Honeymoon in Costa Rica
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Aug 27, 2012 1:16 PM Last Post By: amagkid
Aug 22, 2012 8:38 AM
Honeymoon in Costa RicaHi everyone,
First time post here, but have been lurking for a while. Peoples' advice on this forum have been golden from what I've seen, so I figured I'd ask as well. I'm planning to go on my honeymoon late November this year for a couple weeks in Costa Rica. I have a few questions that I was hoping people could help me with:
1- How will the weather be (generally) at around this time? I heard the rainy season ends by November, so do you think we'd have an issue with constant downpours by late November - early December?
2- My fiance and I don't want the typical beach experience that many do on their honeymoon. We're looking for a mix of adventure as well as privacy/relaxation. Currently we're thinking of Monteverde (ziplining, canopy tours, cloud forest, nature hikes) and Hotel Punta Islita (for the privacy/relaxation part). For those that have been to these two places, would you recommend them and would there be enough to do and stay active for 4-5 nights a piece at each of these locations?
3- Would you recommend using a travel agent to set up an itinerary? I'm very new to Central America and am unfamiliar with things to do. I am sure I can research, but for me it's also nice to have everything set up when I'm there (driver ready, transfers, planned activities, guides, etc.). As this is a honeymoon, I don't want to focus too much on the 'vacation' aspect, that is going through the normal stresses of traveling that come with normal vacations.
4- Any other recommendations? We were also thinking of Tabacon Resort (hot springs) and Tamarindo Beach, but as I mentioned earlier we really want to stay away from the packed beaches/hotels and have more of a private/romantic experience. For anyone that has gone to the hot springs at Tabacon, is it pretty private or are there usually a good amount of people traversing the area?
Thanks in advance! Any comments/suggestions/advice would greatly help.
Aug 22, 2012 10:05 AM
1hi harold --
1. if you have been reading this forum, you will know that november can be one of the rainiest months in costa rica. but weather is not the same all over costa rica. you can look here to see typical rainfall patterns and choose your destinations accordingly: http://costa-rica-guide.com/Weather/WeatherMap.html
2. for that time of year, i would recommend arenal over monteverde. less rain, not as cool/misty, etc. if you will be here for a couple of weeks, you could do arenal-tortuguero-arenal-punta islita.
3. punta islita is a fantastic place. it is out of the way, but so beautiful and many things to do in the area. plus, it's about 45 minutes to an hour from punta islita to playa samara and playa carrillo for something a little different. i highly recommend this place for a honeymoon.
4. tortuguero is an amazing place. you can only get to it by boat. http://www.tortuguerovillage.com it's easy to get a shuttle from the arenal area to the boat landing at pavona for the boat to tortuguero. no cars, no sidewalks, just wildlife and water and wilderness. fantastic! no turtles nesting in november, but you should be able to see hatchling turtles heading for the water.
i recommend an overnight in the arenal area between tortuguero and punta islita because otherwise, it's a very long travel day.
Aug 22, 2012 7:18 PM
2I think both aboves comments are pretty relevant, but I would add my two bananas...
1- later Nov can be better than early Nov, but every year is different, and it also depends where you are, which coast, elevation, which mountains, as there endless micro climates in CR...but I would NOT let the late NOv deter you from a great time in CR, it will be very lush and green, and few crowds...
2-I also think Wiremus suggestion of Arenal over Monteverde this time of year is good idea, the cloudforest is already a very damp and cool misty place, in rainy season, can be a tad icky after on chilly night....its also very touristy.
3- I agree with Pat on the Punta Islita resort, but each to their own. There are so many nice small intimate, rustic, authentic, charming, romantic lodges, boutique hotels and nice family Inns...you can easily arrange all this on your own, no need for a travel agent, they rarely know of the smaller and more intrinsic lodges and inns, and will just steer you to the obvious international mega properties more than likely...with no great savings. I will list some places below, also Trip Advisor has them all too, by region...
4-Though Tobocan can be a tad touristy, it is a very nice place, a garden of eden, an oasis of relaxing, best at night IMO, and use the Spa for masages above the rivers of water...
5-Though Tamarindo was once a sleepy surf town of dirt streets and a few cafes and hangouts, its now morphed into a more gringo/tourist catering place with luxury villas, hillside casas costing $1m and the two main streets are now paved...the horror! One of my favorite hotels in the world is there, the Capitan Suizo, a gorgeous setting at south end of town, walk to town to eat, drink and shop. It is not the most commercial beach town, that prize goes to Jaco, and to Manual Antonio/Quepos.
6- I also LOVE Mal Pais area, as above says, its really got it all, I stayed at the Milarepa, they only have 4 beachside bungelows, and a pool and small patio and terrace for breakfast, but next door is Flora Blanca and Latitude 10, two outstanding smaller boutique hotels we used for dining, massages and the bar...
Lastly, do you plan on renting a car? This will allow you to do everything at your own pace/schedule. In Nov you could do most this trip by seat of pants, though I understand you may want to have the security of a booked room...but its an option in Nov and tail end of rainy season.
I would like to add that Costa Rica can be many things to many people, the majority here on this forum I think like to approach CR on the more local level, lodging all over the country is outstanding, lots of small places tucked away and a just few nice cabinas, mom cooks and dad runs the place, very enjoyable and very much an escape. I prefer to stay at places with no AC/, no Phone and no TV in a room. The wildlife is abundant, the sights and sounds are endless, the nature is in your face, the beauty is in every direction, exotic birds, monkeys galore, all types of plants, flowers and insects I cant even count. This is what we like to engage, and enjoy, and escape too...
So here is some ideas, links and favorite places. Wiremu lives in CR, and I only have visited about 35 times over 10 years, there is something for everyone, and a lot of ways to tackle CR, thats for sure...
PS- Tortuguero is a great option too....
Okay, here you go-the following are all members of Small Distinctive Hotels of Costa Rica.
Some other nice options, some are lux, some are rustic...
If you want to a pleasant hike to the Celest Waterfalls, this charming all inclusive ranch has a honeymoon cabin on the river :)
Then there is the OSA, I say this is the REAL jungle...
If you really want some nature and remote in the jungle, end of road, in the most bio diverse park on the planet, then go no further, well you cant without walking, to Carate in Corcovado and this bomb of a lodge handbuilt in the rainforest...OMG....bathtubs in the jungle...
Or if you want more rustic and adventure, head to Drake Bay, and boat everyhwere....
This is between the two...
Other places I have enjoyed...
Driving to the Osa I like this all Mahogany Lodge, horseback to waterfalls. Above the pacific, need a 4x4 to get there...
or on the beach...just south of Quepos
Driving to Arenal...
Else Kientzler Botanical Garden in Sarchi, a great town to explore.
Stop here when driving around Lake Arenal, one the prettiest drives in the country...
There are also nice organic cafes along the road, the grass fed beef in the Arenal region is to die for, great flavor, and some great steakhouses, Ponderosa style...
And if you are in San Jose area for night, stay in Escazu, where all the expats and well heeled ticos live and wine/dine.
I have only scratched the surface, on the many great places to enjoy in CR...
Also, you can rent cars oneway, or also fly a leg to/from San Jose area. Osa is best to fly in/out IMO, as its a long drive to get there...
Aug 24, 2012 6:01 PM
3Wow, thanks so much everyone. I really wish I could incorporate all of your suggestions into our itinerary, however to a certain extent I have to go with what my fiance wants :). Thus, I've chosen to take Arenal over Monteverde, and she has chosen to keep Hotel Punta Islita. We'll be staying at the Arenal Nayara Hotel (bit pricey, but really nice and private from what I've researched).
With that change in mind, we were originally thinking 3 nights in Arenal and 5 nights in Punta Islita. I'm now thinking to put it 4 nights a piece at each location, considering there is a fair amount of things to do in Arenal (activities, restaurants, etc.). Punta Islita I feel would be a nice way to wind down with all the privacy/relaxation it offers, but would 5 nights be overkill considering there really isn't too much around it? I know you can still do activities like kayaking, horseback riding, and the like, but I feel 4 nights would be more than enough to experience the place to its fullest (maybe I'm wrong though, I don't know).
Thanks again everyone, your responses are much appreciated. Choosing Arenal over Monteverde I'm sure will be the much better choice.
Aug 24, 2012 6:17 PM
Aug 27, 2012 12:43 PM
5Have to add a comment to these great posts that have covered great places...I agree with above comment regarding Nayara, it is amazing! End of November is a much better time to visit, early November is still prone to heavy rains at night that affect the roads in the areas you are choosing to visit. Also, Punta Islita, while it is isolated, is in a gorgeous part of the country. However, it is not a full AI resort in the traditional sense and from personal experience you can feel a bit lost, like you need to figure things out on your own. I would recommend finding a small hotel in the same price range in that area (TripAdvisor lists several in the Playa San Miguel/Caletas area) that will probably spoil you more and hook you up with the best local advice. Also, while Samara has much to do and is close to Islita, so does Santa Theresa which you can access from the above mentioned area via a cool beach road starting in late November. I find that after one hour in Samara I am bored and Santa Teresa is a town that you can enjoy slowly over a few days. Not as crowded and with access to Mal Pais/Montezuma. The same stands true for the San Miguel and Coyote area which offer a few more restaurants than Islita and a longer stretch of beach with an estuary and local fishing and surfing.
Aug 27, 2012 1:00 PM
6I agree with you #6, but that road from outside Samara to Santa Teresa along the coast is usually a NO GO due to the river, even a big 4x4 can be to low of ground clearance, in Nov can still be lots of rain, January maybe...otherwise best to drive up to Nicoya and over to Paquera/Tambor on the trail road, then down to Montezuma/Mal Pais area, figure 4 hours ish...
Aug 27, 2012 1:16 PM
7As a local to the area, I use the road on a regular basis from mid Nov. through late June best case scenario, Dec. thru May worst, so I have to disagree. The beach road is gorgeous and a great place to stop and have a picnic. We often pass by Cafe Sante in San. Francisco and have the owner makes us a few sandwiches, grab some cold drinks at the Super at the corner where you turn down to head to the beach road. Or we stop at Tanga's on Punto Coyote for an amazing cevechi and then head to Mal Pais. Average drive time from Santa Teresa to San. Fran is 45 minutes: total time to and from Islita, 1 hour fifteen versus close to three via Nicoya and Tambor.
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