Replies: 10 - Last Post: Dec 9, 2012 6:05 PM Last Post By: pkorpalski
Nov 28, 2012 9:28 AM
Non-touristy activitiesI'm going to be traveling in a couple weeks from Ecuador straight to Panama and Costa Rica. While in CR, I'm really hoping to find opportunities to do things that aren't so touristy... I have a small budget and tons of these tourist websites I look at are ridiculously overpriced. I've heard that in CR there are lots of locals who would be willing to take you places for a smaller fee... my friend once paid a local fisherman to take her to a nearby island for the day and he taught her how to spearfish! I'm looking for experiences like that. Any advice or contacts?
Nov 28, 2012 9:39 AM
Nov 28, 2012 10:00 AM
2Easily done....just don't go zip-lining, white water rafting, ATV driving, deep sea fishing, surfing or diving and don't visit jungle trails, volcanoes, lakes or waterfalls and avoid areas of abundant wildlife particularly turtles, sloths and monkeys. Select remote and less popular national parks, beaches without paved road access and small towns to immerse yourself in everyday Tico life and culture. This is still possible even in the most popular regions such as Guanacaste on the Pacific coast, if you want a "soft landing" to getting away from it all. Start in La Florida, a small village above Santa Cruz and take day trips to fishing villages such as Lagarto & Manzanillo. If you spot another tourist then pack up and head South....keep heading South towards the jungles and stop when civilization does too....
Nov 28, 2012 10:06 AM
Nov 28, 2012 10:38 AM
4It all depends what you plan on doing. But many activities in Costa Rica, which are more in an adventure format, requires paying for the activity.
White water rafting on one the best rivers in the entire region, the Rio Pacuare, across the continental divide on class III-V rapids, requires boats, transfers, safety gear, licensed guides and all the outfits are about $100. I prefer this one. They can arrange to drop you on caribe beaches after, or from beaches to San Jose, or even transfer to Arenal area. Saving time, and a nights hotel.
Zip Lines over 12 water falls, or a canopy bridges thru a private reserve? $45-$80. Rent a ATV legally? $60 day. Take surf lessons from a good instructor in safe conditions without rocks, rip tides and bad currents, $60 morning lessons. Hike the jungle 8 hours to a remote Ranger Station, $60 day.
All lodging, hostels, hotels, Inns, lodges, all can arrange the activities in each area or venue for you, on the go. Costa Rica is all about adventure and nature, and it is not cheap and all adds up.
Yes you can hire a local fisherman to go out fishing, make sure he has a marine radio, life vest, downriggers, bait, food/water arrangements, agree on how long, and who gets the fish, and pays for the fuels, figure $40-$60 hour. But if you go to Tortuguero canals, you need pay for the boat transport, there are no roads, same for Cano Negro, both these places are excellent fishing most months...
Many parks you dont need a guide to hike, like Manual Antonio, parts of Rincon, Tenorio/celeste Waterfalls, Arenal, Selva Verde, Beru, Baro Honda, Santa Rosa...
Nov 28, 2012 11:12 AM
5edit: manuel antonio, rincon de la vieja, tenorio national park (rio celeste), baru, barra honda
you can't really "hike" selva verde - it's a lodge. did you mean "la selva?" ( arenal and santa rosa - both ok.) you don't need a guide to hike "parts of rincon?" what part do you need a guide for? i've been to both las pailas and santa maria and don't see the need for a guide.
i make these corrections just in case someone wants to google.
in fact, you don't just have to have a guide for most of the national parks (although a few require it, such as corcovado.) if you are willing to do some homework on your own and have good wildlife spotting skills (and good binoculars), you would be fine. the real issue with most national parks is transportation since public buses don't go to the entrance and you have to find your way from the nearest bus stop to the park -- typically not walkable.
most of the activities for tortuguero are water-based but my favorite thing to do there is just rent or use a canoe (some lodges let you use theirs for free), and then hire a local guy to go with me to help paddle for a few hours and keep me from getting lost in the maze of canals and streams.
and with cano negro, you can also just go there and hire a boat on your own without going on an organized tour. figure around $30 and hour for boat and driver. the driver will not be a guide, as such, and with no english skills but will be excellent as far as pointing out wildlife.
fishing is always an interesting challenge: getting someone to take you in a boat (that probably doesn't have any safety equipment), what to do about fishing tackle (most costa ricans just use a simple hand line with weight, hook and maybe bobber), and what to do with the fish you catch (give them to the guy, release them, take them back to your lodging to be cooked?)
obviously, the more inexpensive options will be more available if you speak spanish.
typically, the more popular tourist spots (manuel antonio, for instance) will be the most expensive. for inexpensive everything, you will need to go "off the beaten path." even with that, you will find that traveling in costa rica is more expensive than the other central american countries.
Edited by: wiremu
Edited by: wiremu
Nov 28, 2012 11:27 AM
6I would not hike to top of Rincon from base without a guide, as trails are not marked and its desolate tundra and moonscape and be confusing, especially as fog and mist are common at top, windy and visibility limited......thats all.
I think the poster is going to the caribe side, and wont be around Corcovado, but yes you can hike from Carate/La Leona without a guide for a day hike, but then you dont learn much about nature in the most bio diverse park on the planet, and without a guide...
Dec 1, 2012 7:06 PM
7Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.
I'm really up for anything and I am nearly fluent in Spanish so that should help me out a lot. Not looking to do any crazy hikes... mostly just want to relax on a beach that isn't stuffed with tourists, or grab a boat to an island or something. I know CR is very expensive, that's why I'm also flying out of Panama, but just wanted some ideas.
Dec 1, 2012 7:28 PM
8The main beaches that will have a lot of tourist during the holiday, but not packed, that is rare in CR, as the lodging overall is small, no major resorts for the most parts like Bahamas or Mexico or Aruba, the biggest hotel is 4 floors...but, the main holiday makers will be on Playa Papagayo, Playa Coco, Playa Tamarindo, Playa Jaco, Playa Manual Antonio, and a tad more than a few but not anything more than a few dozen outside of a Sunday, Playa Nosora/Samara/Montezuma and Mal Pais, the best beach with the most things to do nearby is either Playa Dominical (better for surfing than swimming) and the best all around beaches are on the Caribe side, Playa Punta Uva and Cocles, below Pt Viejo, this coast in undeveloped compared to the Pacific side, small cabinas and lodges, best beaches in the country outside of Mal Pais IMO, and lots to do in all directions, and even getting there, raft the Pacuare, and hit Tortuguero canals. Othwerwise the NW Pacific is a huge tourist trap in comparison....
Dec 3, 2012 9:27 AM
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