Costa Rica Tourist Traps

  • Boarding Passes and Surcharge Receipts
    Boarding Passes and Surcharge Receipts
    by monica71
  • One of the tours you can not do on your own
    One of the tours you can not do on your...
    by monica71
  • Tourist Traps
    by ZeekLTK

Costa Rica Tourist Traps

  • Parking in Manuel Antonio Park - The...

    We drove our rental car into Manuel Antonio Park. We fell into the trap of paying $30 to park after some official looking Tico's sprang out at us about 800 meters before the actual M.A. park gates. We were told for an extra $90 the two of us would get a "private" tour of M.A. park, or we could get a tour as part of a group for $60. We went with the...

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  • Volcanic Hot Springs in Arenal

    We ended up at Baldi Hot Springs because we got a good deal from the hostel we stayed at. The hot springs are supposed to be hot mineral water pools, but I think they are just nearby rivers that are heated by the highly active volcano. This is very much a tourist trap, and all you will see here are tourists, but it is well worth it. After a day...

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  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens

    The main attractions here are the waterfalls. There were 5, but because of the earthquake in february 2009, there are now only two. They also have a zoo-ish place where you can see jaguars, toucans, humming birds, monkeys, parrots, etc... Normally the feline exhibit is an extra charge, but since you can't see all waterfalls they now include the...

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  • Don't buy the tourist shop coffee!!

    There are a million little tourist shops selling "Real Costa Rican Coffee" pretty much everywhere. Don't buy it!!! You can get the exact same coffee at any local grocery store for half the price. I didn't find that out until after I bought all my coffee to bring home... :(

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  • Colonial Restaurant in Jaco

    Colonial Restaurant on Main St in Jaco. This is the most expensive and over priced restaurant in the region! It is a total tourist trap. The menu prices are sky high, and the food and portions are sub standard to say the least, for what they charge.There are many other dining experiences in Jaco that offer far better food, at a fraction of the...

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  • Research a tour before booking it

    There are plenty of tour companies that offer a huge variety of tours in the area you are visiting in CR. Before booking a tour, do some research and see if this is something you can do on your own (assuming you have a car that you rented). Most of the times, you will draw the conclusion that you can do the tour on your own, at your own pace,...

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  • Taxi Fare

    If you stay in La Fortuna/Arenal area and if you are flying from La Fortuna Airport, you will need to get a cab to take you to the airport. The problem is that even if you use official taxis, the fare may vary from cab to cab since the cabs have broken meters. Expect to pay anywhere between $15 to $25 for a ride from La Fortuna to the airport. Make...

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  • Arenal Airport: terminal facilities...

    We flew SANSA from Arenal to San Jose in order to save time. We had a great experience with SANSA, but I was a little bit caught by surprise when they asked us to pay a "terminal facility surcharge" when we checked in. The fee is $7 per person and you get a receipt for it. I was not aware of this fee (I was sure all the charges were included in the...

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  • People who approach you on the...

    The people who will approach you on the street will all have different and creative ways to try to get your money. They will ask you, "What state are you from? Oh Really?? My cousin lives in (whatever place you told them you live)", the man who offered you directions will ask for money, there will be sob stories, just keep straight faced and tell...

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  • Costa Rica made in China.

    You have a just had a great vacation and you now want to buy a few souvenirs. Perhaps you were in Monteverde and realized that the prices for knick knacks were almost 3 times the price of the same items in tourist stores near San Jose. On the way down the Pan American highway you stop at a tourist shop. Oh yes, the prices are still high, but at...

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  • Places to Avoid in Costa Rica

    I always recommend avoiding Tamarindo, Montezuma, Sarchi, and Arenal. Don't waste your time going where everyone goes and hustlers are waiting for you to show up. They are crowded, restaurants are expensive and overall not very good--they do not expect you to return, and overall not a good deal. Instead find the smaller less popular beaches. In...

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  • Arenal volcano is the most...

    Arenal volcano is the most spectacularly active in Costa Rica. Many people visit this park at night to watch the lava flows and red hot boulders ejected from the volcano glow in the darkness. Although eruptions are the main attraction, you should be aware that even in the dry season the clouds often obscure the top of the volcano, and your chances...

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  • Buying Property in Costa Rica

    Don't use Tom Roucek from Costa Rican Realty Group. He puts on a good show, but if you don't have all the money he'll ignore you. I made a trip down there to look at a listing of his, got excited, made an offer, went home, and got an email telling me that the zoning was being changed from residential to commercial on that lot. THis was HIS listing,...

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  • The infamous "Canopy Tour"

    Alright, I admit it...I fell for it...hook, line and sinker...Costa Rica's infamous Canopy Tour...I know, I know. It looks all touristy and completely not the "off the beaten path" type of travel I normally venture into....but well this had me ladies and gentlemen. It's great! It's takes you back to a place in your childhood, where treehouses were...

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  • Expeditiones Tropicales

    Alajuela / San Jose This is the name of a Tour organiser in the san Jose/Alajuela area. They'll sell you local tours like Grecia, Sarchi, Poas or Irazu volcano, or longer expeditions in Tortuguero, Arenal volcano or tarcoles river. We found them in our hotel, almost as a "no name" tour. We bought an Irazu tour, the small one not including the...

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  • IF you don't have a car!

    Manuel Antonio IF you don't have a car, any hotel between Villa Romantica (Quepos) and Costa Verde (Manuel Antonio) could become a tourist trap... Nothing personnal! It's just that before our trip, when we were trying to book a hotel in the region, we didn't really knew that the two cities are separated by a hill. Only that there was about 5km...

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  • You don't have to stay here!

    San Jose When at home and looking at your guide book and maps, you might have, like I did, the impression you have to go to San Jose, at least to get in and out of the airport. Well, you don't. San Jose isn't worth it (I think) and the airport is in fact in Alajuela. Find a nice hotel in Alajuela to pick you up if you need a place to stay the first...

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  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens - Crowded and...

    Alajuela We wanted to make the best of our last day in Costa Rica, but had to stay in the Poas Volcano / Alajuela area. A very friendly clerc at our hotel recommended that we go to La Paz: waterfalls, hummingbird garden, butterfly garden, orchids house... Yes, it was all that, but it seemed so fake and upthight after all we saw during our trip. The...

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  • How to avoid airline fees for a...

    I have been able to get my boards down there for free twice in a row now. This is how I did it. First off they were direct flights - no connections. Arrive at the counter as late as you can and still reasonably make your plane. They generally want cash to pay the extrat fee for the board. Tell them all you have is a credit card. Most counters do...

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  • Jaco Beach is TJ on the water

    That's right! Jaco is a huge touristy trap because it is the closest beach from the airport. The waves are terrible and the water is polluted. The town itself is reminiscent of Tijuana in Mexico, but just happens to be on the water. Jaco is dirty and prostitute-ridden. There are also some dangerous looking individuals roaming the streets at night....

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  • San Jose Zoo

    San Jose Zoo, or "Zoologico Nacional Simon Bolivar", is on a very small plot of land, but they manage to cram a wide variety of wildlife, including an ocelot, lions, toucans, some monkeys, racoons, squirrels... and that's about it. restrooms should be noted as BYOTP = Bring your own toilet paper Having trouble spotting the elusive sloth during...

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  • CR Speed Traps

    Costa Rican Police like to set up speed traps along the larger roads throughout CR. If you get stopped for speeding, don't buy into the BS that the officers will throw at you. Take the ticket, which won't cost you much, and pay it at a local bank. We were stopped on the highway heading out to the Caribbean coast. The officer told me that for the...

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  • Monteverde - Canopy Tours & Sky Treks

    The idea of building bridges and walkways through and above the rainforest may or may not sound like a good idea to you. There are a number of these in the Monteverde/Santa Elena area. The trouble is Monteverde is covered with cloud forest which means it gets very wet and this lessens the chances of you seeing anything wildlife-wise. It rains a LOT...

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  • Arriving by plane

    The airport of San José, is in Alajuela, maybe around 20km from San José. If you arrive there late at night I advise you to already have booked that night on some hotel in Alajuela or San José. You won't have problems finding one over the internet. Cause we got there quite late, we rent a car, but had no plans and nothing booked. We didn't know how...

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  • Bring Your Own Seat!!!

    Don't fall in.. really..I put this under "tourist trap" because if you aren't expecting it, you could fall in.. thusly, becoming trapped.. heheThe public toilets in Costa Rica often do not have seats. I can't think of any reason why... if you're lucky they will have toilet paper so I reccommend bringing your own TP as well. If you're going on a...

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  • Tortuguero

    Many visitors are directed to Tortuguero if they want to see turtles. If you want to go on a two hour boat ride to get there, spend too much money in a town that doesn't offer much then this is the place. The five hour ride isn't worth it unless you're actually going to pay to go out on a boat to see the turtles. The lodges nearby are a nice way to...

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  • Snorkel....or not

    One of the tours we took waas a multi-part tour.Going on a preserve hike, snorkeling and other site seeing.Each section was $35 or all three for $70...The Forest tour was great so was the water fall and shopping but the snorkeling was not great...We had to use there equipment which was sub par, breather was leaking and fins were way to big and one...

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  • Organized tour

    A lot of activities can be done on your own. Don't pay expensive fares on organized tour if you can buy the entrance ticket alone and go on your own (even by taxi or bus). For some people, the organized tour might be a good compromise (between seeing it and not seeing it!). Shop around, negociate the fares, even try to see if someone traveling or...

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  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens

    I hesitate to label the La Paz Waterfall Gardens as a tourist trap because it is an impressive place with manicured gardens filled with brilliant flowers, the world's largest butterfly enclosure and several nice feeding stations that attract tropical birds like tanagers and flycatchers. However, the entrance fee is steep at US $24.00 per person and...

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  • Monteverde attractions.

    Ranario - frog pond, Serpentario - snakes, and Butterfly garden in Santa Elena - Monteverde area. I expected much more from these three exhibitions. Especially disappointing was butterfly garden where we only saw a few interesting species. Many more butterflies can be seen anywhere else, along the road or in the rain forest.Fee is too high as well...

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  • 4 times...

    the entrance to national parks or other state sightseeings for a tourist costs 4 times the price local people pay... I had already seen, in Belize for example, a couple of times more but four... anyway some taxi drivers (I was said by the one who brough me to the airport the last day) have found the following trick: when very near to the entrance,...

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  • Venga a Ver los Cocodrilos

    Come and see the crocodiles! Or not, its up to you. Right outside of Jaco there is a brigde where there are many crocodiles. You can park in the parkinglot by the bridge and go and see the crocs closer, however, this is a tourist trap. Be prepared to have salesmen all over you, pickpockets, and more. Look out and be vidgulent.

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  • Tortuga Island

    long boat ride (2.25 hours) to get to a nice beach (small) with poor snorkeling. Nice view, but not worth the time on the boat - 1.75 hours back. Many better beaches on the coast!

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  • no specific traps

    we didn't have any problems...but watch your backpacks when you're travelling in a public bus!!you have to be more carefull on the carribean coast!! don't wear expensive jewellery or don't carry an expensive camera,so everybody can see it!Put your camera in a small backpack!!

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  • This is one tourist trap that...

    This is one tourist trap that I actually enjoy. I love bringing home little touristy trinkets for myself and friends. I'm not in the habbit of negotiating price but I found that being nice goes a long way and many store clerks offered me discounts with little effort.

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  • Since no-one is allowed to...

    Since no-one is allowed to come to close to the Volcano, it becomes more of a eco-educational tour. This is oke if one is into this sort of a thing. We had taken a 4hr tour to see the Volcano, but instead were picked up 45 min. late, !hr eco tour and 2hrs swimming at the hotsprings. It turned out not to be quite a volcano tour.

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  • While there are some excellent...

    While there are some excellent taxi drivers who are very friendly, there are others, who once they see you are a foreigner, will exploit you at every turn. Always tell them to turn on the meter, 'Ponga su maría.' Unlike other countries, in Costa Rica, the meter is referred to as the 'maría' supposedly after the company that brought them to Costa...

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  • I have heard time after time...

    I have heard time after time by hardcore backpackers that all of Costa Rica is a tourist trap. If you have just come from Mongolia or Bangladesh, then it probably is, but Costa Rica is still an amazing country and offers a lot to the traveler. No matter where I travel, it is the one place that I will keep returning to and if I had to call another...

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  • Guaitil, the pottery village...

    Guaitil, the pottery village near Santa Cruz in the Nicoya peninsula is a total waste of time in my opinion. Its beautiful driving down the main road throuth the peninsula but there is nothing there really to see. Its nice they make the pottery there but the same stuff is available everywhere in the whole country at often cheaper prices. Do go to...

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  • Costa Rica itself is a modern...

    Costa Rica itself is a modern day tourist trap. Some people love the attractions and the ease of travel. However, if you are like me you might find better destinations in Central America then those offered in CR. I would follow your instincts, money, and time. If you have time, explore the rest of Central America. Otherwise, stick to the tourist...

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  • A tourist trap is Playa del...

    A tourist trap is Playa del Coco at the pacific ocean.If you want to avoid a lot of tourists do not go there. The only thing you will find there are hotels and shops. Although there are some good fish restaurants. Playa Hermosa is a lot better. It is located at about 5 km from Playa del Coco. If you go to Playa Hermosa, do not hire a room at Iguana...

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  • Most guide books tell you that...

    Most guide books tell you that San Jose, the capital, is worthless. They tell you not to spend more than a day there. Don't bother. As soon as your plane lands get the hell out of the run down, filthy city. UGH.

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  • The bar urinal... they make...

    The bar urinal... they make you drink all that beer and down it goes... it's a sick, sick cycle...(Urinal from Beatles Bar - Jaco Costa Rica)

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  • The Monteverde area is the...

    The Monteverde area is the most well-known tourist destination in Costa Rica and while it has its attractions, the roads are horrible and non-pedestrian friendly (reminded me of washed-out rural roads in West Africa), the zip line and canopy tours are over-priced and we saw very little wildlife. The highlight was finally getting a glimpse of Vulcan...

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  • To be honest i think it...

    To be honest i think it doesn't worth going to the city, the best of this country are its beaches, specially on its several islands, and also adventure trips to see the turtles or the volcanos, thta's the best.

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Costa Rica Tourist Traps

Reviews and photos of Costa Rica tourist traps posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Costa Rica sightseeing.
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