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Trip # 2?---what places to hit this time?

Cleveland, Ohio
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106 posts
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Trip # 2?---what places to hit this time?

My husband and I are planning our second trip to Costa Rica...we just got back from a 2 week long stay in March and are planning on returning in January! If it wasn't for that pesky thing called work, we would be back tomorrow! :) Anyways, in March we spent time in Arenal and Dominical---splitting our time between both but also taking some "day trips" in both places. We loved, loved, LOVED both areas and really liked that we did a lot of active adventures in Arenal (hiking, zip lining, etc) and spent our time in Domincal area relaxing at the beach and pool.

As we start to plan trip #2 we would like to see different areas, but have the same type of experience-- i.e. being able to do active things and also relax at the beach. What areas should we hit for trip #2? Although we loved La Fortuna, the town itself was a bit touristy for us. In Domincal area we spent most of our time in Hatillo, as Playa Dominical was also much too toursity for us. I was looking into Tamrindo, but that seems WAAAAAAAAAY too touristy for us! Also looking into Caribbean coast, however when we were in Costa Rica in March several locals and ex-pats alike told us to avoid Caribbean side as they said you cannot drink the water there (is this true?) and crime and drugs are high in that area (not very high, but "noticeable".) I have not ruled Caribbean side out, but also don't know much about it. Any suggestions on stops for our next trip would be much appreciated!

Southern California
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1. Re: Trip # 2?---what places to hit this time?

Malpais/Santa Teresa/Montezuma?

We've stayed in that area twice. Rented a car both times and explored.

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Trip # 2?---what places to hit this time?

what about Montezuma and the Osa? Or Samara and the Osa?

Puerto Viejo de...
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for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
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3. Re: Trip # 2?---what places to hit this time?

When we were first in Costa Rica and in San Jose a lot to buy stuff, people always were shocked when they heard we were living in the Puerto Viejo area…dangerous and it always rains they said. Funnily enough when we asked if they had ever been they said NO. 8 years on we still live here very happily!

Bedford, Virginia
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4. Re: Trip # 2?---what places to hit this time?

From your description of your likes and dislikes you sound just like my husband and I. We've been around 9-10 times now, lost count. We loved Dominical and think La Fortuna is really touristy! Our other favorites are Puerto Viejo area with couple days in Bocas del Toro. Or Brasalito/Conchal mixed with Samara.

Puerto Viejo de...
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5. Re: Trip # 2?---what places to hit this time?

In 2004 my husband, I and our four kids (8-14 years old) traveled to CR for our first time. It was our family vacation, an alternative to another trip to Hawaii, Mexico, etc. We did exactly what you did--went to Arenal and Dominical (though Dominical was considerably less touristy then). On a whim--and despite the warnings of strangers, pleadings of new friends, and even a stern lecture from the rental car agency--we went to Puerto Viejo. Within the week we had made a deal to buy some raw land "as an investment". On the plane we were discussing "retiring someday". Within 3 months we were breaking ground on "a vacation home". Five years and 21 trips later we moved here full time. We LOVE it. We drink the water, we swim, boat and fish in the beautiful sea almost daily, we have never been robbed, assaulted, harassed or anything similar. Come. It has gotten a bit more touristy, but there are so many places to go to avoid that (like 1 km south/west/north of town).

Puerto Viejo de...
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6. Re: Trip # 2?---what places to hit this time?

I fully agree with Geckoes and Janick, come and visit the Caribbean. It sounds made for you. Yes, crime exists but not any worse than in other beach towns in Costa Rica. But you will see, there is much to discover, to see and to do but also plenty of lonley beach. Of the 8 years I have been living here there wasn't a single day I regretted to chose this my home. Don't pay too much attention to the negative comments, it is mainly from people not knowing the area.

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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7. Re: Trip # 2?---what places to hit this time?

Caribbean side is great choice: Sarapiqui and Tortuguero week 1, Puerto Viejo week 2. My second choice would be Monteverde and Tenorio for week 1 and Santa Teresa for week 2.

As per above posts, you should not worry too much about your safety. Common sense, yes, definitively, and people will offer you drugs ... or maybe not. On my two times there nobody offered me any illegal substances nor did I noticed any such activities going on.

8. Re: Trip # 2?---what places to hit this time?

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