1 week solo in CR, to see/do [& not to do?]
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Dec 13, 2012 4:33 AM Last Post By: wiremu
Dec 10, 2012 11:43 PM
1 week solo in CR, to see/do [& not to do?]Hi all,
I was hoping I could beg a few pieces of advice from your wealth of collective wisdom of what you would do / see / make sure not to miss / make sure to avoid were you to find yourself in my present, wholly unplanned situation of:
- having 7 days in Costa Rica
- being a solo traveler (fairly seasoned in traveling alone but woefully under-researched for this trip)
- with an embarrassing lack of Spanish past polite - conversation - to - determine - I'm - an - ignorant - American - who - doesn't - speak - Spanish basics
- leaving in a week
(Yes, I know. You can insert all the caveats here -- no, it's not how I would have planned things, but life doesn't always come made to order; either way I wound up with this ticket and I am happily going to use it.)
So. Given that a week is a pathetic amount of time to try and see Costa Rica but it's all I've got, that's not the goal: I'm more interested in relaxing than cramming in as much as possible. Wildlife is a cause to go, adrenaline is always great, but maximizing time to chill out in the sun is really what I need. I think my biggest question is that in general I much prefer as off-the-beaten path, away from tourist central as possible. But as an unprepared mute soloist I'm wondering how much I need to compromise on this and where a good compromise lies. It seems that I won't have time to get to Osa and back for much worth, so perhaps southern Nicoya peninsula is a good spot-- do day trips from there as desired? Where would you go that's as not - too - touristy - but - still - accommodates - my - anglophonic - needs as possible, for shorter than you'd recommend going for, for someone on her own? Who leaves really soon?
Trying to cram in as much research in my week-to-plan as possible but appealing to the forum for help given the rather insanely impending departure date.
Infinite thanks in advance!
Dec 11, 2012 3:24 AM
1I think we can safely assume that #1 is a tout!
Heading out to beaches on the Nicoya Peninsular is your best bet for a relaxing week, select from a guide book. If you are flying in to San Jose then you can always route via a volcano or cloud forest for extra variety. It will of course be a busy week but you won't have to worry about your lack of Spanish- the tourist infrastructure in CR is very strong....
Dec 11, 2012 4:41 AM
2the thing is, you WILL have to worry about is finding a place to stay, if you haven't already done that, and finding transportation, if you haven't already done that.
you will be here during one of the busiest times of the year, especially at the beach.
i wouldn't worry too much about your spanish skills - as long as you can say "please" and "thank you" and "where is" (mainly "where is the bathroom") you will be fine. you can always find an english speaker or two, even in the most off-the-beaten-path location.
for some other choices:
1. a few days in tortuguero, a few days in the puerto viejo vicinity
2. a few days in the tenorio area http://www.casitastenorio.com and a few days at one of the northern pacific beaches such as playas del coco or playa hermosa or playa brasilito http://www.footprintscostarica.com/footprints_hotels.php
3. get to a remote, off-the-beaten-path area such as this: http://www.costaricanbirdroute.com/sites.htm while this map is usually for birders, it's an excellent guide to those out of the way places with a great list of lodging. you could get from there to the puerto viejo area pretty easily.
for the southern nicoya peninsula http://www.nicoyapeninsula.com
Edited by: wiremu
Dec 11, 2012 4:47 AM
3In one week you can do the traditional circuit and although this won't be as fulfilling as the luxury of more time would allow it can be thought off as an introduction sampler. Fly into SJO and stay a night in the area. If you have the time check out the city of Alajuela. This is like a smaller version of San Jose without most of the grit. Nice central market, central park, even a small museum. In the morning take a shuttle to La Fortuna and spend a couple days around Arenal. Pick a couple activities, soak in a hot spring. Take the jeep-boat-jeep to Monteverde for a couple more days. Hike in the reserve, do a zip-line. Shuttle to Manuel Antonio, look at the park, enjoy the beach and then back to Alajuela.
I know this seems unimaginative but people with your time constraints do it all the time and I would say most are satisfied. You can return and do a more in depth reconnoiter of the country later.
Dec 13, 2012 1:10 AM
4Thanks so much, greatly appreciate the tips!
Another question : I keep hearing that the Pacific side is the way to go if one doesn't have time to explore both... but it seems like the Pacific entails choosing to either divide my very limited time between beach or jungle, or simply forego the latter altogether. If I've got beach relaxation no-over-packed-itinerary priorities but find the idea of leaving Costa Rica without seeing some wildlife a little too sacrilege, is heading somewhere like Puerto Viejo vicinity with a few day trips from there not the way to go?
Dec 13, 2012 4:33 AM
5you can choose either coast and be assured of seeing some wildlife. that's not a problem.
i don't know where you keep hearing that the "pacific side is the way to go if one doesn't have time to explore both." that's just not true. either coast would be fine and there are both beach and wildlife opportunities.
and yes, you can head for puerto viejo and do some day trips from there. but why not just do two locations such as tortuguero and puerto viejo or arenal and puerto viejo which will bring some variety to your trip.
keep in mind that for day trips, you are kind of limited to the area you choose. it's not like you can stay in one place and go all over the country.
for more information:
Edited by: wiremu
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