Over the next several weeks I will blog about the specific places we visited during our trip to Costa Rica. But I would like to start with some general comments.
We did an individually planned tour. Thus we had drivers meet us and transfer us to the various locations. This was done through our travel agent (A & S Signature Journeys) who we had used for a number of other trips we had enjoyed.
Getting out of passport control in San Jose, Costa Rica took us an hour. A number of international flights had landed at about the same time.
English is widely spoken and at the hotels and on the various tours it was 100%. I could understand some of the Spanish. It was not as fast as when it is spoken among my Spanish speaking friends and it seemed clearer.
Although the Colon is the official currency American dollars are widely accepted and prices are often quoted in both currencies. I was told that the exchange rate they give you when they charge you in dollars is not as great as when you charge in Colons and have your bank do the conversion. I would really suggest bringing American dollars for various tips. Just much easier.
In the Eastern part of the country it rains. – this was the dry season in the Western part Much of the area we were in was rain forest. Since it is not cold (temperature in the 70s) it just requires some cover. But if you are out and about you can get rained on.
The food we had was very good and not “exotic.” Breakfast always had gallo pinto (rice and beans - quite good), fried plantain (loved it), fresh fruits, etc. We did have casada for lunch a couple of times – rice, beans, fried plantain, salad and some protein or vegetarian. Quite frankly dinners would be familiar to any person from the United States. A frequent condiment was Salsa Lizano – hard to describe its flavor but have used it with fish since we returned.
Had heard bad things about the traffic and roads. Did not find the traffic different from here. Most of the roads were fine with one lane in each direction. The road to La Pavona where you transfer to a boat for transfer to Tortuguero was badly rutted. Also the roads to Monteverde were unpaved. Really a surprise to find the roads to a major tourist location unpaved in this day and age. Many of the roads in Monteverde were paved.
Next week Tortuguero