Paying with a credit card
Favorite thing: In Costa Rica, there are some places that charge you extra if you pay with a credit card. To be sure you avoid such a charge, ask before handing out your credit card.
Rental car companies and big hotels do not charge you extra for this. Tour companies prefer you to pay cash and they even tell you that they need to charge you more if you pay with your credit card.
If God forbid you have a car accident
Favorite thing: If you are driving in CR and you are involved in an accident, make sure that you request and wait for the transit police to show up and fill out a report. You need to call the rental car company right away to let them know about the accident. They will send one of their inspectors to the accident site right away. If you can, do not move your car after the accident and lock it in order to protect your belongings.
Make sure you get as much information as you can about the other vehicle and persons involved in the accident.Related to:
- Road Trip
Birding tour company: Gateway Costa Rica
Favorite thing: We customized a private 15 day birding and nature tour for 4 people with Gateway Costa Rica. They have sample intineraries on their
website that you can use to get started and they customize them for you. We had all our ground transport taken care of. The drivers
were great and always on time or early. We are so glad we had a driver. As far as we could tell, they are not many roads signs. (at least they drive on the right side of the road.) we stayed at six different lodges and hotels all over the country, it was great. They have links on their website to a lot of the birding lodges, so you can decide for yourself which is right for you. Saw at least 150 species of birds and lots of other animals too. We had almost all our meals included, which made things much easier. We also had private guided birding tours included in our intererary. We couldn't have been happier. The last 3 days we went to the beach at Maunel Antionio and even though these hotels were not ones Gateway Costa Rica were familar with, they were happy to include our request. We even changed one reservation at the last minute to 3 nights instead of 2, called the home office and it was all taken care of, no problem. We would recommend them to anyone looking for a birding and nature tour, especially if you don't want to go with 30 other people.
Fondest memory: Best memory of Costa Rica was seeing the Resplendent Quetzal, Scarlet Macaws, Keel-billed and Chestnut billed Toucans in the wild.
Magnificant birds, and endangered.
Coati and monkeys, tarantulas (small ones). Really friendly people. Gallo Pinto. All our enthusiatic and knowlegable guides. Mangrove
swamp at dawn.( with birding you see a lot of dawns.) Birding from the deck at Rancho Naturalista at 5:45 am with a HUGH pot of Costa Rican coffee, cream and sugar.
Favorite thing: Nicaragua is an extrememely impovrished country,small bands of children work the tourist centers[Grenada,SanJuanDelSur]hustling change to buy solvents[glue,spray-paint]which they openly inhale out of mason-jars.Prostitution is the only source of income for many unwed mothers,it is a sad,tragic country.Costa Rica,is,by Cent.Am.standards,extremely prosperous,it is for this and other reasons that many Gringos find it distastefull,they would prefer that all of Central America be an impovrished slum,they believe this condition to be "culturally authentic".Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
No English...No problem (in Costa Rica)
Favorite thing: A lot of the "Ticos" seem to speak English - definitely in the more popular areas. I was in Costa Rica last year, and didn't have a problem with not knowing much Spanish (I know about 10 words). You should email some of the member who live there. They usually are willing to meet up with you and give you a locals tour. Have fun! Ross
Fondest memory: Beetle Bar - no just kidding. That place annoyed me. I really liked the birds and the monkeys, as well as the beaches. My best days were spent just hanging out at the beach in Punta Leona.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Basilicia de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles
Favorite thing: My ultimate thing to do is to take pictures of the countries architecture. The picture of this church is the original pic of the church of "our lady of angels" which as you can see has been destroyed but I still seemed to see it's beauty.
The new "Our Lady of Angels" is strikingly beautiful both inside and out.
Fondest memory: I will miss the Ruins.
Going to the rainforest
Favorite thing: If you are going to spend time in the rainforest, take malaria medication because there are a lot of mosquitos. Wear long sleeve shirts and pants even though it is hot, because you don't want to rub up against something and get a rash. Wear rubber boots (simple kinds from Wal Mart only cost around $10) because they'll protect you from water as well as snake bites.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of Costa Rica was when I was walking near the El Zota research center and as I looked up, a howler monkey was hanging down into my face, studying me.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
One of the best beach
Favorite thing: Costa Rica is the country with more aerotaxi in the world. Don't rent a car but travel with pioneer flight: with less than 50USD you can go everywhere!
Fondest memory: The beach of Manuelantonio National Park is one of the best I've seen in my life for the richness of the nature besides you, meanwhile you stay with the Pacific Ocean in front of you. Wonderful!
Costa Rica National Flag
Favorite thing: The National flag of Costa Rica consists of five horizontal strips in red, white and blue, modeled after the colors of the French Tricolore. The blue and white are the original colors used by the United Provinces of Central America.
Some, but not all of the renditions of the flag include the country's coat of arms on the central red panel. The coat of arms features the three volcanoes representing the three volcanic mountain ranges of Costa Rica, and the seven stars represent the Costa Rica's seven provinces.
The official flag designed by the First Lady, Pacífica Fernández Oreamuno, and officially adapted on September 29, 1948. It was inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution - freedom, equality, and brotherhood - and the colors of the French National Flag.
The Tico Times Newspaper
Favorite thing: If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica (or even if you are not) you may like to take a look at the Tico Times, an English language weekly newspaper which claims to be Central America's leader, it may very well be. They have a web edition of The Tico Times which contains a small amount of the weekly articles from thier print edition as well as some, if not all, of the classifieds. The editorials are sometimes downright laughable. We subscribed to the print edition by mail for a year or so but delivery was always sporadic, some issues arriving more than a month after publication. Still, you can garner a lot of info/ideas from it and it is also available now as a .pdf file, a more timely way of receiving it, but not for free.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
- Arts and Culture
Canadian Travellers Never buy Costa Rican Colons i
Favorite thing: I usually purchase my foreign currencies from “Guardian International Currency Corp.” located in Toronto. They usually offer a competitive price for US dollars and since I have been a trusting client of them for years, without researching the rates, I made a purchase of 400 Canadian Dollars worth of Costa Rican money on February 14, 2006 for the exchange rate of 0.0028325. My 399.38 CAD (Canadian Dollars) was exchanged for 141,000 CRD (Costa Rican Colons).
When I arrived to C.R, I figured how I was ripped off!
The real exchange rate on February the 14th has been 0.002178 / 0.002346 (Bid / Ask). So had I gotten the proper rate, my 400 CAD would have been equal to 170,000 CRC! This means that my loss was 29,000 CRC which is about 70 CAD!
Isn’t this ridiculous? In a 400 dollars transaction losing 70 dollars!
I contacted the “Guardian International Currency Corp.” and asked for an explanation. I was told that this is their rate. I was also told that “ALL EXOTIC CURRENCEIS” (like CRCs) are sold with similar ratio (Sold with very high rate and bought with a very low rate!).
Long story short, NEVER buy Costa Rican Colons in Canada. Even in San Jose (San Jose, CR) Airport you can find much better rates. Exchange your money in a bank in Costa Rica. Nonetheless in Costa Rica you can always spend American Dollars you don’t really need much CRC, maybe in rare cases.
Favorite thing: Take your pick, from the beach to the rainforest. Sky Trek to the Vernado Caves. Throw in volcanoes, all must see things.
Fondest memory: Imperial beer. The best tasting beer, cheap and the best thing..... No hangover, ever. If anybody knows how to buy it in the UK please tell
Costa Rica--do as much as possible
Favorite thing: Zip-lining through the rain forest jungle canopy was the highlight of my trip.
I would recommend it to anyone.
Fondest memory: The people I dealt with were very hospitable but it was the scenery, the nature and the smell of life from all the greenery that I will always remember (plus my 1st zip line).Related to:
- Women's Travel
- School Holidays
Public Bus etiquette
Favorite thing: Taking the public city bus, particularly in San Jose, is an excellent, quick and inexpensive to get around.
Fares in San Jose will generally cost betwen 135 and 150 colones or 300 to nearby towns like Cartago.
You pay the driver when you get on the bus and he will give you any change (avoid any bills over 1000).
BE AWARE that all the public buses have laser detectors in or near the front door (and sometimes the back) that count the number of people entering and exiting the bus. At the end of the day, the driver has to balance out the fares with the number of passengers and will have to pay for any shortcomings out of his own pocket. For this reason, don't pass the detectors unless you are SURE you will be staying on the bus and don't stand or linger in between the detectors. When the driver offers you change, make sure your hand is not passing through the dectors again. All ticos know about this but foreigners rarely do and it can make for an uncomfortable confrontation with a mad driver who asks you to pay the double fare to make up for your mistake!
Drinking water- or not?
Favorite thing: Tap water is Costa Rica is generally potable except for more rural areas and destinations like Tortuguero and Corcovado. Exercise caution in Puerto Limon.
However despite the water being drinkable, stomach ills and parasites are still very common. The good news is that Costa Rican pharmacies are very accesible and they can generally provide you with a good remedy if you simply go in and describe your symptoms.
2 packs of Gabbroral (total of 12 pills, 3 per day) helped kick my bout of parasites and cost about $6 and saved me a trip to the doctor. If you're really ill or not sure, doctor is the best way to go but if just bothered by stomach ills etc., go to the pharamacy. Clinica Biblica is a good private hospital in downtown San Jose and you can get an appointment to see a good doctor the same day. An appointment with an ear specialist cost me $40 US but was well worth it- didnt have to wait and the doctor was excellent. Travel insurance will generally reimburse you.
Costa Rica Hotels
San Pablo De Turrubares, Costa Rica (Formerly La Finca Que Ama Hotel)
Good for: Business
I don’t know how many of you have stayed in an all inclusive hotel before... but this resort was so...more
Very friendly an to other d helpful staff. The newer rooms are excellent. good value relative...more
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