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Old 04-24-2005, 04:06 PM   #1
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Can anyone recommend reputable companies to book excursions from San Jose? Canopy trips, volcano hikes, that sort of thing...thanks.
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Old 04-24-2005, 10:43 PM   #2
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I'm planning a Costa Rica trip as we speak.. (May 11-19) most of the excursion companies seem to charge an arm and a leg, so I'm putting everything together independently. I'll be glad to share my info once I nail some of the details down. Right now I'm looking at doing SkyTrek in Monteverde, possibly going horseback to La Fortuna/Volcan Arenal, and perhaps an Interbus trip to Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast.

In the meantime, look up the web sites of the hostels you're thinking of staying at: most of them offer booking services for excursions, etc.
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Old 04-25-2005, 06:08 AM   #3
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Ha, ha thanks again, Omisan. That sounds like all the stuff I want to do, too. Maybe you could send me your intinerary, your flight info and your hostel booking and it will take all the work outta things for me. http://www.smileycentral.com/?partner=ZSze...08_ZRxdm069YYUS
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Old 04-25-2005, 07:47 AM   #4
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Omisan, is there a need to get any shots before heading into the Costa Rican jungles? Just thought of this....
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Old 04-25-2005, 08:09 AM   #5
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Anyone going to Tamarindo (beachside)? I'll be there mid-June...
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Old 04-25-2005, 11:06 AM   #6
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Ugh I loved Tamarindo... wish I could go back sometime soon....

I guess now that I"m done university I could probably find the time, the money is a different question... Hit some sick break for me... Witches Rock is great when it's not busy
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Old 04-25-2005, 11:14 AM   #7
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But anywho I went to Costa Rica on exchange a couple years ago (actually make that 5 holy crap time goes by fast) anywho I found that the way everyone I met there would do it was to meet some peeps down there rent a car and just hit it up yourself... I DO NOT RECOMMEND STAYING IN SAN JOSE... it is not a nice place to be for more than a day... Go somewhere nicer like Jaco Beach or anwhere on the West Coast and make that your home base if that is what you were planning. please if you listen to any advice at all on here... make it that one.
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Old 04-25-2005, 11:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by MolsonGirl@Apr 25 2005, 12:05 PM
Hit some sick break for me... Witches Rock is great when it's not busy
Heurr, is that surfer slang? Come again?
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Old 04-25-2005, 11:51 AM   #9
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Shots: So far, I've read that the Hepatitis-A shot is recommended. I'm going to see if I can get one in time, but I've also read that you don't really need it if you stick to drinking bottled water and get your drinks without ice. Also, bad water isn't supposed to be a problem if you're not in a coastal area, but I think I'll stick to bottles thankyouverymuch. Some also recommend taking anti-malaria pills (i.e. chloroquine) but I think you need a scrip to get those in the US. You can get them cheap and over-the-counter in Costa Rica w/o much hassle. They also go into the "extraneous" category if you cover up and use plenty of mosquito repellent.

Tamarindo: I'd like to go check that out, but I don't think I have time this trip. I'm thinking since I hope to learn surfing this summer that I'll go back to Costa Rica again when I'm good at it, as the Pacific Coast is supposed to be surfer heaven.

San José: I think I'm only going to spend a few nights there, total, just as a base and to do a little cosmpolitan partying. Otherwise, I think I'm gonna do the adventure-travel thing all the way. Since the buses can be a pain and the roads suck, using SJ as a travel hub doesn't seem like all that good an idea... It's so cheap, though, I think I'll book a hostel there for the whole week to use as a base in case I need to get back or whatnot.
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Old 04-25-2005, 01:07 PM   #10
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So far all I have planned is get a hostel in San Jose (probably Costa Rica Backpackers) and I'm hoping to find a multi-day hike/camping trip or something similar. My fingers are crossed that SJ will be similar to Interlakken with all the comanies that offer activities. I only have a week so I'm not sure how far I will stray from SJ but the coastal areas are sounding nice. I think I'll have a probably packing because my canadian brain has forgotten what 80 degrees feels like!
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Old 04-25-2005, 11:49 PM   #11
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DiR - I was initially thinking doing the same thing, but because CR doesn't have rail - just buses & horrendous roads - I realized it's a bad idea. Basically, if you were to go on an excursion every day, you're looking at 4-8 hours of bus time per day, even though you're not covering that much distance.

With that disclaimer in place, here are some example packages I found, via Tranquilo Backpackers hostel:

Action tours
Canopy & Aerial Tours
Educational tours
Nature Tours
Volcano tours

As you can see, the prices add up pretty quickly. Next post, I'll put up my tentative itinerary and costs.
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Old 04-26-2005, 12:33 AM   #12
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My tentative itinerary for Costa Rica

May 11 - Arrive in Costa Rica @ 9:30pm, check into one of the 3 mentioned hostels (CR Backpackers, Pangea, or Tranquilo). I'm thinking of booking all 8 nights in San Jose, just to have a fall-back base in case something comes up on the rest of the trip. At only ~$9 a night, it doesn't seem like a bad insurance plan. Stick around for a night or two, depending on the nightlife/people at the hostel.

Next (May 13, maybe?) - Take the morning bus from San José to Monteverde/Santa Elena. ($4.25, approx 4.5 hours). Check into the Pension Santa Elena. Despite the godawful picture on the site, I have it from friends and Lonely Planet it's actually a kick-ass place to stay and it's $5/night. They're also the hub for tours/activities in the area, all w/ the backpacker in mind. Looking to stay two nights. While in the area, I'm looking at the Skytrek Canopy Tour ($40), which is right by the Reserva Santa Elena. Of course, the main attraction is the Monteverde Cloud Forest ($8). On the way there is the Monteverde Cheese Factory (aka la lechería) where I don't intend to do the tour, but I hear the milkshakes are to DIE for.

Next - Weather permitting, go from Monteverde to La Fortuna by horseback. This won't happen if it's raining a lot (too crazy), but I do know that this operator comes recommended. It's $65 (eek!) but it's supposed to be the coolest way to get to the Arenal volcano area, and only the pricier outfitters treat the horses well and keep safety in mind. 'Course, it's faster to go by jeep/boat/etc., and about half the price, but not nearly as fun. Which I'll have to do if the weather isn't horse-friendly.

After getting saddlesore, I figure I'll check into Gringo Pete's in La Fortuna (no web site, $3/night, recommended by LP) for one night, maybe 2, depending on how I feel about the area. The Arenal volcano's the dominating thing there, which means unwinding in the hot springs. My friends recommend doing this at night, because it's just too damn hot during the day, and say it's worth the extra cash ($17) to do it at Tabacon Hot Springs. During the day, I figured I'd rent a bike ($6-9) and ride around, instead of doing an über-costly bike tour. Also on the list is the Catarata de la Fortuna waterfall ($3), where I can indulge my swimming-hole-under-a-giant-cascading-fall dreams.

The next sensible option is to catch a bus back to San José, but who says I'm sensible? I'm thinking for $38, I can take an Interbus shuttle - pricier, but direct, and only one day of travel instead of 2 with regular buses - all the way out to Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean Coast. There, I want to stay at Rocking J's ($5/night) on the beach - probably for two nights, and just chill Caribbean style, use the free art supplies, and relax from the previous 4-5 days of adventure. Ok, so the local music and nightlife in PV is supposed to rock, so maybe it won't be so restful. This place is supposed to be Paradise, and I figured I can watch the nutty surfers take on the infamous Salsa Brava break to get properly inspired for my lessons in the summer.

Regular bus back to San Jose ($5.50, 4.5 hrs), and whatever remaining time until the morning of May 19th is for whatever partying/hanging out/souvenir-buying I have energy left for.
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Old 04-26-2005, 03:56 AM   #13
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Your itinerary looks great, Omi! I loved Monteverde Cloud Forest, and hanging out with the other backpackers there was half the fun. Seriously, I would do as you propose: Take ordinary buses to where you're going and stay overnight rather than do as excursions from San Jose. Volcan Arenal was number two on my list, but I didn't have time for it (only 3 days). Folks I met at Monteverde said it was awesome...you gotta hope it's active when you're there, though, to see some of the cool lava. Night time's the best, I hear.

DreamsInRed...do Omi's idea rather than San Jose...you'll love Costa Rica. The people and landscape are great.

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Old 04-26-2005, 06:49 AM   #14
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Great itinerary Omi! Alright now, "cut and paste" Call me a copycat if you want! I'm such a cheater! But I only had two weeks to plan this trip. Two weeks before my europe trip I was already packed! Depending on the internet situation I'll definitely let you know if there is anything to watch out for since I'll be 4 days ahead of you. After Interlakken these trips don't sound too expensive at all and you can't beat those bus prices!
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Old 04-26-2005, 07:50 AM   #15
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Thanks for the endorsement, WWM

DiR - feel free to copy & paste. And for my service, yeah, I expect you to find one of the many internet cafes (at least, they claim there are a lot) and keep me posted.. hehehe.. Who knows? Maybe I'll catch up with you on the beach. Supposedly, everyone who ends up at Puerto Viejo ends up staying longer than planned!

I wonder what the change fee is on America West? I wonder how long it'd take me to find a new job after not coming back as planned?

FYI, I've only been doing this planning for about a week now - I rarely plan more than a couple of weeks in advance!
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Old 04-26-2005, 08:09 AM   #16
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Well, this trip will definitely be more exciting than my trip to europe. I think my mistake was planning a little too much, so I'm pretty psyched about this trip and the uncertainty of it. Europe was great but I think I'll find a little more adventure on this trip.

I'll meet you on the beach and we'll call our bosses and tell them we've caught some tropical disease and we've been quarantined and we're not allowed to leave the country. That just might work!
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Old 04-26-2005, 10:13 AM   #17
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My jealousy STILL knows no bounds. B) On the other hand I took a look at that horseback journey and I'm somewhat mollified-- you're going to be a sore bastard after that trip, my friend. Hee. Bring ibuprofen and try not to go faster than a walk, lol.
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Old 04-29-2005, 08:51 AM   #18
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Omi...you're flying on America West? Send me a PM if you are and you need a flight changed. I can try to pull some strings...I work for AWA.

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