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Costa Rica
October 31, 2010 12:12AM
I know many users here have traveled to Costa Rica. I'm interested in taking my family at some point in time and want to avoid the beaten path and find a very "Puerto Escondido" type town (hopefully smaller in population) to make a base and go on excursions from there. Any recommendations would be welcomed.
Re: Costa Rica
October 31, 2010 05:13AM
Puerto Viejo on the Caribean side, south of Limon. I was there again last year, and absolutely love it. Its about a 5 hour bus ride from the capital. It kind of reminds a little of Puerto before it grew up. The town is small, my then 14 year old boy was able to walk around at will. We rent bikes, which works fine.
To the south are a string of fabulous beaches that end at a national park. To the north are black sand beaches ending at another national park. Good waves in the winter, good snorkeling in the summer or sheltered coves.
Bocas del Toro in Panama is about 2-3 hours away, well worth the adventure involved in getting there for a few nights also.
One thing, it rains a lot, but that keeps it lush and green.
Since your taking your family, beware its a caribean/rasta type place, pot is smoked openly everywhere, even in some restaurants.
The Pacific side is overloaded with tourists and has gotten expensive. There are still a few spots, Malpais,Montezuma,Dominical which arent as bad as Jaco, MAnuel Antonio or Tamarindo.
PM me to see my photos on FB, check out Puertoviejosatelite for more info. Best of all, the flight was only $250RT last year.
Re: Costa Rica
October 31, 2010 05:29AM
We liiked the wilds of Nicoya. Drive the narrowest 4wd you can rent, and practice backing up on twisty mountain roads. altho we got lucky and never met a bus coming the other way...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/31/2010 09:15AM by Uncle Mort.
Re: Costa Rica
October 31, 2010 05:45AM
Re: Costa Rica
October 31, 2010 09:03AM
Re: Costa Rica
October 31, 2010 10:47AM
Thanks Scott. This is exactly the type of info I'm looking for. Is the climate in Puerto Viejo tropical all year around, or do they have a dry season? I'm fine with the ganja, as the kids traveling with us won't really be old enough to understand.

I'm hoping to be able to fit at least one jungle excursion into the trip. Do you know if this is possible/practical from P.V.?

Thanks for the links.
Re: Costa Rica
October 31, 2010 12:02PM
Scott did you see your error in the link you posted. You missed the first [

The thing about Costa Rica is the rain. Especially in the summer on the pacific and the winter (or all the time?) on the Caribbean. That is the main reason Puerto Escondido is so good. The weather. And the waves of course. Don't get me wrong, Costa Rica is a winner. It has been a while since I was there but I think there is a place not too far from San Jose where you can see both coasts. Is that correct? The train ride from San Jose to Limon is nice too. Take it at least one way.
Re: Costa Rica
November 01, 2010 04:42PM
The train doesnt run anymore, it was the original jungle train from San Jose to the Limon. We were lucky, it only rained at the end, and not too hard, but in the Caribean it can rain any time. Not so on the Pacific, same weather as Puerto except south of Jaco, it gets a little more tropical. Puerto Viejo is in the jungle, its thick. This trip I saw a lot less wildlife, but we surfed more and its getting built up. The 2 national parks close by, Cahuita and Manzanillo-Gandocal are awesome. The latter has a lagoon that is spectacular. All that rain keeps the dust down and the area super green. I really liked it, the food is not like Mexico though, we ate street food. It is a little more expensive to eat, but cheaper to stay I found. I wont go back to the Pacific side of CR, its too touristy, but the Caribean side is still awesome, I think the tourits are scared off because the natives are black and there a few murders now and then. My first time here 8 years ago it was sketchy, but the Italians have opened places and really cleaned it up. They even burned down the popular bar that was causing problems. We didnt have even close to a hassle, rally good vibes, my son surfed with locals and they were real friendly to him. I told him not to expect the same in Mexico, unless it has changed.Pm me if you have questions, I know the country pretty well. Check out my trip reports on Lonely Planet Thorn Tree under the same handle.
Re: Costa Rica
November 01, 2010 04:43PM
Thanks PB, i even read your post again and couldnt figure it out. Maybe its better, we dont want to many NJ photos up
Re: Costa Rica
November 01, 2010 08:51PM
wow...blast from my past had me and my family in Tamirindo in 1976...40 folk in the village...one big event on the beach,...a hotel that the president flew into by helicopter...no stores...nothing but trucks with supplies...put your flag out and they'd stop...

gringos were busy buying back then...looks like they were able to make some money off the dry side of the country...
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