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Need itinerary and lodging suggestions

crest, ca
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50 posts
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Need itinerary and lodging suggestions

Need itinerary and lodging suggestions

Hola,

We are Costa Rica lovers, having spent 5 of the last 61/2 years vacationing there. Our first trip was to Manuel Antonio in May of 2007. We really like it there, and have started off all our trips there, as we like the beaches, the food, the easy access from San Jose, and have made friends at La Posada, where we stay. We have branched out to other places....south to Mata Palo, and to Dominical. We have been north to Jaco, and spent time up in the Nicoya, staying once in Montezuma and twice in Playa Carmen/Santa Teresa. Now we would like to explore Guanacaste. I would like an experienced opinion about how to arrange our trip. It appears that to explore the best beaches we should fly to Liberia, and either go south to Samara and work our way back up, or go straight to Playa Hermosa, and work our way down to Samara. We have never rented a car in CR before. We've taken small planes, taxis, vans, busses, and boats. What would be the best way to get around the beach towns? If we should rent a car...where to rent? Also, we are active, liberal, pushing 60 years old, have zip-lined, river rafted and like long walks on the beach, swimming, relaxing, yoga, and boogie boarding, but don't surf. We always go in May when lodging is cheaper, crowds are gone, and the weather is good. We like good seafood, we don't like all-inclusives, big resorts, or major hotels, but if one is the best option in Conchal, we'll do it We speak Spanish fairly well, and like to mingle with locals of all ages. Our best experiences have been at Manuel Antonio, and Santa Teresa, where we have liked the vibe....people, food, and beaches. Our lodging requirements are: clean rooms, easy access to beaches and breakfast, friendly staff. If you have any suggestions for an itinerary, and places to stay, we would much appreciate it. Hermosa, Playa Conchal, Playa Avellanas, Playa Guiones, Samara, and Nosara look like fabulous beaches to explore....but maybe too much for a two week trip. Let me know...Thank you.

Costa Rica
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1. Re: Need itinerary and lodging suggestions

Yes, fly into Liberia - and yes, you can either start at Playa Hermosa and work your way south or the opposite.

This might help: www.nicoyapeninsula.com

The Conchal/Flamingo/Potrero area is beautiful and quiet. http://footprintscostarica.com/ But you don't have to stay at the Westin - there are other choices. Although Reserva Conchal is really nice.

Check this website also: anywherecostarica.com/destinations/…beach which will give you a description of the various northern Pacific beach areas.

You could consider just driving down the coast from Playa Hermosa and stop when you feel like it. Then when you are ready to move on...... check out the next one on your list. Don't overlook beaches such as Junquillal.

If you end up at Samara, that would be great - for a "splurge," you could stay at Hotel Punta Islita, one of the finest in Costa Rica. But there's a lot of lodging options in the Samara area. www.samarabeach.com

Once you are in Samara, you are less than two hours from LIR airport.

It's so easy to get in and out of LIR - and no crazy crazy traffic (well, maybe a little crazy -- it's Costa Rica after all.....) that I think you will really appreciate flying into that airport. Plus, it's so much closer to the beaches - Playa Hermosa is only 20-30 minutes away.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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2. Re: Need itinerary and lodging suggestions

Agree with Hattie...jgood idea to check on some NO based on Costa Rica web sites...but try not to book anything with them...they are just a middle men company that makes up to 30% for each booking...deal direct with travel services providers...even ask for a direct booking price...

roadavsior

Bedford, Virginia
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438 posts
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3. Re: Need itinerary and lodging suggestions

I would suggest you definitely rent a car to explore all the beach towns along the way. We've rented from Dollar in Liberia several times and have had no problems at all. Just make sure you do your research on insurance beforehand. This entire area is very easy to drive with little traffic, compared to San Jose.

We have visited this area many times and its one of our favorites. I'm not sure I'm the best to advise you on lodging since we tend to stay at smaller, budget friendly places. Usually the first and last night we stay in Playas del Coco because its 25 minutes from the airport and has lots of restaurant and lodging choices. We then base ourselves in Brasalito for a few days to explore Conchal, Flamingo, Playa Grande, and Tamarindo. In this area we stay at Hotel Conchal and I highly recommend this small boutique hotel as well as their restaurant, Papaya. You should also visit Playa Danta and have lunch at the Greenhouse. You could then head to Nosara for a few days and then end in Samara, our favorite. We don't do a ton of exploring here, just beach time. Make sure you have the fish tacos at Lo Que Hay on the beach.

A side note, we found Monteverde relatively easy to visit from Guanacaste. It was about a 3-4 hour drive and a nice diversion from all the beaches. We also stopped in Guatil to buy pottery along the way.

Have a great trip.

Samara
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4. Re: Need itinerary and lodging suggestions

Hi! If the difference in price between landing in Liberia vs landing in SJO is not tremendously large, fly into Liberia since you will be landing in the Guanacaste region. You can either start north and make your way south or vice versa. Everything north of Samara is bigger and more commercial, everything south of Samara is smaller and less developed. Most people agree that Samara is a great balance between not overly developed yet developed enough where you have many needed services and you do not get bored. How much time are you staying in CR this time? That may help define the itinerary. A car will give you a lot of freedom and save you time traveling between beaches. A 4x4 is ideal if you plan on checking out beaches off the beaten path such as Punta Islita, Barrigona, etc.

5. Re: Need itinerary and lodging suggestions

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crest, ca
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50 posts
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6. Re: Need itinerary and lodging suggestions

Thank you Kaye.

We generally stay in budget accommodations as well, as long as they are clean, well located, and fairly quiet. The place we stay in Manuel Antonio is $70 in the off season. Do you think we should book the places all ahead of time if we go in May? Perhaps we should at least inquire as to availability ahead, so we have an idea. Samara sounds perfect. We are thinking of a 2 week stay. Does that sound like enough time?

Bedford, Virginia
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438 posts
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7. Re: Need itinerary and lodging suggestions

Generally that time of year you should not need to book ahead. But if you have your heart set on a particular hotel then yes, book ahead. I would suggest you book the car in advance.

Since we seem to be on the same budget, you might want to check out Casa del Mar in Samara. It's a small hotel right across from the beach and we love the vibe there. Simple clean rooms with excellent customer service and convenient to everything.

guanacaste
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8. Re: Need itinerary and lodging suggestions

Samara is very nice , worth to see.

Bel Air, Maryland...
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9. Re: Need itinerary and lodging suggestions

TabooStudio--since you been to Costa Rica in May 5 times, i'm curious what you think of the weather? We really want to go but we keep hearing rainy season--rain, rain, rain...... Do you have any tips/suggestions?

Thanks!

APE

crest, ca
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50 posts
11 reviews
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10. Re: Need itinerary and lodging suggestions

Hi,

I replied personally (and more in depth) to your message. The rain is not prohibitive at all.