Sunday, April 26, 2009

Costa Rica, A Review - Sunday 4-26-2009

Playa Samara, Costa Rica

You should go to Costa Rica.

The country is beautiful. I loved Costa Rica's gorgeous natural environments. The Monteverde and Santa Elena nature preserves house ancient hundred foot (and taller!) trees, which provide shelter to white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, rainbow colored parrots and toucans, exotic tree-climbing mammals, and rare snakes. One day in Monteverde, I found waterfall and lagoon tucked away in the jungle, hidden down a kilometer-long walk past of vines, ferns and huge trees. I had the entire falls, lagoon and jungle all to myself. It felt like being in a picture in a travel magazine showing places too isolated and spectacular to really exist. The countryside is similarly beautiful, with acre after acre of green, undeveloped rain forest, ranch land, and farmland.

There is plenty of opportunity for water sports. My water sports included only swimming and sitting under palm trees, but that's just me. The surf on the Pacific Coast is reportedly some of the best in the world, especially at Montezuma, Santa Teresa and Mal Pais, but there is ample opportunity to surf at beaches on both coasts. In Playa Tamarindo and Playa Samara, numerous tour operators fishing, snorkeling, or marine-life viewing tours. I understand tour operators in beach communities all around the country offer the same. I also understand that the snorkeling near Playa Hermosa and Cahuita is amazing. In Playa Tamarindo and Monteverde and Santa Elena, I saw brochures for river rafting trips, too.

The country is cheap, especially compared to Western Europe and Australia. I never paid more than $35 per night for a private room with at least a double bed, including pillows, linens, and towels. This fee often included a private bathroom and breakfast. Meals were at least $8 each in Playa Tamarindo and Monteverde and Santa Elena, but those places are tourist traps. I could feed myself with hearty meals for $10-$12 per day in San Jose and Playa Samara. Playa Samara was particularly cheap, and the food was always tasty.

It is easy to go upscale in Costa Rica. Every town I stopped at had expensive, resort-type hotels. You do not have to spend under $40 per night for a private room at a hostel to enjoy Costa Rica. There are plenty of luxury options.

Costa Ricans are friendly. More than once on my trip, I must have looked terribly confused because a helpful local came up to me and asked me in perfect English if I needed help. In each case, I explained where I was trying to go and the local directed me to my destination or told me exactly where I was. The hotel staff, restaurant staff, and tour staff I dealt with were also universally helpful.

The backpackers are friendly, too. I met so many interesting, friendly, worldly, talkative, and generally cool people at the hostels I stayed at. For the record, I stayed at Costa Rica Backpackers & Guesthouse in San Jose (; phone: 2221 6191), Manakin Lodge in Monteverde (; phone: 2645 5058), Hostel Botella de Leche in Playa Tamarindo (; phone: 2653 0189), Cabinas Marielos in Playa Tamarindo (phone and fax: 2653 0141), and Casa Brian in Playa Samara (; phone: 2656 0315).


  1. THC in da house! Glad you had fun and it looks like I need to add Costa Rica onto my "Bucket List."

  2. Hey Z! Thanks for checking out my blog and leaving a comment. I'm guessing Schulzy gave you the address to my blog?

  3. Yes. Guy is chasing New Mexican women.