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Costa Rica-Staying in the Guanacaste area

JackieD

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Hello,
Those of you who have traveled to Costa Rica and stayed in a timeshare the Guanacaste area, did you pretty much stay in that area and took daytrips or did you travel down south for several days to see other tourist sites? The best prices for us is flying in and out of Liberia but maybe it's worth it to be closer to what I'm supposed to want to see :). I'm debating about flying into SJO a couple days before the timeshare and arranging tour(s)/driver from that area to travel. BTW traveling with dh, dd's 23, 20, 16.

Help! Need to buy airfare but I just can't decide :wall: Love to hear what you did!

Thank you!
 

DebBrown

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The road are poor and driving is difficult which makes day trips infeasible for many locations from the guanacaste coast. I'm not sure what things you want to do but we stayed on the coast for a week doing things close by the resort and then drove to the volcano/rain forest area for a few days. From there we made it back to Liberia for a flight home. I think you can have a good experience and not go farther south by San Jose.

Deb
 

n777lt

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The road are poor and driving is difficult which makes day trips infeasible for many locations from the guanacaste coast. I'm not sure what things you want to do but we stayed on the coast for a week doing things close by the resort and then drove to the volcano/rain forest area for a few days. From there we made it back to Liberia for a flight home. I think you can have a good experience and not go farther south by San Jose.

Deb

Actually, we spent a week at the JW Guanacaste several years ago, and had no problems with the roads in the coastal areas, except for a few dirt roads that weren't rutted or pitted - just like what you might find on a farm in the Midwest US. Very very easy driving up and down the coast exploring beaches, forests, wildlife and ziplines, GPS worked great, English spoken quite widely, and we had a ball. I even copied down vrbo rental info for a few lovely houses that sleep 14 on the shore near Tamarindo, and plan to arrange a family reunion there eventually. Flew in and out of Liberia and drove ourselves to Guanacaste without problems.
 

ronandjoan

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San Jose was a 6 hour drive from where we stayed on that coast in a small village (Samara). We spent 2 weeks and mainly stayed in our area ( we did not rent a car but caught a shuttle from Liberia ( 1 and 1/2 hours away.) and we took yours from the tour guide in town , even saw turtles laying eggs!

It was the best vacation we 've had!
 

SciTchr

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Costa Rica

This post is old, so perhaps she has already taken the trip, but here are my two cents.

Fly into Liberia and then drive to the Arenal area to spend some time pre or post trip. There is so much to do there. Arenal volcano, zip lining, Hanging Bridge Park, hot springs. (We went to the smaller Eco Termales instead of Tabacon). You can drive there from Liberia pretty easily.

I would skip San Jose totally...unless you want a big city experience. The part we also loved about our trip was a flight with Costa Rica Adventures to Tortuquerro National Park on the Caribbean side. But, we did that upon arrival in San Jose and then took our car to Arenal and Guanacaste. If you fly into Liberia it is pretty far away. We had to spend three plus weeks to do all we wanted to do, so if your time is less, concentrate on one or two areas.

OP...have you gone yet?
 

klpca

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This post is old, so perhaps she has already taken the trip, but here are my two cents.

Fly into Liberia and then drive to the Arenal area to spend some time pre or post trip. There is so much to do there. Arenal volcano, zip lining, Hanging Bridge Park, hot springs. (We went to the smaller Eco Termales instead of Tabacon). You can drive there from Liberia pretty easily.

I would skip San Jose totally...unless you want a big city experience. The part we also loved about our trip was a flight with Costa Rica Adventures to Tortuquerro National Park on the Caribbean side. But, we did that upon arrival in San Jose and then took our car to Arenal and Guanacaste. If you fly into Liberia it is pretty far away. We had to spend three plus weeks to do all we wanted to do, so if your time is less, concentrate on one or two areas.

OP...have you gone yet?

Not the OP but I wanted to thank you for this post. We're going next year and starting to do some planning. Your post will help me organize our plans for the trip.
 

taterhed

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This post is old, so perhaps she has already taken the trip, but here are my two cents.

Fly into Liberia and then drive to the Arenal area to spend some time pre or post trip. There is so much to do there. Arenal volcano, zip lining, Hanging Bridge Park, hot springs. (We went to the smaller Eco Termales instead of Tabacon). You can drive there from Liberia pretty easily.

I would skip San Jose totally...unless you want a big city experience. The part we also loved about our trip was a flight with Costa Rica Adventures to Tortuquerro National Park on the Caribbean side. But, we did that upon arrival in San Jose and then took our car to Arenal and Guanacaste. If you fly into Liberia it is pretty far away. We had to spend three plus weeks to do all we wanted to do, so if your time is less, concentrate on one or two areas.

OP...have you gone yet?

Thanks from me2! great post
 

SciTchr

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KLPCA and Taterhed,
Our Costa Rica trip was one of our favorites. We flew into San Jose and then took a Costa Rica Adventures tour to Torteguero National Park on the Caribbean side. They bused us to the river and then we took a boat in. They flew us back to San Jose. Great outfitter. We were in the nicest of the lodges we saw and our little daily boat trip had either two or four total. The others we saw were jam packed. I would recommend anything with this company. Our first night in San Jose we had to spend the night and we picked the Adventure Lodge. Very nice with free breakfast.

Then we rented a car at the airport and drove over the mountains to Arenal. There are many nice hotels in the area, although we rented a Denver friends home hear Lake Arenal. Tons to do in the area. The volcano is spectacular and we were lucky one night to wake up and see lava coming down from the side. I guess it is not always active. My husband was planning an escape route...LOL.

A Costa Rican friend who owns the condo we rented in Playa Los Cocos recommended that we visit Eco Termales hot springs instead of the touristy and expensive Tabacon. We loved it. We were served a very nice meal and then had the day for the hot springs. There were several plus a nice little walking path through the vegetation. Family owned and very nice.

Next we went to a condo at Playa Los Cocos. Cute little beach town. We drove to many beaches in the area - all beautiful and not full of tourists. We also went to a lodge near Coco where you can take a mud bath, zip line, horseback ride, etc. Very fun.

We flew home from Liberia on Frontier. Nice, small airport close to Coco. It was one of our very favorite trips. Have fun and PM me if you want more info.
 

Greg G

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Definitely on my list of places to visit. Lots of good information everyone has posted.

Greg
 

Helios

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Actually, we spent a week at the JW Guanacaste several years ago, and had no problems with the roads in the coastal areas, except for a few dirt roads that weren't rutted or pitted - just like what you might find on a farm in the Midwest US. Very very easy driving up and down the coast exploring beaches, forests, wildlife and ziplines, GPS worked great, English spoken quite widely, and we had a ball. I even copied down vrbo rental info for a few lovely houses that sleep 14 on the shore near Tamarindo, and plan to arrange a family reunion there eventually. Flew in and out of Liberia and drove ourselves to Guanacaste without problems.

Some roads are like farms in the Midwest but some are pretty bad and painful. The road from the PanAmerican Highway to the Cloud Forest is certainly not like a farm road in the Midwest. Locals like it this way.

Major roads are paved.

GPS works great.

FYI - Guanacaste is pretty dry around March. I was surprised how dry (03/16)...
 

Helios

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The Westin Playa Del Conchal is pretty nice. I was surprised at the food quality for an AI resort.

They have very nice perks of you are SPG Plat...
 

Pat H

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The Westin Playa Del Conchal is pretty nice. I was surprised at the food quality for an AI resort.

They have very nice perks of you are SPG Plat...

The Westin only has 15 timeshare units so it's very difficult to get into.
 

Helios

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The Westin only has 15 timeshare units so it's very difficult to get into.

Correct, their owners tend to use them each year.
 
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