Is a Thursday to Sunday trip to Costa Rica advisable?
September 25, 2013 1:30 PM   Subscribe

Arriving noon on thursday in San Jose, departing 11am from San Jose. Would you say this is worth it and if so, where would you recommend going?

Beaches/hiking/relaxing are what we're looking for. Could go either resort or hostel. Will need to be only one place, don't want to stay in SJ. Seems like it might not be enough time, but if we can just get to a place on Thursday, spend the rest of the time relaxing on the beach or hiking around, it might be perfect. What do you think?
posted by czytm to Travel & Transportation around Costa Rica (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think if you got a flight immediately out to Tamarindo or somewhere, it miiight work but I wouldn't do it. It's not enough time. It takes forever to get anywhere in Costa Rica (and that's part of the fun IMO).

Do you want to fly internally? Also, the planes are tiny. And yea, San Jose is not a place to stay for much time at all.
posted by sweetkid at 1:46 PM on September 25, 2013

My fiancee and I spent about 10 days in Costa Rica. A few days each in Tamarindo, Arenal, Monte Verde and one inadvisable day in San Jose. Tamarindo was wonderful for beach and surfing. We really liked hiking around Arenal and Monteverde too. We took buses, but if we had to do it over we would pay extra and fly. Flights are faster and more comfortable.

MeMail me for cheap accommodation recommendations.
posted by KevCed at 2:25 PM on September 25, 2013

if you grab a plane straight to the beach -- Tamarindo's a good one, or Manuel Antonio, both have great beaches and hiking opportunities -- and money's not a huge concern (as in, a few days still feels worth the ticket investment) why not? I've been on Central America press trips of similar length that crammed even more in there. the key really is the transportation: taking a pre-booked flight (like Nature Air) immediately after passing through customs, and making sure you've booked transport from your destination airport straight to your accommodations. you'll still get two full beach days.
posted by changeling at 2:40 PM on September 25, 2013

I did this earlier this year, save for one extra day (Thursday-Monday trip). I was primarily there to visit my best friend in San Jose (which everyone is going to tell you to avoid, but if you can spare a few hours I think a walk around the downtown area is worth it, some interesting architecture and parks and it's always interesting to see how people live in other places), and I had a blast. We took the bus to La Fortuna (beautiful town by the Arenal volcano and known for its hot springs and hiking) which was only about 3 hours--if you're adventurous and the time isn't too long to where you want to go, I would recommend the bus--great way to see the countryside.

I certainly would have liked more time there, but my 4 day trip was great and most definitely worth the ticket.
posted by msjoannabanana at 2:50 PM on September 25, 2013

If you are talking about this upcoming weekend, I think the weather would be ok. It seems like the Pacific ocean is getting most of the tropical storm activity this season (especially China), but I am not a meteorologist, and this is not meteorology advice.
posted by oceanjesse at 2:50 PM on September 25, 2013

I went to CR for about a week, but I stayed in a place that was only a short drive from San Jose. This is the place, in Atenas. The listing says it's only 30 mins from the airport but I think it took us about 45. Regardless, it was easy to get to, and the nearby town is quiet, not touristy, a nice place with great food and friendly people. Even just walking in the area around the house was beautiful, and the house itself was spectacular and definitely great for relaxing.

My opinion is that if you're willing to give up the idea of staying at the beach, go for it, stay at a place like this where you can just enjoy being in CR and not take long to get to where you're staying. We saw plenty of awesome tropical birds just sitting out on the porch there, and Manuel Antonio was a (slightly long drive-ish) day trip from there. We did another day trip to the Poas volcano park, also awesome. I think you would want to only do one day trip though given your time limitations. But I am sure it would still be enjoyable.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 3:48 PM on September 25, 2013

I travel the world one weekend at a time. I've done Tokyo for a weekend, Singapore for the weekend, Australia for the weekend, all from the USA. And I've done Costa rica for the weekend. We stayed near La fortuna and had a blast and it was pretty relaxing. Here is the itinerary:
posted by TestamentToGrace at 5:36 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just returned from CR last week - was there for work (first two days) and then the next four were free for us to look around. My spouse isn't a beach-type person, so when we were in CR I was able to book a 3 day, 2 night stay in Monteverde via Anywhere Costa Rica. Can't recommend them enough, they were fantastic, even open until 9pm in the evening when I hadn't made plans for the following day for the spouse (she went on two day-trips from San Jose while I was working).

I'd prioritize what kind of place to stay in CR (beach or mountain) and then either give them a call or do an online chat. They are very patient, flexible and patient when it comes to planning a trip. It was our first trip and likely not our last, CR is a great place to visit.
posted by scooterdog at 7:35 PM on September 25, 2013

I write to you from a hotel room in Costa Rica. I'm here for work but the country is beautiful and the people are friendly. Only you can say if the cost of your flights and travel time is worth it. Depending on which beach you target you may not be that far away. We made from Escazu (near the airport) to Jaco in 90 minutes or so last Saturday and I imagine the traffic on a Thursday afternoon is less. Likewise returning from Puenta Leonas only took us about 70 minutes to return.
posted by mmascolino at 11:14 PM on September 25, 2013

If you could fly into Liberia instead of San Jose you'd be much closer to beaches, etc.
posted by zeikka at 10:55 AM on September 26, 2013

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