"Costa Rica, a land of simple life and beauty" Top 5 Page for this destination Costa Rica by monica71

Costa Rica Travel Guide: 5,963 reviews and 13,931 photos

Read about it,dreamed about it & finally got there

I wanted to visit Costa Rica for a long time. I have been dreaming about a vacation here since 2003, but never had the chance to finalize my dreams until now. I made so many plans and changed them several times until I came out with the perfect one (for me, at least!). And I can not thank enough to all the VT people, especially Geny, that answered all my questions and really helped me finalize my plans!

I am trying my best not to fall in love with a country and a place I visit because I know there are so many other in the world that are worth going to, but I found it hard, very hard, not to fall in love with all that I have seen and experienced during my Costa Rica trip: the land, the people, the beauty of this country, the mix of new and old, modern and simple...

As a tourist in Costa Rica you can experience both, the luxury of top notch resorts (not too many of them, but you can find them) and the simple life of a tourist that just wanders around admiring the abundance of flora and fauna. To me, Costa Rica is a country where you can go back to the simple way of living and get away from the crazy and hectic world that we live in today. It is a place where you can unwind, go back to the basics in an instant and never feel sorry for not having the latest high-tech gadget around. There is really no need for it, so why bother?

First Trip to CR - Vacation Itinerary

Day 1: arrived in San Jose/Alajuela at 9:30pm
Day 2: San Jose city tour in the morning (hired a private driver); left for Arenal/La Fortuna in the afternoon (by private transfer)
Day 3, 4, 5: full days in La Fortuna/Arenal area; we rented a car for days 4 and 5, so we can see the area better
Day 6: got back to Alajuela by flying Sansa; hired private driver and went to Poas Volcano, LaPaz Waterfall Gardens, Grecia, Sarchi
Day 7: rented a car and went to Manuel Antonio for few hours; drove back to Alajuela and got ready for the flight back home next morning
Day 8: woke up at 5am CR time and got back home after a very long and hectic day. We lost the connecting flight in Atlanta (we spent about 3 hours at the customs/immigration and another 1 hour waiting in line to get to the terminal from where our flight was scheduled to leave) and arrived home after 8:30pm.

Second time in CR

We loved CR so much that we have decided to return at the end of Jan 2009 and discover more of this beautiful country. This time we flew Continental Airlines (with a stop over in Houston) and there were no surprises at all. Maybe we just got lucky this time around, but coming back to Chicago the lines at Custom, Immigration and Security Check In were much shorter than the ones we have experienced a year back in Atlanta when we flew Delta Airlines and lost our connecting flight to Chicago. We will definitely fly through Houston again on our future trips to Central America!

This time around we decided to go to Dominical and Orosi Valley and just take it easy. We rented a car to drive to the places we wanted to go to and we also rented a GPS who became our best friend pretty fast :)

We enjoyed our time in CR and we fell in love with the country again, regardless of the rainy and cold weather that was sweeping pretty much the whole country at the time of our visit (except the South side of Pacific - from Manuel Antonio to Osa Peninsula). It was unusually rainy, windy and cold in most areas of the country for this time of the year.

The Orosi Valley was very rainy, foggy, windy and cold (not more than 65F during the day and around 40F at night). We did get few hours of rain break and a shy sun during our visit in the valley, but not enough to wear shorts :) At times, it was so cold that we even had to put on hats, and we never walked around without a jacket on. We did visit the valley and pretty much all the points we wanted to (except Irazu Volcano where the fog was so tick that you could not see anything in the park, not even the road sometimes).

Dominical, on the other hand, was more hot and humid than usual for the time of the year we visited. Temperatures were going up to 100F during the day and would not go down more than 85F during the night. And the air was very-very humid. This made it hard to sleep some nights, even with the A/C on. Regardless, we enjoyed our beach house there and had a nice a relaxing time on the beach and on the patio.

As I said, we had a great time and we came back home relaxed and recharged (which is what really counts!). We will go back to CR in the future, but most likely it will not happen for quite a while since there are some other countries that are becoming more and more appealing to us and we really want to start exploring them too.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:CR was way more than I expected; great people, great nature, great everything!
  • Cons:bad roads take up most of your day if you travel by car
  • In a nutshell:a country where you can go back to the basics and rediscover yourself!
  • Last visit to Costa Rica: Apr 2008
  • Intro Updated Feb 26, 2009
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Reviews (71)

Comments (6)

  • glabah's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    They've got electric showers in places I have been in Africa, Brazil, Bolivia and a few other places too.

  • Jefie's Profile Photo
    Aug 11, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    Hey Monica! I very much enjoyed browing through your CR tips, it's a country that's sitting at the top of my wishlist. Funny story about the hyperactive goat, I'd never heard it before!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 27, 2009 at 11:08 AM

    Hi Monica, you found some fascinating things to see and do on your two trips to Costa Rica, like that Doka Estate Coffee Tour and the horseback riding in the rain. I'm glad there are tour companies in La Fortuna that offer bicycle tours.

  • rcsparty's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2009 at 5:02 AM

    nice page. We are going to Manual Antonio area at end of April, and can't wait to get there...happy birthday

  • codrutz's Profile Photo
    Jan 19, 2009 at 12:22 PM

    This is very in depth information, you put a lot of work in this page. Great reviews of restaurants and hotels and indispensable custom tips and what to look for when doing this trip. Great page Monica!

  • BEETLE_VERTE's Profile Photo
    May 12, 2008 at 5:40 AM

    Nice work Monica, I loved reading about your trip. Your pages are great! You make me want to go back... sooooon!! Thanks for the post card! ;)

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