal or fish in them. There are a lot of places to visit for a more local vibe, they are normally called ecolodges. But even here, they are geared toward tourists. If you could provide more info maybe we all could be of more help to you.

Playa Conchal...
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4. Re: Costa Rica's hidden secrets? & on a Budget

Also just to note that Semana Santa, or Easter holiday, falls in April this year so even more reason to avoid those popular areas. This is one of the busiest times of year in CR. As for your requirements, as Cubanon suggests, I'd definitely consider the Caribbean coast.

Pensacola, Florida
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5. Re: Costa Rica's hidden secrets? & on a Budget

Hello newjade. I live in Pensacola, Florida as well. I am planning a trip to Costa Rica for the month May. I rented a house in Dominical. I plan to interact with the Ticos, plus fish, dive and surf. If you have any suggestions for that area, please share. I plan to visit the parques and Uvita. Plus, might visit Jaco. Do you know any requirements for fishing off the beach and rivers? Thanks.

Slovenia
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6. Re: Costa Rica's hidden secrets? & on a Budget

There are no requirements/permissions for fishing from the beach or in the river (with a fishing pole of course). Be careful near the estuary of a bigger rivers, they might be populated with crocodiles. Avoid fishing along the Tarcoles river.

Dominical is excellent home base for doing several day trips: you can reach as far as Manuel Antonio and Jaco (with Carara NP) northbound or Sierpe (southbound) by car, also San gerardo de Dota is within day trip. For diving you can do boat tour from Uvita to Cano Negro. Much closer attractions are Hacienda Baru and Marino Ballena NP. Plenty of surfing beaches between Jaco and Ojochal. Have fun! Do catch and release!

Pensacola, Florida
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7. Re: Costa Rica's hidden secrets? & on a Budget

Xelas, thank you for the valuable information, especially about the crocodiles. :-) I do plan to catch and release, except if it is for dinner. I do plan on making day trips; I do want to see all the beauty of Costa Rica. What is the best way to get to the places you mentioned. If by car, where is the cheapest (budgeted) place to rent a vehicle or ATV? Do buses go to the good places?

Slovenia
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8. Re: Costa Rica's hidden secrets? & on a Budget

Most houses to rent between Dominical and Uvita are on the hill side, so a 4x4 car is almost obligatory. If you are staying closer to the road (and the beach) then a sedan type car is OK. Solid, Vamos, National, are the names of rental car companies I remember having offices there. Buses do go to all of the "good" places yet it might take you longer to reach them. However they are relatively cheap. ATV I would not consider.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Costa Rica's hidden secrets? & on a Budget

Just to repeat for the OP: Arenal, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio are great places to visit, but not the best choice for visitors seeking to get off the tourist trail. Adventure activities including hiking, ziplining, horseback riding, suspension bridges, waterfalls, and beaches are easy to find all up and down both coasts.

Might want to combine a few days in the Turrialba Valley (zipline, canyoning, horseback riding, whitewater on the Pacuare River) with time near Puerto Viejo. Take a look at a couple of websites for more ideas:

explornatura.com/en/canyoneering-and-canopy.…

geckotrail.com/en/tours/caribbean-wet-wild/

www.puertoviejosatellite.com

10. Re: Costa Rica's hidden secrets? & on a Budget

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