Trip Coach: October 24, 2006 Rob Hodel from Tico Travel answered your questions about Costa Rica Budget Travel Tuesday, Oct 24, 2006, 2:10 PM Budget Travel LLC, 2016


Trip Coach: October 24, 2006

Rob Hodel from Tico Travel answered your questions about Costa Rica

 Rob Hodel:
Hello Everyone! Buenos Dias! My name is Rob Hodel and I am your Trip Coach for Costa Rica. Thanks for the great response and great questions. It is refreshing to be able to talk with experienced travelers that get it!

First a little background about myself. I have been living in Costa Rica for the past 15 years after moving there to start Tico Travel with my brother Steve. I speak fluent Spanish and along with Tico Travel we also have our own hotel and even a sports bar in San Jose. Being involved in these businesses gives me access and insight into many different sources of travel information.

 My main job has been to travel around and keep on top of all the people and places we work with while Steve runs the office in Fort Lauderdale and is the tough negotiator that gets us the great airfare prices we are famous for.

I am going to try to answer all of these questions with all the specificity that time allows but in case I do not answer your question completely or do not get to it I will be available at the Tico Travel office ( for one more day before I go back to Costa Rica.

Thanks again for the questions! 


Orinda, CA: Hi Rob- Looking for a low-key inexpensive beach place -- I like to swim and if possible snorkel. Pacific or Cahuita? 1-2 adults will be there for 2-3wks in Feb.

Rob Hodel: If you want a low key place I would go to Drake's Bay, it is a little hard to get to but that is why its low key, try Corcovado Expeditions, ask for Carlos. On the Caribbean side the best snorkeling is in Cahuita but its not very low key. The best option is going just over the border to Panama to Bocas del Toro. Its cheap and has some of the best snorkeling anywhere. Its just beginning to get discovered so hurry!


Orinda, CA: How long does it takes to drive to Arenal from the San Jose area? Are reservations a must these days? We are 2 middle-aged adults traveling in Feb. (I lived there in 60's and 70's).

Rob Hodel: The drive time to Arenal is about 3 ½ hours. Depending on the time of year you may be able to "wing it" but I would suggest that you reserve in advance for February. Most hotels charge the same price if you book in advance and after a drive like that you do not want to have to shop for a room. Try Arenal Paraiso or Montana del Fuego for two mid range options. If they are full let me know and I will suggest some others. You are going to see quite a difference from when you where there last in some ways but the feeling is still the same, friendly and welcoming.


Lakewood, CA: Will be in Costa Rica 12/1/06 -12/15/06. Going to Arenal, Manuel Antonio, Tortuguero, and Monte Verde, and staying at local hotels. Our family-- 56 yr. old woman, 43 yr. old man, 10 yr. old boy. My Dr. has asked which kinds of malaria strains are present, so she knows which pills to give us. Also, I'm reluctant to use mosquito spray with DEET. Will the botanical ones work, or not? Are there weight limits on the trams/aerial bridges, etc? One of the people in our group weighs 300 lbs. And what about the small boats to Tortuguero, will that be a problem? We are taking our 10 year old son. Any special words of caution or must-sees? And, are there any 1 or 2 rated rafting trips?

Rob Hodel: I would not suggest any malaria medication for two reasons. First there is almost no malaria in Costa Rica, if any at all although its considered in the "malaria zone." The other is the very sever risk of side effects that this medication can cause. I have seen it and its just not worth it. DEET supposedly has a rival in a new product by Cutters Advanced My partner at swears by it Most canopy tours are rated to 250 lb capacity. You can still get the tree top experience by trying the walking bridges. The boats will not present a problem for you. There are a couple of level 1 and two rivers, the Corobici being the most gentle. Try more options or


Beckley, WV: My brother and I will be traveling to Playa Herradura, Costa Rica Feb. 7-13, 2007. We enjoy the outdoors, and snorkeling and want to soak up all of the culture we can. We want to see and do as much sightseeing as possible to all the local attractions such as the rainforest. Can you recommend a reputable tour company to contact? Also, is there a specific taxi company you would recommend? Thanks so much!!! Gail

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