Costa Rica 2 Week Itinerary?

I will be traveling with my girlfriend to CR from Dec 7-21. Current plan: Arrive in San Jose and stay at Galileo Hostel for one night. Leave for Arenal via public bus the next morning. Stay two nights in El Castillo rather than Fortuna. Jeep-boat-Jeep or horseback to Monteverde for 2-3 nights. Take the public bus to Puntarenas, ferry over to the beaches. Travel north over the next week via hitchhiking and public bus spending the night at random beach towns whenever we feel like it. When we get to the far north we’ll take a public bus from to San Jose via Liberia. Fly home.

Should I do Monteverde first and then do the beaches from north to south or stick with my plan?

Any tips for public buses, hitchhiking? In particular, is it just as easy to catch a bus to Arenal/Monteverde from Alejuelah as San Jose?

Any other thoughts or tips from experienced CR travelers would be appreciated.

We’re mid 20’s – going to relax and see another part of the world. We like to drink and have fun but have no interest in clubbing.

Cheers!

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2 Responses to Costa Rica 2 Week Itinerary?

  1. Jenn K October 23, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    Fully support staying in El Castillo”it is the only spot from whcih there is actual view of lava flow at night and it is much less touristy!

    both jeep boat jeep and jeep boat horse are great options to get to monteverde. make sure that while in monteverde yo visit the reserve–splurge the extra $17 each for a guide–worth their weight in gold to ensure good wildlife viewing! Of the zipline tours, I prefer Extremo for teh borad panoramic vistas of the Gulf of Nicoya. Check out the Ranario (frog pond) as well as the Butterfly MUSEUM up in Selvatura. it is called the Jewels of the Rainforest and is written up in ALL of the guide books.

    You´ll have to bus out at 6Am to get down to Puntarenas for the Ferry. Once across I strongly recommend Malpais, Sanat Theresa area. Playa Samara and Carillo are beautiful as well. If yo have time up by Liberia, check out Rincon de la Vieja park–up close and personal with a volcano–boiling mud pits, fumaroles, waterfallsa dn good animal life.

    Get in contact if you have specific questions about anything. i spent my entire first year here backpacking around before I moved down here and opened a small hotel.

  2. Kristina L October 23, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    I haven’t ever hitchhiked in Costa Rica, so I can’t help you there. A few comments though….

    The public bus can be very long and uncomfortable. If you have the option of getting an "express" bus – take it, much better. The bus will be easier if at least one of you speaks spanish. The one time I did the public bus, I found that no one speaks english. Not the ticket seller, not the bus driver, not the people on the bus. Made it difficult to ask questions and clarify destination, especially when we had to change buses. English is spoken regularly around the tourist areas, but no so much in the general population.

    In regards to the Jeep/Boat/Jeep or Jeep/Boat/Horse – don’t do the horse unless you are experienced riders. Its a long ride, and you bum will be so bruised you can’t sit right for days, if you don’t know how to ride.