Costa Rica advice

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by whizzerwheel, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. whizzerwheel

    whizzerwheel Easily distracted Supporter

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    The wife and I are celebrating our 25th and pretty sure we're going to Costa Rica riding. She suggested it.....:D But two-up. She found a trip where the bike and hotels and suggested route are all included in one price.

    Never been there before and I'm wondering if we should just rent a bike and ride... and end up where we end up at the end of the day or would we be better off on a recommended route where the hotels are pre-arranged.

    I guess what I'm asking is, are the hotels easy to walk into and book, or are reservations needed. Will we resent having to be at a prearranged hotel once we get there?

    Thanks for your advice.
    #1
  2. PunkinHead

    PunkinHead Moobless Adventurer Supporter

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    Last year a friend and I did one of the unguided tours where the route was pre-planned and the hotels were booked. My friend wouldn't have been comfortable just heading out on our own, so this made him most comfortable. We had a great time, but I would have much rather not had the hotels pre-arranged. We had bike trouble one day that put us way behind and we had to ride for several hours in the dark and rain on a dirt road that was under construction to get to our hotel that night. I hate being under any kind of pressure when I'm on vacation. We were there at the height of tourist season and I don't think any of the places we stayed were fully booked. We also stayed at more expensive places than I would have chosen. I'm not a cheapskate but I only need a clean place with a bed, not a "resort" for more than twice the price.

    My wife and I are leaving for Costa Rica this Saturday. This time we'll rent a bike from Wild Rider for a week. We plan to stay in a hotel just north of San Jose and do day trips and maybe one or two overnighters. Again, I'd rather just throw a bag on the bike and wander for a week, but I think this way will be more enjoyable for my wife.

    If your wife is game for just wandering without a real plan then that's definately the way to do it. That's my preferred method and it's how I travel when I'm alone. I'll be interested to hear other peoples' take on hotel availability, but I think you'll be fine.

    You'll love Costa Rica. It's absolutely beautiful.
    #2
  3. whizzerwheel

    whizzerwheel Easily distracted Supporter

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    Thanks PH, thats just the kind of advice I'm looking for.
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  4. jimmy2020

    jimmy2020 limpiador de ventanas

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    Last February, I was down in CR fow a few weeks. Half of the trip was motorcycling and the other half was spent surfing.
    The riding part, I did with a budddy from Canada. We rented bikes from Wild-Rider, and they were very good. I just talked with them yesterday, as I plan to do a solo trip this February for about 3 weeks.
    My buddy and I had no itenerary and no reservations except for a place to stay in San Jose for the night of arrival and departure.
    Everything worked out fantastic and never had a problem finding a place to stay.
    One thing that was extremely helpful was I purchased some software for maps of CR and downloaded them on to my GPS.
    http://www.navsatcr.com/index.php?lang=ing

    if you would like to contact me, I would be glad to give you more information.
    #4
  5. whizzerwheel

    whizzerwheel Easily distracted Supporter

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    Thanks Jimmy, I really appreciate the help.
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  6. BeachGuy

    BeachGuy Lost in paradise!

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    Let me add to the already excellent suggestion.
    1. Hotels are everywhere, between your destination, and at your destination.
    2. If you have never been to Costa Rica, then I would head towards the west and drop down to Playa Dominical in the Puntarenas region north to the frontier of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Nicaragua</st1:country-region></st1:place>. Following the beaches all the way north. If beaches are not your thing try the area in and around Arenal. More traffic to contined with but also more sighs to see and of course more hotels and restuarants. 3. The rainy season is just now stopping and I assume that you will be going before the high season ( Dec. to April).
    4. If you and your wife are going to be two-up, try to get a bike at least 650 cc. Pack light.
    5. Bring your own personal gear, helment and riding cloths, don't forget booths. The helments they will have I would not let a stray cat have a litter in.
    6. My vote if it counts, is to make your own plans and go. If you two are the type that needs company in a group ride, and want to make new friends from different parts of the globe, go with the planned ride. Either way you will have a blast.

    Pura Vida
    BeachGuy
    #6
  7. whizzerwheel

    whizzerwheel Easily distracted Supporter

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    Great information...thanks BG
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  8. PunkinHead

    PunkinHead Moobless Adventurer Supporter

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    Along those lines, be sure to ask about luggage when setting up the bike rental. Most come with none. I'll be taking a large tail bag and either a tank bag or ATV style tank panniers for the DR650 we're renting. That will give us enough room for overnight supplies. My wife might wear a small backpack too. The KTMs we rented last year had soft saddlebags, tail bag, and tank bag which had more than enough room for a weeks worth of stuff. Of course, you can bring your own bags.

    Buy a waterproof map - you can get them off ebay. I took a paper National Geographic map last year that disintegrated by the end of the trip. I considered taking a GPS, but that's one more thing I'd have to figure out how to secure from theft when off the bike. I'm taking small retractable cable locks to secure helmets/jackets/riding pants to the bike while we're hiking.

    For BeachGuy and other Ticos: what kind of shape are dirt roads in during raining season? We were there in dry season last year and there were no deep ruts that would tell me that the roads got really soft during the rainy season. I'm hoping that means we won't have too much mud to contend with. We could get to most things on pavement, but I really like exploring dirt roads.
    #8
  9. whizzerwheel

    whizzerwheel Easily distracted Supporter

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    I can't seem to get a call through to wild-riders...does anyone have an alternative phone number that I can actually talk to a person with? I have just been getting an answering machine in very fast spanish .... My spanish ain't so good.
    #9
  10. PunkinHead

    PunkinHead Moobless Adventurer Supporter

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    I got the same thing when I called. Use e-mail (info@wild-rider.com) and Thorsten will respond quickly.
    #10
  11. BeachGuy

    BeachGuy Lost in paradise!

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    Let’s start with gravel roads and there condition. The rain season is ending and the real dirt roads will be a challenge. You will need time and patience to do a lot of back roads. Mud, mud and still nastier mud. This is where your good booths will come in handy.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Phone calls to business in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Latin America</st1:place>. Yea right. Rule #1 in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Costa Rica</st1:place></st1:country-region>, its call Tico Time. The first Spanish word anybody should learn is “Tranquillo”, which means to be tranquil (don’t get in a hurry it will all happen in good time). <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Once you arrive in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Costa Rica</st1:place></st1:country-region> you will have reached your destination. The only thing left is the RIDE. Bring a camera, all the inmates will want to see pictures and a ride report, mostly pictures.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    BeachGuy<o:p></o:p>
    #11
  12. MCP

    MCP Been here awhile

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    Sorry Whizzerwheel, I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I'm thinking of the same trip, hope you don't mind.

    My wife and I are considering a trip to CR over Christmas, more expensive, yes I know, but thats the window I have.

    My preference is to pick up a bike (two up) then ride to a beach destination, small hotel, I'm not into resorts, then make day excursions from there. Three days later, ride to another area, hotel and day rides again.

    We have about 10 days, so can you suggest a few beach towns that are nice, not super developed and some "1 day trips from those towns"?

    What will accomodation be like then, fully booked or winging it is ok too.

    I was in CR 15 years ago, but don't remember much, except it was beautiful.

    thanks
    #12
  13. whizzerwheel

    whizzerwheel Easily distracted Supporter

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    No problem, all information is good...
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  14. GallopinTICO

    GallopinTICO Been here awhile

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    Dominical beach is one of the many beatifull places to ride, once your in CR, i will recommend it as well, and once there things to do and see are endless there are 2 ways to get there both very cool the way i would do it is this
    the first day u get the bike take interamericana south that will take u up the mountains where the weather is very pleasent and at times cool, this is call Cerro de la Muerte the very firts town u will see comming down the mountain is call Perez Zeledon from San Jose to this point taking your time for pics an food and admiring the scenery shoul not take more 4 hours from Perez Zeledon to Dominical it is only 45 minutes at the most, and the ride and views comming down from this mountains are just priceless,sick,ridicu... well u get the idea, once u are ready to leave Domi, thats how we call it in P.Z take the costanera north toward Quepos another place to do just about everything but a lot more gringos and turist in general from there u just keet on going to Jaco, Puntarenas until u are back in San Jose and ready to go back home :D hope this helps a little hotels are everywhere just depends in how much u want to pay for :deal no matter where u guys go in C R u will love it.
    PURA VIDA
    (thats just my 2 cents )Sorry but my ingles is better when i m talking :D :rofl
    #14
  15. PunkinHead

    PunkinHead Moobless Adventurer Supporter

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    Don't bother. Costa Rica isn't very scenic.

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    #15
  16. MCP

    MCP Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the great info,

    I need some time to look at a map, and I may have some follow ups.

    thanks again
    #16
  17. PunkinHead

    PunkinHead Moobless Adventurer Supporter

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    Acabamos de llegar en Costa Rica en un hotel con cerveza gratis! Mañana vamos a San Jose para alquilar la moto.
    #17
  18. whizzerwheel

    whizzerwheel Easily distracted Supporter

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    Gracias por la cerveza libre y direcciones. ¿Hacia dónde nos dirigimos siguientes?:freaky

    Thank you, bing translator.
    #18
  19. whizzerwheel

    whizzerwheel Easily distracted Supporter

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    We've just nailed down reservations for arrival and departure hotel and motorcycle rental. Wild-rider, Dec. 2-8)We're gonna wing the rest, thanks to all your fine recommendations. Two up on a XT600...guess its a huge step up from that two up moped in Bermuda a coupla years ago... If anybody else is gonna be in the area and wants to meet for a beer or two+...let me know.
    #19
  20. Bruce

    Bruce Adventurer

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    What is the best time of year to go and is it hard to get by if you can't speak Spanish
    #20