So many questions?!
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Oct 15, 2012 10:35 AM Last Post By: SoloHobo
Oct 14, 2012 9:29 AM
So many questions?!Hi guys,
I will be flying into SJ on 27/12 (land 21.30) and flying back back to Blighty on13/01. I have pre-booked 6 nights in SJ to leave there on 02/01. I will be travelling solo, and all by buses/interbus.
My questions are:
- Whilst in SJ, I planned to visit some of the local coffee plantations as day trips. Is this easy to organise as a solo traveller? Any particular recommendations? What other day trips do you recommend? Is 6 nights too much (considering will have been travelling from UK for 24 hours!).
- Obviously I am there for New Years Eve celebrations. Now, I have heard about the Fiesta in Zapote which goes on all week.... is this a recommended night out for NY?? I will be staying in Barrio Amon so assume taxis there and back??
- From SJ, I plan to go north. I think it would be rude not to go to Arenal, however I am a completely novice hiker. I would like to take my tripod on these hikes because I think the scenery would be out of this world. Any do's/don't on this part?? Where should I base myself.... La Fortuna (with plenty of place to sleep)?? Probably 2 nights here.
- From here, I fancied a couple of nights in Liberia... don't know why... just inviting me!! lol
- From Liberia, down to the peninsula Nicoya for several nights beach time. Really like the look of Montezuma area. Then ferry from Montezuma or Paquera back to mainland..... Jaco or Puntarenas for my penultimate night?
Thanks in advance for any help!
Oct 14, 2012 9:53 AM
1I think most people here are going to question your choices. You shouldn't be spending 6 days in San Jose- its not a destination city in itself but it will be much quieter and less congested than usual over this period because of the holidays and the fact that most Josefinas have quit the city for the beach!. Those things that may have kept you busy for a day or so (Jade Museum, National Theatre) may be closed for the holidays, even the Central Market will be mostly closed. You'll have little to do. Ticos enjoy New Year and there is a real party atmosphere although since there is a theoretical ban on fireworks things have got a lot quieter.
These are the classic plantation tours, but again make sure they are running over the holidays:
Hiking in Arenal is easy. You are no longer allowed to hike up the volcano itself. La Fortuna is an ideal base although accommodation may be limited over this period.
Liberia is a service hub that keeps its charms quite well hidden and its greatest prominance is its fast food malls, bus station, banks and supermarkets. It really doesn't offer much for tourists.
Jaco for Western tourists, Puntarenas for Ticos....
Oct 14, 2012 11:32 AM
2i have to agree with boomer.
you basically have 15 days (17 days minus 1st and last night which you should spend near the airport) for this, we would probably recommend 4 or 5 locations, depending on your interests.
staying in the cities you mention is probably the worst thing you could do! costa rica is about rainforests, volcanoes, wildlife, beautiful scenery, waterfalls, beaches -- none of which you will see in the cities.
plan your itinerary in some way that makes sense. for instance, if you are in arenal, you would not go through liberia to get to the southern nicoya peninsula. waayyyy out of the way! typically, the best way would be to plan on making a "loop." example: rafting, arenal, tortuguero, puerto viejo/cahuita, san jose (maybe one day), osa peninsula or nicoya peninsula.
here are some good general websites: http://www.anywherecostarica.com and http://www.costa-rica-guide.com
for distances and travel times: http://www.yourtravelmap.com
http://www.costarica-nationalparks.com -- you should probably focus a lot of attention here
other helpful websites: http://www.arenal.net
costa rican bus service is good but not always convenient. look here for more information: http://www.thebusschedule.com/cr/
you could also use the shared van shuttle sometimes when travel by public bus is inconvenient: http://www.shuttlebus.co.cr or easyride the shuttle provides hotel to hotel service in an air-conditioned, 12-passenger van for an average of $30 per "leg."
by the way, no one will think you are "rude" if you don't go to the arenal area (what a funny concept!) but you will be missing out on one of costa rica's best areas and lots to do and see as well as various interesting day trips including rafting, to the tenorio national park for the hike to the rio celeste and to cano negro. you can hike in arenal national park or if you stay at arenal observatory lodge, hike their trails. you can do as much or as little hiking as you wish! http://www.arenalobservatorylodge.com
Edited by: wiremu
Oct 14, 2012 12:11 PM
3Jumping on the band wagon here, get out of SJ ASAP IMO. There is no need to stay there more than the first and last night in country for easy access to SJO/Flights. SJ is dirty, polluted, congested and crime ridden, night is risky, and it will be dead during the holidays.
Unless you are a sex tourist, then you stay in SJ a few nights and also Jaco, but overall, both are best avoided, though Jaco has great surf and is also where the water taxi to/from Montezuma is nearby.
The nature, wildlife and national parks, and endless eco systems are all over the country, but not in SJ or Jaco/Nicoya area.
Tear up that plan and start over.
Oct 14, 2012 4:28 PM
Oct 15, 2012 8:03 AM
Oct 15, 2012 8:16 AM
6Just booked 4 nights in La Fortuna... NYE under a volcano! :-)
From then on I will play it by ear, as I will have had a feel for the country by then. Thanks again.
Oct 15, 2012 9:40 AM
7you should know -- that time of year is pretty busy here so keep that in mind. some things (places) will need advance booking. it's actually the month with the most tourists, according to the government tourism agency. (march and february being #2 and #3)
i think you can "play it by ear" - but - it's a good idea to do a LOT of reading and research so you will know about whatever destination you choose as well as how to get there. it's also school holiday from the 1st week in december to the first week in february which means that public buses are likely to be more crowded.
Oct 15, 2012 10:35 AM
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