Trip Coach: October 24, 2006

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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 (ticotravel.com) for one more day before I go back to Costa Rica.

Thanks again for the questions! 
 Rob

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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!

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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.

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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 CentralAmerica.com 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 http://centralamerica.com/cr/raft/aventuras.htmfor more options or RiosTropicales.com

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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

Rob Hodel: When you say Herradura I assume you mean Los Suenos. If so contact Joaquin at StayinCostaRica.com and tell him I sent you. They can handle it all for you in a professional way.

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Dumont, IA: What would you suggest to be a good area to base ourselves with only 4 or 5 nights to stay? Are Visa debit cards widely accepted, or is a credit card or trav. checks preferred? Should a person be vaccinated for malaria or anything similar to that?

Rob Hodel: If you have just four or five days I would suggest the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area for a base. Visa cards are accepted widely and so I would only take an emergency supply of Travelers Checks. Travelers Checks are sometimes tough to change and the exchange rate stinks. However, they are a lifesaver if you need them and since they are in dollars they never expire so you can keep them for your next trip. I have some over 21 years old! Forget the malaria concerns. You have a better chance of being eaten by a Polar Bear.

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 Toronto, Ontario, Canada: In Monteverde, please recommend the safest and best canopy tour for family of five: two adults, three children ages 8, 11 and 13. Will be there March 7-17, 2007. Thanks, Heather

Rob Hodel: I suggest Selvatura in Monteverde.

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Margate, FL: When can I get the cheapest airfare next year (2007) to San Jose, Costa Rica and what is the price?

Rob Hodel: Unlike last year there are no super cheap deals on the horizon so I would book in advance. Out of south Florida Lacsa or taca tend to have the best fares, so does Martinair and America. CostaRicaAirfare.com allows you to try many dates whenever you want.

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Melville, NY: We are on a cruise ship that docks at Puntarenas on Feb.6 for the day (8 AM to 6 PM). Our ages are from 60 to 75. We would be interested in a Canopy Tour (or is it a zip line tour?). Do you know of any companies offering such tours near Puntarenas that would also include transfers from, and then to the ship? Where would the nearest Canopy area be located?

Rob Hodel: Great Question. The answer is the Original Canopy Tour in San Mateo. (http://www.centralamerica.com/cr/tours/canopy.htm).

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San Jose, CA: What's the best way to get to Dominical? Is there a cell phone in the US that will work in Costa Rica?

Rob Hodel: Driving from San Jose I would go via Cerro de la Muerte and San Isidro. I suggest going in the early morning since it can fog over and NEVER at night. There are no domestic flights to Dominical. Cell phones tend to work only around the main cities and are very expensive. There are many internet cafes that have VOIP phones and most grocery stores cell phone cards. If you insist then your cell carrier may have a plan in place.

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Newbury, OH: We'd like to rent a house in Costa Rica for a month in May, 2007. Suggestions?

Rob Hodel: Try Hotel Sugar Beach, StayinCostaRica.com or in Manuel Antonio there are several more options. It tens to be a pricey affair.

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Portland, OR: My wife and I will be traveling to Costa Rica the week of Thanksgiving and will be staying at the Ecoplaya Beach Resort in the province of Guanacaste. We are interested in visiting Nicaragua sometime during our stay, but have not seen any day tours originating in Costa Rica. We will have a car, but I am not sure whether traveling to Nicaragua by car is a wise idea. Can you provide some guidance?

Rob Hodel: Nicaragua is a great side trip but your insurance on the car will not work and the car is not yours to take out of the country. Take a two night tour that includes Granada and you will not have to drive. Granada is a walking city that is a must see.

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New Kent, VA: How important is it to rent a car ahead of time when going to a foreign country like Costa Rica over Christmas holidays? Or can I just show up and get a better deal?

Rob Hodel: Over Christmas a resrvation is absolutely needed since locals rent them as well to go to the beach for vacation. There are three companies to use. Europcar, Adobe or Mapache rent a car. There is a lot of confusion on prices and many companies charge an aiport fee, license fee, and insurance of up to additional $200 a week. Its a real struggle to make sure there are no surprise charges http://www.ticotravel.com/costarica/car.htm

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Summit, NJ: What is the best time of day to see the arenal volcano? and are the springs accessible in the morning? Do you need to pay to see the springs thru the hotel Tabacon? I am planning a trip with the family to Costa Rica in April 2007, after Easter. Flying in and out of San Jose. Kids are 6 and 8 yrs. We are planning to stay at the marriott los suenos for the first couple of days (see Manuel Antonio) and then go to the Arenal/Springs, staying at Paradisus Play Conchal. Thank you. Marc

Rob Hodel: To see the volcano spewing lava at night is a real treat but its up to mother nature, otherwise the early morning is best before the top has a chance to gather clouds. You need to pay to go to Tabacon and there is a limit on the number of people. It tends to get very crowded. The Kioro hotel (http://www.ticotravel.com/hotels/kioro.htm) is new and has their own hot springs. There is a new super resort being built by the people from La Paz Waterfall gardens that should be open then and I am sure it will be unbelievable given what they have done so far. Do not try to do day tours to Arenal from Conchal its way too far. Stay at Kioro or the new hotel I mentioned if possible.

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Northbrook, IL: I am researching different tours--one of them has a tractor experience out of, or into, the rain forest. Is this advisable for older people--perhaps with back problems? How long is the ride?

Rob Hodel: You are talking about Selva Verde. If you are having problems with your back there is little they can do for you once the tractor is in the jungle so I would take that into consideration. Why not go to Tortuguerro? The two night tours are a great value, you see alot and its not too demanding.

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Oak Harbor, WA: My husband , an avid birder, uses crutches and would love to "bird" C.R. Can you recommend a person or site that would enable him to do this? Thank you.

Rob Hodel: There are many different micro climates to "bird" in. Tortuguerro (Great Curacao), Arenal (toucans, fly catchers, trogons,) Osa (Scarlet Macaws, Fire Billed aracarie), and Cerro de la Muerte (Quetazels) all have great birding opportunities and each has a different variety of species to choose from. You can then easily find local guides from most hotels in the area.

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Dauphin Manitoba, Canada: We are starting to plan for a trip in 2 years time. We would like to take our children to Costa Rica for 10 - 14 days. They will be 7 and 10 at that time. We would like to see volcaoes, zipline through the rain forest, see some local culture and spend some time at the beach. Can you suggest some other activities and a possible itinerary that will be family friendly? Would we be better off on a tour, based at a resort (and go on day trips) or a self-drive trip? Our kids are good travelers and are very curious. My husband and I both like adventurous travel (we backpacked through Turkey) and resort vacations. Also - When should we go? We are teachers and can only go at Christmas or July/Aug. Thank you very much.

Rob Hodel: I will take the last part first. Please avoid Christmas and New years wherever possible. Its vacation time in Costa Rica too and the beaches are very crowded with tourists and locals. Restaurants take forever, rooms are going for a premium, and its just not what you came to Costa Rica for. The self drive is the way to go. Costa Rica is safe and friendly and you will discover "hidden gems" on your own. I prefer the southwest part of the country as the most authentic and untouched. Go to Drake's Bay or the south side of the Osa Penninsula. Maybe the kids will want to learn to surf or go on a night tour of the jungle with miner lamps?

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Dalemead, Alberta, Canada: We are two families, 4 adults, 2-6 yr olds, 1-3 yr old and an infant that are trying to plan a trip to Costa Rica in late February '07 for 10 days. We want to see more than a beach and an all-inclusive hotel, but at the same time realize long days of traveling from A to B are out of the question. Any suggestions on where to stay and things to do with the kids?

Rob Hodel: I have a small write up on hotels and hotels for families. Check it out at http://www.ticotravel.com/index/toursmain.htm. If you have anymore questions let me know.

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Charleston, SC: My wife and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica in December. We are interested in body boarding, not surfing, so we'd like to find a place with medium size waves --not tsunami size waves the surfers are chasing. Also we would like to stay in an upscale, not a budget hotel/resort. Any recommendations of accommodations that meet our two needs? John

Rob Hodel: It's a little late for Christmas but I would first try http://www.ticotravel.com/hotels/florblanca.htm It's fantastic and right on a nice break.

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New York, NY: How difficult is it for a US citizen to get married in Costa Rica? What are the requirements, and where are some of the best spots for a wedding?

Rob Hodel: It's a little tricky but very possible. The experts at the peace Lodge do the best job. The have been written up on the Travel Channel and the place is perfect for a honeymoon. They handle everything including the legalize. http://www.ticotravel.com/hotels/peace.htm

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Austin, TX: Weather-wise, when is the best time to visit Costa Rica? I've heard answers of all sorts. Is there a time of year when there is less rainfall?

Rob Hodel: I was just in Austin, the greatest town for live music (and food) in the world for the Rolling Stones concert. Anyway, absolutely, the driest time in Costa Rica is January through March, although they only time I would say weather is a true factor is September and October.

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Ogden , UT: My wife and I are going to travel to Costa Rica a year from now. How much trouble is it to rent a car and drive from San Jose to Los Suenos Marriott Ocean and Golf Resort? Both of us are directionally challenged when it comes to driving in new cites or countries. What are our options? We are 55, and like new adventures. Thank you

Rob Hodel: If you like adventures than a drive to Los Suenos is just what you need! Make sure to stop at Steve and Lisa's restaurant on the beach for the world's best ceviche and a cold drink. Chances are you may see me there. Its only one or two turns from the airport to the coast so you should be just fine. Use Europcar, Adobe or Mapache for your car rental.

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Terre Haute, IN: I will be in San Jose, Costa Rica Oct. 25 to 30 on business. What would you recommend I see if I have 4 or 5 spare hours?

Rob Hodel: Well it depends on your interests but one place could be the Gold Musuem in downtown San Jose. Its a huge vault with a breath taking collection of pre Colombian gold treasures, you may have tome to get to waterfall gardens if you pay a cab ($50 each way) or less if he waits. Otherwise you could head over to Sabana Sur in San Jose to Mac's American Bar, a classic ex pat hang out with Tico and Gringo food and sports. Tell Pipo I sent you.

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South Bend, IN: What is the cheappest airlines to fly to Costa Rica? I'll be flying from Chicago. Also, where is a good place to stay in Jaco, Costa Rica? I have heard it is not wise to drive down there...is that true? Thank you, Mike

Rob Hodel: From Chicago its US Airays, American and United. US Airways is most often the cheapest. Try CostaRicaAirfare.com for the best rates and try mid week dates. In Jaco their is a porrly named but nice place called Arenal Pacifico that is right on the beach, small and clean. Driving is fine, you just need to use "rural rules" which means stop signs and red lights are just "suggestions"

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Pottstown, PA: I am traveling to Costa Rica in March 2007 and will take a cruise on the western coast. We plan to stay in San Jose for 2 days prior to the cruise and want to tour places that are either on the eastern coast or more central. What places would you recommend that we visit? Please suggest things that we should not miss. We are up for almost anything.

Rob Hodel: Your cruise will most likely take you to the coast and surrounding areas so I would suggest that you go to the Arenal Volcano and/or Tortuguerro on the Caribbean. Ther are day tours to both. Try http://centralamerica.com/cr/tours/index.htm and ask for Paula or Randall

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Cape Cod, MA: Rob, Where would you stay in downtown Quepos? Would you recommend the La Sirena Hotel in Quepos?

Rob Hodel: There are only two options in downtown. The Best Western or the Sirena. My friends stay at the Sirena. It does not have a restaurant but the best places in the area to eat are in walking distance. Try the Gran Escape, Rancho Leon, Wacky Wanda's or Dos Locos. Its a fun place to stay.

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Phoenix, AZ: I will be in San Jose, CR 12/22-24 and would like some suggestions on half-day to full-day scenic trips to the interior of the country. Where are some good hiking spots and which volcanic park is the closest from the capital? Thanks. Steve

Rob Hodel: The volcanos in the area of San Jose are Poas and Irazu. The Irazu is higher and is usually clearer, especially in the am. Chiripo is further away but better for hiking. http://centralamerica.com/cr/tours/index.htm Has day tours and can help you find a good trekking company.

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Fresno, CA: My husband and I plan a trip to Costa Rica January 18th with Caravan Tours. Can you discuss what we can expect weather-wise? Regarding footware, do you advise hiking-type entire foot covering including sox, or water type Keen sandals with closed toes and more open heels? We used the sandals in the Galapagos hiking on rough and slippery ground and they were perfect. Both have rubber soles. Will we experience a lot of rain? We are also concerned about insect bites at that time of year. Can you address that problem and what works best in the way of repellent? Thank you very much.

Rob Hodel: The weather in January should be dry for the most part and warm. I prefer closed shoes but open sandals will be fine in most places (ants are my bugaboo). You should use repellent at dawn and dusk. Otherwise it is not really an issues. Nonetheless as my friend Mustache says, "its repellent and not antidote" so it only works if you put it on before you get bit.

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Redding, CA: I am traveling via car from Tamarando to Quepos in two weeks. I want to "camp" and stay along the beach etc. I have a 4X4 that I can sleep in. Is this safe? Do you have an recommendations of where to camp/stay? Also, any reccomendations for sailing trips between Tamarando and Quepos, and surf instructors? Lastly, do you suggest changing my American dollar into local currency or can I navigate Costa Rica on my dollar? Thanks!

Rob Hodel: I am glad you asked this. There are plenty of places called "Cabinas" that are not really hotels but are clean and rustic. You do not need to camp in your car. If you insist there is Santa Rosa National Park with the famous Witches Rock at your feet. If you want surf lessons http://centralamerica.com/cr/tours/index.htm is located in Quepos. There are no boats that travel on a schedule between Tamarindo and Quepos. While dollars are accepted a lot you should always have colones (Costa Rica money) at hand for small purchases. Bills larger than $20 are not widely accepted nor any bills if they have ANY rip or tear in them.

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Edmond, OK: We are thinking of visiting Costa Rico in December(after the 10th) or in January 2007. Is it too late to arrange a trip there now? We'd like to do Arenal and the mud baths, a zip line through the forest, maybe a raft trip and some beach time (3 adults who are scuba divers). Think we have a chance at this late date???

Rob Hodel: Its late, very late. Nontheless try Ocotal Resort for diving and the Kiro Hotel at Arenal since not many people know its open yet. Its pricey but worth it. If you need more help let me know.

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Miami, FL: I am planning a 1 week trip with my family soon, we are 4, I have 2 sons 9 and 7 years old. We plan to go surfing and visit waterfalls. I need the surf to be safe for them, what location is best Quepos/Dominical or NW Guanacaste/Tamarindo ? Thanks

Rob Hodel: The break at Playa Grande and Tamrindo is best for the kids but Dominical is better for waterfalls.

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Alexandria, VA: How much time does it take to do Arenal/Monte Verde? We've planned two days, one for the volcano and another for the Cloud Forest, but is it possible to do both in one day? Thank you for taking my question!

Rob Hodel: I am glad you asked this one. The answer is that for two days you should choose either Arenal OR Monteverde because the drive to Monteverde to Arenal takes a good part of a day and then you want to be there in the am to see the reserve. I know they look close on a map but its too much to try to do both.

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Atlantic City, NJ: Rob.....I was thinking of buying a condo unit from the Costa Real project in Bejuco Beach area. I missed the boat on their Costa del Sol project out of fear & hesitation about buying property in CR. I am currently on their waiting list for the new project, but I was wondering if you have been to/heard about these developments?

Rob Hodel: Bob, There are several projects underway. I too did not by at Los Suenos for $150k and now they are going for over $750K! Some expert huh? It depends on why you are buying and what climate and amenities you are looking for but I do know of many nnet ones on the horizon.

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Albuquerque, NM: My family (son 16 yrs., daughter 20 and my husband and I) are interested in spending several days in the Southern Nicoya Peninsula area in late May or early June '07, as part of a 10 day trip. That's about the only time we can take this trip, but I'm concerned about it being the wet season. Is it likely to be too wet to enjoy the beach? Also, are any of the beaches in the Montezuma or Santa Teresa areas good for swimming - everything I read only talks about the surfing. Thanks for your expert advice!

Rob Hodel: Do not worry about the weather, in fact May and the first part of June is one of the best times. You may get some clouds and rain here and there but its nothing that will get in the way. Swimming is best away from the surfing beaches due to the rip currents but there a few places in Tambor area that are great for swimming.

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St. Louis, MO: Looking at Costa Rica for our honeymoon but, unsure what regions to visit. Looking to do active things (rafting, hiking, canopy tours, etc) for 4-5 days, then relax on the beach for another 4-5 days. We like to be off the beaten path a little bit. We have a disgust for big resorts and alot of tourists. After researching, we were thinking of Arenal area and Manuel Antonio. But, we met someone who told us Manuel is crowded, that we should try Nicoya Pennisula. Can you help?

Rob Hodel: Bosque del Cabo is one of my favorites or try Lapa Rios. No crowds, lots of great things to do. Rafting is best out of San Jose and you will need the night before and after your rafting to stay in San Jose. Try Grano de Oro in the City or Peace Lodge.

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Chicopee, MA: Hi Rob, I have 4 couples (mid to late 50's) not super active, who are interested in spending a week at a nice beach in Costa Rica. All inclusive is okay too. We normally fly out of Hartford, CT but can fly out of Boston. Are there any 'deals' to be had the first week of February or late January? None of us have been to Costa Rica and would love to visit. Many of the trips I've found online are for more active, adventurous types. Thank you. Ann

Rob Hodel: You may be able to get into Liberia airport with American Airlines. If so then think about Conchal. Otherwise go to manual Antnio and go to Costa Verde or the Mariposa.

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East Brunswick, NJ: 2 couples (late 50's early 60's) looking for Costa Rica sightseeing and a little beach Jan. 18-29, without renting a car. Willing to spend $150 p/p per day without airfare. Combination of luxury/standard accomodations. Caravan tours has a tour then. Can we do a better itinerary on our own without renting a car? Would love to not use such an organized tour but find arrangements difficulty for this trip. We did not find others that had some free time but still meet our dates. We usually travel city to city by train and explore on our own.

Rob Hodel: You can have a great trip with this budget. I would have you fly to two areas and explore from there. Take a look at this http://centralamerica.com/cr/tours/index.htm or http://www.ticotravel.com/hotels/aguila.htm The idea would be to see the great jungle in the south and then head off to either Arenal or to Conchal in the north. http://www.ticotravel.com/hotels/conchal_paradisus.htm If you do like organized tours than do not start to try them in Costa Rica. Its the type of place you can explore on your own.

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New York, NY: Looking for an organization that will combine touring and spanish immersion in Costa Rica. Any ideas? Thanks

Rob Hodel: Try Conversa in San Jose, Escuela de Amor in Manuel Antonio. The US Cultural Center has some great home stays with clases and they organize some activities.

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Sarver, PA: With so many different areas to choose from, what area would you suggest for the best snorkeling adventures?

Rob Hodel: I would suggest the Bat Islands with Ocotal Resort or Resort Divers, Cano island from Drake's Bay or maybe head' just over the border to Bocas del Toro Panama. Cahuita has a nice park but there are some issues with drugs in the town along with Puerto Viejo. It's a shame but its a fact.

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New Britain, CT: I would like to take some of my urban high school Spanish students on a trip to Latin America - and Costa Rica is a gorgeous country! Many of my students are either Puerto Rican, or of Puerto Rican heritage and speak some Spanish. They are also largely quite poor, although most of them over 16 have jobs and would be able to save up for a trip. Do you have any suggestions for an affordable educational trip in Costa Rica? Preferably one to somewhere where good environmental practices are encouraged, such as as eco-resorts? I want them to have a pleasant travel experience but also to learn how - and why - to live lightly on the earth. (And any advice on how to plan one from start to finish?)

Rob Hodel: Please contact the US Cultural Center in San Jose. There are also programs in Ostional and the Osa Pennisnsula, try the Corcovado Foundation as well.

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Portland, OR: My boyfriend and I (ages 35 and 37) are going to be in Costa Rica from Nov 2 - 13, 2006 (flying in and out of San Jose). We have hotel reservations for the first 5 nights of the trip and the last night of the trip. We are renting an SUV and plan to play the rest by ear once we arrive. Is it too close to "high season" for us to do this? Should we scramble to make a plan and get hotel reservations for the rest of our time there before we leave for our trip? Also, we made our hotel reservations about 5 months ago. Should we re-confirm those before we go? Thank you! -Beth

Rob Hodel: No problem with crowds at that time so feel free to rent the car and wing it. I would reconfirm because you never know....especially in the tropics.

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 Azusa, CA: My husband and I (both 25) are a looking for a relaxing one week beach vacation. More specifically, we are looking for a vacation spot that is romantic, not too crowded, fairly inexpensive, can provide some Costa Rican adventure (maybe a nearby rainforest?) and provides a great glimpse of Costa Rica culture and food (we love exotic food). Also, what summer month is the best time to go?

Rob Hodel: The best summer months are May and June, July and August tend to get more crowded. For romance and great food try Flor Blanca in Mal Pais but book it now because they only have a few casitas and they get all the celebs these days.

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Bowie, MD: My husband and I will be celebrating our 4th anniversary next month and are considering a belated anniversary trip to Costa Rica, Nov 30-Dec 4. While I love adventure and eco-escapes, my husband isn't partial to either. The primary goal of our trip is R&R (we have son who will be 3 in Dec and both have very challenging jobs), and would like to spend most of our time relaxing on the beach with one day dedicated to sightseeing. Can you provide some options, and the best places to see/stay that will accomplish all in 5 days, 4 nts.? Thanks!

Rob Hodel: There are only a few places that have their own beach that allow you to completely unwind. Try Conchal if you do not mind spending a little money, Los Suenos does not have best beach but great amenities. Capitan Suizo south of Tamarindo is very nice too.

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St. Paul, MN: My boyfriend and I are going to Costa Rica from January 12 through January 20 of next year. We're flying into San Jose and were thinking about visiting the following areas: the Arenal Volcano/Tabacon Hotsprings/Monteverde Forest area, Nicoya Peninsula, and Manuel Antonio park. We were thinking about making a loop around to the three locations and then back to San Jose. What do you suggest for the best mode of transportation to our different destinations? Are there any other must see places that you suggest we visit along the way? Thanks for the help!

Rob Hodel: The most efficient way time and money wise to do this is with a 4x4 rental. One word of caution, these are actually four areas, not three. Arenal and Monteverde are two stops despite how close they look on a map. Check out my little intro on planning at... http://www.ticotravel.com/index/toursmain.htm or http://centralamerica.com/cr/vacation/vcustom.htm. I think you will need to skip one of these areas in order not to spend your vacation in the rental car.

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Rob Hodel: Well I think I was able to get to everyone. You guys had alot of really good questions. I have to confess that I even had to cheat a little and make some calls while online to double check a few answers!

On behalf of everyone here at Tico Travel I wish you a safe and pleasant journey to my adopted home, Costa Rica. If we can be of any help in answering your questions in the future feel free to contact us or the experts at BudgetTravelOnline.

Pura Vida! 
 Rob Hodel

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