In Costa Rica, bad weather, what to do?
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Nov 25, 2012 11:13 PM Last Post By: SoloHobo
Nov 21, 2012 9:48 AM
In Costa Rica, bad weather, what to do?Me and my girlfriend are currently in L as Fortuna, this is the third day of our trip and the first location. When we arrived on Monday the weather was not to bad, cloudy, but we could even see Arenal in its full glory. However, yesterday was quite awful, raining pretty much all day. We hiked to the Cerro Chato volcano, but it was a tad disappointing as we couldn't see anything for the fog and got completely drenched to top it off. Thank god for the hot springs to lift our spirit. Today is similar and also Arenal is completely covered in clouds. Coming from Arizona is quite different to weekday we are used to and we might be massive a bit more sensitive to trading weather than folks from wetter regions....
Originally we were planning to head to Monterverde (or even Tortuguero) today, but according to forecast it looks even worse than Arenal, 60% rain chance versus 40 for Arenal (using the Weather Channel android app). So we're changing our plans and heading to Rio Celeste instead. adventure
We would like to ask the forum for an advice on where to go. We are open to anything - hiking, stuff, beach, etc. Right now we are thinking about heading north to Rincon and Guanacaste as the weather is supposed to be as bit better hopefully. We have a rental car and fortunately no reservations, so we are very flexible. We have to return the car back to SJO on Saturday December 1st. Also, what is the best website or app for weather forecast in Costa Rica? Various websites vary quite a bit.....
Another unrelated question; we read everywhere warnings against leaving anything in the car. However, what should we do when we are on transit and just want to see something on the way, eat out or go for a small hike? Is a good idea to just pack the valuables (money, electronics, documents), leave the rest of the stuff in the car and go for it?
Thank you very very much for your help!
Mike and Anna
Nov 21, 2012 10:08 AM
1I would avoid all the central and north of CR, and higher elevations will be worse, as its still, Rainy Season, head to Caribe, different micro climates on that coast...but I would never plan on Monteverde or Rincon in Nov to be that great...
Never leave anything in the car, period. Pay a parking attendant to watch it, period.
Nov 21, 2012 10:11 AM
2best weather site is the costa rican weather bureau: http://www.imn.ac.cr/
you will have a good chance of no-rain in the rincon de la vieja area. i am in the tenorio are today and it is raining off and on. the trails in the tenorio national park will be somewhat muddy - it was actually dry in this area the last couple of days.
you might also head for someplace like playas del coco. it will be hot there. and from there, you can visit rincon de la vieja or santa rosa. you could also stay in one of the cottages at santa rosa, maybe. look here http://www.acguanacaste.ac.cr/1997/principaling.html
there are phone numbers for both rincon de la vieja national park and santa rosa national park as well as for tenorio national park. you can get someone at your lodging to call them for you and ask what things look like. then check the weather forecast.
if you are in your rental car and want to stop somewhere:
1. at a restaurant, look for someplace that has off-highway parking or security guard. if you are going from arenal north to rincon de la vieja, there are several "safe" places where you could stop for a meal.
in canas: pollos mimi -- just before you reach canas, you will see a park where the road forks. keep to the right fork and you will see pollos mimi on your right. just park on the street. you could even sit at a table at the front of the restaurant to watch your car, but no problems really. it's not a "tourist hangout" and really only locals. they have a fantastic and inexpensive and authentic buffet. yum.
a bit north of canas: la pacifica. a hotel and restaurant in a jungle-like setting, about 100 meters off rt 1 on your right. security guard and gate so no issues with stuff in your car. great food but pricey.
about 1 km past la pacific - rincon corobici. great location next to the rio corobici and they have a security guard for the parking lot. or you can just park far away from the highway in the parking lot.
2. the less touristy place you stop - the less likely that you will have a problem with thieves.
3. yes, take your valuables with you and if you can, put your luggage on the floor of your car and cover it with a blanket or similar. sometimes i use one of those windshield barriers which makes it look like you are not really trying to cover up anything.
4. in general, there is less crime in the northwest than in more touristy areas.
5. if you drive to one of the national parks, just pack whatever valuables you don't want to carry with you (a laptop, for instance) into a non-descript backpack and leave it in the park office. just ask if you can leave your backpack there. then you can take passport, cards, money, camera etc with you on the hike. be sure to stop at a store somewhere and get some zip lock bags to put your stuff in.
Edited by: wiremu
Nov 21, 2012 11:24 AM
Nov 21, 2012 11:32 AM
4it really depends on where you are, solohobo. just like weather is not the same all over costa rica, so the theft situation is not the same all over costa rica. duh.
i wouldn't hesitate to leave my stuff in my car at, say, the tenorio national park. it's remote and unlikely to be accessed by thieves. there are park rangers at the office. there are usually several tour buses or drivers who are waiting for people in the parking lot. i wouldn't hesitate to leave stuff in my car in canas.
however, the same cannot be said of everywhere. people have to have a bit of common sense. the touristy restaurants along the highway with easy access to the parking lot are good pickings for thieves. avoid them.
as i said, if you are going to hike in one of the national parks, pack a daypack with some stuff you don't want to hike with - like a laptop - and put it in the park office.
same with santa rosa or rincon de la vieja. i've done it more than once.
of course, this is one of the advantages of renting a car from a company that rents used cars. those shiny new begos and the prado that you like are pretty obvious! (no, not an agency that rents old, beat-up cars)
Nov 22, 2012 4:58 AM
6I hear you, Mike. Someone I worked with in New York had gone to Costa Rica just to see the volcano Arenal. It was covered in clouds every day of his trip.
I spent a delightful rainy day in Puerto Limon, although I know it is not everyone's idea of fun. I loved the old historic buildings that are a real living part of the city and not some touristy Disneyland. I loved the market. When the rain let up for a bit, I went to Parque Vargas and saw the sloths in the trees. I found a great value hotel with a terrace overlooking the downtown. At night, interesting travelers from all over sat here and exchanged ideas. But I don't think the city is anyplace to bring a car...I'm not a car person and don't travel around with that wheelchair that pollutes the pura vida. (Of course, a bus pollutes too but 40 people using one vehicle is better than each having a vehicle)
Nov 25, 2012 4:31 PM
7Thank you all for great advice! We spent Wednesday in the Arenal are, mostly in the Tabacon hot springs (ticket from previous evening was valid the next day), then spent the night in Nuevo Arenal and headed to Cano Negro early the following morning. Cano Negro was great, lots of animals, took a boat tour. Then we headed to the Pacific coast and spent the night in Bahia Salinas hanging out at a kite surfing hostel. Next two nights in Tamarindo, learning to surf and enjoying nightlife as well. Now we are at Playa Ostional, seen dozens of nesting turtles, absolutely amazing.
We have another question, can we get from here to Montezuma on the coastal road right now? Heard you need to cross a few rivers and some might not be passable in our new shiny Daihatsu Be bego. Should we turn inland near Samara or are the roads passable on the southern coast already?
Nov 25, 2012 5:58 PM
8you should turn inland near samara. it is unlikely the roads will be passable - and yes, there are rivers to ford. should you drive through a river in your rental car, your insurance will be void. i would rather be safe than sorry.
glad things have turned out so well for you! i love bahia salinas - it's an area not many people visit and it's great that you enjoyed your time there.
Nov 25, 2012 11:13 PM
9You can't drive from Samara to Montzeuma via the coastal road, there is a large river that even in dry season a big Pathfinder would not be high enough, you need to go from Samara to Nicoya, then up to Paquera, this section to Tambor is a slow go one vehicle trail over rocks and rutted road thru creeks a few small rivers, 1st gear all th way, and ask locals beforehand if passable..
Otherwise best to go from Tamarindo to Montezuma via Liberia and Puntarenas ferry...
Keep in mind the further south you go, the greater chance of rains in Nicoya, most lodges shutter in Mal Pais in Oct and Nov for this reason, though things should improving by now usually...
Never cross a river without walking it first, and also watching another local first...speed and momentum are key, and power...something your little car lacks, in addition to ground clearance....insurance will be void if water damage and deposit out the window...
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