Topic Wiki

List of TR's:
Fan Of Dan, BrooklynCPA, momo Part 1, momo Part 2, lechaim2life, eliteflyer, Pbaruch, Rcarentals (Guanacaste)

Bringing food/meat through the airports:
  • San Jose Airport SJO - customs are known to be ruthless here with meat. There are many stories in the forums and online of people having all their meats or kosher travel meals seized at customs.
  • Liberia LIR - Recent experiences were that LIR customs didn't check anyone at all.
The general advice which is the only method that seems to consistently work, is bringing in specifically USDA certified products. For example most hotdogs will have an actual USDA certification printed on the hotdog packet. Some companies like Teva, Agri in various supermarkets and most manufacturers have the USDA certification and approval number printed on the label. This is rarely the case for supermarkets who repackage and butcher things themselves and do not have a USDA-certified processing room.
There have been reports of stickers like the USDA organic stickers regularly used to label meats in supermarkets working as well if they look like THIS
In the most ideal world, your food has a clear description of: The product, the nutrition, and a USDA label on the manufacturer packaging.

In a worst case, food can be airshipped to anywhere for a fee - for example from one of the SJO kosher suppliers to Liberia for example the JW Marriott for around $400.

Kosher Food/ Restaurants:
  • SKCR/Super Kosher has takeout under the local Chabad rabbi.
  • The Israeli restaurant in Jaco may not be acceptable for many.  It is my understanding that while they get some meat/chicken from Chabad, they have no hashgacha.
  • Supermarket Automercado has pas yisroel bagels in the freezer per the Chabad rabbi in tamarindo - may or may not be tamarindo specific.
  • Walmart is 6 minutes from Liberia airport, and has tons of American, kosher products and snacks.

Synagogue:

Things to Do:

West side/Liberia

Hotels:
The JW Marriott Guanacaste has amazing suites. If you book there, it's worth speaking to the reservations department before or after to see if you can negotiate an upgrade for a small fee. They offered off the base room, an upgrade of $175 a night for a suite, or $200 for a suite with ocean view, and plunge pool.

Getting Around:
A 4 Wheel drive here is mandatory. Not just because the humidity and rain create muddy and slippery roads, but mainly because the potholes here, are really huge and bad, and your car needs clearance to drive... The roads in costa rica are absolutely terribly maintained. they are completely manageable with a SUV - but expect a ton of bumps and thousands of potholes - almost the entire country is made up of 2 lane roads including highways. All overtaking is done in the direction of opposing traffic. cars here are seriously used and abused - so when you pick up your car.. it's worth going for one with as low mileage as possible.


Notes:

ALL CAR COMPANIES CHARGE MANDATORY LIABILITY INSURANCE. This seems to be one of the biggest complaints from tourists who don't know and consider this a tourist trap - like Israel.
CDW here often REQUIRES the letter - more than Israel.. so have that prepared.


Author Topic: Costa Rica Master Thread  (Read 188370 times)

Offline JuryDuty

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #600 on: January 18, 2024, 09:19:48 AM »
Does anyone know anything about the Hechsher of the Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Prober?

As much as you can tell by 2 minutes googling, looks good
Jury Duty: Nothing to do there but chill and write a TR. Kinda like the beach but missing the view and ocean breeze.

Offline TB12

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #601 on: January 18, 2024, 12:46:15 PM »
IIRC he worked with the Star K, maybe ask them there

Offline JuryDuty

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Jury Duty: Nothing to do there but chill and write a TR. Kinda like the beach but missing the view and ocean breeze.

Offline obadiah

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #603 on: January 22, 2024, 09:21:13 PM »
Hey,

Looking for some advice from the experienced people on this thread.

My wife and I are returning to Costa Rica with our 1 YO for 8 nights at the Andaz Papagayo.

This is our second trip to CR. Last time we did a small boutique hotel in papagayo , Four seasons, and Nayara. We did most of our costa rica activities in Arenal with the exception of surfing which we did in tamarindo.

For this trip we are thinking to do most days on resort but are thinking to do 2-3 days off resort.

We were thinking to rent a car -- we found adobe the cheapest rate with the insurance.

1. Do we still need a letter from CC for CDW?

For activities, we figure because we have car we were going to DIY so baby can sleep in car on ride to activities.

We had the following as a few activity options but are looking for a few more options. 1 YO can stay in carrier for walks etc.
1. Cafe Tio Leo
2 Palo Verde Boat tours

2. What other options would you suggest.

For example, last trip We did Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park Tours last trip and was a highlight. Any nature around papagayo or worth doing a day trip for? We

3. We were planning on bringing Pomegranate meals but I saw some concerns about the customs process and how people had some magic to get around it. Any guidance or ideas?
 

Offline Sboy773

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #604 on: January 27, 2024, 08:18:42 PM »
Hi. We’re planning a trip to Costa Rica and are debating between Andaz Papagayo and the Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa so that we can do activities near the Andaz and also in Arenal. Have people stayed at the Tabacon?  Is it worth going to or should we just stay in the Andaz and forget about Arenal?  Thanks.

Offline Kobe Bryant

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #605 on: January 28, 2024, 03:58:02 AM »
Hi. We’re planning a trip to Costa Rica and are debating between Andaz Papagayo and the Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa so that we can do activities near the Andaz and also in Arenal. Have people stayed at the Tabacon?  Is it worth going to or should we just stay in the Andaz and forget about Arenal?  Thanks.
If you are going for a sufficient amount of time, I would split the stay.

Offline jonesy

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #606 on: January 28, 2024, 07:30:17 AM »
If you are going for a sufficient amount of time, I would split the stay.

We stayed at Tabacon and absolutely loved it. The hot springs there are awesome (straight from the river and not just pumped in like other resorts). We had our own food so didn’t get details but saw something about them being able to get kosher food (also saw some mezuzos around so seems like it may be owned by yidden). I’d agree with prior post- if you have enough time do both andaz and Tabacon.

Offline Sboy773

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #607 on: January 28, 2024, 09:40:37 AM »
We stayed at Tabacon and absolutely loved it. The hot springs there are awesome (straight from the river and not just pumped in like other resorts). We had our own food so didn’t get details but saw something about them being able to get kosher food (also saw some mezuzos around so seems like it may be owned by yidden). I’d agree with prior post- if you have enough time do both andaz and Tabacon.

Thank you!  Assuming we split (hoping to go for a full week so should be able to) which hotel do you think is better to stay at over shabbos?  Thanks again!

Offline TB12

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #608 on: January 29, 2024, 02:26:53 PM »
Andaz is a beautiful, quiet resort in a gorgeous setting overlooking the ocean. Can be a very peaceful Shabbos. 
Tabacon is busier, lots of people going in and out of activities, but also beautiful grounds and area in Arenal volcano area which is "Activities central" toward center of the country,
Both are doable  no minyan kosher infrastructure in either
I would base it more on the rest of your schedule and how you're planning the week


Offline Cat18

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #609 on: February 06, 2024, 09:56:50 PM »
Starting to plan a week long winter trip and was wondering what are the "central" locations where i should stay? Would've preferred to stay in 1 spot the whole week, but realize that's not feasible as country is too big so willing to split the week.

My initial thinking is to stay half the time (incl shabbos) in the Tamarindo area and half near Manuel Antonio/Uvita.

Was also thinking of flying into SJO and flying out of LIH.

Renting a home thru airbnb/vrbo so have flexibility.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2024, 11:35:20 PM by Cat18 »

Offline OMG!

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #610 on: February 07, 2024, 12:32:06 AM »
Any recent issues with bringing food/meat through customs at LIR?
Do they allow cardboard boxes?

Offline lost_my_dolphin

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #611 on: February 07, 2024, 12:46:47 AM »
Any recent issues with bringing food/meat through customs at LIR?
Do they allow cardboard boxes?

I took a polar bear cooler full of vaccum packed frozen food three weeks ago. The customs agent said meat was okay, but he would have to take away anything with chicken. He took away a few packs of chicken nuggets that were at the top of the cooler but didn't do a thorough search. I got quite a few packs of chicken through. The customs agent pointed to the overhead camera and I got the impression that he didn't really care what came through as long as he confiscated something to make it look like he was doing his job.

Offline mgarfin

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #612 on: February 07, 2024, 09:32:44 AM »
Am I crazy for flying from NYC to LIR for 3 days?

Offline sholom35

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #613 on: February 18, 2024, 08:35:20 AM »
Am I crazy for flying from NYC to LIR for 3 days?
Just did it, flew out of ewr monday morning and flew out of lir Wednesday 5pm. Totally worth it, just have to plan how you plan on spending your limited time.

Offline Cat18

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #614 on: February 18, 2024, 05:28:28 PM »
“Best” miles to use for economy tickets?

If MR, which partner airline would be lowest priced?

Offline TB12

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #615 on: February 19, 2024, 05:17:44 PM »
For JFK look at JetBlue sometimes can be good value

Offline superstareli55

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #616 on: February 25, 2024, 09:45:24 PM »
Flying in to LIR. Can I bring precooked meals, cheese and deli?

Offline mgarfin

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #617 on: February 25, 2024, 10:06:58 PM »
Flying in to LIR. Can I bring precooked meals, cheese and deli?
2 weeks ago they scanned my luggage.
Told me to open up and show them the deli.
(They didn't care about anything else)
Guy told me that they'll let it through as it had a USDA Inspection emblem. He asked that we not bring any more any poultry as chicken or pork. He specifically said beef is not a problem

Offline DeerFeet

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #618 on: May 06, 2024, 09:36:33 AM »
Hey,

Looking for some advice from the experienced people on this thread.

My wife and I are returning to Costa Rica with our 1 YO for 8 nights at the Andaz Papagayo.

This is our second trip to CR. Last time we did a small boutique hotel in papagayo , Four seasons, and Nayara. We did most of our costa rica activities in Arenal with the exception of surfing which we did in tamarindo.

For this trip we are thinking to do most days on resort but are thinking to do 2-3 days off resort.

We were thinking to rent a car -- we found adobe the cheapest rate with the insurance.

1. Do we still need a letter from CC for CDW?

For activities, we figure because we have car we were going to DIY so baby can sleep in car on ride to activities.

We had the following as a few activity options but are looking for a few more options. 1 YO can stay in carrier for walks etc.
1. Cafe Tio Leo
2 Palo Verde Boat tours

2. What other options would you suggest.

For example, last trip We did Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park Tours last trip and was a highlight. Any nature around papagayo or worth doing a day trip for? We

3. We were planning on bringing Pomegranate meals but I saw some concerns about the customs process and how people had some magic to get around it. Any guidance or ideas?
How did this go? Looking into the same with a 1YO. Was the Andaz enclose (eruv)? Would love a TR.

Offline meirk

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Re: Costa Rica Master Thread
« Reply #619 on: May 07, 2024, 08:57:44 PM »
I’m noticing here that most are flying to LIR…
Is there a reason people aren’t flying to SJO? Are the attractions and hotels better in LIR?