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Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Costa Rica Expat Forum

Exploring the country

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Phrysia
7/19/2022 14:18 EST

We have never been to Costa Rica and want to make an exploratory trip. What is a good way to visit and learn about different areas of the country? A package tour? Get a hotel in San Juan and explore from there?

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DigitalNomad2022
7/21/2022 10:47 EST

Hi Phrysia,

My husband and I (he's also retiring in a few years and is 100% remote) did our exploratory trip in February 2021. We thought we would like to be in Guanacaste or the southern zone and so spent 2+ weeks exploring those areas. It is a big country to cover so narrowing down your areas would be a good idea. We wanted to be near the ocean, but also not too far from SJ to fly home and to access bigger hospitals. We were surprised to discover local airports that make getting to the Southern Zone, for example where we landed, super easy and easy for friends/family to get to us.
Unless you are considering living in SJ I would head out straight away. You'll have plenty of time to explore SJ if you want later. There are so so many lovely small hotels and casitas for rent it's a great way to meet people and see the countryside. We used AirBnB almost exclusively. They do have small hotel/villa listings, for example we found a casita that an architect built in her back yard which was absolutely lovely.
Other info:
-Consider flying into Liberia Int'l airport- so much easier to exit the area than SJ which was quite challenging for us the 1st time and LOTS of traffic.
-Most people speak english. People are soo friendly and want to be helpful. It's been a great experience in that way.
-We've had great service thru Adobe car rental and get a special price thru My Tan Feet. If you use Amex you don't need the extra mandatory insurance which is expensive. Agree with the 4WD plan.
-We use to bring lots of colones ($), but now using a debit card that almost everyone takes which is easier and allows better tracking of expenses
-Visit grocery stores
Sorry couldn't update my profile- a bit about us: The home we began building less than a year ago is days away from being finished. We are in CR now, but will move full time Spring 2023 as I just landed a 100% remote job (yay!). As I mentioned my husband is retiring in a few years, but I have about 10 more years in the work force.
Best of Luck!
Lisa

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Phrysia
7/20/2022 13:09 EST

That sounds like great advice. Thanks very much.

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Taosmountainhouse
7/20/2022 10:50 EST

We flew into San Jose and rented a car. We had an itinerary laid out and quickly discovered Costa Rica is a big place. To really learn about and experience the whole country is not a quick tour.
Roads are generally good, but having a car with adequate power and/or 4x4 capability (we had a small SUV) is a good idea if you want to be able to go around in the mountains.
You can find a lot on youtube, tours of areas that address climate, distance and amenities.

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