Help a Reader Travel: Costa Rica

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Welcome to another post of helping a reader travel! As I’ve mentioned before, I have not been to every destination (unfortunately), but do get questions from friends and other blog readers on all sort of travel destination questions. Thus far, we’ve been able to help other readers travel to MauiThe Greek IslandsThe Pacific Coast Highwayand Argentina.

So this weeks travel destination includes an adventure trip to Costa Rica. I received the following email from reader Adam:

“My friends and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica. We are all pretty adventurous and have heard that there are some fun outdoor activities to take part in. We also want to try surfing along the coast. Zip lining is absolutely on our list as well. What area or areas would you recommend staying at? Also, is getting around the island challenging. We are looking to go this Winter so we can avoid the rainy season. I was originally looking at the JW Marriott to take advantage of using my points. Has anyone ever been there and would you recommend? Since this is a boys trip, we do not need anything too fancy so am open to other recommendations as well.”

Adam, this sounds like a great vacation! I know Mr. Deals will be jealous with this “all boys” trip! Costa Rica is on my short bucket list as well. We were looking to go in May/June, but opted against it as we were concerned about rainy season. Enjoy your trip and hopefully we can get you some great activity and lodging recommendations!

If you’ve been to Costa Rica before, let’s help out reader Adam by commenting below. Also, if you have any upcoming travel where you need some help and would like to be featured in my “Help a Reader Travel” section, feel free to email me at! Thanks!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.



  1. I’m also planning a trip to Costa Rica in August, so I am looking forward to seeing responses to this article! My friend and I are also pretty adventurous, and we opted for going during the rainy season since we are both in college and it makes it a little more budget friendly. We are planning to rent a car and pretty much be all over the place during out 12 days trip.

  2. Random Musings on Costa Rica:
    I recommend that you try to rent a SUV take the extra insurance and realize that you will be travel 20mph at most. Awesome country but horrendous roads. Wife and I absolutely loved it there — spent 10days back in 2005 or so. We are currently planning a long weekend there in October for this year.
    Also Costa Rica has a very wide variety of climates ranging from tropical to temperate. It can get fairly
    chilly at night around the capital so bring a sweater or Jacket. You can thank me later.
    Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio Parks are not to be missed.

  3. I’ve worked in CR off and on for the last 30 years. Winter is the best time to go, but remember that its is their summer holidays, so some over crowding is possible. Christmas time is a total zoo and should be avoided.

    Head south to Manuel Antonio or the north west for surfing.

    Arenal volcano is a must: there are a number of cool hotels with views of the active volcano, which is quite amazing at night time.

    Driving in CR is difficult at the best of times and if you can avoid driving in San Jose, do so.

    It is also possible to fly to the coastal areas, which is a great experience, too. And, then rent a car at the coast.

    You can pick up a car at the airport and head to the nicer parts of CR.

    I hope this is of some help.


  4. My wife and I now live in Costa Rica. While visiting, we used Wild Rider to rent a small SUV. We’ve rented 3 times from them and have had nothing but great experiences. When they provide you a quote, it is all-inclusive with taxes. Other companies will give you a basic quote, then when you get there tack on all the other fees.

    When we traveled to the Caribbean we stayed at the Coral Hill Bungalows which I highly recommend.

    For white-water rafting, we use Costa Sol Rafting. We’ve gone twice and had a great time with Angel as guide both times.

    For zip-lining, we went to Aventuras de la Carpinteria in Tres Rios. We’ve enjoyed it twice but may be a small drive from where you stay; it is close to where we live in Cartago.

    Hope this helps. Pura Vida!

  5. I went to Costa Rica last year in May and it has become one of my favorite places. It was during the rainy season, but it’s really not that bad. From what I was told rainy season is also when all the bugs tend to come out, so make sure to pack some bug repellent.

    If you plan on driving from place to place, I would definitely recommend a 4×4. The roads are horrendous and rocky, which makes for interesting road trips I suppose. I’d opt for a GPS as well.

  6. If you want to do a tour group, try Caravan travel. We’ve used them 3x now and the CR tour was great.

    If you want to travel on your own, look at the package tours and see where they go. I generally start my research that way.

  7. We had a really great 2 day rafting trip on the Pacuare River several years ago. Stayed at a BEAUTIFUL cabin on the river–I think it was Pacuare Lodge. Really, really, nice. Enjoy your trip!

  8. Mr deals in law and I stayed at the jw Marriott last April . We had a fantastic time. The hotel was right on the beach. The road in and out of the hotel into the nearby town was a bit challenging but there are shuttle busses that take you back and forth to all activities! I suggest using them. We did some atv’s, surfing, zip lining and listened to some great music in the local town.
    For the second part of our week we went to the volcano area in Arenal. There we did more zip lining and hiking in the rain forest. You can rent a car and drive there but we chose to use a driver. Again the roads are a bit difficult .
    The people are so kind and helpful and unlike any place you have ever been.
    Hope this helps

  9. We enjoyed white water rafting. Our guide was also a bull rider, so the ride was wild! It was our favorite experience in CR.

  10. So many places to go to Costa Rica. Zip line,surfing ,snorkeling and just be guys and drink on the beach. Would you try yoga? Yoga is famous in Costa Rica.

    Malpais and Santa Teresa are the best place to visit. Try cheap vacation houses or rentals. Here is some useful link I can share with you. I hope you enjoy your stay in Costa Rica!

    Google the Malpais Beach to learn more about their vacation rentals.

  11. My boyfriend has been to Costa about 6 times. He typically stays in Manuel Antonio, near Jaco. It’s a sleepy beach town in the rainforest. I’ve been before and love it!!! Tons of activities to do, zip line, river tours, jungle hikes, surfing, ATV tours, etc.
    Last time he went on a guys trip though and he stayed at Los Suenos. While it wasn’t his style (he’s much more “rustic”), he said it was by far one of the nicest places he has ever stayed… and he stays in really nice places for work. He just likes to strip down to the basics when he travels (weird, I know).

    Hope that helps.


  12. You’re going to love Costa Rica! Costa Rica has gained the reputation as one of the top adventure-tourism destinations in the world, so a great getaway for a “boys’ trip!” — One of the best ways to travel is by doing Desafio Adventure Connections from place to place. For example, fly into San José (SJO) and then go rafting on the way to the Arenal Volcano — this saves you time and money! While in the Arenal Volcano, go canyoneering in the Lost Canyon and then soak your muscles in relaxing hot springs as you sip some cold Costa Rican brew. Then head-out to the beach a day or so later and do another Adventure Connection rafting trip on the Río Tenorio on the way to the JW Marriott — that’s an upscale, very nice, but rather isolated hotel on the Pacific coast. We like Playa Samara because it has a nice, local, bohemian vibe, great place to go Stand Up Paddling and surf lessons and just a fun beach town with reasonable and nice, local hotels. Any time of year is good to come to Costa Rica. If it’s raining near the Arenal Volcano, that’s okay because you’re going to get wet going rafting and rappelling down tropical waterfalls — you’re in the rainforest! And the Pacific coast of Costa Rica is almost always sunny and nice any time of year. Hope this helps! – Christine

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