We traded our Mexico timeshare this year for Villas Palmas, San Jose Costa Rica, traveling in March 2008. We made arrangements with the timeshare for airport transportation, which was free. The owner of Sol Tropical Tours, offers assistance and tours for the visitors of Villas Palmas. His staff met us at the airport as promised, took us to the timeshare, which is about 8 miles from the airport in a commercial business area. At first we were disappointed with the area, however, after finding our way around, we discovered local restaurants, a bank, grocery store, beauty shop, the works! all within a few blocks of the timeshare. We did not rent a car, so this worked out very well. Our unit was a very nice, fully furnished 3 bedroom 2 story townhouse, all new furniture, well furnished and with great security, 24hours a day. We arrived on a Sunday and on Monday morning, Sol Tropical served breakfast and presented their tours around the country. I was very impressed with the knowledge of the owner, who has lived in the area for 30 years, but grew up in San Francisco. We booked ourselves along with the additional 4 friends and family on 4 tours. The tour staff was very well versed in english (american english), very polite and professional and knew the area like the back of their hand. All of our tours included at least one meal and two of them included 2 meals. The restaurants chosen by the tour leaders were local restaurants, meaning where the locals ate. Many tour operators use american style restaurants which I do not care for. I want to experience the local foods. All of the restaurants were wonderful, including drinks, tips and service fees. I would highly suggest visitors contact Sol Tropical Tours as they operate tours from major hotels in San Jose and also the beach resorts. We visited two active volcanos, coffee plantation, 2 wood factories, a hot springs spa, walked in the rain forest, did the above trees tram, and experienced down town on a local bus. The timeshare did not lead us wrong in the local restaurants, when we ate on our own. We found the people very friendly in Costa Rica and helpful. Most speak english. We were very lucky as out of the 6 of us, 4 spoke spanish, which was very helpful.
If visiting the big city, it is suggested not to drive a car.
The US dollar went a long way in Costa Rica. We loved their sea food, local rice and beans, plus a lot of fruit. In the big city, the drinking water is ok to drink, however, in the country side stick to bottled water. We found the wood factory for bowls, jewelry, cutting boards, wooden boxes, etc, to be a very good buy. The local coffee is grown mainly for Star Bucks and not roasted in the country, but by Star Bucks. All the coffee sold in stores is not the good grade, but at the coffee plantation, it is the pure Costa Rican coffee. It is reasonable to purchase.
One very important item is the departure tax from Costa Rica which is $26 USD. It is suggested that you purchase it from a bank before going back to the airport, as the lines for purchasing the tax is very long. The airport security will only allow a small number of passengers into the airport if the lines are too long. With this and the departure tax situation, it is suggested to arrive at the airport 3 hours prior to departure.
We loved our vacation and next time, we want to stay at a beach resort.
I am a travel agent and have sent many of my clients to Costa Rica and wish that I had experienced the country a long time ago.
I do have many pictures and will post them at another time.
- Also Known As:
- Taranova-Villas Palmas Hotel San Jose