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DansDeals Forum => Destination Guides And Trip Planning => Topic started by: BrooklynCPA on April 08, 2010, 09:52:30 AM

Title: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: BrooklynCPA on April 08, 2010, 09:52:30 AM
We are considering a trip to Costa Rica this July. Has anyone ever been there? Please post your experiences, places, hotels........
Title: Re: Costa Rica
Post by: steve2 on April 08, 2010, 12:10:45 PM
 Been there numerous times, the only Jewish communityy is in SJO (actually in a suburb) However there is no reason whatsoever to actually spend any time itself in SJO at least as a tourist

 Although small theres tons to do and see alll according to ones interests, your question is way to broad to answer as is, why not specify how long youd be there and what you are looking to do. also are you looking for a Resort location? do you have any Status with any hotel program
Title: Re: Costa Rica
Post by: Yaalili on April 08, 2010, 07:14:10 PM
there should be a shliach there, why not ask him, or check out the website...
Title: Pesach in Costa Rica
Post by: ORD747 on July 28, 2011, 06:27:45 PM
We are considering going to Costa Rica for Pesach next year. We have friends who did it and really liked it. On TripAdvisor, the page for the hotel the program uses contained 2 very negative reviews of this years program. has anyone done it? What are impressions/thoughts of it?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on May 17, 2012, 12:41:59 AM
Here is my Costa Rica trip report. I went with my wife late March. We flew with 12.5k miles on AA using BA direct from JFK to SJO. Stayed at the Aloft hotel that night on C and P. Nice hotel for SJO.

Next day we went to Manuel Antonio National Park which is a 2.5 hour drive. I rented from the airport a jeep. Not cheap. Stayed at Hotel Villas Nicolas a small hotel with stunning views of the Pacific and the jungle. Our room had a huge porch overlooking the ocean complete with a hammock, couches, a glass table and chairs and candles etc. Room was very cool too, very airy and you feel like you are in paradise. Since it is a smaller hotel the pool which was stunning was almost always empty. That night we did a mangrove boat tour. We had monkeys jumping around the boat and on top of us literally. Next day we did tour of the park which has alot of cool animals etc then we hung out in the park beaches which were out of this world. They sell cocunuts cut open on the beach to keep you hydrated.

Next day Friday we drove to this town called Fraijanes (3hr) and spent Shabbos there. Sunday we went to Volcan La Poas and saw the lava iniside the crater, as the view is from higher up. It was a very cool experience. Then we went to La Fortuna and did a hike on the volcano there that afternoon.

Monday we went to Nicaragua and spent the day there. Was such an experience. We went from a town called Los Chiles and hired a boat to take us by river to Nicaragua. We got back to Costa Rica later that night and went to the hot springs in La Fortuna. Tuesday we left La Fortuna and drove to Monteverde (2hr dirt roads) which is a huge cloud forest and hiked a little and then did the coolest horseback riding for 3 hours for 30 bucks. We got to gallop around and see the rural side of Costa Rica. Used a company called Desafio.

Then we drove to Liberia stayed at the Hilton for 100 dollars and flew the nesxt day back to NY thru Miami for 15k AA miles.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: aarony on May 17, 2012, 02:00:20 AM
what did you do for food? did you take all along with you?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on May 17, 2012, 02:04:11 AM
what did you do for food? did you take all along with you?
We brought it with us including a small crockpot and kishka for shabbos day! We checked all the food in a cardboard box so that we would not have to shlep it back with us and we anyways got one bag free. We put steaks etc in a cooler and we had no problems. There is food in San Jose but we did not want to waste time running around the city which has alot of traffic and is hard to find your way in.
Title: Costa Rica Thanksgiving Trip Planning
Post by: eliteflyer on September 19, 2012, 07:08:54 PM
I just reserved tickets on UA for Thanksgiving weekend departing Wednesday 11/21, returning Tuesday 11/27 for $274.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Thanksgiving Trip Planning
Post by: Fan of Dan on September 19, 2012, 09:18:25 PM
I just reserved tickets on UA for Thanksgiving weekend departing Wednesday 11/21, returning Tuesday 11/27 for $274.
Nice! Given those prices it's really worth it.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Thanksgiving Trip Planning
Post by: CholentTheTraveler on September 19, 2012, 09:41:58 PM
I just reserved tickets on UA for Thanksgiving weekend departing Wednesday 11/21, returning Tuesday 11/27 for $274.
You have to go on the zipline there(over the waterfalls), it is something well worth waiting for!
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: steve L on September 19, 2012, 10:31:32 PM
can anybody be more specific on which cities are must do and where did you stay. i booked a dif trip with jetblue to liberia so also interested on stuff to do on other side of country
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on September 19, 2012, 10:44:04 PM
can anybody be more specific on which cities are must do and where did you stay. i booked a dif trip with jetblue to liberia so also interested on stuff to do on other side of country
When are you going and for how long?

Are you staying overnight in Liberia?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: E on September 19, 2012, 11:19:47 PM
can anybody be more specific on which cities are must do and where did you stay. i booked a dif trip with jetblue to liberia so also interested on stuff to do on other side of country
I flew into liberia last year and stayed in guanamar, one of the best vacations I have had.

Some things to note, most roads there are not paved renting a "non-SUV" will make travel very slow. Hotel Guanamar (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g1096296-d301251-Reviews-Hotel_Guanamar-Playa_Carrillo_Province_of_Guanacaste.html) was great! I used the expedia $50 coupons and ended up paying $12 per night and that included breakfast. It was not by a far stretch a luxurious hotel. view from hotel  (http://distilleryimage3.s3.amazonaws.com/31b529e49ebb11e1a39b1231381b7ba1_7.jpg) tons of really nice beaches and surfing spots nearby. There are also plenty of "jungle zip lines" ect ect..
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on September 19, 2012, 11:28:07 PM
one of the best vacations I have had.
After your HKG trip of course!
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: steve L on September 20, 2012, 10:33:44 AM
When are you going and for how long?

Are you staying overnight in Liberia?

i am going in the beg of janurary. im not sure where i am staying yet. have to decide on itenarary and then book hotels or condos around where i will be that day. would love some help. would love to relax plus get in some of the beautiful forest and wildlife.

like should i do a day in areanal or montevedre
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: steve L on September 20, 2012, 10:36:52 AM
@ fan of dan would love to hear your advice

going sun morning and leaving thurs afternoon. not enough time but this is what the wife agreed to :)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on September 20, 2012, 02:50:04 PM
@ fan of dan would love to hear your advice

going sun morning and leaving thurs afternoon. not enough time but this is what the wife agreed to :)
You should have enough time to get in some scenery as well as have time to relax just don't try to do everything.

Did you mention you are flying in and out of Liberia? If you are that is much better than SJO as it is not as complicated to find your way there. GPS is worthless in Costa Rica btw.

The 2 most popular sites in CR are Arenal for the volcanoe and activities and Manual Antonio for the beaches, rainforest and activities. There are also beaches closer to Liberia in Guanacaste CR but I would go with Manuel Antonio. The beaches there are in the national park and are in front of these huge tropical forests.

Monteverde is nice but IMHO overrated
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: steve L on September 20, 2012, 08:53:58 PM
I'm flying in and out of Liberia.

So I think It makes sense to first go to arenal and then work my way back to liberia and stay on some beaches in guanacaste. It looksvlikevmauel Antonio is very far and much closer to San Jose so won't try to do that?

Did you go to arenal?vwhere did you stay and what did u do
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on September 20, 2012, 09:19:53 PM
I'm flying in and out of Liberia.

So I think It makes sense to first go to arenal and then work my way back to liberia and stay on some beaches in guanacaste. It looksvlikevmauel Antonio is very far and much closer to San Jose so won't try to do that?

Did you go to arenal?vwhere did you stay and what did u do
Yes that is smart to go to Guancaste. Manuel Antonio is way further though it does have killer beaches and the rainforests. Maybe save it for next time, tough call. Keep in mind that the drives there although long are very scenic. Get a 4wd if you can. Keep in mind that insurance in mandatory there even if you have credit card.

I did go to Arenal will tell you about soon just gotta run for now.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: steve L on September 21, 2012, 12:42:52 PM
im thinking of doing two nights and having a base around arenal and then drive to one of the beaches by gunacaste and stay there the other 2 nights.

what do the people have done costa rica think
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on September 21, 2012, 06:04:44 PM
im thinking of doing two nights and having a base around arenal and then drive to one of the beaches by gunacaste and stay there the other 2 nights.

what do the people have done costa rica think
That is the best way to do it. It is also worth doing the beaches at the end so that you can relax. Since you are flying into Liberia that really makes the most sense. Are you planning on spending any night in Liberia? It is a boring town but we stayed there on the night before our flight. There is a really nice and affordable Hilton there which compared to standard Costa Rica lodging is really nice.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: daganster on September 21, 2012, 06:12:02 PM
You have to go on the zipline there(over the waterfalls), it is something well worth waiting for!
I was there a couple of years ago and I went ziplining in a place called Monte Verde, they say that it's the nicest there.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: steve L on September 22, 2012, 08:57:44 PM
So I found a grt house on home away near arenal but she wants a min of 3nights @150 with privatevpool  . She is willing to do 2 nights but more money

So I was thinking maybe it makes sense to do sun afternoon till we'd morningish and then drive to gunacastevarea for last day to relax. But bec with my short time I think maybe to spend more time by arenal doing activities vs just sitting by the beach


What do u think
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on September 22, 2012, 10:17:18 PM
The drive to Guancaste from Arenal will take you longer than you think as you have to drive around the entire lake arenal which is windy and one lane, at times you can stuck behind a truck etc for a really long time. Figure a couple of hours, maybe 4. So you will not have that much time for relaxing.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: steve L on September 22, 2012, 10:46:08 PM
Ok so would you recommend two or 3 days in arenal doing zip lining hiking water rafting.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: steve L on September 22, 2012, 11:00:56 PM
@fandan. Did u like arenal and what did u do there
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on September 23, 2012, 12:19:58 AM
@fandan. Did u like arenal and what did u do there
The first thing I did was a hike through the lava fields at the foot of Arenal. Worth it but make sure to decline the guide they offer, not worth it.  We went to some hot springs in the area at night. If u want i can tell u about a free place. We spent a full day doing a very worth it trip to the Rio Frio which is a river at the town of Los Chiles in Northern Costa Rica. We hired a private boat there and they took us on the river to see troops of howler monkeys, many different types of birds etc. then the boat took us to the border town of San Carlos which is located in Nicaragua. The whole thing was super cool a real highlight of our trip as many people go from Arenal to see the river and we got to check out Nicaragua as well. Just the border crossing was an amazing experience. Nicaragua is so so cool and I would never stay there because it is so 3rd world so was a good way to see it. We had a tour guide who took us around the city as part of the package.
We didn't do horseback riding there because we did it in Monteverde but for you I would say to do it by Arenal. A lot of people do zip line there we didn't end up doing it (we got sunburned at the beach and didn't want the harness to aggravate it).
Didn't go rafting. If you want a tropical vacation then don't spend all your time at Arenal it is really worth it and cool but isn't in a tropical setting.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: steve L on September 23, 2012, 10:15:10 AM
@fan Dan thank u so much for your advice

Do u think there is enough to do by arenal for 3 days ? I also want some tropical but afraid to much time doing that bec can get bored vs spending time doing activities   I can spend time by guanacaste but sounds like the only things to do is beach related stuff

THX for your help and advice
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on September 23, 2012, 07:51:44 PM
@fan Dan thank u so much for your advice

Do u think there is enough to do by arenal for 3 days ? I also want some tropical but afraid to much time doing that bec can get bored vs spending time doing activities   I can spend time by guanacaste but sounds like the only things to do is beach related stuff

THX for your help and advice
My pleasure.

What time would you arrive in Arenal on Sunday and what time would you depart on Wednesday.

If you have just Monday and Tuesday in Arenal then the Monday morning I would do a hike through the lava fields at the foot of Arenal. In the afternoon you can do a zip line with a canopy tour. Tuesday you can go horseback riding in the am to a really nice waterfall (forgot name) and then in the afternoon you can find something to do on Lake Arenal or something else. Maybe do a river tour of the Rio Frio they have many tours going from Arenal. Then Wednesday first thing in the morning you can go to Guancaste. Not a bad arrangement. If you are dying to go to Monteverde then you can do it Sunday if you have time it does not require a full day, I just do not know what time you land, note though that it is alot of extra driving.

Another option for Monday or Tues is to drive to Volcan La Poas which is about a 2 hour drive and if you get there before ten am when the clouds come in you can see the inside of a volcanic crater and actually see the some coming out of it.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: steve L on September 24, 2012, 09:12:15 AM
@fan dan

i arrive 2 pm sun aft and leave thurs aft 2pm.  ilike your itinerary for arenal.

not dying to go to montevedre.  i just want to get the rain forest feeling with all the animals and activities. i think i will drive straight from lir  till wed morning and then drive to guanacaste wed morning and chill out there for a day on the beach

did you go to guanacaste area? know any good place to stay?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on September 24, 2012, 02:53:39 PM
I did not go to Guancaste at all as I did the beaches further south. You mention that you wanted to see rainforests. I thought I would mention that in general at Arenal there is not so much of what you would call rain forest. There are some animals, though also not as much as you would think. The real rain forests are really further south and on the Carribean coast. You will still find smaller areas especially near the base of Arenal that are rainforest.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: steve L on September 24, 2012, 04:03:29 PM
thx fan dan.

so it seems bec im flying in and out of lir that i should stick with arenal vs driving further to places where have have gone
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on September 27, 2012, 10:29:23 AM
thx fan dan.

so it seems bec im flying in and out of lir that i should stick with arenal vs driving further to places where have have gone
Right I would stick to Arenal and Guancaste not worth going elsewhere. If you want to see animals we did very well on the hike at the base of Arenal.

It is worth it IMHO to fly in and out of LIR at any case as you will have a much more relaxing flight and rental car experience.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: wonderlust on September 27, 2012, 11:18:23 AM
i will be flying in2 sjo for week debating manuel antonio or Guncastce-any thoughts? also can you buy propane grill in country?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: BrooklynCPA on November 19, 2012, 04:29:46 PM
I started this post in April 2010 and we are finally going to Costa Rica this January. We are flying into LIR on Monday, renting a 4x4, driving to Arenal and will be there until Thursday (2 full days) then driving to Manuel Antonio until Monday. We are flying back from SJO.

We are looking to get the most out of our time and do activities that are unique to Costa Rica. If anyone has any tips as to the best activities and companies to go with please share.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: SGF on November 20, 2012, 11:28:06 AM
I'm considering a trip to central america for 5 days that has many nice activities and nature seeing and also looking to relax at the beach, is this the right place?
How are the beaches there,  nice? Clear blue water? Or just a regular beach?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: BrooklynCPA on November 28, 2012, 02:28:34 PM
Does anyone have any experience with bringing in meats, chicken, dairy..... I am getting mixed messages about what is allowed and have heard they can be strict and confiscate.....

If you've been been to Costa Rica please tell what you brought in. Also, I am flying into LIR and was told they can be stricter because its a small airport.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: daganster on November 28, 2012, 08:55:31 PM
I'm considering a trip to central america for 5 days that has many nice activities and nature seeing and also looking to relax at the beach, is this the right place?
How are the beaches there,  nice? Clear blue water? Or just a regular beach?
The Pacific side has nice beaches with big waves, ideal for surfing, while the Caribbean side has nice beaches closer to what your looking for, nonetheless if I was looking for nice beaches I wouldn't necessarily go to Costa Rica.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: SGF on November 28, 2012, 09:04:09 PM
The Pacific side has nice beaches with big waves, ideal for surfing, while the Caribbean side has nice beaches closer to what your looking for, nonetheless if I was looking for nice beaches I wouldn't necessarily go to Costa Rica.
Thanx, I'm not looking to go for the beaches mostly for the activities, just wanted to know what they are like.

Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: daganster on November 28, 2012, 09:32:01 PM
Thanx, I'm not looking to go for the beaches mostly for the activities, just wanted to know what they are like.
There are some nice activities e.g. zip lining. I just think that Costa Rica is overrated, and that the reason why Amercan's travel there is because they feel safer there than in other Central American countries .
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: daganster on November 28, 2012, 09:45:44 PM
Does anyone have any experience with bringing in meats, chicken, dairy..... I am getting mixed messages about what is allowed and have heard they can be strict and confiscate.....
If you've been been to Costa Rica please tell what you brought in. Also, I am flying into LIR and was told they can be stricter because its a small airport.
I flew to Nicaragua 2 months ago with my family I personally flew in to MGA, but some of us flew in to LIR. The ones that flew in to LIR told me that they are strict, but not as strict as in Mexico. They did scan their suitcases luckily they didn't have anything as we flew with all the food. All I could say is that your always taking a risk, but thank g-d I've had lots of luck going through customs with food.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on November 28, 2012, 10:34:36 PM
I flew to SJO with a conspicous cardboard box full of meat and chicken without an issue.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: SGF on November 28, 2012, 10:59:16 PM
There are some nice activities e.g. zip lining. I just think that Costaa is overrated, and that the reason why Amercan's travel there is because they feel safer there than in other Central American countries .
Any other recommendations for such a 4-5 day activity and beach trip in central america other then costa rica?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: daganster on November 28, 2012, 11:24:34 PM
If you want something a bit adventurous in Central America There's a place in Guatemala called San Pedro La Laguna. It's a small town situated on a lake you stay at a decent hostel for about $10 a night, since there are no name brand hotels there.There are plenty of activities there i.e. horse back riding, ziplining, motorcycling, cliff jumping and more. Its a really cool place although if your looking for the beaches again I wouldn't recommend. If I was hitting up a beach I would most likely go to Mexico or Honduras stay on 1 beach for 5 days and go scuba diving. There's a lot you can do in Central America you just need to narrow it down to what your looking for. Good luck.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on November 29, 2012, 01:32:41 AM
Any other recommendations for such a 4-5 day activity and beach trip in central america other then costa rica?
Costa Rica has nice beaches but not great swimming. If I was you I would hit Belize. There is a lot to do in the interior of the country, and on the water side of the country there are great coral reefs, and diving including the blue hole.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: BrooklynCPA on January 03, 2013, 12:08:30 PM
Any last minute suggestions for best way to spend 2 full days in Arenal and get the most out of it?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: alpicone on March 13, 2013, 02:07:40 PM
Any last minute suggestions for best way to spend 2 full days in Arenal and get the most out of it?

How was your trip? Thinking about booking a trip to Costa Rica and wanted to get your feedback.
Thanks.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Dan on March 18, 2013, 01:57:39 PM
Any last minute suggestions for best way to spend 2 full days in Arenal and get the most out of it?
TR?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: E on March 18, 2013, 02:10:20 PM
Does anyone have any experience with bringing in meats, chicken, dairy..... I am getting mixed messages about what is allowed and have heard they can be strict and confiscate.....

If you've been been to Costa Rica please tell what you brought in. Also, I am flying into LIR and was told they can be stricter because its a small airport.
I flew into LIR with 3 huge boxes of food incl meats they took away a few things, but with a 20 "tip" they left most stuff.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Yordai Dooma on April 10, 2013, 08:25:22 PM
TR?
+1 please
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: robi on April 21, 2013, 01:05:06 AM
Anyone stay in the Westin in guanacaste?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Moishebatchy on June 24, 2013, 03:29:46 AM
Anyone stay in the Westin in guanacaste?

+1?

Costs a fortune in Starpoints, but can be had for $300-$350 per night. Is it worth it? I'm SPG Plat, if it makes a difference. And I'm probably revealing my blatant ignorance here, but... what does it mean that the Westin is an "all-inclusive resort"?

Someone we know stayed at the "Flamingo". Anyone know anything about that?

Are there any kosher food options within a reasonable distance of the west side of the country (i.e. where the Westin is)?

Finally, I'm not the type of guy who can pull off "tipping" a customs agent... What food is absolutely safe (from a legal standpoint) to bring in, even through LIR?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: BrooklynCPA on June 24, 2013, 12:58:51 PM
I flew into LIR and brought in all types of food including chicken, Meats (labeled as chicken) and dairy without any issues even though it went through the X-ray machine. I also divided up the food and put it inconspicuously in my regular suitcases as opposed to bringing a separate box of food. To be safe I had someone write a formal letter from a Rabbi in Spanish saying that we had special kosher dietary needs and to please allow it in. Not sure if this would have helped but figured it can't hurt.

I originally had a reservation at the all-inclusive westin Guanacaste with cash (not worth the points) but decided against it because it seemed like a typical beachfront hotel that I can get at any Caribbean island. I wanted to get more of a feel for Costa Rica and split my time between Arenal and Manuel Antonio.
 
We drove about 3 ½ hours to Arenal, a fairly easy drive.  Arenal is inland with the main highlight being the Volcano, Hot Springs, Zip lining, Rappelling and other outdoor activities. We stayed at Arenal Nayara Resort , http://www.arenalnayara.com/ , which was absolutely gorgeous and reasonably priced. It was voted as one of the most romantic hotels in the world and on top of the list for best hotel in Latin America. The most popular hotel there is Tabacon, http://www.tabacon.com/ . They have the best hot springs but I was not impressed with the hotel at all. The Springs Resort, http://www.thespringscostarica.com/ , is very high end and also has hot springs but  is very Disney like and expensive.
 
We then drove about 5 hours to Manuel Antonio which is a tropical beach town with many resorts and lots of monkeys and wildlife. We stayed at Parador Resort and Spa,  http://www.hotelparador.com/ . It was an older resort but we got a nice suite in a new building at a great price from Jetsetter.  The two best places I would recommend there are Arenas Del Mar, http://www.arenasdelmar.com/   or  renting a private bungalow at Tulemar resort, http://www.4tulemar.com/ . We went on a rafting trip and hiked the national park but mostly relaxed here.
 
We rented our band new 4x4 from Sixt at a much better rate than anyone else.  They are privately owned  but they honored my Platinum status. They only have one location in San Jose but sent someone to meet us at LIR, a 4 hour drive!   There are no real highways and the roads are mostly two way single lane streets similar to our country roads with lots of curves, hills and many single lane bridges. What would take one hour in the US on our highways can take 2 to 3 hours. But with common sense and a GPS it is not very difficult to get around.


Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: dimples on September 15, 2013, 06:54:30 PM
Trying to plan my first trip to Costa Rica. Is a week and a 1/2 too long to be there? IE a monday thru the next thursday?
Does it make sense to fly into LIR and then make my way to SJO for the return trip?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on September 16, 2013, 05:32:29 PM
A week and a half isn't way to long. Just a week is rushed and that makes sense. Flying into one airport and out the other can make sense, I did that in the reverse.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lechaim2life on January 07, 2014, 01:58:35 AM
Just booked Andaz Papagayo with Cash + Points (12,500 Hyatt + $150) for 1/19-1/23, got confirmed for a suite upgrade and it will count toward stays for Diamond Trial!

Besides relaxing, any recommendations on what to do (I am afraid of heights)? And anyone have an idea if bringing in frozen food to LIR is an issue?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: jj1000 on January 11, 2014, 11:26:49 PM
And anyone have an idea if bringing in frozen food to LIR is an issue?
+1 still haven't heard what their official policy is.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: jj1000 on January 19, 2014, 11:52:00 PM
+1 still haven't heard what their official policy is.
Don't know the official policy but got 2 suitcases full of meat/chicken and fish today with no questions and it was declared.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: beeweegee on January 20, 2014, 12:53:15 AM
Don't know the official policy but got 2 suitcases full of meat/chicken and fish today with no questions and it was declared.
I declared meat there a few months ago and went through. They asked what kind of meat it was, and when I told them beef and chicken, they waived it right through.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: runnergirl on January 21, 2014, 06:53:08 PM
We didn't declare anything (meat and chicken was cooked). They thoroughly went through our bags but in the end, no problem. However, I did hear that someone on the next flight into Liberia got a lot of there food confiscated.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: flyer1836 on January 21, 2014, 09:31:38 PM
We stayed at Westin Playa Conchal 3 nights in Feb 2012, total 4 of us (kids were 9 and 12)
Used points, yes very expensive
Rates were about $450/night + $110/$120 PER KID, PER NIGHT.
I have to look up the spg points rate, it was something like 22,000 points per night, + $110 PER KID PER NIGHT and the 12 year old would have been higher if I didn't tell them 11
We decided on 2 rooms, 22,000x2, we were not hit with any taxes, no extra charges
we are spg gold and got treated well, Had concierge level check in, we truly enjoyed it
Would I use points again, not sure.. while rates were $450 a night, there were some pre-paid non-refundable rates with costa rica travel agents in the $325-$400 range, but we wanted to keep our options opened in case of any changes. I think the spg points rate had a 3 day cancellation policy
During off season, locals have seen rates in the $200-$250 range (these rates are per room), so total 2 people
As for the resort, it was beautiful. beach not so much


Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Dan on January 21, 2014, 09:37:58 PM
Did you ask about kosher food?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: daganster on January 22, 2014, 09:04:27 PM
We stayed at Westin Playa Conchal 3 nights in Feb 2012, total 4 of us (kids were 9 and 12)
Used points, yes very expensive
Rates were about $450/night + $110/$120 PER KID, PER NIGHT.
I have to look up the spg points rate, it was something like 22,000 points per night, + $110 PER KID PER NIGHT and the 12 year old would have been higher if I didn't tell them 11
We decided on 2 rooms, 22,000x2, we were not hit with any taxes, no extra charges
we are spg gold and got treated well, Had concierge level check in, we truly enjoyed it
Would I use points again, not sure.. while rates were $450 a night, there were some pre-paid non-refundable rates with costa rica travel agents in the $325-$400 range, but we wanted to keep our options opened in case of any changes. I think the spg points rate had a 3 day cancellation policy
During off season, locals have seen rates in the $200-$250 range (these rates are per room), so total 2 people
As for the resort, it was beautiful. beach not so much
Isn't it  a category 7? shouldn't it be 30k  a night?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on January 24, 2014, 12:09:37 AM
TRIP REPORT: COSTA RICA (JOURNALIZED BY THE WIFE OF MOMO)

THURSDAY: TRAVEL DAY

- We left NY the day after the snowstorm, so our flight was delayed by 2 hours. Our flight was direct via Jet Blue to Liberia Airport.

Customs:
A lot of people have questions about customs in Costa Rica: What they do and do not allow. I still don't know, but on the customs form, they specifically ask about FRESH foods. We checked of “no” because all our foods were frozen. We had meals frozen from pomegranate, and I froze all the bread. The guy at customs was not really looking at the screen while we went through. We just grabbed our bags off the end and ran.

Car Rental: 
We signed up for the “Costa Rica Discount Card” for $40, which allowed us a 20% savings at our car rental place- which ended up saving us about $75, so it paid for itself already! (It also gives a discount at many attractions). We rented a 4 wheel drive SUV from Vamos.

Hotel
 Its around a 35 min drive from the airport. There are a lot of signs most of the way, but we got lost towards the end for a few minutes. Check in was a wonderful experience. There are no formal lobbies or counters. A hostess greeted us by our car, sat us at a couch with cold towels and drinks, and then checks us in from an ipad. The same hostess took us in a golf cart directly to our room- all the while our luggage was unloaded and brought there as well. We were given a suite in building 3- which has 2 disadvantages: the view of the bay is partially obstructed by trees. The other, is that people on the hotel path can see onto the porch- while some of the other rooms have totally private porches. However, there are pull down screens surrounding the porch, which affords privacy.
- Overall, the look and feel of the hotel is funky and modern, with a little bit of jungle feel because of all the bamboo and earth tones. It is composed of a few little buildings- which mostly consist of outdoor covered spaces.
- A really awesome feature of the living area is that the walls looking out to the bay are retractable glass panes so that the living room can turn into a outdoor space! The ceilings are at least 15 feet high, and they are bamboo- which is also found all over the hotel to create private nooks.
- A big problem is that a lot of the lights are motion sensored, and we are still working on a solution for shabbos. They will be sending in someone tomorrow to try to override the system. We will keep you posted about that!
- The bathroom is awesome! the soaking tub is massive and the shower is an open rain shower at least 10 feet long. There is a second ½ bath in the living room.
- There is a swing seat hanging from the ceiling in a nook in the living room= amazing!!!!

 Food
 We ordered the meals from pomegranate packed, frozen, and labelled by day with instructions. They arrived still frozen and our hostess took them from us when we arrived. We ate in our room tonight, but our hostess mentioned that we can be served our dinner elsewhere on the property as well.
- The hotel snack bar includes nature valley granola bars, coca colas, and kosher boxed milk! They were really nice and provided us with extras of everything.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Ergel on January 24, 2014, 01:29:55 AM
Which hotel?
Did they charge to heat up meals?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on January 24, 2014, 02:00:51 AM
Which area? Guancaste?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on January 24, 2014, 09:41:59 AM
Sorry the Andaz. They do charge to store and heat up the food, but after much back and forth prior to arrival, they waived the fee for us.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Ergel on January 24, 2014, 01:38:11 PM
Sorry the Andaz. They do charge to store and heat up the food, but after much back and forth prior to arrival, they waived the fee for us.
How much do they charge? Why did they waive it?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lechaim2life on January 24, 2014, 04:13:12 PM
Trip Report: LIR Airport and Andaz Papagayo

LIR: A few people already discussed their airport experiences but I'll share mine. Our luggage didn't come on our flight and was sent the next day. There were people at the hotel who said they had no problem bringing in homemade, cooked food but when someone at the Andaz called his friend in customs and we described/showed pictures of the Pomegranate meals, they said they would confiscate it. We rented a car and drove to LIR from the hotel and managed to convince an AA supervisor to arrange for us to go behind security and back to the baggage claim area. My food got stopped by customs and I had to beg with them not to take it away. It helped that they couldn't read or understand a word of English so Meatballs and Corned Beef became Pasta via a translator. Another family wasn't so lucky and had a lot of their food taken away. Bottom line is that you need to get lucky and try to move out before they realize what is going on or get the guy that let everyone else go. They seem very disorganized and unprofessional so even packing your food in a toy box or with more official packaging can also work.

Andaz: The hotel is very nice and modern while trying to give the feel that you are in a jungle-type atmosphere. We stayed in a suite (Room 521) and had the same issues @momo described with privacy and the view. You can see into pretty much every suite from the path and the views of the bay are all somewhat obstructed by the trees. The room decore, lighting, and amenities were described perfectly above so no need to elaborate.
The hotel is very spread apart and the entire property is very hilly. We were there with less than 25% occupancy so they were driving people up and down the road to the pools, Spa, and dining room for breakfast. There are 3 main "family pools," all infinity pools that wrap around the area behind the main restaurant. They aren't overly large but they were all very nice and we always had at least one pool to ourselves due to the limited crowd. There is also an adult pool at the end of the road (also an infinity pool) which is also very nice. All the pools overlook the bay but the views are obstructed (like the rooms) by the trees.
The hotel is on the top of a hill and if you hike down the path behind the pools, you will get to the black sand beach. This beach is the activities beach where you can rent kayaks, snorkel or paddle board for free for an hour (or more depending on demand). You can also rent Jet Skis and boats at this beach. We actually saw whales breaching when we were there and some people rented jet skis to go see the whales up close. From their reports back, it was an amazing experience. The other beach is behind the rocks and over to the right. At the hotel, they call that beach the white sand beach and it is just intended to be used for relaxation (no activities are offered there). We didn't make it out to that beach as the black sand beach was empty and didn't want to do the extra walk. I should add that the beach is on a bay which is really nice because the water is much calmer and you can just go out and swim without any resistance from waves.
Finally, some points about the food. We are Hyatt Diamond and had breakfast for free. At this hotel, breakfast is offered at the main restaurant and we chose the buffet option every day. They had fresh fruit and delicious fresh squeezed fruit juices (I recommend both the mixed fruit and watermelon juice) which we ate every day but were charged different amounts. The way it works is that you get billed then and it gets taken off (besides for tip) when you check-out. Our last day there, two plates of fruit and two cups of fruit juice came out to $86 (not including tip). I don't know how they get these prices (our first day, the same thing was $41) but I would advise to be careful tipping off the final bill without understanding it because you actually pay for that. As far as the food we brought, I went back and forth with the manager Michael Schmid via email and he wouldn't agree to waive the $25 per person, per meal charge to freeze and store our food. I ended up buying a cheap toaster oven from Target the night before I left and I cleared out my mini fridge and was able to store 18 Pomegranate meals. Luckily for us, another family was upgraded to the Presidential Suite with that had a full fridge and freezer and let us store our food there so it all worked out. We even had a mini DO our last night there where we pooled our food with a third family and ate on their amazing deck overlooking the pools and bay. Again, my advice would be to deal with Michael over the phone as opposed to email because people seem to have had better luck with negotiating the cost of storing/heating and upgrading to better suites (with plunge pools) over the phone.
I know this was long but wanted to cover as much as I could. If anyone has any questions, please let me know.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lechaim2life on January 24, 2014, 04:16:57 PM
I should add that I used Herson Segura (herson03@yahoo.com) who I found via The Point Guy's blog to pick me up from the airport and take me on tours. The hotel charges $140 each way (he was less than half price for 2 people) and was a great tour guide on the one trip we took. A lot of the roads are unmarked and Google Maps doesn't work so it was great to have someone that could drive us around and show us a lot of cool stuff. He is very knowledgeable and speaks very good English and I highly recommend him. Also, I have a brochure of the tours the hotel offers and Herson is also significantly cheaper to use than the in-house options.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on February 03, 2014, 07:32:02 PM
TRIP REPORT: COSTA RICA (JOURNALIZED BY THE WIFE OF MOMO)= CONTINUED…..


FRIDAY/ SHABBOS

- The engineer was able to override the sensor systems in our rooms for shabbos, and turn off the electronic lock on the doors. So our rooms did not lock automatically. The outdoor lights around the hotel are not motion sensitive, and there are no other electric doors.

- The Andaz has live music every saturday night in one of its restaurants.


SUNDAY

- The pools here are really amazing! They are all infinity edge pools with beautiful views of the water. One pool is for adults only, while the other two allow children.
- We drove out to Canas, which was about a hour and a half drive away. Mileage wise, it was not that far, but even the main highway that goes through the entire province of Guancaste is one lane in each direction. So it takes a while, especially when there are trucks on the road. Also, there is always a section of the road under construction, because they are trying to widen the highway to include two lanes in each direction.
- In Canas we went to Las Pumas, which is a wildlife rescue shelter. I believe they have two sets of entrance tickets: because the one we received had a printed price of $10 on it- in dollar amounts. ( I found out about the place from a local woman who worked at the hotel who told me she took her kids there all the time- so i think they must have another ticket with local currency prices.) It was a really small place- overpriced for what they had to offer, but we had a good time. Our 3 year old enjoyed seeing the toucans and parrots. The monkeys were entertaining, but what was really great, was that there were some wild monkeys hanging out on top of the cage of contained monkeys! The best part of the place was the leopard and tiger. Unlike the typical zoo you would visit in the states, these animals were not drugged or lazy looking. The tiger was jumping from tree to tree, and running up to the cage edge trying to pounce on the people.
- On the way back to the hotel we drove off road to a local swimming hole under some falls, also referred to us by a local. It was called LLano del Cortes- Cataratas. You cant really make the drive unless you have four wheel drive.  Of course, in typical Costa Rican fashion as we have come to find out, we were solicited for funds. First, when we turned onto the road, a guy was sitting and blocking the road with a “donation receipts” pad. Once we paid that toll, and tried to park our car, a guy approached us and said the parking was free, but he would watch our car and make sure nothing happened to it in exchange for a donation. We hiked down a five minute hike to a really pretty pool and falls. A lot of locals go there to swim.


MONDAY

- The hotel has a free child care service called Cambi. Its a small building with a TV/ computer games room, an art room, a general playroom, a nap room, and a kitchen. They also have a backyard with swings and slides. They have water bottles and apples on hand for the kids.

- We left our daughter in Cambi for the afternoon, and we went on a canopy tour, which is a series of zip lines extended over canyons, rivers, and valleys. It was absolutely incredible!!!!!!!
- At first, we went to a place called Witch’s rock to do the canopy tour. However, they were unable to start a tour for another hour after we arrived, and it would be with 17 other people! They charge $75 per person, and the tour is about an hour and a half long. They also offer horseback riding and  ATV’s.
- We could not wait around that long, we we continued driving a little further down the road, and we saw small painted signed for another place. The signs pointed us down a dirt road, which would not have been accessible had we not had 4 wheel drive. It was a pretty long drive down that road, about 15 minutes, and we encountered some wild cows. When we finally arrived, we were the only people there. They charged us $35 per person, and we also paid for them to take pictures of us with their “professional photographer” while we were on the zipline, and put it in a frame. The course consisted of 17 zip lines of varying lengths, speeds, and views. We flew across a snaking river and a craggy canyon hundreds of feet in the air. It was absolutely breathtaking. At one point they offered for us to do a line upside down, but we were way too chicken for that!!!!
- THE PAPAGAYO FLOATING & CANOPY:  papagayocanopy@gmail.com phone 506-2665-8458


TUESDAY

- We started off our day at the beach, which is about a 4 minute walk down to the water. We went on those standing surf board type things with paddles ( I really don't know what they are called) which look much easier than they really are. Basically, you need to balance in the exact center the whole time, especially when you are attempting to make it past the waves. The water is really clear, and we were able to see fish and a stingray even in the deep waters. Some kayakers at the hotel reported seeing whales in the morning, and they were able to get close enough to hear them whining to each other!
- The hotel has 2 private beaches- a black sand and a white sand one.

- In the afternoon we went to Rio Carabaci safari water tours, which is located next door to Las Pumas rescue shelter. Once again, I got the feeling we were ripped off, because there are no printed prices. We paid $40 each, and and our child went free. I think it was worth it though. They drove us to a spot a few minutes away where they pushed the raft into the water, and we got in. We had a guide rowing the raft and pointing out the wildlife. We began our tour at 3:30, and it was a 2 hour tour. The timing was perfect because the heat of the day was over, and the rock face surrounding the river blocked the sun. The weather was actually quite comfortable. We saw tons of iguanas, which seem to be like the squirrels of NY- not very exciting for a local, and all over the place. We also saw lots of wild howler monkeys really close up because they were dangling over the river eating some leaves. There are many different species of birds, and we even saw some bats in the rocks. Best of all, we saw some Crocs!


WEDNESDAY

- We wanted to go horseback riding on our last full day, and we wanted to bring our 3 year old with us. We spoke to the host, and he made a few calls for us. Witch’s rock, which is right near the hotel, did not allow children under the age of 7. The host also called a tour company, and they were willing, but they charged $110 person- which included luxury transportation, and lunch.  Since we had our own car, we decided not to opt for that. The host ended up finding a place about a hour and a half drive away near Playa Conchal, which is near the Westin Hotel.
- About 45 minutes into the drive, we saw a painted sign on the road for Horseback riding, ATV, and Canopy Tours (It seems that most places do all 3 activities). It was called Hacienda El Roble and it was amazing! Especially since it was half the distance to where we were prepared to travel. Their prices were really good as well. It seems that this is the destination for a lot of the luxury tours. This place charged $35 per person for 2 hours of horseback riding, which is really cheap! They charge $60 per ATV for 2 hours (which can seat 2 adults) and $35 for the canopy tour- which has the longest zip in the country- 600 meters long.
- They did not charge for our 3 year old daughter, and she sat on the saddle with the guide. We went riding through swampland, and fields full of wild cows. It was absolutely great, and the guide allowed us to gallop for as long as we could handle the ride. It was amazing, because my the guide was galloping along side us with our daughter bouncing along- something that would NEVER be allowed in the states.
- HACIENDA EL ROBLE & ADVENTURE CENTER  (www.canopyhaciendaelroble.com) 506-8505-8666 or 506-8884-4788. located on Coyolito de Belen in Carrillo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.


THURSDAY

- We spent the morning by the pool.
- Mid Afternoon flight


GENERAL INFORMATION

 (We stayed in the Hyatt Andaz in Guancaste)
- During our stay, the hotel was at 9% occupancy!!! It was basically us and the staff.
- The hotel is in a really secluded area. Once you turn off the main road, you drive for about 15 minutes in wilderness. We do not recommend driving this road at night, and it is very twisty, and there are no lights.  One day we were late getting back from a trip, and there was a car flipped over on the side of the road. There are also no signs for the hotel once you leave the main road. We got lost looking for it during the daytime. If we were checking in at night, we never would have found it.
- The hotel stored our food in their freezer, and pulled out our meal every morning to defrost in the fridge. We called them every evening an hour before we wanted to eat. The instructions on the food said it only needs 20 minutes, but we found that the food was not hot unless it was in for an hour. Even if it was previously defrosted. The hotel normally charges a storage and heating fee. We were able to negotiate, and the fee was waived.
- Breakfast is served every morning in one of the restaurants overlooking the pools. It is from 7:30 to 10:30. The following items were kosher from the buffet: sliced fruit, fresh squeezed fruit juices, coffee, cereal, and milk. As a diamond member, breakfast was free. The food there is really expensive, and the prices fluctuated every day, even though we basically ate the same thing. One morning, our breakfast of cereal and fruit cost $80!  We did receive the full bill at the end of the meal, but only the tip posted to our account.
- The staff is overall attentive and friendly. I think the staff are trained here to put an emphasis on the friendliness, because even the gardeners and cleaning staff stop on the road to greet you as you walk by. However, they did not know a lot of information about the local activities. In fact, we ended up supplying them with information about where we went each day, so that they can advise future guests.
- The hotel includes one free hour of water sport activities a day. This includes kayaking, snorkeling, and this board that you stand on and paddle.

- There are very few gas stations in the Guancaste area. In fact, they are so far and few between that they are all marked on the map. The closest one to the airport is 15 minutes away.
- The major grocery stores are also far and few. There are small bodegas in the towns, but the closest one to the hotel is about 20 minutes away.

- In general, where ever we went we got the feeling of being ripped off. No one has printed prices. Its like they look at you and calculate how much they can get away with asking.

- We were planning to buy a sim card for our phone, but we found that we just did not need to. There is wifi all over the hotel, so we were able to access our email while spending the day at the pool. As for local calls, i believe locals calls are free from the hotel, although we did not try. The hosts made calls for us and spoke spanish whenever we needed.

- A GENERAL WARNING: WE HAD A BAD REACTION TO THE LOCAL WATER, AND WE HIGHLY SUGGEST STICKING TO BOTTLED WATER- EVEN IF YOU INTEND TO BOIL IT.

- The vistas are unbelievable!
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: efflpetzel on February 04, 2014, 03:08:21 PM

- In general, where ever we went we got the feeling of being ripped off. No one has printed prices. Its like they look at you and calculate how much they can get away with asking.
Did you try haggling or bargaining with them
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on February 04, 2014, 05:23:11 PM
Yes we did. In most places they were willing to negotiate a bit.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on February 04, 2014, 07:46:56 PM
Great TR! Costa Rica is one of my favorite places.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: flyer1836 on February 04, 2014, 07:48:00 PM
Regarding Westin Playa Conchal at 22,000 points. booked in May 2011, went feb 2012, website showed 25,000 or 27,000 points, when I called they said 22,000 and I did not argue
now it may be cat 7, and I am sure more points
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on February 04, 2014, 08:06:07 PM
Great TR! Costa Rica is one of my favorite places.
Thanks! It is now one of my favorites as well.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on February 05, 2014, 01:01:38 AM
Thanks! It is now one of my favorites as well.
It's just one of those magical places.

Did you feel like the hotel and area you stayed in were very touristy or were you able to get the feel for the Costan Rican vibe (like Pura vida!)




Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on February 05, 2014, 01:09:58 AM
It's just one of those magical places.

Did you feel like the hotel and area you stayed in were very touristy or were you able to get the feel for the Costan Rican vibe (like Pura vida!)

Do be honest the hotel was near empty, and the area very remote,so i guess you could say i got the costa rican feel. Although staying in a 5 star resort, i am not sure how costa rican that is  ;)



Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Fan of Dan on February 05, 2014, 01:38:57 AM
Do be honest the hotel was near empty, and the area very remote,so i guess you could say i got the costa rican feel. Although staying in a 5 star resort, i am not sure how costa rican that is  ;)
Fair enough. We stayed Shabbos in a rental home which was way up in the mountains near Volcan la Poas. The other 2 units had local families renting. Hardly any hot water and dogs everywhere (including one that wondered into our unit when we left open the door by mistake!). After Shabbos my wife and I got beers at a local bar where they had a couple of local performers. Was a bit to much of the local flavor  :) The rest of our time we stayed in nice places at least.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on February 13, 2014, 02:22:24 PM
andaz papagayo on jetsetter for 270 a night. http://www.jetsetter.com/hotels/costa-rica/liberia/4613/andaz-peninsula-papagayo
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: tdb on February 19, 2014, 03:10:58 PM
 we stayed at the Andaz in early January and the hotel bought us a brand new fridge and microwave so we can heat our food,. We did not have to pay any fees for this. WE stayed our first 2 night using the 2 freed nights with hyatt card that we signed up as diamond members as a result of a 60 day match from hilton gold. The award night was for the  Anadaz Large Suite which was amazing with a private plunge pool. the remainder of our stay was on points for 22k a night and we were "downgraded" to a regular suite also very nice.

I also highly recommend going to the beach at peninsula papagayo the hotel offers free shuttle. http://www.peninsulapapagayo.com/
 
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: azhoopsfan on February 19, 2014, 06:51:51 PM
I also stayed the Andaz for 4 nights in January 2014.  No one was there and we felt like each guest could claim and entire pool or beach for themselves.  We took Relaxation Beach and were the only ones there for two consecutive days.  The water is perfect and pretty bouyant (moreso than San Diego or Hawaii) --- I just floated on my back with my waterproof ipod for hours. 

TIP:  During daylight hours there is a free shuttle around the Peninusula.  We took it to the Four Seasons one day and spent about 4 hours there.  The hotel was much busier had a nice swimming beach with waves.  As the Four Seasons is pretty remote everyone assumes your are a guest there while visiting so they offer you the free treats by the pool and beach (i.e., frozen fruit bars) and you can use the loungers. 

While the Four Seasons was nice, I thought the Andaz was better.  The pools are definitely better at the Andaz. 

 
Title: Costa Rica (Shabbat in San Jose)
Post by: Rachela81 on March 20, 2014, 12:25:17 PM
Hi -
Any feedback on spending Shabbat in San Jose?  Where to book a hotel? Is La Sabana area safe? Feedback on shul/chabad/meals/etc?  Or any other minyan/kosher food in other parts of Costa Rica? Thanks!
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MLM on March 23, 2014, 01:03:30 PM
I am staying 4 nights in August. I currently have the Hilton Pappagayo for 60,000 points per night, thinking of staying 2 nights in Hyatt Andaz using free nights. Anyone have experience with the Hilton?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Ephcc90 on April 28, 2014, 09:53:19 PM
Not sure if this was posted but apparently the andaz papagayo is now a category 4 from a 6
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: jaywhy on May 25, 2014, 12:25:42 PM
Anyone know if there is a Chabad and/or kosher food in Liberia/Andaz Papagayo?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mrcoolcom on July 03, 2014, 12:38:29 PM
anyone have the manager of andaz costa rica phone number?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MLM on July 15, 2014, 12:55:32 AM
Anyone gonna be at the Andaz next Tuesday and Wednesday. I have a reservation as a Plat, trying to figure out food.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: ueaiouioei on July 15, 2014, 10:04:21 AM
I just booked 10 days in January at Andaz Peninsula Papagayo at 15k point/night. Looking for flights now.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on July 15, 2014, 10:41:15 AM
Anyone know if there is a Chabad and/or kosher food in Liberia/Andaz Papagayo?
NO and NO
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: ueaiouioei on July 16, 2014, 11:05:45 AM
NO and NO

No kosher food as in no exclusively kosher stores or No kosher food as in the local supermarkets don't carry any american kosher products? Most places I've been to, even remote carribean islands, have supermarkets fully stocked with regular american products and have huge kosher selections.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on July 16, 2014, 01:14:53 PM
No as in no prepared food, cannot answer regarding products in supermarkets, although the closest "supermarket" to the andaz is around a 20 minute drive.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: heimishbrisker on August 02, 2014, 11:58:19 PM
NO and NO
I'm not so sure about that. I'm heading to CR next week here's the list I found from the orthodox community. http://centroisraelita.com/en/kosher-2/products.html (http://centroisraelita.com/en/kosher-2/products.html) many products and eateries are listed there.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on August 03, 2014, 12:18:05 AM
I'm not so sure about that. I'm heading to CR next week here's the list I found from the orthodox community. http://centroisraelita.com/en/kosher-2/products.html (http://centroisraelita.com/en/kosher-2/products.html) many products and eateries are listed there.
Near Liberia????
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: heimishbrisker on August 03, 2014, 12:34:05 AM
Near Liberia????
What near Liberia?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on August 03, 2014, 12:38:27 AM
Andaz
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on August 03, 2014, 12:39:39 AM
What near Liberia?
The question was is there kosher food near the andaz. The answer was no.
No as in no prepared food, cannot answer regarding products in supermarkets, although the closest "supermarket" to the andaz is around a 20 minute drive.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: heimishbrisker on August 03, 2014, 12:45:09 AM
The question was is there kosher food near the andaz. The answer was no.
Well then that is my answer regarding supermarkets. (I just noticed that their website is temporarily down. It's a good thing I have already printed it.)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Mordyk on October 26, 2014, 05:16:03 PM
Anyone ever stay at the Hotel Punta Islita, autograph collection?. I have a stock of marriott points and was looking at this hotel. Or have you stayed at any other marriott hotel in CR?

TIA

Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Hlnsa on November 10, 2014, 12:13:16 AM
Trip Report: LIR Airport and Andaz Papagayo

LIR: A few people already discussed their airport experiences but I'll share mine. Our luggage didn't come on our flight and was sent the next day. There were people at the hotel who said they had no problem bringing in homemade, cooked food but when someone at the Andaz called his friend in customs and we described/showed pictures of the Pomegranate meals, they said they would confiscate it. We rented a car and drove to LIR from the hotel and managed to convince an AA supervisor to arrange for us to go behind security and back to the baggage claim area. My food got stopped by customs and I had to beg with them not to take it away. It helped that they couldn't read or understand a word of English so Meatballs and Corned Beef became Pasta via a translator. Another family wasn't so lucky and had a lot of their food taken away. Bottom line is that you need to get lucky and try to move out before they realize what is going on or get the guy that let everyone else go. They seem very disorganized and unprofessional so even packing your food in a toy box or with more official packaging can also work.

Andaz: The hotel is very nice and modern while trying to give the feel that you are in a jungle-type atmosphere. We stayed in a suite (Room 521) and had the same issues @momo described with privacy and the view. You can see into pretty much every suite from the path and the views of the bay are all somewhat obstructed by the trees. The room decore, lighting, and amenities were described perfectly above so no need to elaborate.
The hotel is very spread apart and the entire property is very hilly. We were there with less than 25% occupancy so they were driving people up and down the road to the pools, Spa, and dining room for breakfast. There are 3 main "family pools," all infinity pools that wrap around the area behind the main restaurant. They aren't overly large but they were all very nice and we always had at least one pool to ourselves due to the limited crowd. There is also an adult pool at the end of the road (also an infinity pool) which is also very nice. All the pools overlook the bay but the views are obstructed (like the rooms) by the trees.
The hotel is on the top of a hill and if you hike down the path behind the pools, you will get to the black sand beach. This beach is the activities beach where you can rent kayaks, snorkel or paddle board for free for an hour (or more depending on demand). You can also rent Jet Skis and boats at this beach. We actually saw whales breaching when we were there and some people rented jet skis to go see the whales up close. From their reports back, it was an amazing experience. The other beach is behind the rocks and over to the right. At the hotel, they call that beach the white sand beach and it is just intended to be used for relaxation (no activities are offered there). We didn't make it out to that beach as the black sand beach was empty and didn't want to do the extra walk. I should add that the beach is on a bay which is really nice because the water is much calmer and you can just go out and swim without any resistance from waves.
Finally, some points about the food. We are Hyatt Diamond and had breakfast for free. At this hotel, breakfast is offered at the main restaurant and we chose the buffet option every day. They had fresh fruit and delicious fresh squeezed fruit juices (I recommend both the mixed fruit and watermelon juice) which we ate every day but were charged different amounts. The way it works is that you get billed then and it gets taken off (besides for tip) when you check-out. Our last day there, two plates of fruit and two cups of fruit juice came out to $86 (not including tip). I don't know how they get these prices (our first day, the same thing was $41) but I would advise to be careful tipping off the final bill without understanding it because you actually pay for that. As far as the food we brought, I went back and forth with the manager Michael Schmid via email and he wouldn't agree to waive the $25 per person, per meal charge to freeze and store our food. I ended up buying a cheap toaster oven from Target the night before I left and I cleared out my mini fridge and was able to store 18 Pomegranate meals. Luckily for us, another family was upgraded to the Presidential Suite with that had a full fridge and freezer and let us store our food there so it all worked out. We even had a mini DO our last night there where we pooled our food with a third family and ate on their amazing deck overlooking the pools and bay. Again, my advice would be to deal with Michael over the phone as opposed to email because people seem to have had better luck with negotiating the cost of storing/heating and upgrading to better suites (with plunge pools) over the phone.
I know this was long but wanted to cover as much as I could. If anyone has any questions, please let me know.

We are going to the andaz papagayo from 1/1/15 to 1/11/15. Can u please give me michael Schmids phone number and email? Thank you
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Hlnsa on November 10, 2014, 12:29:27 AM
My husband and I will be staying at the andaz for 10 days beginning 1/1/15. Any advice would be helpful especially the email and number of the manager. Thanks to all who wrote long great reviews. I have Akready contacted the guide and the horseback riding place.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Moishebatchy on November 10, 2014, 07:09:42 AM
Near Liberia????

Not the Ebola one. :P
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: aarony on December 03, 2014, 12:52:39 PM
has anyone looked into these guys?

http://www.koshercasas.com/
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: David R on December 08, 2014, 02:16:21 PM
If a US citizen travels as a tourist to Costa Rica, does the US passport have to be valid for any duration beyond the return date?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: yoshapman on December 16, 2014, 09:35:58 PM
Going to Guanacaste area next week for 4 days, any issues with closed packaged food that one would buy in any supermarket (meat, cheese, labriut meals). Won't have a car so can't take any chances.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: wonderlust on January 04, 2015, 02:14:53 AM
Anyone have any info on the JW in guencaste? When I went to cr 2 yrs ago it just opened & now I would love to go stay there.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on February 02, 2015, 11:19:34 PM
My husband and I will be staying at the andaz for 10 days beginning 1/1/15. Any advice would be helpful especially the email and number of the manager. Thanks to all who wrote long great reviews. I have Akready contacted the guide and the horseback riding place.
any highlights to share from your experience?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Marco Polo on February 08, 2015, 05:03:15 PM
Which miles are people using to fly into LIR? Direct routing from NY?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cw3323 on February 08, 2015, 05:09:18 PM
I used UA  the only other airline flying direct is jet blue
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Marco Polo on February 08, 2015, 05:19:14 PM
I used UA  the only other airline flying direct is jet blue
Thanks.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on February 08, 2015, 08:33:49 PM
I'm leaning towards a JetBlue paid ticket over the 17,500 each way for UA. Also worth noting, JetBlue only charges the  $17 in taxes for a lap child from New York to Costa Rica. UA was more.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Marco Polo on February 08, 2015, 08:36:29 PM
I'm leaning towards a JetBlue paid ticket over the 17,500 each way for UA. Also worth noting, JetBlue only charges the  $17 in taxes for a lap child from New York to Costa Rica. UA was more.
I'm having trouble finding saver space direct. With only one flight a day, anything this month seems to be booked already.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on February 08, 2015, 08:38:37 PM
Did you look for XN? Haven't looked in February, but in march there were several days with expanded availability for cardholders.
Agree, it's a tough one to snag. Some days there are two flights.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Marco Polo on February 08, 2015, 08:44:21 PM
Did you look for XN? Haven't looked in February, but in march there were several days with expanded availability for cardholders.
Agree, it's a tough one to snag. Some days there are two flights.
Truthfully, am only really looking to for fly this or next weekend. I understand i most likely will not get the saver rate if i am going to go.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cw3323 on February 09, 2015, 12:33:11 AM
I'm flying in to SJO and flying out from LIR .
LIR is hard to find saver, SJO has a lot availability.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Marco Polo on February 09, 2015, 07:50:01 AM
I'm flying in to SJO and flying out from LIR .
LIR is hard to find saver, SJO has a lot availability.
Where are you staying?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cw3323 on February 09, 2015, 07:57:12 AM
1 night at the royal corin arenal the rest at the andaz
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Marco Polo on February 09, 2015, 08:04:34 AM
1 night at the royal corin arenal the rest at the andaz
How far is the drive from SJO to the Hyatt? Seems like it is pretty far.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cw3323 on February 09, 2015, 09:38:57 AM
It's like 4 hours. But I'm going first to the arenal area. And that's little closer from SJO 
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: gavhaller on February 24, 2015, 11:05:10 AM
Going for July 4th weekend to Andaz Papagayo.
Whats the story with the weather that time of year- I keep reading mixed reports.
Also, is it busy that time of year? I feel like most folks fly to Miami or the Caribbean. Hoping it won't be packed.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: gavhaller on February 24, 2015, 11:33:27 AM
Going for July 4th weekend to Andaz Papagayo.
Whats the story with the weather that time of year- I keep reading mixed reports.
Also, is it busy that time of year? I feel like most folks fly to Miami or the Caribbean. Hoping it won't be packed.
Also if anybody else is planning for that weekend as well, let me know so we can have a DO.
I'll bring chulent :)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cw3323 on February 24, 2015, 09:55:34 PM
I'm at the andaz now till Thursday anybody else is here in the area?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on February 26, 2015, 02:10:29 PM
I'm at the andaz now till Thursday anybody else is here in the area?
Will be there in a little over a week. I've booked two adjoining rooms, one on points, the other on C+P, still hoping that a DSU will open up, but not overly optimistic given the spring break/high season timing.
Title: Costa Rica Trip Report with babies
Post by: eliteflyer on March 18, 2015, 04:07:59 PM
We just returned from a 5-day  trip to LIR/Guanacaste. For now, a few data points about our trip with twin 1.5-year-olds along:

-We used 17,500 miles each to fly non-stop from EWR-LIR on Sunday morning, following the switch to daylight savings time. Despite the early hour and the clock switch the night before, everyone showed up for the flight, which went out completely full. Had we booked a bit earlier, I would have definitely opted for the JetBlue flight an hour later out of JFK which I had previously seen at about $240 per person each way.

-I emailed the Andaz in advance and confirmed that they would supplement the mini-bar fridge in our rooms with one additional fridge. They ended up putting in a sizeable fridge/freezer combo that accommodated our meals perfectly along with a commercial microwave stacked on top. They otherwise offered to store and re-heat meals for us at a cost of $20 per meal, which we declined. From past experiences at hotels, I prefer to be able to take out the meals and reheat them at my convenience rather than having to plan ahead and rely on hotel staff.

-We booked two connecting rooms one on C+P (7,500 HGP+$123 (including the tax and service fee)) and one for 15,000 points for each of the four nights months in advance . I really wanted to use a DSU, and inventory in standard Andaz suites was showing. Despite many calls to HGP and the hotel, I was rebuffed that C+P requires a particular bucket for DSU that was not available. I was offered to upgrade for $150 per night, but declined. As we moved closer to arrival, the hotel ended up selling out on suites for the week and all suites were booked, including one occupied by Rafael Nadal. At the last minute, I switched the second room to a points reservation, so total cost per night was 30K, less the 20% rebate currently running for Hyatt Visa members.

-We packed a Pampers box full of Pomegranate frozen meals, sealed cold-cuts and some zip-locked frozen food from home that our babies like. As mentioned up-thread, all baggage must be loaded through a screener at LIR on arrival. Our box was pulled aside, opened and after 5 minutes of consultation with another unofficial looking guy, they confiscated the home-made food because of “health concerns for our own well-being” and said that they were making a special exception to allow the pomegranate sealed meals and cold-cuts because we had ice-packs and it said “made in USA”. They said in the future, we should only bring in meat if it’s in a cooler and stamped by the USDA. I wouldn’t depend on that, as the whole process seemed haphazard. Interestingly, we pushed our stroller, which had 2  bags full of fruit, milk and other food in it, rolled right past the screener with no objection, so that’s a potentially good way to “smuggle” some select items in.

- We considered renting a car, but after running the numbers with the mandatory liability insurance that must be purchased in Costa Rica and gas, figured a cost of about $250-$300 total for the 5 day trip. We also considered that because we were traveling with babies, we were unlikely to go out on adventures every day. We contacted Maleku Tours, a family-owned tour operator, for our airport transportation and for one day tour to a volcano. I’m glad we did, as they were super professional and pleasant to work with, and the cost wasn’t that much higher than the rental car. Round trip airport transportation for the family in an air-conditioned shuttle van was $120 for the 30-40 minute trip. The Andaz charges more than twice that amount for their airport service. The tours ranged in price from $100-$135 per person depending on the trip. I would really recommend considering this if you only plan to go out once or twice, as it was really pleasant to just be driven by a knowledgeable, friendly person on a private tour. Plus, Eugenia, who runs the operation and took us on our tour, was really good with our babies and even baby-sat for them during a few parts of the tour (like the volcanic mud-baths and hot-springs) so my wife and I could enjoy them a bit on our own.

-As far as the hotel goes, the staff were all really friendly, but it often took multiple requests to get service and I suspect that many don’t really understand English, even if they say that they do. The property is very spread out and has several steep hills to get from building to building. Golf carts roam the property to pick up guests and can be called from the room/restaurants, though this wasn’t so practical with a stroller.  They placed us on a lower level set of rooms in building 6 with no elevator access from the main road, so we just left the stroller outside at the top of the stairs. For the Diamond amenity, I asked about a spa treatment instead of the standard 1,000 point/F&B amenity, and was offered an additional 30% discount on all massages at the spa. As it turned out, the spa already had a 20% discount on couples’ massages, so this “amenity” wasn’t as valuable as would appear at first glance. Still, when combined with spa-finder gift cards available from Costco at 20% off face value, the cost of treatments was pretty reasonable, and Mrs. Eliteflyer appreciated the amenity. People complain that food is expensive here, but I can’t comment on quality or price except to say that we enjoyed the fruit juices and fruit that was available at breakfast as a Diamond member.

-The property has several pools including an adult pool near our room, which we enjoyed in relative privacy on several afternoons while our kids were napping. The kids really liked the zero-entry beach-style pool with infinity edges and views of the bay and monkeys climbing in the trees. The beaches on the property are black-sand and will leave you with a muddy finish. On the plus-side, this meant that they were often empty, which was nice.  The property has a schedule of activities that are free, including a kayak tour that I tried one morning that was nice enough. For kids that are potty-trained, they have a free day-camp with some activities having a supplemental charge. They also offer baby-sitting at $30 per hour (seems to be per family, regardless of number of kids) with a minimum of 3 hours, which we used one day. The kids can hang out with a counselor at the camp room or in your hotel room.

-For our one day offsite, Eugenia at Maleku tours picked us up bright and early at 7:15am. We were running late getting the twins ready, so we invited her to enjoy the breakfast buffet (free for us as we had two rooms and diamond status) which she appreciated. We drove about two hours to Miravales volcano where we took a tractor-pulled wagon (instead of horse-back ride because of the babies) into the rain forest and walked through a trail and on some suspension bridges over water-falls that were pretty. It was much cooler in the rain forest, which was refreshing. (Temperatures were otherwise in the 80s and low 90s while we were in Costa Rica, though pretty dry). Afterwards, we rode back to a restaurant where we enjoyed our own sandwiches and fruit lunch, though lunch at the restaurant is officially included in the tour. We then walked to an area where you can see secondary volcanic craters bubbling with hot mud and cover yourself in warm mud and bathe in hot-springs. Eugenia watched our kids for about 30 minutes while we enjoyed the mud experience. Then, it was off to Liberia, where she showed us around some smaller neighborhoods, and we got a taste for the local culture and picked up some exotic fruit at a small market place to bring back to our hotel, including a dark green fruit with white flesh that tastes just like sour-sticks, that our kids loved slurping down. She dropped us back at the hotel at about 4pm.

-We used 7,500 Avios to fly non-stop to MIA on Thursday. A few words of warning: 1) contrary to what you will read in many places, the mandatory departure tax is apparently still not included in the cost of your ticket, so we had to wait in line and pay about $26 per person (including the babies) prior to checking in. Then, at check in, we discovered that the Citi AAdvantage card free bag benefit only applies to “domestic” tickets (never realized this in the fine print before, particularly because we get free bags all the time on our AA trips to Canada). We had three bags, but I got them to waive the fee on one bag “for the babies”. Tweeting to AA was of no use, but in response to an instant message, Citi agreed to credit back the $50 in fees after I got home. Our flight to MIA was pleasant and had a light load, and a kind gate agent moved us up to a Main Cabin Extra row that we had to ourselves. We were grateful to all have global entry on arrival into MIA as immigration lines, including just to exit the baggage claim area, were atrociously long on a Thursday evening at rush hour, though we did have to wait for manual processing for the babies who haven’t been finger-printed.

-Ultimately, my impression of Costa Rica and the Andaz in particular is that, while enjoyable, it’s not worth traveling to with small children, as you can’t do most of the real cool hiking and ziplining anyways. Tickets tend to be pricey and there are added taxes, fees to factor in. That being said, if you can get a non-stop flight, as we did, it’s worth considering. The Andaz is a good value at just 15,000 points vs. $500 + tax and resort fee in high season, but is sort of isolated and service is choppy, and as mentioned above, the lay-out may not work for everyone.  The entire peninsula where it’s located is basically a high-end vacation/retirement destination for Canadians and Americans (and some Russian oligarchs, who’s yachts were parked at the marina near the hotel), so I would hardly consider it a genuine “local Costa Rican experience” if that’s what you’re in to.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: damaxer91 on April 28, 2015, 06:56:11 PM
Apparently the Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo has a full kosher menu (requires 72 hours advance notice)

Food comes from the San Jose Kosher Center and is "Glatt Kosher, Bishul Yisroel, Pas Yisroel under the stricktest standards of uncompromised Kashrus. The Rav Hamachshir is the Mora D'asra of Costa Rica's Orthodox Community, Harav Gershon Miletski"

Prices are fairly cheap at $25 per meal for items like Boneless Spare Ribs, Cowboy Steak etc and include a side dish

Before ya'll jump on me for the Four Seasons being too expensive they have $400 rates in the summer
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: insider on May 04, 2015, 02:08:31 PM
how can I search award for a direct flight to ny to costa rica on aa? they don't have non-stop filter. When I change dates, it doesn't show any non-stop flights. Is there a workaround?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Marco Polo on May 04, 2015, 02:10:07 PM
how can I search award for a direct flight to ny to costa rica on aa? they don't have non-stop filter. When I change dates, it doesn't show any non-stop flights. Is there a workaround?
Search on BA.com. Could be that there are no flights available.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: insider on May 04, 2015, 02:27:04 PM
Search on BA.com. Could be that there are no flights available.
Thank you. I tried that as well, but no luck. Is it possible that they don't offer non-stop for award tickets?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Marco Polo on May 04, 2015, 02:28:24 PM
Thank you. I tried that as well, but no luck. Is it possible that they don't offer non-stop for award tickets?
They fly JFK-SJO direct. Only a matter of finding flights, which can be tough as they don't fly many often.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on May 04, 2015, 02:40:14 PM
how can I search award for a direct flight to ny to costa rica on aa? they don't have non-stop filter. When I change dates, it doesn't show any non-stop flights. Is there a workaround?
AA/US does not fly non-stop from JFK to LIR (MIA, DFW, CLT are the only options) or or SJO (MIA, DFW, CLT, PHX are the only options)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on May 04, 2015, 02:40:45 PM
They fly JFK-SJO direct. Only a matter of finding flights, which can be tough as they don't fly many often.
They anounced that route back in 2010, but i've not seen it all lately. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-airlines-launches-nonstop-service-from-new-york-to-san-jose-costa-rica-89143817.html

Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: gavhaller on May 06, 2015, 10:52:42 AM
Can anybody specify details on renting cars in CR.
Not understanding the whole mandatory insurance thing.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: beeweegee on May 06, 2015, 01:53:09 PM
Can anybody specify details on renting cars in CR.
Not understanding the whole mandatory insurance thing.

Thanks!
Basically, the law is that you can't decline insurance. Even if you have primary insurance with your CC.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: gavhaller on May 06, 2015, 05:29:07 PM
That I understand.
But theres 4 or 5 different options.
I want to make sure I get the bare minimum and then use my cc for coverage, because, cdw isnt mandatory
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cw3323 on May 06, 2015, 05:56:53 PM
I think you need to take the LDW only and the rest on your cc (but it's also not cheap)
Title: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: rileywiles23 on May 07, 2015, 09:38:46 AM
@elite flyer. Thank you for the TR. I was planning a trip to CR and to stay at the andaz. We would probably have to bring a 5-6 month baby along. After reading your report, I'm having second thoughts. The only thing is we might be taking along our grandma, so she'll be able to babysit our son while we get out there.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on May 09, 2015, 10:01:00 PM
@elite flyer. Thank you for the TR. I was planning a trip to CR and to stay at the andaz. We would probably have to bring a 5-6 month baby along. After reading your report, I'm having second thoughts. The only thing is we might be taking along our grandma, so she'll be able to babysit our son while we get out there.
definitely would be nice to have a babysitter along! We ran into many parents at the resort, but typically older and in the Cambi kids program for several hours each day. 
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: rileywiles23 on May 09, 2015, 10:59:49 PM

definitely would be nice to have a babysitter along! We ran into many parents at the resort, but typically older and in the Cambi kids program for several hours each day.
I don't really fell comfortable sticking a 6 month old baby in some random baby sitter hands.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on May 09, 2015, 11:08:26 PM
I don't really fell comfortable sticking a 6 month old baby in some random baby sitter hands.
thought you said grandma is coming to babysit...
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: rileywiles23 on May 10, 2015, 12:45:26 AM

thought you said grandma is coming to babysit...
I was just commenting on this part of your post
We ran into many parents at the resort, but typically older and in the Cambi kids program for several hours each day.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: travels on May 17, 2015, 12:49:56 AM
Has anyone ever been down to the osa peninsula?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 09, 2015, 11:44:29 AM
What's the best way to get a data plan in Costa Rica? Just go to the nearest local store? Is there any way to get it set up b4 going?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Buruch on June 10, 2015, 10:56:19 AM
Any way to fly between liberia and san jose with miles on a distance-based award?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: @Yehuda on June 10, 2015, 11:37:46 AM
Any way to fly between liberia and san jose with miles on a distance-based award?
From some quick research, only Avianca flies that route. Aviance is *A and IINM there are no distance programs in *A anymore.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: gavhaller on June 10, 2015, 11:55:50 AM
Copa (UA partner) also flies
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: @Yehuda on June 10, 2015, 12:35:43 PM
Copa (UA partner) also flies
Darn Google inaccuracy. Still no distance based partners IINM.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: gavhaller on June 10, 2015, 01:59:06 PM
:) True.
If you fly on United back to the continental U.S- it's not any extra to tack on the leg from LIR-SJO.
In fact, you get to fly on a Cessna 402.

Good Luck ;/
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: @Yehuda on June 10, 2015, 02:10:09 PM
:) True.
If you fly on United back to the continental U.S- it's not any extra to tack on the leg from LIR-SJO.
In fact, you get to fly on a Cessna 402.

Good Luck ;/
You're saying to get a free stopover on the roundtrip? Not a bad idea for someone that wants Andaz in LIR and SJO for Shabbos.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: gavhaller on June 10, 2015, 02:54:09 PM
I'm not stopping over, rather just staying put in the Andaz Large Suite over shabbos - July 4th weekend.
I wonder if I should make a kiddush in the private pool.

You're all invited :)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 10, 2015, 07:54:02 PM
I'm not stopping over, rather just staying put in the Andaz Large Suite over shabbos - July 4th weekend.
I wonder if I should make a kiddush in the private pool.

You're all invited :)
Are there any minyanim nearby or only in san jose?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Buruch on June 10, 2015, 08:01:04 PM
Let me clarify my intentions:

I want to go using SW points, and stay in the Andaz. But SW only goes to san jose. I wan to get to Lir without paying a bunch.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 10, 2015, 08:07:50 PM
Let me clarify my intentions:

I want to go using SW points, and stay in the Andaz. But SW only goes to san jose. I wan to get to Lir without paying a bunch.
You can technically drive it. Rental cars are dirt cheap and its a 4 hour drive. Not sure if your up for that
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Buruch on June 10, 2015, 08:22:48 PM
You can technically drive it. Rental cars are dirt cheap and its a 4 hour drive. Not sure if your up for that

Not interested in driving. I would consider a bus though.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 10, 2015, 08:28:48 PM
Not interested in driving. I would consider a bus though.
Any specific reason you don't wanna drive there? Just curious as I am going in aug and plan on driving everywhere
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Buruch on June 10, 2015, 09:40:26 PM
Not into driving, and wouldn't want to get lost/breakdown there.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on June 10, 2015, 09:47:30 PM
You can technically drive it. Rental cars are dirt cheap and its a 4 hour drive. Not sure if your up for that
dont forget the mandatory insurance
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 10, 2015, 09:49:54 PM
dont forget the mandatory insurance
Right but its only liability that's mandatory & you can get a car on expedia for like 5 bucks a day. So its still pretty cheap
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: @Yehuda on June 11, 2015, 07:33:27 AM
Are there any minyanim nearby or only in san jose?
Only in San Jose.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 11, 2015, 08:28:33 AM
Only in San Jose.
Thanx
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: gavhaller on June 11, 2015, 08:42:07 AM
Im also renting a car. For 8 days its $270 including everything. Also driving from sjo to the andaz. I think you take the panamerican highway. Its supposed to be gorgeous.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 11, 2015, 08:45:38 AM
Im also renting a car. For 8 days its $270 including everything. Also driving from sjo to the andaz. I think you take the panamerican highway. Its supposed to be gorgeous.
Why so expensive? I saw rates for like 15 bucks a day for an suv. Is it just on my dates? Or are there certain rental companies I should be avoiding?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 11, 2015, 08:47:06 AM
Also is here any specific reason nobody in this thread heads south? The bottom third of the country is supposed to be amazing - untouched rainforest
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: gavhaller on June 11, 2015, 10:00:43 AM
Why so expensive? I saw rates for like 15 bucks a day for an suv. Is it just on my dates? Or are there certain rental companies I should be avoiding?
Most of the rates don't include SLI, which is mandatory and like an additional $15 a day or something like that.
I got quoted from sixt, and they are pretty reliable. I can't stand the other companies.

And as for going south, not that many points options- that could be your answer :) But I also heard its beautiful. Trying to plan my itinerary, but I don't want to be driving for 6-7 hours per day.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 11, 2015, 10:25:32 AM
Most of the rates don't include SLI, which is mandatory and like an additional $15 a day or something like that.
I got quoted from sixt, and they are pretty reliable. I can't stand the other companies.

And as for going south, not that many points options- that could be your answer :) But I also heard its beautiful. Trying to plan my itinerary, but I don't want to be driving for 6-7 hours per day.
I got a quote from fox. Idk anything about it but sixt prices at $350 more for my dates. Beware btw if you don't drive manual - most companies rent manual cars.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 11, 2015, 10:27:08 AM
I figured that's probably why, but hotels are not that expensive that I would want to base a week & a half trip around the hotel. You could technically sell the points and use the cash to book a hotel elsewhere
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Buruch on June 11, 2015, 10:06:53 PM
Well I tripped on some great news. I was checking flights from fll to the caribbean, and noticed LIR on the SW map. Googles SW to LIR, and they apparently announced a month ago that they'll fly there from HOU starting Nov! I also anticipated these intl flights being much more expensive, but they're not - you can get them for 20k.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: alpicone on June 11, 2015, 10:18:31 PM
Cool. I wanted to go to Costa Rica is the summer but when I checked LGA - SJO is said route not available until October. Now I checked BWI - SJO and I see they do fly to SJO already. Hmmm
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: alpicone on June 11, 2015, 10:21:42 PM
WTH... They actually fly ISP - SJO for only 25k round trip. How did I miss that before. Decisions, decisions.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MAJ on June 18, 2015, 02:40:45 PM
WTH... They actually fly ISP - SJO for only 25k round trip. How did I miss that before. Decisions, decisions.
who flies isp-sjo?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: alpicone on June 18, 2015, 02:46:38 PM
who flies isp-sjo?

Southwest. Connects in BWI.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Adam101 on June 18, 2015, 02:56:11 PM
Cool. I wanted to go to Costa Rica is the summer but when I checked LGA - SJO is said route not available until October. Now I checked BWI - SJO and I see they do fly to SJO already. Hmmm
That's got to be like the worst time to go of the year. All hot and sticky
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MAJ on June 18, 2015, 03:10:58 PM
Southwest. Connects in BWI.
cool tx
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 18, 2015, 05:05:16 PM
That's got to be like the worst time to go of the year. All hot and sticky
Like most summer vacation spots
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MAJ on June 25, 2015, 04:49:57 PM
Anyone ever in Mal Pais? will be there 7/8-7-13 and looking for tips on activities.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MAJ on June 26, 2015, 02:09:26 PM
one of the local airlines is Sansa air owned by Lasca/Avianca. Miles and More website says miles can be earned and redeemed on all Lasca flights, yet i cant seem to get Sansa. Any way to do it or cant be done? Would love to add it to my United Award Itinerary.


https://www.miles-and-more.com/online/myportal/mam/ch/program/partner/detail?nodeid=216507311&l=en
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: cherylnlajolla on June 26, 2015, 07:43:27 PM
Anyone ever in Mal Pais? will be there 7/8-7-13 and looking for tips on activities.


surfing :)  That is why most people go to that area (we were in Santa Teresa last December).  Hike to Montezuma waterfall.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MAJ on June 28, 2015, 01:02:03 PM

surfing :)  That is why most people go to that area (we were in Santa Teresa last December).  Hike to Montezuma waterfall.
seeing a lot of surfing stuff, never surfed in my life. can i get decent zip lining and other adventure stuff in the area?what about snorkeling?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 28, 2015, 01:54:11 PM
seeing a lot of surfing stuff, never surfed in my life. can i get decent zip lining and other adventure stuff in the area?what about snorkeling?
From what I understand, snorkeling in costa rica is nothing special unless you go out to cano island which is way outta the way. The big watersport theyre famous for is surfing
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MAJ on June 28, 2015, 04:12:50 PM

From what I understand, snorkeling in costa rica is nothing special unless you go out to cano island which is way outta the way. The big watersport theyre famous for is surfing
ok will focus on other activities than. Ty
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MAJ on June 29, 2015, 11:10:23 AM
Current itinerary:

7/8
JFK-PTY 155am Copa Air J
PTY-SJO 816am Copa Air J  30k United
SJO-TMU 1000am Sansa Air E  $95

Staying in Casa Chamelon in Mal Pais till 7/13 for (roughly) $1611 for 5 nights

Will look into regular local tours, looking for ideas, for now all i have is zip lining, horse back riding and ATV. i have 3 full days to do activities.
Will bring food from Chap n Nosh and order from Kosher Center if food gets taken away.

7/13
TMU-SJO  1225pm nature air E $100
SJO-PTY 230pm Copa Air J
PTY-JFK 627pm Copa Air J 30 K United

(JFK-LAX 2/10 6am free leg in J)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 29, 2015, 11:15:03 AM
Current itinerary:

7/8
JFK-PTY 155am Copa Air J
PTY-SJO 816am Copa Air J  30k United
SJO-TMU 1000am Sansa Air E  $95

Staying in Casa Chamelon in Mal Pais till 7/13 for (roughly) $1611 for 5 nights

Will look into regular local tours, looking for ideas, for now all i have is zip lining, horse back riding and ATV. i have 3 full days to do activities.
Will bring food from Chap n Nosh and order from Kosher Center if food gets taken away.

7/13
TMU-SJO  1225pm nature air E $100
SJO-PTY 230pm Copa Air J
PTY-JFK 627pm Copa Air J 30 K United

(JFK-LAX 2/10 6am free leg in J)
Nice sounds like fun! Why are you specifically going all the way out to TMU?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MAJ on June 29, 2015, 11:36:29 AM
Nice sounds like fun! Why are you specifically going all the way out to TMU?
prob a mistake! lol i got a good deal on hotel or at least i thought i did, on TripAdvisor/jet setter price was $495 before taxes and getaroom was $285 before taxes.
Also as far as it is, it actually can be not bad if taking 30 min flight( probably just trying to convince myself because i think it was a mistake i just rushed to book).
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: kangarruu on June 29, 2015, 11:42:12 AM
Does anyone know if there's an eruv at the Andaz Papagayo?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 29, 2015, 11:42:58 AM
prob a mistake! lol i got a good deal on hotel or at least i thought i did, on TripAdvisor/jet setter price was $495 before taxes and getaroom was $285 before taxes.
Also as far as it is, it actually can be not bad if taking 30 min flight( probably just trying to convince myself because i think it was a mistake i just rushed to book).
I'm sure there's plenty to do! Looks like a good location on the map. Also I think I heard there's a lot todo in montezuma which is rite there
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MAJ on June 29, 2015, 01:38:10 PM
I'm sure there's plenty to do! Looks like a good location on the map. Also I think I heard there's a lot todo in montezuma which is rite there
i will def look into it, tx for the help
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Srsy on June 29, 2015, 11:23:47 PM
Would you recommend going to Costa Rica in August?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 29, 2015, 11:40:51 PM
Would you recommend going to Costa Rica in August?
I am
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Srsy on June 30, 2015, 12:36:56 AM
Any minyan in Costa Rica besides San Jose during the week?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 30, 2015, 12:37:34 AM
Any minyan in Costa Rica besides San Jose during the week?
Nope
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 30, 2015, 12:45:23 AM
Would you recommend going to Costa Rica in August?
When in August are you going?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Srsy on June 30, 2015, 07:36:30 AM
I am not sure if we are going at this point.  We are looking into different options for a vacation.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MAJ on June 30, 2015, 03:37:50 PM
for booking activities, am i best off taking care of everything my self (rather not be too busy with it) book through travel agent, or book through hotel?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on June 30, 2015, 03:46:18 PM
Much much cheaper if booking by yourself.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MAJ on June 30, 2015, 03:48:19 PM
Much much cheaper if booking by yourself.
was hoping not to hear that! lol
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 30, 2015, 04:21:46 PM
was hoping not to hear that! lol
Lol. The more people involved in planning the trips, the more people who need a piece of the pie  ;)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on June 30, 2015, 04:30:34 PM
was hoping not to hear that! lol
Really not difficult. we just drove into a zipline place, we were quoted something like $125, when calling a tour operator, we paid 30. Same for Horseback riding and atv.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 30, 2015, 04:32:16 PM
Or you can just ask your hotel for the info and drive down there and book it yourself
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: momo on June 30, 2015, 04:35:36 PM
Or you can just ask your hotel for the info and drive down there and book it yourself
The hotel booked thru a tour operator. (Andaz)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: kangarruu on July 01, 2015, 04:50:27 PM
LIR customs confiscated all of our chicken and turkey products because of an avian flu alert. Everything else (including chicken items not labelled as chicken  ;)) was let through. Good thing we overpacked on food.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 01, 2015, 05:06:15 PM
LIR customs confiscated all of our chicken and turkey products because of an avian flu alert. Everything else (including chicken items not labelled as chicken  ;)) was let through. Good thing we overpacked on food.
Thanx good to know! Is it better to not label anything or just label everything as potatoes or something? ;)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: kangarruu on July 01, 2015, 08:58:48 PM
Thanx good to know! Is it better to not label anything or just label everything as potatoes or something? ;)

This particular agent looked at each item and asked us what each unlabeled item (like bagels that we wrapped ourselves) was. I think having labels in Hebrew or labels that don't indicate the ingredients would have been best.

Also, he had no interest at all in seeing a letter from a rabbi.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 01, 2015, 09:00:41 PM
This particular agent looked at each item and asked us what each unlabeled item (like bagels that we wrapped ourselves) was. I think having labels in Hebrew or labels that don't indicate the ingredients would have been best.

Also, he had no interest at all in seeing a letter from a rabbi.
Lol. I would've figured as much
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 01, 2015, 09:11:14 PM
This particular agent looked at each item and asked us what each unlabeled item (like bagels that we wrapped ourselves) was. I think having labels in Hebrew or labels that don't indicate the ingredients would have been best.

Also, he had no interest at all in seeing a letter from a rabbi.
What are examples of some of the things that went through without a problem? I'll label my food accordingly ;)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: kangarruu on July 02, 2015, 07:33:47 AM
What are examples of some of the things that went through without a problem? I'll label my food accordingly ;)

Poppers, kasha, onion potatoes, BBQ nuggets, lamb meatballs, boneless ribs. Anything that wasn't obviously chicken. All of our bird-based deli meats were taken but he left our beef jerky.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 02, 2015, 08:13:12 AM
Poppers, kasha, onion potatoes, BBQ nuggets, lamb meatballs, boneless ribs. Anything that wasn't obviously chicken. All of our bird-based deli meats were taken but he left our beef jerky.
Ty
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: KF on July 03, 2015, 02:43:56 PM
How did you heat up the food at the Andaz? Do they provide microwaves?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: kangarruu on July 03, 2015, 04:17:01 PM
How did you heat up the food at the Andaz? Do they provide microwaves?

We have a griddle and lots of aluminum foil.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: KF on July 04, 2015, 11:57:36 PM
Did you bring griddle with you or buy there?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: kangarruu on July 05, 2015, 12:15:20 AM
Did you bring griddle with you or buy there?

We bought a bunch of these (http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1198772/presto-cool-touch-electric-griddle.jsp) on sale a few years ago.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cw3323 on July 05, 2015, 02:14:21 AM

How did you heat up the food at the Andaz? Do they provide microwaves?
I emailed and called them and they provided me with a microwave and another fridge, a few ddf's also had the same experience.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: rileywiles23 on July 16, 2015, 02:01:58 PM
Is it a bad idea to go to costa rica in the summer, due to all the rain, and monsoon issues ?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: beeweegee on July 16, 2015, 02:07:47 PM
Is it a bad idea to go to costa rica in the summer, due to all the rain, and monsoon issues ?
Hit or miss. I went in the summer and had a great time. It rained most days for a very short time, and the rest of the day was clear. Definitely YMMV.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: kangarruu on July 16, 2015, 05:41:58 PM
Is it a bad idea to go to costa rica in the summer, due to all the rain, and monsoon issues ?

We just went. The only rain we saw was on a volcano.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 16, 2015, 05:48:10 PM
Is it a bad idea to go to costa rica in the summer, due to all the rain, and monsoon issues ?
I'm going in 3 weeks. From what I understand it only rains for abt one hr a day and not every single day
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: rileywiles23 on July 16, 2015, 06:57:28 PM

We just went. The only rain we saw was on a volcano.
Where did you stay ? Did you go with kids ?
I'm going in 3 weeks. From what I understand it only rains for abt one hr a day and not every single day
Where you planning on staying ? Are you going with any kids ?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: kangarruu on July 16, 2015, 07:00:47 PM
Where did you stay? Did you go with kids? 

Andaz Papagayo. We went alone.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 16, 2015, 07:22:21 PM
Where did you stay ? Did you go with kids ?  Where you planning on staying ? Are you going with any kids ?
No kids. Staying in hotel in Monteverde for 2 nights, a gorgeous Villa with completely private pool in Manuel Antonio for 3 nights (only $140 a night!), & shabos in marriott in San jose
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: CS1 on July 16, 2015, 07:46:03 PM
Poppers, kasha, onion potatoes, BBQ nuggets, lamb meatballs, boneless ribs. Anything that wasn't obviously chicken. All of our bird-based deli meats were taken but he left our beef jerky.

nice -- good to know. Did your suite also have a microwave?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: kangarruu on July 16, 2015, 08:10:25 PM
nice -- good to know. Did your suite also have a microwave?

Nope. They also said all of their extra refrigerators were in use.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: CS1 on July 16, 2015, 08:18:02 PM
Nope. They also said all of their extra refrigerators were in use.

oh... They stored your food for you in their hotel fridges?
(In St. Thomas we brought tons of styrofoam plates and Saran Wrap, kashered the microwave and ate pre-cooked meals... ) Will try those griddles. They look good.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: kangarruu on July 16, 2015, 08:29:14 PM
oh... They stored your food for you in their hotel fridges?
(In St. Thomas we brought tons of styrofoam plates and Saran Wrap, kashered the microwave and ate pre-cooked meals... ) Will try those griddles. They look good.

Yes. They offered to heat the food for the usual $20 per meal, but just storing was free.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on July 21, 2015, 04:10:42 PM
No kids. Staying in hotel in Monteverde for 2 nights, a gorgeous Villa with completely private pool in Manuel Antonio for 3 nights (only $140 a night!), & shabos in marriott in San jose
Where in monteverde? And where in Manuel Antonio?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 21, 2015, 04:27:26 PM
Where in monteverde? And where in Manuel Antonio?
El establo hotel in monteverde. Manuel Antonio renting a private villa
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on July 21, 2015, 04:29:51 PM
Were you happy with the hotel? And how did you find the villa?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 21, 2015, 04:32:47 PM
Were you happy with the hotel? And how did you find the villa?
Didn't go yet. Mid August. Found the villa on homeaway. There's a lot of them and they're generally nicer and cheaper than the hotels
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on July 21, 2015, 04:35:33 PM
When are you going?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 21, 2015, 05:04:28 PM
When are you going?
Aug 16-23
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on July 21, 2015, 05:06:15 PM
I'm arriving on the 16th, but leaving on Thursday. Where are you going first? Manuel Antonio, or monteverde?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 21, 2015, 05:19:08 PM
I'm arriving on the 16th, but leaving on Thursday. Where are you going first? Manuel Antonio, or monteverde?
Monteverde. You?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on July 21, 2015, 05:21:45 PM
I'm not sure yet. Still trying to put together an itinerary.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on July 21, 2015, 05:24:31 PM
Where are you renting your car?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 21, 2015, 05:24:56 PM
I will be in monteverde till tues nite. Minyan?  ;)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 21, 2015, 05:25:29 PM
Where are you renting your car?
I have a reservation at Alamo and fox. Not sure which I will use
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on July 21, 2015, 05:26:38 PM
You and I make 2. Anyone else?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on July 21, 2015, 05:28:07 PM
Are there any secluded areas at Manuel Antonio without tznius issues?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 21, 2015, 05:34:59 PM
Are there any secluded areas at Manuel Antonio without tznius issues?
Im renting a villa with a private pool. Im sure if you drive along the water and park in a random place you can find a secluded beach
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 21, 2015, 05:35:38 PM
You and I make 2. Anyone else?
not that I know of
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on July 21, 2015, 05:39:50 PM
I meant at the Manuel Antonio Park. Do the people wander around the forests in beach attire?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 21, 2015, 05:43:29 PM
I meant at the Manuel Antonio Park. Do the people wander around the forests in beach attire?
Don't know
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on July 22, 2015, 12:28:47 AM
In which town is the villa? Quepos?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 22, 2015, 12:36:49 AM
In which town is the villa? Quepos?
It's in Manuel Antonio. Just south of quepos
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on July 22, 2015, 12:38:34 AM
Is it part of a complex? About how much? I week tons of options on vrbo and airbnb
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 22, 2015, 12:39:54 AM
Is it part of a complex? About how much? I week tons of options on vrbo and airbnb
Search property number 681393. There's plenty of similar ones in the area. No shortage of gorgeous villas at very affordable prices
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on July 22, 2015, 12:49:59 AM
Thanks! I liked the photo of the visitors on the porch
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Brister on July 30, 2015, 04:40:50 PM
Anyone successful with contacting chabad of Costa Rica ? I tried emailing  them from their website but haven't heard back?

Also, anyone know of a good hotel to stay in San Jose to be close to Jewish community for shobbas?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on July 30, 2015, 05:45:46 PM
Anyone successful with contacting chabad of Costa Rica ? I tried emailing  them from their website but haven't heard back?

Also, anyone know of a good hotel to stay in San Jose to be close to Jewish community for shobbas?
Marriott residence inn on escazu
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordy44 on October 11, 2015, 02:27:02 PM
Anyone ever go first weeks of November? I know its technically still rainy season, but does that mean a short thunderstorm or constant rain?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on October 11, 2015, 05:23:20 PM
Anyone ever go first weeks of November? I know its technically still rainy season, but does that mean a short thunderstorm or constant rain?
Short thunderstorm. Usually about an hour or two
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordy44 on October 11, 2015, 07:05:52 PM
Thanks for the reply. Do you think its worth vacationing there that time of year?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on October 11, 2015, 08:13:35 PM
Thanks for the reply. Do you think its worth vacationing there that time of year?
I went in August which is just as "rainy" as November. It was well worth it and as long as you plan your day properly the rain shouldn't affect you at all
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordy44 on October 26, 2015, 09:19:56 PM
Does anyone know about the level of kashrus of the kosher store in SJO? Is it generally accepted?

http://www.costaricakoshercenter.com
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on October 26, 2015, 11:41:22 PM
Does anyone know about the level of kashrus of the kosher store in SJO? Is it generally accepted?

http://www.costaricakoshercenter.com
I think so. It should be under the certification of the chabad rabbi there.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: rileywiles23 on December 01, 2015, 03:24:51 PM
Does AA fly to Costa Rica ? I seem to recall seeing that they recently launched a flight there, but can't seem to find any flights ?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: @Yehuda on December 01, 2015, 03:41:40 PM
Does AA fly to Costa Rica ? I seem to recall seeing that they recently launched a flight there, but can't seem to find any flights ?
Sure they do. Not from NY if that's what you're implying, but they definitely fly to Costa Rica.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Buruch on December 01, 2015, 03:45:30 PM
AS just started/will be shortly too.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: rileywiles23 on December 01, 2015, 06:49:28 PM

Sure they do. Not from NY if that's what you're implying, but they definitely fly to Costa Rica.
From where do they fly ?
AS just started/will be shortly too.
I'm assuming that's from the way coast ?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: rileywiles23 on January 01, 2016, 12:42:22 PM
Planning a four day trip to CR for Feb., and will be bringing our 10 month old with us. My original plan was to fly RT to LIR, and stay at the Andaz.
As of now the andaz is pretty much booked up, and so far only managed to reserve 2 nights, tuesday, and wednesday, plus the direct flights to LIR,are not available to lir for the inbound, only the outbound. on tues,
My question is should I wait it out to see if the Andaz will have more openings, or fly the inbound to SJO, and stay somewhere else Sunday, and Mon. near that area, and drive to the andaz on tues.
What would be my hotel options point wise, or inexpensive revenue ?
Are there activities near the SJO area that can be done with a child ?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: A3 on January 01, 2016, 01:04:45 PM
Anybody ever have problems at the Andaz checking in as a second guest on a reservation?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: rileywiles23 on January 01, 2016, 01:20:23 PM
Anybody ever have problems at the Andaz checking in as a second guest on a reservation?
When you going ?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: oiseli48 on January 04, 2016, 10:43:02 PM

When you going ?

I'm planning on being there Jan 24-28.

Anyone have experience renting from apex rental at LIR airport? I got a reservation through Travelocity, standard suv (automatic) for 4 days, total $35 (l know there's the extra insurance coming up on top)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: A3 on January 06, 2016, 08:53:17 PM
When you going ?
DW is there now.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on January 06, 2016, 10:30:08 PM
DW is there now.
ladies trip?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: A3 on January 07, 2016, 10:06:41 AM
ladies trip?
Yup.

And all I get is...
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: rileywiles23 on January 07, 2016, 11:41:51 AM

DW is there now.
Did she have any issues checking in as a second guest ?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Frostboot on January 08, 2016, 12:18:29 AM
Are there any kosher products at all near the Andaz in Guanacaste?  Do any of the local groceries carry kosher products? Also do the drinks in Costa Rica have kosher symbols? For example, is a Coke kosher?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cw3323 on January 08, 2016, 12:59:38 AM
There is a big supermarket "Auto Mercado" like 20 min drive and they have a lot of basic kosher stuff. I even found in the freezer section frozen salmon with kof k hechsher
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Frostboot on January 08, 2016, 01:17:08 AM
There is a big supermarket "Auto Mercado" like 20 min drive and they have a lot of basic kosher stuff. I even found in the freezer section frozen salmon with kof k hechsher

Thanks, good to know.  What is the story with sodas/soft drinks?  Do I need to stick to water or are there kosher soft drinks?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Mtl18 on January 08, 2016, 11:19:13 AM
I'm planning on being there Jan 24-28.

Anyone have experience renting from apex rental at LIR airport? I got a reservation through Travelocity, standard suv (automatic) for 4 days, total $35 (l know there's the extra insurance coming up on top)
I will also be there Jan 24-28. Looking into car rental options now. Any suggestions?

We are considering going straight from LIR to Arenal and spend 1-2nights there and then go to Hyatt for 2 nights. Is it worth the trip to arenal to spend 1 or 2 nights there versus 4 nights at hyatt?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cw3323 on January 08, 2016, 11:25:56 AM
if you wanna do arenal fly in SJO, if you are going just to relax then go straight to the andaz, if you like to explore then do arenal   Hotel Royal Corin was very nice.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: binnyshvaads on January 10, 2016, 07:14:17 PM
so whats everyone whos going doing for food?
whats the deal with bringing in frozen pomegranate meals through customs?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: A3 on January 10, 2016, 07:24:20 PM
Did she have any issues checking in as a second guest ?
Put it this way... They did notice and did ask if the main guest was there...
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: srap on January 10, 2016, 08:00:12 PM
I will also be there Jan 24-28. Looking into car rental options now. Any suggestions?

We are considering going straight from LIR to Arenal and spend 1-2nights there and then go to Hyatt for 2 nights. Is it worth the trip to arenal to spend 1 or 2 nights there versus 4 nights at hyatt?
Are you going to Costa Rica for the volcanoes or for the Hyatt?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: nyweather on January 17, 2016, 12:50:12 AM
Anybody have issues with bringing in kosher food through Liberia airport?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Frostboot on January 18, 2016, 05:43:52 PM
Anybody have issues with bringing in kosher food through Liberia airport?

Make sure all non-cooked food is stamped USDA where possible (i.e., meat and poultry) and all cooked food is vacuum packed. Don't bring anything with bones and no "fresh" fruits or vegetables.  Make sure all perishables are brought in a cooler or freezer bag. The customs guys want to see that nothing is potentially spoiled.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: rileywiles23 on January 18, 2016, 08:27:52 PM

Make sure all non-cooked food is stamped USDA where possible (i.e., meat and poultry) and all cooked food is vacuum packed. Don't bring anything with bones and no "fresh" fruits or vegetables.  Make sure all perishables are brought in a cooler or freezer bag. The customs guys want to see that nothing is potentially spoiled.
POM meals wouldn't work ?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: A3 on January 18, 2016, 08:55:10 PM
POM meals wouldn't work ?
YMMV. I believe it's been discussed.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on January 18, 2016, 09:49:04 PM
POM meals wouldn't work ?
See my report upthread. We ultimately got our POM meals in, but if I ever go again, I would be sure to have some sort of USDA stamp on them and pack them in a legitimate cooler. We had ours packed frozen (and they arrived frozen) in a cardboard box with ice-packs along the perimeter. The whole customs operation at LIR seemed very haphazard and unpredictable.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on January 18, 2016, 09:49:58 PM
I came in to SJO and my food wasn't taken away but they did put everything through a scanner and almost took it away
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on January 18, 2016, 09:50:55 PM
See my report upthread. We ultimately got our POM meals in, but if I ever go again, I would be sure to have some sort of USDA stamp on them and pack them in a legitimate cooler. We had ours packed frozen (and they arrived frozen) in a cardboard box with ice-packs along the perimeter. The whole customs operation at LIR seemed very haphazard and unpredictable.
+1 by SJO. Same experience. Not a good place to take a chance with food.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: nyweather on January 18, 2016, 09:54:48 PM
Make sure all non-cooked food is stamped USDA where possible (i.e., meat and poultry) and all cooked food is vacuum packed. Don't bring anything with bones and no "fresh" fruits or vegetables.  Make sure all perishables are brought in a cooler or freezer bag. The customs guys want to see that nothing is potentially spoiled.
Thanks Frostboot. We've vacuum packed all and will be transporting it in a freezer bag so I think we should be OK.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on January 18, 2016, 10:10:55 PM
Thanks Frostboot. We've vacuum packed all and will be transporting it in a freezer bag so I think we should be OK.
Let us know what happens!
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: rileywiles23 on January 19, 2016, 09:56:46 AM

See my report upthread. We ultimately got our POM meals in, but if I ever go again, I would be sure to have some sort of USDA stamp on them and pack them in a legitimate cooler. We had ours packed frozen (and they arrived frozen) in a cardboard box with ice-packs along the perimeter. The whole customs operation at LIR seemed very haphazard and unpredictable.
How can I get a USDA stamp on Pom meals ?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on January 19, 2016, 10:00:26 AM
How can I get a USDA stamp on Pom meals ?
I don't think POM will do it, but I suppose you could always try printing your own official-looking stickers, or borrow some labels/old packaging the next time you're at the butcher.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Mtl18 on January 19, 2016, 11:39:16 PM
What about packaged steaks? How would you suggest I pack it? Better to leave in original package or repackage it?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on January 20, 2016, 12:13:46 AM
What about packaged steaks? How would you suggest I pack it? Better to leave in original package or repackage it?
they did not like our home packed ziplock bag meals so that could probably backfire on you. I'd think better bet would be official looking vacuum packed steaks.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: oiseli48 on January 21, 2016, 09:33:52 AM
Anyone in papagayo next week interested in a joint order of food from San Jose? They want $230 for delivery
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: live18 on January 21, 2016, 03:26:51 PM
My husband and I will be in the Papagayo area for the weekend and in Arenal for Tuesday and Wednesday. We would like to visit one more place on Monday and sleep there Monday night. Do you have any recommendations? We were thinking Rincon national park or bijagua/the waterfall but don't know which one is too similar to arenal area or which one is better and which one can't be done in a day...unless there is another place we don't know about?

Please include suggestions for accommodations.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Aaaron on February 03, 2016, 06:33:34 PM
Has anyone ordered food from the Chabad takeout in San Jose? Or been to the kosher grocery store?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: gsquared on February 04, 2016, 12:23:14 PM
The grocery store is small but has a good take out business. We ordered a few meals from them. Some were better than others.   
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: beeweegee on February 04, 2016, 02:37:22 PM
Has anyone ordered food from the Chabad takeout in San Jose? Or been to the kosher grocery store?
Yes, both. What's your question?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Aaaron on February 04, 2016, 03:11:06 PM
Yes, both. What's your question?

We ordered a bunch of take out meals, but I was primarily wondering what type of food is the store stocked with?  Meat products?  Kosher milk?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: E on February 19, 2016, 06:18:39 PM
Andaz papagayo in room A/C has a occuppancy and door sensor this can easily be shut off by removing JP3 jumper see page 7 of manual.

Google : peco thermostat t170 manual
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Suave on February 21, 2016, 04:01:10 PM
Flying to SJO tonight, planning on spending a month covering several countries in central America, chances are I'll hop over to Nicaragua in the next few days as Costa Rica does not seem that appealing.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Aaaron on February 22, 2016, 03:23:26 PM
Flying to SJO tonight, planning on spending a month covering several countries in central America, chances are I'll hop over to Nicaragua in the next few days as Costa Rica does not seem that appealing.

We were talking to some expats down there and they all said CR, Panama, and Belize are all much more interesting than Nicaragua. 
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Suave on February 23, 2016, 11:18:43 AM
I guess it all depends on who you ask, the locals here in Costa Rica (including expats) are telling me to go to Nicaragua. The only activity that interests me here is the corcovado national park (the most biodiverse rainforest in the world according to natgeo). I'm hoping to hop on a bus within the next hour or two
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: jshelton on March 01, 2016, 01:35:08 PM
can you bring those pomegranate premade frozen meals on a plane to costa rica? like as a carry on or in your luggage?

also, does anyone know if the westin all inclusive will provide kosher food with no extra charge, has anyone had any experience with this? I tried asking but they haven't got back to me and its been days.

otherwise thinking of staying at andaz, el mangrove, or jw Marriott (all in Guanacaste - bc flying into Liberia)

thanks as always
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on March 01, 2016, 02:35:49 PM
can you bring those pomegranate premade frozen meals on a plane to costa rica? like as a carry on or in your luggage?
See upthread. We brought them in to LIR successfully, but nearly had them confiscated.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: jshelton on March 01, 2016, 04:35:49 PM
do you or should you rent a car here if staying in the papagayo or Guanacaste area? I would like to do some beach activities and some hiking, sightseeing, and other stuff. haven't looked into the area so much yet just preliminary planning but wondering what people on here do.

thank you
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: jshelton on March 06, 2016, 02:59:18 PM
Apparently the Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo has a full kosher menu (requires 72 hours advance notice)

Food comes from the San Jose Kosher Center and is "Glatt Kosher, Bishul Yisroel, Pas Yisroel under the stricktest standards of uncompromised Kashrus. The Rav Hamachshir is the Mora D'asra of Costa Rica's Orthodox Community, Harav Gershon Miletski"

Prices are fairly cheap at $25 per meal for items like Boneless Spare Ribs, Cowboy Steak etc and include a side dish

Before ya'll jump on me for the Four Seasons being too expensive they have $400 rates in the summer

does anybody know which points I can use to stay here?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MrPrime1 on March 06, 2016, 03:12:00 PM
does anybody know which points I can use to stay here?
You can actually stay at the andaz papagayo and use their free shuttle to go back and forth to the four Seasons which is about 5-10 min away
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: ejb123 on March 07, 2016, 01:43:24 PM
You can actually stay at the andaz papagayo and use their free shuttle to go back and forth to the four Seasons which is about 5-10 min away

I just called the four seasons and was told that kosher meals are only available for guests staying at the hotel (I am staying at the Andaz). Did anyone have a different experience ?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: oiseli48 on March 07, 2016, 01:49:07 PM

I just called the four seasons and was told that kosher meals are only available for guests staying at the hotel (I am staying at the Andaz). Did anyone have a different experience ?

They told me the same too
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on March 07, 2016, 05:23:04 PM
The grocery store is small but has a good take out business. We ordered a few meals from them. Some were better than others.   
I was in San José for a short time, and didn't want to run all over the city
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on March 07, 2016, 05:25:24 PM
To find the kosher store, but near the airport there was auto mercado that had a lot of American ou products. If cy isn't a problem, there was what to buy.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: ejb123 on March 08, 2016, 08:02:33 AM
I see upthread that a bunch of DDFr's recently stayed at the andaz. Can anyone suggest activities nearby? I am flying into LIR on Thursday midday  returning Sunday midday and really only have Friday and don't want to drive too far. Is there anything to do closer to the airport prior to making the drive? Did anyone go to rhe four seasons beach or the prieta beach club? I have seen mixed reviews on the andaz beach. Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: jshelton on March 08, 2016, 09:38:07 PM
I see upthread that a bunch of DDFr's recently stayed at the andaz. Can anyone suggest activities nearby?

http://costaricaexperts.com/ you can use their website (they're expensive) to get some ideas for what's in the area you will be in and make a sample itinerary an then you can google the actual places you want to visit and find more affordable ways to do it.

I think you would be able to do the Monkey Sanctuary or one of the hikes in one of the national parks near papagayo. let us know what you find, I'm still not done planning my trip
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: jshelton on March 08, 2016, 09:39:15 PM
What do people do about cell phones in Costa Rica.  I have an unlocked iPhone so I just need a microsim. Do I pick one up at the airport or local store or do I attempt to pre-order?

Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Aaaron on March 08, 2016, 10:00:14 PM
What do people do about cell phones in Costa Rica.  I have an unlocked iPhone so I just need a microsim. Do I pick one up at the airport or local store or do I attempt to pre-order?

Airport.  Cost like $9 for a sim with 500mb of data.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: eliteflyer on March 08, 2016, 10:01:20 PM
I see upthread that a bunch of DDFr's recently stayed at the andaz. Can anyone suggest activities nearby? I am flying into LIR on Thursday midday  returning Sunday midday and really only have Friday and don't want to drive too far. Is there anything to do closer to the airport prior to making the drive? Did anyone go to rhe four seasons beach or the prieta beach club? I have seen mixed reviews on the andaz beach. Thanks in advance.
Didn't visit the beach club or Four Seasons, but can confirm that, as of a year ago, the Andaz beach is nothing more than a small patch of rocky mud. Their pools are nice. We only went down to the beach for kayak and other water activities.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on March 09, 2016, 12:30:45 AM
Airport.  Cost like $9 for a sim with 500mb of data.
Right in the baggage Hall, there is a kolbi store. Use this, they'll set it up for you. You'll need to show your passport. I spent about 20 for a prepaid sim with 2GB and did most of my calling on the data with hangouts dialer, which was free to the USA.
Data coverage there is decent.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: jshelton on March 09, 2016, 09:47:52 AM
Airport.  Cost like $9 for a sim with 500mb of data.
Right in the baggage Hall, there is a kolbi store. Use this, they'll set it up for you.

Thank you both!!! I'm only there for 3-4 days so I don't think I'll need more than 1 GB.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: ejb123 on March 10, 2016, 11:02:11 PM
Thank you both!!! I'm only there for 3-4 days so I don't think I'll need more than 1 GB.

Am here in Costa Rica now and I didn't see the store with SIM card in the airport. While I may have missed it (the airport is fairly small) - I was told by the rental car agent that they don't sell sim cards in the airport.

Additionally, anything that is labeled "chicken" was confiscated at customs (first hand experience). They didn't take items labeled turkey or any beef. Funny - for those from the five towns in NY - they were OK with the "Approved by Aliza Beer" sticker on my meals that weren't chicken in lieu of USDA.

Also - Andaz told me they longer provide fridge and microwave in the rooms, but YMMV
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Aaaron on March 11, 2016, 12:08:23 AM
Am here in Costa Rica now and I didn't see the store with SIM card in the airport. While I may have missed it (the airport is fairly small) - I was told by the rental car agent that they don't sell sim cards in the airport.

As of last month there was a Kolbi storefront after all the baggage carousels on the rights hand side.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on March 11, 2016, 12:30:44 AM
Am here in Costa Rica now and I didn't see the store with SIM card in the airport. While I may have missed it (the airport is fairly small) - I was told by the rental car agent that they don't sell sim cards in the airport.

Additionally, anything that is labeled "chicken" was confiscated at customs (first hand experience). They didn't take items labeled turkey or any beef. Funny - for those from the five towns in NY - they were OK with the "Approved by Aliza Beer" sticker on my meals that weren't chicken in lieu of USDA.

Also - Andaz told me they longer provide fridge and microwave in the rooms, but YMMV
Are you in San Jose, or Liberia?
Last month there was a kolbi in the baggage claim area in sjo
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: oiseli48 on March 11, 2016, 10:09:34 AM
If you have t mobile, you get free data and text.

They don't have a separate fridge in the room, but a minibar one that is big enough to fit quite a few items inside.

The four seasons beach is beautiful, the prieta beach club is the nicest to go for sunset, as it faces straight west.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: ejb123 on March 12, 2016, 08:06:28 PM
Are you in San Jose, or Liberia?
Last month there was a kolbi in the baggage claim area in sjo

I flew into LIR.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: nafnaf12 on June 25, 2016, 11:51:23 PM
I flew into LIR.
an updates on brining in meats through LIR?
going on Monday want to know what I can and cannot bring.. TIA
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: sdembitz on August 17, 2016, 03:08:49 PM
So, I'm going with my family next week to Guanacoste. It seems as if any uncooked frozen meat needs to have USDA stamped on it, and vacuum packed. What about other packaged frozen foods (e.g. pizza, pot pies, hot dogs, frozen American cheese, etc.). Are they allowed in? Also, can someone please confirm that in fact there is a place in the airport to get a sim card if I have an IPhone 5 or 6s? Last, my insurance fully covers me for car rentals. Do they still force you to take other insurance, or do I need to bring proof that my insurance covers? Thanks
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Aaaron on August 17, 2016, 10:20:06 PM
So, I'm going with my family next week to Guanacoste. It seems as if any uncooked frozen meat needs to have USDA stamped on it, and vacuum packed. What about other packaged frozen foods (e.g. pizza, pot pies, hot dogs, frozen American cheese, etc.). Are they allowed in? Also, can someone please confirm that in fact there is a place in the airport to get a sim card if I have an IPhone 5 or 6s? Last, my insurance fully covers me for car rentals. Do they still force you to take other insurance, or do I need to bring proof that my insurance covers? Thanks

IME they tried to make us put a $5k hold our our CC if we wanted to use its coverage. 
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: BarryLincoln on December 01, 2016, 09:40:19 AM
Can anyone comment on driving conditions in Costa Rica.  Am considering spending shabbos in San Jose but would like to spend week near Liberia coast.  Looks like a 3-4 hour drive between the two but wasn't sure if driving there is recommended, whether it's safe or not or any other important considerations... Thoughts?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: ebfonehome on December 16, 2016, 03:58:27 PM
Anybody going down January 27th-Feb 5th 2017 and staying at the andaz? Perhaps  we can make a larger order or bring down a toaster oven if its the right outlet? Im a little nervous to bring down Pomegranate meals.. Anyways be in touch.

-Eric
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Buruch on December 18, 2016, 01:20:55 PM
Can anyone comment on driving conditions in Costa Rica.  Am considering spending shabbos in San Jose but would like to spend week near Liberia coast.  Looks like a 3-4 hour drive between the two but wasn't sure if driving there is recommended, whether it's safe or not or any other important considerations... Thoughts?

Friend of mine said you phone GPS is useless because roads can be flooded/impassable, and it won't know.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: BarryLincoln on December 18, 2016, 02:16:38 PM
Friend of mine said you phone GPS is useless because roads can be flooded/impassable, and it won't know.

Thx.  Good to know...
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: beeweegee on December 18, 2016, 03:17:44 PM
Can anyone comment on driving conditions in Costa Rica.  Am considering spending shabbos in San Jose but would like to spend week near Liberia coast.  Looks like a 3-4 hour drive between the two but wasn't sure if driving there is recommended, whether it's safe or not or any other important considerations... Thoughts?
Safety depends on road conditions/flooding, so it's hard to predict. Also, plan that it will likely take much longer that you expect, as you are not used to the driving on these kinds of roads...
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Suave on December 21, 2016, 06:24:16 AM
Can anyone comment on driving conditions in Costa Rica.  Am considering spending shabbos in San Jose but would like to spend week near Liberia coast.  Looks like a 3-4 hour drive between the two but wasn't sure if driving there is recommended, whether it's safe or not or any other important considerations... Thoughts?
Roads are fine compared to other central american countries. Be careful on the PanAm past Liberia as the trucks & busses will pass slower moving traffic (a bit recklessly)

Why not spend shabbat at San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Luvtotravel on December 22, 2016, 06:00:59 PM
Roads are fine compared to other central american countries. Be careful on the PanAm past Liberia as the trucks & busses will pass slower moving traffic (a bit recklessly)

Why not spend shabbat at San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua?
minyan? hotel walking distance?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on December 22, 2016, 08:57:02 PM
If you're going in our winter, which is the Costa Rica drier season, you shouldn't have any problem with the roads. I rented a corolla and had no issues at all. I would take all of their insurance though. I know that it's probably a rip off, but the idea of walking away from  a wreck or theft is much more appealing then dealing with it in a Spanish speaking country where they could theoretically hold me up for thousands of dollars.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Suave on December 23, 2016, 05:17:48 AM
minyan? hotel walking distance?

Chabad of San Juan Del Sur (http://www.chabadnicaragua.com/new/en/index.html) is within 10 minutes walking distance of about 40 hotels.

PM me if you want the shliachs contact info.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Luvtotravel on December 23, 2016, 10:08:54 AM
Chabad of San Juan Del Sur (http://www.chabadnicaragua.com/new/en/index.html) is within 10 minutes walking distance of about 40 hotels.

PM me if you want the shliachs contact info.
tx!
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: solls108 on February 08, 2017, 08:26:22 PM
What are top all inclusive and highly reccomended hotels in Costa Rica?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Luvtotravel on February 08, 2017, 10:02:24 PM
What are top all inclusive and highly reccomended hotels in Costa Rica?
check out  arenalnayara.com
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: solls108 on February 08, 2017, 11:27:48 PM
Thank you
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lcg on April 07, 2017, 01:57:15 AM
check out  arenalnayara.com

What's the best way to book this with points?
Title: Re: Costa Rica
Post by: tmendy226 on April 24, 2017, 07:05:47 PM
there should be a shliach there, why not ask him, or check out the website...

How did a shliach become a travel agent?


 ;)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lafindumonde on May 12, 2017, 03:18:51 PM
Is there a thread for Nicaragua?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: PBaruch on July 30, 2017, 10:57:13 PM
We are tentatively planning a trip in the winter of 2018 with another family.  Can anyone recommend a service that will transport two families with kids from the airport (not sure which one we will fly into yet) to Arenal, to a second destination several days later, and finally back to the airport?  We would need a large van.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Suave on August 14, 2017, 04:09:12 PM
Is there a thread for Nicaragua?
Feel free to start one if there isn't and I will add some info (been there several times)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: plainbachur on November 30, 2017, 07:20:05 AM
whats deal with zika?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: BarryLincoln on December 03, 2017, 07:45:14 PM
Anyone here with experience booking Andaz on points for a family of 5?  We generally don't mind staying in 1 room together.  Award bookings are for a max of 3 ppl per room.  Has anyone had issues bringing 3+ ppl into a room?  Just curious to hear others POV...

Also, are there any recent DPs on bringing prepared food into the country?

Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on December 14, 2017, 12:08:09 AM
Anyone with experience/opinions on a hotel pick near Liberia for 5 nts?
1.Andaz using SUN & C+P
2. Marriott El Mangroove 47k SPG
3. JW Marriott 47k SPG
Am I missing any others? Westin is 150k
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on December 15, 2017, 10:32:43 AM
No one?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: barak123 on December 29, 2017, 07:41:54 AM
What are top all inclusive and highly reccomended hotels in Costa Rica?

Great hotel with all inclusive. We also did surfing lessons there https://izusplace.com (https://izusplace.com)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Mordyk on December 29, 2017, 08:08:29 AM
Great hotel with all inclusive. We also offer surfing lessons there https://izusplace.com (https://izusplace.com)
FTFY
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Yitzshpitz on December 29, 2017, 12:14:26 PM
Whats the deal with Phone service in Costa rica? Will verizon/AT&T work? where would i get sims?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Yitzshpitz on December 31, 2017, 06:39:57 PM
Whats the deal with Phone service in Costa rica? Will verizon/AT&T work? where would i get sims?

bump. Please educate me , Im leaving next week
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: BarryLincoln on December 31, 2017, 07:36:27 PM
American family of 5 among 12 killed in Costa Rica plane crash, reports say

Appears that yidden from Scarsdale are among those killed...

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/12/31/costa-rica-plane-crash-kills-12-including-10-visitors.html (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/12/31/costa-rica-plane-crash-kills-12-including-10-visitors.html)

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ten-americans-dead-plane-crashes-costa-rica-article-1.3729974 (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ten-americans-dead-plane-crashes-costa-rica-article-1.3729974)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mochjas on December 31, 2017, 08:32:03 PM
bump. Please educate me , Im leaving next week
you can call your provider and ask
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: zagguru on December 31, 2017, 08:43:19 PM
American family of 5 among 12 killed in Costa Rica plane crash, reports say

Appears that yidden from Scarsdale are among those killed...

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/12/31/costa-rica-plane-crash-kills-12-including-10-visitors.html (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/12/31/costa-rica-plane-crash-kills-12-including-10-visitors.html)

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ten-americans-dead-plane-crashes-costa-rica-article-1.3729974 (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ten-americans-dead-plane-crashes-costa-rica-article-1.3729974)

Family name was Steinberg
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on January 01, 2018, 02:14:15 AM
I bought an ICE SIM card in the airport at San Jose. I don't remember the price but both calls and data were pretty cheap
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: ludmila on January 01, 2018, 04:20:03 AM
American family of 5 among 12 killed in Costa Rica plane crash, reports say

Appears that yidden from Scarsdale are among those killed...

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/12/31/costa-rica-plane-crash-kills-12-including-10-visitors.html (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/12/31/costa-rica-plane-crash-kills-12-including-10-visitors.html)

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ten-americans-dead-plane-crashes-costa-rica-article-1.3729974 (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ten-americans-dead-plane-crashes-costa-rica-article-1.3729974)
Sad.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: nobiggy on January 01, 2018, 07:35:25 AM
I bought an ICE SIM card in the airport at San Jose. I don't remember the price but both calls and data were pretty cheap
I did the same. Costs like 5 USD for like 500 MB. Of course one can buy more, I only used it for Internet.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: tzvicoco on May 25, 2018, 12:36:06 PM
Planning a trip to Panama and CR in the summer, and for the CR portion, I'll be flying into and out of SJO. Landing in SJO Thursday night, so will spend Shabbos there, but then I've got Sunday-Wednesday evening to go to a different region. Any suggestions for where to go for 3.5 days of fun/adventurous activities? I was thinking Arenal, but open to other ideas.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: PBaruch on May 26, 2018, 10:49:57 PM
Planning a trip to Panama and CR in the summer, and for the CR portion, I'll be flying into and out of SJO. Landing in SJO Thursday night, so will spend Shabbos there, but then I've got Sunday-Wednesday evening to go to a different region. Any suggestions for where to go for 3.5 days of fun/adventurous activities? I was thinking Arenal, but open to other ideas.

You can view my trip report from our recent trip. If you have any questions feel free to pm.

http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=90729.0
Title: Costa Rica Trip Report - Better Late Than Never!!
Post by: Jm1248 on June 24, 2018, 10:21:12 PM
Aug 16 - 23, 2015

I wrote most of these notes during or right after my trip but never ended up posting it because I was hoping to do it with pics and all but kept pushing it off. I'm looking to go back to Costa Rica to visit the parts that I missed, so as I was re-reading this entire thread I figured I may as well post this now:

Background - Booked flights through someone's United travel bank here on DDF at a 15% discount so we paid about $935 for 2 flights that cost just north of $1100.

Sun - We Uber'ed to Newark at 5 am for $60 (after $20 discount). Went to United lounge in Newark as our flight was delayed about an hour. Flight was uneventful, however, when we landed we discovered United had left behind DW's suitcase, which had all her clothing and most of our food. Our meat for 2 BBQ's was in there etc. The guy by the baggage counter promised he would have it sent to our hotel later that night when it arrived. So we went through customs with our remaining suitcase and the customs agent combed through our bag and triumphantly pulled out a bag of cucumbers that we weren't allowed to bring. Thankfully, he missed our bag of chicken and some other food. We then rented a manual transmission mini jeep from Alamo with heavy fees (under 25 & mandatory liability). There are no street names or addresses in CR so we dropped pins everywhere to be able to return the car to the proper location. Then we settled in for an unbelievably scenic 2 and a half hour drive up to the cloud forest of Monteverde. The last 10 miles of driving are up an unpaved mountain and is nearly impossible to navigate without a jeep. Luckily our mini jeep was up to the task although it was very nerve wracking driving on the side of a cliff on an unpaved road especially when you have buses coming the opposite way! We arrived at our hotel (El Establo) and it was unreal. Way better than expected. Tremendous grounds. Very tastefully done buildings and rooms. We were upgraded to a honeymoon suite with an amazing view from our porch and a loft with a sitting area, beautiful bathroom and it was only about $130 a night! We just relaxed that night, took a little walk and drove to the supermarkets and souvenir shops. We didn't get our food yet so we had microwaveable meal mart meals for supper.

Mon - We woke up a little late and unfortunately our suitcase had still not arrived. I called United and they promised they would send it later that day. Our lens solution was in the delayed suitcase so we bought a little travel bottle. What we didn't know is that it was only meant for use with a special case and putting our lenses in felt like inserting jalapeno peppers under our eyelids. After washing out our eyes numerous times we went to the concierge and booked a zip lining tour for 12 pm. We then went to town to buy some clothing and souvenirs for which United would reimburse us as a travel expense due to losing our luggage. We got about $200 worth of free stuff including a hammock! (claimed as sneakers ;) We returned to our hotel and went to the amazing zip lining tour. The whole thing was about 2 hours after which we ate lunch and booked a horseback riding tour for 330 so we could catch the sunset at about 5.
The horse back riding was also really cheap - like everything else in Costa Rica - only $30 each for a 2 hour ride through the mountains. Really, really gorgeous especially once we hit sunset. It was a lot of fun also. We even got to gallop for a few minutes, although they don't normally allow that. Still no suitcase that night so we ate what we had with us.

Tues - We woke up to a great surprise - our suitcase! Only problem was all the meat, chicken, hot dogs cold cuts, cheese etc were completely spoiled and the whole suitcase stunk! So I called United to yell at them and they offered a $150 voucher which I said to send me but I still want to speak to a supervisor about further compensation. It was a rainy day so we cancelled our big hike in the national park and instead did what turned out to be a really cool hike on our hotels grounds. The day ended turning beautiful and the drive to Manuel Antonio was really nice. We stopped on the side of the road by a famous bridge where there are many crocodiles in the water underneath. Really cool. Then we found this random Israeli store with "kosher" food by Jaco Beach. Needless to say we did not eat there but it was an interesting place. We finished our 4 hour drive in Manuel Antonio by our awesome villa complete with furnished balconies to eat on and a private pool surrounded by rainforest trees and plants, and a hammock and lounge chairs outside the pool. It was on a private gated street that only us and the owner had access to. We made omelets and macaroni for supper as we were really starting to run out of food.

Wed - We went to the beach about 10 min from our villa. Gorgeous sunny beach with mafia style parking - guy "watches your car"  (read: doesn't break in) as long as you tip him after or book an activity through him. So we went surfing for 2 hours with a one hour lesson for $35 each!! We also saw a sloth in the trees behind the beach. We went for a night swim about 9 pm and then went to bed. In CR you need to always go to bed early so you can wake up early and have a full day before the rainstorms hit.

Thurs - We went to the national park in the morn which was pretty cool. We saw groups of howler monkeys and iguanas and lizards all over. Since we got there so early, we were done by like 12 so we went to the beach and went wave jumping for 2 hours. When we came back the guy "watching" our car said he saved our car from being broken into & showed us how the "perpetrators" tried getting in through the unlocked trunk! I didn't want to tip the thief so I just quickly drove away as I knew we weren't coming back to that beach. On the way home we saw tons of monkeys jumping in the trees and all over the telephone wires. We came back and went swimming in our sunny pool, ate some more omelets :), watched some tv and then we went out to find a bar or something. Its pretty dead there at night aside from one or two bars which were really sleazy and there wasn't even a movie theater, so we just stopped off on the side of the road to watch a local soccer game. When we came back to our car we realized we had parked in a spot by a drug dealer reserved for his customers! We realized when we saw people going into the forest one after another and coming out 3 min later!

Fri - We drove about 3 hours to San Jose and arrived at our hotel - Marriott Residence Inn around 3 pm. We went shopping in the mall that our hotel was in and checked out the area. We had to figure out the directions to chabad as there are no addresses. We ate the meal in the rabbis house and it was really nice with good food. When we got back to our hotel we realized we had forgot to turn on the ac but no one spoke English so it took about 20 min before they told us the technician had already left and the temperature controls couldn't be unlocked without him.

P.S. We ended up receiving $205 from United for expense reimbursement and an additional $400 compensation voucher. We also got $125 from chase as we had booked the flight on a chase United card and we got our entire Marriott stay refunded due to the a/c debacle.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: tzvicoco on June 26, 2018, 01:07:18 PM
Do I need to get an SUV w/ 4wd for the roads around Arenal/La Fortuna/Rio Celeste?

And is Waze sufficient for navigation or do I need to get the rental car navigation system?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: PBaruch on June 26, 2018, 06:20:53 PM
Do I need to get an SUV w/ 4wd for the roads around Arenal/La Fortuna/Rio Celeste?

And is Waze sufficient for navigation or do I need to get the rental car navigation system?

We used Google maps on phone and it worked great.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on June 26, 2018, 09:52:38 PM
For Arenal and La Fortuna I was perfectly ok in a corolla
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on June 26, 2018, 10:06:14 PM
I am looking into going back to Costa Rica this summer. Last time I visited, I stayed in Monteverde, Quepos/Manuel Antonio, and San Jose. What are my best options for this time around - I am thinking that I should go to Arenal, Guanacaste etc... What should my itinerary look like if I am flying in on a Sunday and leaving on Thursday?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: guywhican on July 26, 2018, 01:12:56 PM
My family is looking to do 10 night trip to both Panama and Costa Rica in January.  Want to use an up-to-7-night Marriott Vacation package hotel voucher.  Which hotel would it make sense to stay at:
- must be a home base for day trips (beach, rainforest, hiking, etc)
- must be walking distance to shul

Thank you.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: chompsterama on September 06, 2018, 02:19:07 PM
Perhaps you already booked (I'm a bit late here), but use the filter function here.  It'll give you all sorts of ideas on which you can and might want to book.  https://www.marriott.com/hotel-search.mi?filterApplied=true&filter=false
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Aryehs on November 08, 2018, 09:09:47 AM
We have a trip to Costa Rica planned for Dec 10-20/18. Ordering kosher take-out and bringing stuff with.

Hope to have a great trip report to send back.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: ashers on November 21, 2018, 09:45:57 AM
The jewish hostel in Jaco is awesome! (About an hour + from SJo)
They have a restuarant  (Sabress) with amazing food and great prices
If anyone needs any leads on CR pm me.
FYI the only spanish you  only need to know 2 words in Spanish to get around ;)
PURA VIDA 🏖
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: PBaruch on November 21, 2018, 01:07:39 PM
The jewish hostel in Jaco is awesome! (About an hour + from SJo)
They have a restuarant  (Sabress) with amazing food and great prices
If anyone needs any leads on CR pm me.
FYI the only spanish you  only need to know 2 words in Spanish to get around ;)
PURA VIDA 🏖

I'm glad you enjoyed it but there is no hasgacha at the hotel (unless something has changed in the past 10 months).  We went in January and spoke to representatives of the Jewish community in San Jose and were told that there is no supervision.  I'm not saying it isn't kosher, but obviously each person has to make their own determination as to what they consider acceptable. 
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: bgoldgrab on November 27, 2018, 01:16:05 PM
I'm glad you enjoyed it but there is no hasgacha at the hotel (unless something has changed in the past 10 months).  We went in January and spoke to representatives of the Jewish community in San Jose and were told that there is no supervision.  I'm not saying it isn't kosher, but obviously each person has to make their own determination as to what they consider acceptable.

Yikes. Was planning on staying and eating there for Shabbos this week. Anyone have more info on the kashrus or lack thereof?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: PBaruch on November 27, 2018, 01:19:02 PM
Yikes. Was planning on staying and eating there for Shabbos this week. Anyone have more info on the kashrus or lack thereof?

What we were told is that they are not under Chabad supervision - although they advertise as such.  I was told that they do buy some kosher food from Chabad.  Again, not saying its not kosher but use your own judgment as to what you want to do.  If you want more info, I suggest you contact Chabad of San Jose. 

When we went, we purchased kosher food in San Jose and had it delivered to us at the Walmart parking lot (instead of having to drive into San Jose) near the airport.  You can also try to bring your own food in but YMMV - depending on who is manning customs, they may or may not give you a hard time and a small "gift" might help get your stuff through.  Outside of San Jose we had a very difficult time finding any food with a hashgacha.  It's all been posted in my TR from January 2018.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: bgoldgrab on November 27, 2018, 01:35:50 PM
Found this on Kosher without borders website. Yeah I guess there is no supervision. https://kosherwithoutborders.com/listings/hotel-las-orquideas-izus-place-in-costa-rica/
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: bgoldgrab on November 27, 2018, 02:04:39 PM
What we were told is that they are not under Chabad supervision - although they advertise as such.  I was told that they do buy some kosher food from Chabad.  Again, not saying its not kosher but use your own judgment as to what you want to do.  If you want more info, I suggest you contact Chabad of San Jose. 

When we went, we purchased kosher food in San Jose and had it delivered to us at the Walmart parking lot (instead of having to drive into San Jose) near the airport.  You can also try to bring your own food in but YMMV - depending on who is manning customs, they may or may not give you a hard time and a small "gift" might help get your stuff through.  Outside of San Jose we had a very difficult time finding any food with a hashgacha.  It's all been posted in my TR from January 2018.

Thanks. I did read your TR, was very helpful. I've been wondering why none of the TRs mentioned the kosher hotel, now I know. Lol. We'll probably just end up living on sandwiches etc if we decide not to trust the hotel/restaurant.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on December 03, 2018, 09:09:06 PM
The catering menu features an ok logo...I wonder what they have to say about that...
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Buruch on December 04, 2018, 03:07:00 AM
Andaz is full end of March/beginning of April. Is that usual? Anyone have success calling and getting them to open availability?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on December 07, 2018, 01:27:16 AM
Sooper hechsher!
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: nhrca on December 13, 2018, 11:47:20 AM
Planning a trip with an 8 month old, was wondering if anyone could give me suggestions about:
1. What is the taxi/shuttle situation at the airport to the Andaz? Do I need to arrange in advance or are there taxis waiting? Does anyone have a recommendation for a company/person to use?
2. I know most activities are very active, but does anyone have any recommendations for activities near the Andaz that are suitable for a baby?

Thank you!
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Aryehs on December 22, 2018, 03:50:13 PM
VERY doubtful that any of those organizations give supervision. At best, i would assume that products with those supervisions are used, and you are trusting the owner.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Aryehs on December 22, 2018, 04:16:18 PM
Wife and I just came back from a SUPER 10-day visit to Costa Rica (Dember 2018).

Here is the Trip report: https://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=99997.msg2033150#msg2033150
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mikeyd36 on January 02, 2019, 08:53:56 PM
I just saw on Google that Kosher Center is permanently closed. Anyone know if that's the case?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on January 06, 2019, 12:12:15 AM
How's this for a Costa Rica itinerary?
Thursday jfk-sjo, arrive at 9:30pm
Stay at Costa Rica Marriott with cc night.
Friday am drive to Carrara national park, tarcoles river crocodile safari.
Friday pm drive to Marriott Los Suenos,
Sunday am drive to Monteverde, zipline, hanging bridges at selvatura. stay at Los Pinos hotel.
Monday hike at cloud forest reserve, late am drive to Andaz papagayo, cc night.
Tues late afternoon fly lir-jfk
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cw3323 on January 06, 2019, 02:58:09 AM
How's this for a Costa Rica itinerary?
Thursday jfk-sjo, arrive at 9:30pm
Stay at Costa Rica Marriott with cc night.
Friday am drive to Carrara national park, tarcoles river crocodile safari.
Friday pm drive to Marriott Los Suenos,
Sunday am drive to Monteverde, zipline, hanging bridges at selvatura. stay at Los Pinos hotel.
Monday hike at cloud forest reserve, late am drive to Andaz papagayo, cc night.
Tues late afternoon fly lir-jfk
Andaz for only 1 night??!??
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on January 06, 2019, 06:40:14 PM
There isn't really that much to do around there!
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: shnoz on January 06, 2019, 07:12:05 PM
There isn't really that much to do around there!
Agreed.. planning a 4 day trip also think will only do Andaz for 1 night
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: farmbochur on January 07, 2019, 09:30:20 AM
Planning to cancel a 4 night stay at andaz Jan 20 - 24.

PM me if you have a use for it.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: shnoz on January 07, 2019, 11:53:18 AM
Planning a 4 1/2 day trip to CR would appreciate any input
Flying Sun morning EWR-LIR
Sunday night @ Andaz
Monday-Wed @ Nayara Springs
flying out Thursday, should i go back to the Andaz Wed night or head to SJO area?
Would like to see different areas but since Manuel Antonio is too far trying to figure out if there's any reason to go to SJO or just go back to Andaz.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on January 07, 2019, 04:04:36 PM
Poas Volcano and the la Paz waterfall (and gardens) are on the way back from Arenal to sjo, and make an excellent few hours stop.
Poas is currently erupting, but is safe to visit.
Point Hotel options for a night before flying are better in sjo.
Near LIR point hotels are the Hilton Garden Inn and the El mangroove, which looks pretty good.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on January 10, 2019, 10:32:47 AM
Tickets to Poas volcano are limited now and you need to make reservations online.
The lake has drained and there are constant steam explosions from the crater
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: rukiddingme on January 14, 2019, 01:23:40 AM
Thanks to all who have posted with great info.

Looking for advice:  We'll be in San Jose for Shabbos and Friday is a question mark in our itinerary.  (My original plan was Poas Volcano but seems not like a sure thing.)  I've heard the shul is very interesting, but not sure our teens would agree.  There are a bunch of tour operators that go to La Paz Waterfall and Coffee Estate, those may be too long and anyway you're paying for breakfast and lunch which is a waste.  Any recommendations?  Willing to pay for a private guide with transport if anyone has recommendations in that direction.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on January 14, 2019, 07:37:13 AM
Get Poas ticket online before you go. An Uber or taxi to poas/ la Paz is about $30 each way. I did Poas, but not la Paz. That's probably your best bet for a Friday, when you'll want to be done before early.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: shnoz on January 14, 2019, 08:21:57 PM
Anyone ever stay at EL Mangroove?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MrPrime1 on January 24, 2019, 12:02:47 PM
i just got back from the westin playa conchal. i thought i would share that i was able to successfully book 2 adults and 2 children (ages 4 and 1)for 240k marriott for 5 nights with no other charges.

it kept giving me an error when i tried booking online. what i had to do was book for 2 adults and then call in to marriott rewards and tell them that i was not able to add the kids online, i asked them to confirm that there would not be an additional charge for the 2 kids. the rep called the hotel and confirmed that kids under 11 do not incur additional charges. i had the rep send me an email as proof

i sent an email to the hotel requesting a crib in the room and they said that i would be charged for the 2 kids, i explained that i spoke to marriott and forwarded them the email i got from the rep and all was fine after that.

YMMV but if your far enough out the points should be refundable
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mochjas on January 25, 2019, 07:32:18 AM
i just got back from the westin playa conchal. i thought i would share that i was able to successfully book 2 adults and 2 children (ages 4 and 1)for 240k marriott for 5 nights with no other charges.

it kept giving me an error when i tried booking online. what i had to do was book for 2 adults and then call in to marriott rewards and tell them that i was not able to add the kids online, i asked them to confirm that there would not be an additional charge for the 2 kids. the rep called the hotel and confirmed that kids under 11 do not incur additional charges. i had the rep send me an email as proof

i sent an email to the hotel requesting a crib in the room and they said that i would be charged for the 2 kids, i explained that i spoke to marriott and forwarded them the email i got from the rep and all was fine after that.

YMMV but if your far enough out the points should be refundable
Can you share anything about the hotel?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: MrPrime1 on January 25, 2019, 02:01:03 PM
Can you share anything about the hotel?

the resort is about an hour and 10 minutes from LIR

very large property but you can call golf carts to shuttle you around if you dont feel like walking. you will definitely spot some wild animals. the kids loved the monkeys, coatis, and iguanas.

enormous pool, shouldnt be a problem finding lounge chairs

kids club looked very nice. minimum age is 4 yrs and parents cant stay

the base room is a junior suite which has a pull out couch. not sure i would be comfortable sleeping on it but my 4 year old didnt have any complaints. we were told multiple times that they have full size cribs but when we got there they said thats not true and they only provide pack and plays.

beach is very nice but the hotel does not provide lounge chairs or umbrellas. shade can be an issue later in the day as its pretty difficult to get away from the sun on the beach.

not sure about the kosher situation as we arent very strict but if anybody is wondering the food was very good, especially the italian and Mediterranean restaurants. need to make resos in advance for dinner. very good pizza restaurant by the pool. they did have fresh fruit, bread, and pastries at every meal. room service is also included.

let me know if you have any specific questions

Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on January 31, 2019, 03:07:30 PM
Anyone ever stay at Marriott Los suenos for Shabbos? I've never stayed at a hotel for Shabbos before and wanted to know about sensors and thermostats.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Dan on February 22, 2019, 11:01:54 AM
Man this Wiki needs help...

What's with food? What can/can't you bring into CR and where can you get kosher food?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mochjas on February 22, 2019, 11:36:47 AM
Man this Wiki needs help...

What's with food? What can/can't you bring into CR and where can you get kosher food?
Seems like someone wants to use up his anniversary nights before the price goes up on the Andaz
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Dan on February 22, 2019, 11:37:18 AM
Forgot about Zika. Is that still a thing?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: shnoz on February 22, 2019, 11:45:42 AM
Man this Wiki needs help...

What's with food? What can/can't you bring into CR and where can you get kosher food?
Flew into LIR a few weeks ago with a full suitcase of Pom meals. They opened my suitcase & went through everything but didn't give me any problems.
I had a smaller bag with some fresh fruit. sandwiches etc they were so focused on the meals they didn't even look at it.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: yoshyosh on February 22, 2019, 12:08:59 PM
Man this Wiki needs help...

What's with food? What can/can't you bring into CR and where can you get kosher food?

You can bring just about any food they specifically allow any usda or equivalent foods and any store sealed foods. customs inspectors told me any vacuum sealed food will be allowed.

The Walmart has a large selection of kosher foods though american products are expensive, fruit and locally made products are very cheap, beer was the equivalent of 10 cents a can. The bananas were a nickle a bunch and have a better taste difference than pineapples in Hawaii. There is a kosher combo, deli, grocery, restaurant downtown that does catering and delivery arranged before you arrive but charges in US dollars. It is about 10-15 min from Walmart or the SJO if you go their they charge local prices. they have a large selection of meats from Uruguay. Restaurant's food is outstanding and about 8 dollars for a meal and drink. I brought a cooler and filled it with meat which we grilled on grill from Walmart, and cooked shabbos food in a crockpot.
 (prices and information are from 2016)
(http://i63.tinypic.com/11hctbl.jpg) Ribs
(https://i.ibb.co/FHvqWCr/steak.jpg) (https://ibb.co/GHw3JN6) Steak

(https://i.ibb.co/dMhH2sS/meat-sign.jpg) (https://ibb.co/SyLZnD2)

(https://i.ibb.co/0FVtMpx/meat-sign.jpg) (https://ibb.co/P9zQhsd)
https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Food%20and%20Agricultural%20Import%20Regulations%20and%20Standards%20-%20Narrative_San%20Jose_Costa%20Rica_12-3-2013.pdf
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on February 25, 2019, 03:54:13 PM
Under Chabad hashgacha
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Dan on February 25, 2019, 06:36:32 PM
Under Chabad hashgacha
Have a link? Can't read any of that.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on February 25, 2019, 06:56:01 PM
Have a link? Can't read any of that.
They emailed a pdf file. Can I post that on Tapatalk?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Dan on February 25, 2019, 06:58:27 PM
They emailed a pdf file. Can I post that on Tapatalk?
Email it to dan@dansdeals.com and I can upload it.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mordechain on February 25, 2019, 06:59:10 PM
These should be more legible
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Dan on February 25, 2019, 07:06:34 PM
https://i.dansdeals.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/25190320/SKCR-TAKE-OUT-MENU.pdf

https://i.dansdeals.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/25190323/SKCR-STORE-LISTA.pdf
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Buruch on February 27, 2019, 01:09:30 AM
Can I call anyone to get better availability at andaz papgayo? I can't find availability, and I hear they play games...
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on May 23, 2019, 11:26:48 AM
Just booked Jetblue from JFK-LIR round trip from July 28-Aug 1. Plan is to arrive in LIR around 2 pm and head to Arenal. Going to spend two night in Arenal and then drive back to Guanacaste Tuesday late afternoon. Will stay in Guanacaste Tuesday night and Wednesday night and flying out 2 pm on Thursday. Still researching hotels but it seems like Andaz is the best option for Guanacaste and in Arenal I’m down to deciding between Nayara, Tabacon, and The Springs. Any input or tips is appreciated!
I will likely order food from SJO to Arenal, which is over $200 delivery fee. If anyone will be in the area at that time and wants to do a joint order, please PM me
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on May 23, 2019, 12:05:06 PM
I also see a lot of people stressing over phone service. I honestly don't recall what I did the last time I went to Costa Rica, but I just called Verizon and was told that for $10/day I can use "travelpass" which gives me access to unlimited talk, text, and data while in Costa Rica. No need to deal with any SIM cards or anything like that
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on May 24, 2019, 10:47:54 AM
Just booked Jetblue from JFK-LIR round trip from July 28-Aug 1. Plan is to arrive in LIR around 2 pm and head to Arenal. Going to spend two night in Arenal and then drive back to Guanacaste Tuesday late afternoon. Will stay in Guanacaste Tuesday night and Wednesday night and flying out 2 pm on Thursday. Still researching hotels but it seems like Andaz is the best option for Guanacaste and in Arenal I’m down to deciding between Nayara, Tabacon, and The Springs. Any input or tips is appreciated!
I will likely order food from SJO to Arenal, which is over $200 delivery fee. If anyone will be in the area at that time and wants to do a joint order, please PM me
Does anyone have any knowledge of hotels in Arenal? So far I have only seen mention of people staying at Nayara. Is that my best option?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Aryehs on May 25, 2019, 03:10:05 PM
We stayed at the Tabacon (not so nice) and at the Nayara Springs (out of this world). For Kosher catered take-out, contact Fraida at +506-6051-8181. She is great and incredibly sweet.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: shnoz on May 25, 2019, 09:56:59 PM
I stayed at Nayara as well, fully agree with the above, absolutely incredible experience.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on May 25, 2019, 11:35:26 PM
Is it worth the extra few hundred a night to stay at Nayara Springs vs Nayara Casita Deluxe Room or not that much of a diff? I'm showing $388/night vs $620/night.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on May 25, 2019, 11:36:37 PM
We stayed at the Tabacon (not so nice) and at the Nayara Springs (out of this world). For Kosher catered take-out, contact Fraida at +506-6051-8181. She is great and incredibly sweet.
Who is Fraida? In that area? I was planning on ordering delivery from San Jose but if there is someone reliable that is local it would be great to not pay a $200 delivery fee
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: shnoz on May 25, 2019, 11:40:57 PM
Is it worth the extra few hundred a night to stay at Nayara Springs vs Nayara Casita Deluxe Room or not that much of a diff? I'm showing $388/night vs $620/night.
Can't speak to the fact of what your willing to spend, but different animal.. No private pool, room is half the size.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cw3323 on May 28, 2019, 01:47:25 AM
Does anyone have any knowledge of hotels in Arenal? So far I have only seen mention of people staying at Nayara. Is that my best option?
I did the Royal Corin. Was decent.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: jbr100 on May 29, 2019, 09:11:03 AM
Does anyone have any knowledge of hotels in Arenal? So far I have only seen mention of people staying at Nayara. Is that my best option?
We stayed at the Springs Resort and Spa and it was really, really nice.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Dan on July 01, 2019, 04:14:57 PM
What's with Zika these days?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: zagguru on August 18, 2019, 01:19:33 PM
Anyone stay at Marriott's Hotel Punta Islita - Autograph Collection?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: zagguru on August 20, 2019, 09:25:57 PM
Anyone stay at Marriott's Hotel Punta Islita - Autograph Collection?

Anyone?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on August 22, 2019, 09:44:27 PM
Is it worth the extra few hundred a night to stay at Nayara Springs vs Nayara Casita Deluxe Room or not that much of a diff? I'm showing $388/night vs $620/night.
Update - stayed two nights at Nayara Springs and two nights at Andaz Papagayo. Both hotels were amazing.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: wonderlust on August 24, 2019, 11:28:50 PM
Hey, was in Costa Rica in 2012 and thinking of going back for a quick 3/4night trip next week. Want to know the following:
1- last time I went toin Manuel Antonio, mote verde and arenail. Would prob do Arenal again but debating guanacaste instead of manual Antonio. How do they compare? Is there a lot to do in guanacaste?
2- would love to check out the easter part of the country. Anything going on in Limon? Any itinerary for that part of the Country?
3- I see everyone stays at andaz in guanacaste area, how does it stack up against the jw or planet Hollywood?
4- in Arenal I stayed at tobocoan and loved the hot springs but didn’t care much for the hotel. Anyone stay at the royal coran? Are the springs as beautiful and vast as the tobocan?
5- anyone know what time the restaurant closes? I remember it being a royal pain getting there from airport, are there any good  delivery options ?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Jm1248 on August 25, 2019, 08:04:17 AM
Hey, was in Costa Rica in 2012 and thinking of going back for a quick 3/4night trip next week. Want to know the following:
1- last time I went toin Manuel Antonio, mote verde and arenail. Would prob do Arenal again but debating guanacaste instead of manual Antonio. How do they compare? Is there a lot to do in guanacaste?
2- would love to check out the easter part of the country. Anything going on in Limon? Any itinerary for that part of the Country?
3- I see everyone stays at andaz in guanacaste area, how does it stack up against the jw or planet Hollywood?
4- in Arenal I stayed at tobocoan and loved the hot springs but didn’t care much for the hotel. Anyone stay at the royal coran? Are the springs as beautiful and vast as the tobocan?
5- anyone know what time the restaurant closes? I remember it being a royal pain getting there from airport, are there any good  delivery options ?
I ordered food from SKCR and had an excellent experience. They timed the delivery exactly as I arrived at my hotel and were in communication via WhatsApp from beginning to end. I even purchased a toaster oven from them to heat the food, which they delivered and toiveled the tray before sending!
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: SSLPhD on August 25, 2019, 10:33:51 AM
2- would love to check out the easter part of the country. Anything going on in Limon? Any itinerary for that part of the Country?
The following, from the State Department website, led me to choose other parts of the country.

"Central neighborhood in Limon

Violent crime, such as armed robbery and assault, is common. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents."
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: wonderlust on August 25, 2019, 11:56:54 AM
The following, from the State Department website, led me to choose other parts of the country.

"Central neighborhood in Limon

Violent crime, such as armed robbery and assault, is common. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents."

Lol got it. What about the northeast or southwest (below Manuel ) anything of note there? Aside for in Manuel region, are there any other places (like gunancaste) that has night mangrove tours?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: wonderlust on August 26, 2019, 01:15:36 AM
Has anyone been in Arenail or Guanacaste in September? What has been your experience with the weather?
Cahuita & Puerto Veijo in the Southeast are both supposed to be dry during September, has anyone been there?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: zagguru on August 26, 2019, 08:58:12 PM
Which Marriott or Hyatt hotels offers heated pools in Costa Rica
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: zagguru on December 09, 2019, 07:50:24 PM
Anyone stay at the W?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: zagguru on December 15, 2019, 05:14:38 PM
Anyone stay at the W?

Bump on this.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: zagguru on January 06, 2020, 07:25:32 PM
Anyone recommend any airport transfer companies?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: isac on February 13, 2020, 12:23:59 AM
just got back from Costa Rica.

We arranged transfers and airport pickup with hotel, and worked out great. Much nicer and comfortable vans then local car services. they use higher end transfer services....Very happy we didnt rent a car, windy roads with no light at night...

W Hotel was very nice, modern hotel with some local vibe.

Great staff and rooms were newish and had porches with excellent views. They had lots of activities on sight. More hip/boutique style hotel compared to some of the larger hotels.

Springs hotel in Arenal was spectacular, best views I've seen...I was nervous bec wasn't modern looking but it was very clean and updated with a true Costa vibe. Staff was top notch and they were very accomodating with our Pomergranit meals.
They stored it, heated it, and served in their restaurant based on our schedule (they knew  not to open the double wrap and we kept it on the table for "maras Oyin"). 
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mochjas on February 13, 2020, 07:01:09 AM
just got back from Costa Rica.

We arranged transfers and airport pickup with hotel, and worked out great. Much nicer and comfortable vans then local car services. they use higher end transfer services....Very happy we didnt rent a car, windy roads with no light at night...

W Hotel was very nice, modern hotel with some local vibe.

Great staff and rooms were newish and had porches with excellent views. They had lots of activities on sight. More hip/boutique style hotel compared to some of the larger hotels.

Springs hotel in Arenal was spectacular, best views I've seen...I was nervous bec wasn't modern looking but it was very clean and updated with a true Costa vibe. Staff was top notch and they were very accomodating with our Pomergranit meals.
They stored it, heated it, and served in their restaurant based on our schedule (they knew  not to open the double wrap and we kept it on the table for "maras Oyin").
no issues with customs bringing in Pom meals?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: zagguru on February 13, 2020, 06:42:27 PM
just got back from Costa Rica.

We arranged transfers and airport pickup with hotel, and worked out great. Much nicer and comfortable vans then local car services. they use higher end transfer services....Very happy we didnt rent a car, windy roads with no light at night...

W Hotel was very nice, modern hotel with some local vibe.

Great staff and rooms were newish and had porches with excellent views. They had lots of activities on sight. More hip/boutique style hotel compared to some of the larger hotels.

Springs hotel in Arenal was spectacular, best views I've seen...I was nervous bec wasn't modern looking but it was very clean and updated with a true Costa vibe. Staff was top notch and they were very accomodating with our Pomergranit meals.
They stored it, heated it, and served in their restaurant based on our schedule (they knew  not to open the double wrap and we kept it on the table for "maras Oyin").

Stayed at W for Yeshiva week. Its a great property
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cat18 on August 14, 2020, 01:41:15 AM
Can anyone compare Costa Rica against Panama for a family trip in January? Food and jewish community not important.


Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: PlatinumGuy on August 14, 2020, 01:43:06 AM
Panama is a Kosher food Mecca rivaling NY & Miami. You may be able to get a schnitzel in Costa Rica
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on September 18, 2020, 08:56:08 AM
Can anyone compare Costa Rica against Panama for a family trip in January? Food and jewish community not important.
Panama is a Kosher food Mecca rivaling NY & Miami. You may be able to get a schnitzel in Costa Rica

The above is true, but being that you specify the fact that "Food and jewish community is not important." IME If you are looking for natural beauty, wildlife, and nature, CR is hands down a better experience, from hot springs to volcanoes, the National Parks and the abundant wildlife, it is truly one of the most spectacular countries in the world.
Personally, I can't wait to go back this winter.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on September 21, 2020, 12:30:16 PM
Ever been to Hawaii?
Negative. (https://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=23816.240) Have you been to Panama and CR?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cat18 on September 21, 2020, 09:35:28 PM
Negative. (https://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=23816.240) Have you been to Panama and CR?

not yet, but all 3 are on my bucket list. just need to decide on order to visit.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cat18 on October 05, 2020, 12:00:41 PM
As of November 1, 2020 travel will be permitted from all 50 U.S. states to Costa Rica.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Sboy773 on October 21, 2020, 02:40:39 PM
We have reservations for yeshiva break at the Andaz Papagayo.  Obviously because of COVID we're debating whether to still go.  Costa Rica re-opened to tourism a few months ago and I was wondering if anyone has gone recently and can tell me what it was like (Did they feel safe? Are the tourist attractions open? etc...).  I would also be interested in hearing if anyone is going this January. Thanks.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on October 21, 2020, 02:47:53 PM
We have reservations for yeshiva break at the Andaz Papagayo.  Obviously because of COVID we're debating whether to still go.  Costa Rica re-opened to tourism a few months ago and I was wondering if anyone has gone recently and can tell me what it was like (Did they feel safe? Are the tourist attractions open? etc...).  I would also be interested in hearing if anyone is going this January. Thanks.
You might have Minyan at the Andez Papagayo...
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Cat18 on October 29, 2020, 09:28:13 AM
PSA

https://onemileatatime.com/costa-rica-travel-coronavirus/
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on November 13, 2020, 12:41:32 PM
Anyone?
did you?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: yitzyul on November 17, 2020, 10:53:02 AM
Itinerary help-----
Dont even know where to start

Arrive
Option 1
SJO Sunday 9 AM

Option 2
Arrive LIR 1 PM


Leave from SJO Thursday Midnight so almost 5 full days (I get bored quick)

Can someone recommend basic Ideas. Want activities, tons of wildlife and a little relaxing
Dont mind basic hiking
 Was thinking of LIR-Andaz-Arenal-Manuel Antonio National Park- SJO but I think its way too much driving...
And on TA they keep saying not to drive at night, is it really that difficult/dangerous? We are leaving at midnight so driving to airport (return car etc) is kind of a must!

TY
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on November 17, 2020, 10:57:33 AM
Itinerary help-----
Dont even know where to start

Arrive
Option 1
SJO Sunday 9 AM

Option 2
Arrive LIR 1 PM


Leave from SJO Thursday Midnight so almost 5 full days (I get bored quick)

Can someone recommend basic Ideas. Want activities, tons of wildlife and a little relaxing
Dont mind basic hiking
 Was thinking of LIR-Andaz-Arenal-Manuel Antonio National Park- SJO but I think its way too much driving...
And on TA they keep saying not to drive at night, is it really that difficult/dangerous? We are leaving at midnight so driving to airport (return car etc) is kind of a must!

TY
The LIR to SJO sounds pretty good. Driving at night can be perilous. But in the city you’re fine.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on November 17, 2020, 11:00:56 AM
The LIR to SJO sounds pretty good. Driving at night can be perilous. But in the city you’re fine.
https://goo.gl/maps/VidjeDA3desSqvv39
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: yitzyul on November 17, 2020, 11:04:36 AM
The LIR to SJO sounds pretty good. Driving at night can be perilous. But in the city you’re fine.

Does that mean to avoid night driving? The itinerary you just posted (looks excellent) involves allot fo driving, can't imagine I can do all that during day time?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: yitzyul on November 17, 2020, 11:05:22 AM
https://goo.gl/maps/VidjeDA3desSqvv39

For food, If I take ready meals (hope no customs issues) you just asked each resort to freeze and warm up?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on November 17, 2020, 11:08:53 AM
Does that mean to avoid night driving? The itinerary you just posted (looks excellent) involves allot fo driving, can't imagine I can do all that during day time?
We did drive at night. (Thank you @Tom Brady) If possible I would try to avoid it.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on November 17, 2020, 11:09:22 AM
For food, If I take ready meals (hope no customs issues) you just asked each resort to freeze and warm up?
Not the right person to ask
Tuna wraps, lol
Although we did bring in meat and dairy products.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: sam28 on November 17, 2020, 12:17:18 PM
Can someone please tell me what is there to do in Costa Rica ? and what part is the best place to stay ?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: yitzyul on November 17, 2020, 12:27:05 PM
Not the right person to askAlthough we did bring in meat and dairy products.
Do you have link to your TR handy?
TY
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on November 18, 2020, 12:37:15 AM
We did drive at night. (Thank you @Tom Brady) If possible I would try to avoid it.
oh this is what I'm looking for some people showed pictures of roads half of it off and no road markers how bad is it especially sjo to let say the los Suenos area and was the Arenal volcano a waste as some people say it is?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on November 18, 2020, 12:46:59 AM
And what's the advantages of flying into lib i thought most things are closer to sjo ,unless I'm missing something and anyone can comment on the el mangrove, los Suenos, islinata putnita
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on November 18, 2020, 08:04:40 AM
Do you have link to your TR handy?
TY
Work in progress.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Lou Bob on November 18, 2020, 09:47:03 AM
oh this is what I'm looking for some people showed pictures of roads half of it off and no road markers how bad is it especially sjo to let say the los Suenos area and was the Arenal volcano a waste as some people say it is?
If you use Waze, you don't need to worry about directions, though not all roads are clearly marked with lines. There's plenty to do in Arenal. I would not call it a waste at all.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: yitzyul on November 18, 2020, 02:28:29 PM
Doable...?  Suggestions?

Arrive Sun afternoon
LIR- Andaz Sunday & Monday
Tuesday early- Arenal Volcano stay overnight
Wed- Manual Antonia park Stay overnight
Thursday eve drive bak to SJO for 1 AM flight (is it  difficult drive at night)?

Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on November 18, 2020, 02:46:06 PM
And what's the advantages of flying into LIR I thought most things are closer to sjo ,unless I'm missing something and anyone can comment on the el mangrove, los Suenos, islinata putnita
Staying at the Andaz alone is worth it. The region is very nice. And not sure where you are getting your information from, but Arenal is a beautiful area and there’s plenty of activities to do and nature to explore.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on November 18, 2020, 02:49:08 PM
Doable...?  Suggestions?

Arrive Sun afternoon
LIR- Andaz Sunday & Monday
Tuesday early- Arenal Volcano stay overnight
Wed- Manual Antonia park Stay overnight
Thursday eve drive bak to SJO for 1 AM flight (is it  difficult drive at night)?
Sounds great. I would try to squeeze in a couple of hours for Carara NP. 

Essentially this.
https://goo.gl/maps/VidjeDA3desSqvv39
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Lou Bob on November 18, 2020, 03:18:28 PM
Lots of driving...
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on November 18, 2020, 08:29:50 PM
anybody whent to Corcovado np or marina ballena?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: yitzyul on November 19, 2020, 12:08:23 AM
Does anyone have Costa Rica currency (Colones) that canI can exchange for USD? (and live or have a way to get it to Monsey?

TY
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Lou Bob on November 19, 2020, 09:40:18 AM
Does anyone have Costa Rica currency (Colones) that canI can exchange for USD? (and live or have a way to get it to Monsey?

TY
you can pay pretty much anywhere with USD and get back Colones. (tolls for example). Maybe not the best exchange rate, but not bad enough to go crazy to exchange money before getting there.
Activities can be booked online, so you can use a CC for that.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: importantq on November 24, 2020, 08:56:23 PM
We are planning to be in Costa Rica during Dec 15 - 31.
Does anyone want to arrange to meet up somewhere during Shabbos or share food?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on November 24, 2020, 09:03:22 PM
We are planning to be in Costa Rica during Dec 15 - 31.
Does anyone want to arrange to meet up somewhere during Shabbos or share food?
Which company are you using for Covid travel insurance?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: yitzyul on November 24, 2020, 10:06:44 PM
Which company are you using for Covid travel insurance?

Trawick insurance worked fine.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on November 28, 2020, 07:32:53 PM
We are planning to be in Costa Rica during Dec 15 - 31.
Does anyone want to arrange to meet up somewhere during Shabbos or share food? Do you plan on going to the shul?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: importantq on November 29, 2020, 02:01:27 PM
Not sure where to be for Shabbas.
San Jose or Jaco?

I wonder what’s the news RE Covid. Is everything running the same?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: nirc on November 29, 2020, 08:13:29 PM
Trawick insurance worked fine.

cost?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on November 29, 2020, 08:17:07 PM
cost?
For the basic requirements (and under 70 yo) came out to less than $2 a day.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on November 30, 2020, 12:46:14 PM
Any updates on skcar food situation and the shul,and are the outlets the same as us?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Yehuda25 on December 02, 2020, 10:53:06 AM
Andaz or W for Costa Rica?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: ar on December 02, 2020, 04:09:41 PM
Andaz or W for Costa Rica?

W looks nicer to me
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: nirc on December 02, 2020, 08:00:18 PM
Andaz or W for Costa Rica?

whats your itineary?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on December 03, 2020, 01:32:18 AM
W looks nicer to me
Have you been to either?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Yehuda25 on December 04, 2020, 08:50:55 AM
whats your itineary?
right now none lol, arriving Sunday noon, departing Thursday noon, open to all ideas....
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: nirc on December 04, 2020, 10:00:03 AM
right now none lol, arriving Sunday noon, departing Thursday noon, open to all ideas....

When u get one please post.
The current TR are helpful, but there’s not many of them and some are dated or lack sufficient detail to help plan an itinerary.

Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on December 05, 2020, 07:37:36 PM
When u get one please post.
The current TR are helpful, but there’s not many of them and some are dated or lack sufficient detail to help plan an itinerary.
Anyone that needs help with an itinerary can feel free to PM me.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on December 05, 2020, 07:38:42 PM
right now none lol, arriving Sunday noon, departing Thursday noon, open to all ideas....
What Airport are you flying to and from?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on December 05, 2020, 07:48:49 PM
Andaz or W for Costa Rica?
I can’t speak to the W as I’ve never been.
The Andaz is an exceptional resort. It is conveniently located 30 min away from LIR in the Papagayo peninsula in a very natural setting within a jungle overlooking the bay, with gorgeous infinity pools. The rooms (even the basic ones, there are suites with private pools) are very large with an appealing design. The service is beyond phenomenal (5/5) and there are activities to keep one entertained for days on end. (Snorkeling gear, kayaks, paddle boards and electric bikes to explore the peninsula are complimentary.)
And right now it is only 20k Hyatt points. (It was 15k when I visited in 2016/17)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: nirc on December 07, 2020, 06:34:56 PM
Any way to avoid the $85 pp tax on award tickets? Given the cash price of tickets it’s almost not worth using miles.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Dan on December 07, 2020, 06:37:07 PM
Anyone that needs help with an itinerary can feel free to PM me.
Post your itin?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Dan on December 07, 2020, 06:37:24 PM
I can’t speak to the W as I’ve never been.
The Andaz is an exceptional resort. It is conveniently located 30 min away from LIR in the Papagayo peninsula in a very natural setting within a jungle overlooking the bay, with gorgeous infinity pools. The rooms (even the basic ones, there are suites with private pools) are very large with an appealing design. The service is beyond phenomenal (5/5) and there are activities to keep one entertained for days on end. (Snorkeling gear, kayaks, paddle boards and electric bikes to explore the peninsula are complimentary.)
And right now it is only 20k Hyatt points. (It was 15k when I visited in 2016/17)
What did you do to warm up meals?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: yitzyul on December 08, 2020, 03:48:35 PM
What did you do to warm up meals?
I just stayed there for 2 nights.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZZNGD7

A bit bulky but doesn't weigh much. Although not an oven it warmed up the food nicely in about 25 min (was cold not frozen) and shlepped it across CR

(And was able to use it for eggs  ;) )
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: yitzyul on December 08, 2020, 03:50:16 PM
I can’t speak to the W as I’ve never been.
The Andaz is an exceptional resort. It is conveniently located 30 min away from LIR in the Papagayo peninsula in a very natural setting within a jungle overlooking the bay, with gorgeous infinity pools. The rooms (even the basic ones, there are suites with private pools) are very large with an appealing design. The service is beyond phenomenal (5/5) and there are activities to keep one entertained for days on end. (Snorkeling gear, kayaks, paddle boards and electric bikes to explore the peninsula are complimentary.)
And right now it is only 20k Hyatt points. (It was 15k when I visited in 2016/17)

I kinda agree with you:) The service was impeccable. However pool area is small (narrow and long) and if not for it being empty not sure if they can handle larger crowds.
And the minibar (non alcoholic) is free and you can request from them to restock it as often as you want....IE tons of water and soda
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on December 08, 2020, 04:01:39 PM
I kinda agree with you:) The service was impeccable. However pool area is small (narrow and long) and if not for it being empty not sure if they can handle larger crowds.
And the minibar (non alcoholic) is free and you can request from them to restock it as often as you want....IE tons of water and soda
Snacks are complimentary as well.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: yitzyul on December 08, 2020, 04:07:19 PM
I can’t speak to the W as I’ve never been.
The Andaz is an exceptional resort. It is conveniently located 30 min away from LIR in the Papagayo peninsula in a very natural setting within a jungle overlooking the bay, with gorgeous infinity pools. The rooms (even the basic ones, there are suites with private pools) are very large with an appealing design. The service is beyond phenomenal (5/5) and there are activities to keep one entertained for days on end. (Snorkeling gear, kayaks, paddle boards and electric bikes to explore the peninsula are complimentary.)
And right now it is only 20k Hyatt points. (It was 15k when I visited in 2016/17)
Dont waste your time going to the beach there as its disgusting, however they have free shuttle service to their "Beach house", which was nice with chair service and free kayaking etc.

It was amazing to see fish literally just jump out of the water making flips. (you can sometimes here the splash form your room)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: yitzyul on December 09, 2020, 01:41:40 PM
Any way to avoid the $85 pp tax on award tickets? Given the cash price of tickets it’s almost not worth using miles.
Part of that is a $29 exit tax
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on December 09, 2020, 02:51:12 PM
Dont waste your time going to the beach there as its disgusting, however they have free shuttle service to their "Beach house", which was nice with chair service and free kayaking etc.

It was amazing to see fish literally just jump out of the water making flips. (you can sometimes here the splash form your room)
They have boat service from the beach to the beach house. (IIRC doesn’t operate Mon. & Tue.)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: importantq on December 19, 2020, 11:04:38 PM
Anybody gonna be in Costa Rica this coming week? Shabbas?
We’re here and happy to help with itinerary and to meet up for Kosher food trades and Shabbas.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: sddd on December 20, 2020, 10:39:55 AM
Planning a 4 day itinerary for next week.

Hoping to do:

1) Manuel Antonio 1 day
2) Pacuare River White water rafting 1 day
3) Arenal   2 days

Concerned it may be too ambitious driving wise could use feedback. If I need o drop one thing, would it be Pacuare river or Manuel Antonio. Are either a "must do"
Also, is renting a car recommended? It looks like there are tour operators that will take you from SJO to Pacuare River and then drop you off near Arenal
Also, are there any nice hotels that can be booked with points near arenal
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on December 20, 2020, 10:57:17 AM
Planning a 4 day itinerary for next week.

Hoping to do:

1) Manuel Antonio 1 day
2) Pacuare River White water rafting 1 day
3) Arenal   2 days

Concerned it may be too ambitious driving wise could use feedback. If I need o drop one thing, would it be Pacuare river or Manuel Antonio. Are either a "must do"
Also, is renting a car recommended? It looks like there are tour operators that will take you from SJO to Pacuare River and then drop you off near Arenal
Also, are there any nice hotels that can be booked with points near arenal
Going to assume it doesn’t include travel days.
Going to MA or Pacuare would depend if you were looking to do an activity or wanted to see wildlife.
In terms of renting, I’ve found it to be the most convenient way to explore the country. But if you are going for a very short stay and are booking daily excursions, might not be necessary.
I don’t know off hand, hotels one can book with points. But I recommend Kioro (where we stayed) or Tabacon.
 
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: sddd on December 20, 2020, 10:03:36 PM
Going to assume it doesn’t include travel days.
Going to MA or Pacuare would depend if you were looking to do an activity or wanted to see wildlife.
In terms of renting, I’ve found it to be the most convenient way to explore the country. But if you are going for a very short stay and are booking daily excursions, might not be necessary.
I don’t know off hand, hotels one can book with points. But I recommend Kioro (where we stayed) or Tabacon.

Thanks. Pacuare is a must do for us, so we are leaning towards doing one day there and 3 days in the arenal / la fortuna area. Would love to see some wildlife but it seems like its way too much of a shlep to go all the way to manuel..
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: importantq on December 20, 2020, 11:44:43 PM
Was just in MA and advice is to skip. Only one trail is open- we did see monkeys and other cool stuff, but definitely wouldn’t shlep just for that.
Package is a must for us too!! Enjoy

If you want to consider something, try MonteVerde instead of MA. We like it better
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: mdv on December 24, 2020, 05:23:12 PM
I saw on flyertalk that you need to vaccinate for typhoid and some other good stuff before going to CR . Is that accurate ?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Lou Bob on December 24, 2020, 06:46:08 PM
I saw on flyertalk that you need to vaccinate for typhoid and some other good stuff before going to CR . Is that accurate ?
oops. We didn't. Didn't even know. Don't recall seeing that anywhere here.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on December 25, 2020, 03:54:48 PM
Was just in MA and advice is to skip. Only one trail is open- we did see monkeys and other cool stuff, but definitely wouldn’t shlep just for that.
Package is a must for us too!! Enjoy

If you want to consider something, try MonteVerde instead of MA. We like it better
if wildlife is your thing ma is the best in cr even with one trail open, monteverde is one of the most overrated things and the suspension bridge is closed cuz a tree fell on it
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on December 25, 2020, 03:55:19 PM
oops. We didn't. Didn't even know. Don't recall seeing that anywhere here.
not true maybe someone wanted a bribe
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on December 26, 2020, 06:46:20 PM
if wildlife is your thing ma is the best in cr even with one trail open, monteverde is one of the most overrated things and the suspension bridge is closed cuz a tree fell on it
Monteverde region is one of the best spots in the world for birding. As far as MANP it is a beautiful park with abundant wildlife and a gorgeous beach. (FWIW wildlife sightings are never guaranteed, it isn’t a zoo. And on our most recent trip we saw as much wildlife in the Andaz as MA.)
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: importantq on December 26, 2020, 07:48:14 PM
if wildlife is your thing ma is the best in cr even with one trail open, monteverde is one of the most overrated things and the suspension bridge is closed cuz a tree fell on it

I politely disagree!

Monteverde has been our favorite place. You can go to Santa Elena cloud forest, it's cheaper than Monteverde Cloud forest and has a more hikes/natural trails. Next to it is Selvature park and you can do 8 suspension bridges. Our most fantastic experience. Did a coffee tour, hikes, bird watching, great coolish weather.
For us, Manuel Antonio seemed most overrated!
A
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on December 27, 2020, 01:51:33 AM
I politely disagree!

Monteverde has been our favorite place. You can go to Santa Elena cloud forest, it's cheaper than Monteverde Cloud forest and has a more hikes/natural trails. Next to it is Selvature park and you can do 8 suspension bridges. Our most fantastic experience. Did a coffee tour, hikes, bird watching, great coolish weather.
For us, Manuel Antonio seemed most overrated!
A
so you didn't do monteverde nc which what's is famous for i can't comment on Santa Elana as I didn't do it and again if you like to see monkeys and one of the nicest beaches in cr, I'm not sure how ma is overrated it has the most monkeys by far of any park unless you want to say cr is overrated as a whole which i agree with
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on December 27, 2020, 02:03:29 AM
Monteverde region is one of the best spots in the world for birding. As far as MANP it is a beautiful park with abundant wildlife and a gorgeous beach. (FWIW wildlife sightings are never guaranteed, it isn’t a zoo. And on our most recent trip we saw as much wildlife in the Andaz as MA.)
monteverde is famous for the Quetzal i saw 10x the birds in carra np ,i even saw more wildlife in the andaz then in monteverde unless you count the raccoons cousin, in ma in the first half hour I saw 8 monkey's minimum and people have had the the same experience as me in monteverde and ma.to each his own
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: sddd on December 27, 2020, 05:39:15 AM
just got through customs with lots of meats, had some luck as checker was distracted when our bags went through. Havent gone anywhere yet but to add to the opinnions here my buddy just went and also tought monteverde was overrated. I guess it depends if youre into birds maybe?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on December 27, 2020, 09:56:19 PM
just got through customs with lots of meats, had some luck as checker was distracted when our bags went through. Havent gone anywhere yet but to add to the opinnions here my buddy just went and also tought monteverde was overrated. I guess it depends if youre into birds maybe?
i just whent through a cooler of meat also with no problems is seems raw chicken is more the issue, although it depends on the agent as always. I wanted to see birds that's why I was happy with carra np as I saw alot of cool birds including the scarlet macaw,monteverde only is famous for the Quetzal and I saw one cool blue bird the whole time,I'm just putting a disclaimer out that after covid is over, a place like Piedras blancas might be more worth it just a thought
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on December 27, 2020, 10:23:09 PM
Was just in MA and advice is to skip. Only one trail is open- we did see monkeys and other cool stuff, but definitely wouldn’t shlep just for that.
Package is a must for us too!! Enjoy

If you want to consider something, try MonteVerde instead of MA. We like it better
i just whent through a cooler of meat also with no problems is seems raw chicken is more the issue, although it depends on the agent as always. I wanted to see birds that's why I was happy with carra np as I saw alot of cool birds including the scarlet macaw,monteverde only is famous for the Quetzal and I saw one cool blue bird the whole time,I'm just putting a disclaimer out that after covid is over, a place like Piedras blancas might be more worth it just a thought
Did you have a tour guide?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on December 29, 2020, 02:37:30 AM
Did you have a tour guide?
no but if you want to go down that road then you can see animal's with a guide that you can't see in monteverde with a guide , so I don't see the point
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: sddd on January 02, 2021, 10:29:18 PM
Mini TR:

Went Sunday to Wednesday this past week. We mostly stayed near La Fortuna at an airbnb in the arenal Volcano region.

Flew into SJO. Customs: Possibly due to a distracted screener had zero issues with a nice amount of meat.

We stayed by Courtyart Marriot saturday night. Nice hotel.

Sunday - For $150 we got a private driver to take us from san jose to arenal. We stopped by La Paz which is basically a small zoo. Overpriced at $48 but still recommended since the birds are cool and the waterfalls are great.
Monday - Small Arenal Hike (nice) and Tabacon Hot Springs (Very unique and relaxing) They are the only hotel in the area with natural hot springs that are not pumped. They sell a day pass. If you decline the meal you can get it a little cheaper.
Tuesday - We did a hike/hanging bridges/tram/ziplining package at Sky adventures Arenal. Super worth it at $108.    Bridges and zipliing were super cool. There are 4 separate hanging bridges and 5 different zip lines, all included in the package.
Wednesday - Pacuare River Class 4 Whitewater rafting. The river is very scenic, with a few waterfalls and some wildlife. The rafting companies will pick you up from different areas and drop you off where you want so its very economical at $99 if you do not rent a car there. They picked us up from La Fortuna at 530AM and dropped us off in San Jose at 6PM.

On that note - its not an easy country to drive in by day and by night it's especially not recommended. Many twists and turns on non lit up roads, with many one way stretches.

Wednesday night: Stayed by Marriot in San Jose. Very nice hotel with golf, tennis, and 2 pools.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on January 02, 2021, 11:32:00 PM
Mini TR:

Went Sunday to Wednesday this past week. We mostly stayed near La Fortuna at an airbnb in the arenal Volcano region.

Flew into SJO. Customs: Possibly due to a distracted screener had zero issues with a nice amount of meat.

We stayed by Courtyart Marriot saturday night. Nice hotel.

Sunday - For $150 we got a private driver to take us from san jose to arenal. We stopped by La Paz which is basically a small zoo. Overpriced at $48 but still recommended since the birds are cool and the waterfalls are tirec.
Monday - Small Arenal Hike (nice) and Tabacon Hot Springs (Very unique and relaxing) They are the only hotel in the area with natural hot springs that are not pumped. They sell a day pass. If you decline the meal you can get it a little cheaper.
Tuesday - We did a hike/hanging bridges/tram/ziplining package at Sky adventures Arenal. Super worth it at $108.    Bridges and zipliing were super cool. There are 4 separate hanging bridges and 5 different zip lines, all included in the package.
Wednesday - Pacuare River Class 4 Whitewater rafting. The river is very scenic, with a few waterfalls and some wildlife. The rafting companies will pick you up from different areas and drop you off where you want so its very economical at $99 if you do not rent a car there. They picked us up from La Fortuna at 530AM and dropped us off in San Jose at 6PM.

On that note - its not an easy country to drive in by day and by night it's especially not recommended. Many twists and turns on non lit up roads, with many one way stretches.

Wednesday night: Stayed by Marriot in San Jose. Very nice hotel with golf, tennis, and 2 pools.
was the golf included or you had to pay separately?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Yehuda25 on January 03, 2021, 02:28:32 PM
What Airport are you flying to and from?
LIR
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: sddd on January 03, 2021, 05:14:45 PM
was the golf included or you had to pay separately?

friend says it wasnt worth it so scratch the golf. 26$
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on January 03, 2021, 06:06:57 PM
On that note - its not an easy country to drive in by day and by night it's especially not recommended. Many twists and turns on non lit up roads, with many one way stretches.
An understatement.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: lansky on January 04, 2021, 05:56:33 AM
An understatement.
I thought it was overrated I liked night better actually as drivers were the biggest scare to me especially getting behind a truck at night and just followed them as they clear the road and give added light
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Whywhy on January 12, 2021, 02:40:17 AM
Any recommendations for shabbos accommodations? Looking for the weekend of Jan 23rd.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Kobe Bryant on January 12, 2021, 06:44:10 AM
Any recommendations for shabbos accommodations? Looking for the weekend of Jan 23rd.
There aren’t many options. We stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott San Jose Escazu. Rooms are spacious and nice, service was great. And it’s a 20 min. walk from Chabad.
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Joe4007 on January 12, 2021, 01:08:08 PM
Mini TR:

Went Sunday to Wednesday this past week. We mostly stayed near La Fortuna at an airbnb in the arenal Volcano region.

Flew into SJO. Customs: Possibly due to a distracted screener had zero issues with a nice amount of meat.

We stayed by Courtyart Marriot saturday night. Nice hotel.

Sunday - For $150 we got a private driver to take us from san jose to arenal. We stopped by La Paz which is basically a small zoo. Overpriced at $48 but still recommended since the birds are cool and the waterfalls are great.
Monday - Small Arenal Hike (nice) and Tabacon Hot Springs (Very unique and relaxing) They are the only hotel in the area with natural hot springs that are not pumped. They sell a day pass. If you decline the meal you can get it a little cheaper.
Tuesday - We did a hike/hanging bridges/tram/ziplining package at Sky adventures Arenal. Super worth it at $108.    Bridges and zipliing were super cool. There are 4 separate hanging bridges and 5 different zip lines, all included in the package.
Wednesday - Pacuare River Class 4 Whitewater rafting. The river is very scenic, with a few waterfalls and some wildlife. The rafting companies will pick you up from different areas and drop you off where you want so its very economical at $99 if you do not rent a car there. They picked us up from La Fortuna at 530AM and dropped us off in San Jose at 6PM.

On that note - its not an easy country to drive in by day and by night it's especially not recommended. Many twists and turns on non lit up roads, with many one way stretches.

Wednesday night: Stayed by Marriot in San Jose. Very nice hotel with golf, tennis, and 2 pools.
Thanks for the report.

Can you please share the contact info for the private driver you used?
Title: Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
Post by: Yehuda25 on January 13, 2021, 08:21:31 PM
UGH!!!!

UA cancelled my round trip direct flights, seems like UA pulled all/most of their non stop flights to LIR :'( :'( :'(

@Dan