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I'm interested in visiting Costa Rica with the hopes of familiarization and retirement to that country some day. I would appreciate any suggestions (best airlines, rates, reasonable hotels,...) for a first time visitor. I am a Christian and would also want to get involved in local church charities.

 

Charlie J

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Charlie, there was a couple of posting regarding churches where English is spoken a few weeks ago, but there was no recommendations. I did notice the other day, however, that one of the churches in Escazu was advertised on www.amcostarica.com. Elsewhere in the country the services are for the main part, only in Spanish.

 

Thank you for the e-mail trust, Julie and Rick. I appreciate your insights to Costa Rica--exactly what I'm looking for; to make friends and learn about the country before my visit. Sent you an e-mail about myself. Question: Where would you recommend looking for best airfare and/or hotel (reasonable-2 or 3 star) rates on the internet? Thanks again.

 

Charlie J

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Charlie, recommendations may depend upon how long your trip will be. I'd suggest picking an area or two and use the Internet or recommendations from this board for lodging. If you want the flexibility to extend your stay in one area or another, we've never had difficulty finding accommodations during our travels. Of course it depends upon the area and speaking Spanish helps.

 

You might want to share your expectations, since getting to know C.R. is rather like getting to know West Virginia. Cities, towns, villages, country, micro climates, customs. In C.R. you have huge variations, so some background would help. Many of us avoid San Jose like the plague unless absolutely necessary. Others revel in the bustle and life. Upscale areas like Escazu attract some. Others like the small town lifestyle. Many prefer the beach areas or the wilderness. Lifestyles in each area are vastly different.

 

After you narrow the criteria, I'd suggest many visits and in many areas. A lot of people jump on the "retire in Costa Rica" idea as their salvation without a shred of knowledge and only anecdotal evidence that cost of living is lower. It could be dirt cheap, but it is also very, very different. Those who don't adapt to the glacial pace, lack of services, customs, or don't learn Spanish (and we're told by shippers that over 50% move back within two years) spend lots more money than those "going Tico".

 

Be sure to check out www.therealcostarica.com which has massive amounts of good information on almost every aspect of visiting and living in Costa Rica.

CD

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Charlie, recommendations may depend upon how long your trip will be. I'd suggest picking an area or two and use the Internet or recommendations from this board for lodging. If you want the flexibility to extend your stay in one area or another, we've never had difficulty finding accommodations during our travels. Of course it depends upon the area and speaking Spanish helps.

 

You might want to share your expectations, since getting to know C.R. is rather like getting to know West Virginia. Cities, towns, villages, country, micro climates, customs. In C.R. you have huge variations, so some background would help. Many of us avoid San Jose like the plague unless absolutely necessary. Others revel in the bustle and life. Upscale areas like Escazu attract some. Others like the small town lifestyle. Many prefer the beach areas or the wilderness. Lifestyles in each area are vastly different.

 

After you narrow the criteria, I'd suggest many visits and in many areas. A lot of people jump on the "retire in Costa Rica" idea as their salvation without a shred of knowledge and only anecdotal evidence that cost of living is lower. It could be dirt cheap, but it is also very, very different. Those who don't adapt to the glacial pace, lack of services, customs, or don't learn Spanish (and we're told by shippers that over 50% move back within two years) spend lots more money than those "going Tico".

 

Be sure to check out www.therealcostarica.com which has massive amounts of good information on almost every aspect of visiting and living in Costa Rica.

CD

 

Sound advice here. Thanks.

 

I'm looking to check out Costa Rica for about ten days to two weeks in September/October timeframe. I've always wanted to visit, but have not had the excuse till now--I'm getting through a relationship breakup, and seeking an unfettered lifestyle. I like to stay fit, so my expectation would be more the beach area for walks and jogs, and a once or twice hike in the wilderness. If I like what I see, I would also want to get a grasp on condo prices with a view (I'm a writer, but not for my primary living). I would also be looking for companionship (of the female type) and nothing else (for starters). Good places for dancing (without heavy drinking or smoke) would be ideal (happy feet, here). A good writers' group would also be worthwhile for me if I plan to come back for a more extended stay.

 

I work for the government and get a good many days of leave and vacation, so over the next year or so, I'd be back to do exactly as you say--many visits. If Costa Rica doesn't work, I'll try Nepal ;) .

 

Oh yes, learning to speak Spanish would be a goal.

 

Adios,

 

Charlie

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Charlie,

 

You asked for a place to stay. If you are still deciding, let me recommend a B&B in Alajuela called Vida Tropical.

 

It's a good value for the money and includes a great breakfast every morning. Plus you get to talk with all the other guests around the breakfast table each day and share ideas and adventures with them. It is a great place to start and end your visit to CR plus there are even better rates to be had lodging with them for weekly and monthly stays.

 

One thing that makes Alajuela a practical place to stay is its proximity to the airport. It's only about 3 to 4 kilometers away from the airport, while San José is about 17 or 18 k. from there. Once you clear the airport and customs you just grab an ORANGE airport taxi and $4.00 later and about 8 minutes you are at Vida Tropical and prolly already checked in.

 

Alajuela is an ideal place to explore San José and the western parts of the Central Valley on day trips. It is the second largest city in Costa Rica and has most everything you will need, without the congestion and heavy traffic of San José. But to get to SJ when you need to only takes about 25 minutes on one of the frequent buses that cost about US 65¢ one way, making for easy access to and from the city. And when you are ready to fly home you are already almost at the airport in Alajuela, which is one of the great conveniences of staying there.

 

Here is the URL for Vida Tropical:

 

http://www.vidatropical.com

 

Hope this is useful information for you.

 

Cheers!

 

Paul M.

==

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Another advantage is that you will be visiting in the off-season, so changing accommodations should be relatively easy. Norman and Isabel at Vida Tropical can help you with your Costa Rica itinerary, even after you get there.

Don't make our initial mistake and over-plan up front. We spent too long in some places because we had booked and paid in advance. Remember that cash will usually get a discount.

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Charlie,

 

You asked for a place to stay. If you are still deciding, let me recommend a B&B in Alajuela called Vida Tropical.

 

It's a good value for the money and includes a great breakfast every morning. Plus you get to talk with all the other guests around the breakfast table each day and share ideas and adventures with them. It is a great place to start and end your visit to CR plus there are even better rates to be had lodging with them for weekly and monthly stays.

 

One thing that makes Alajuela a practical place to stay is its proximity to the airport. It's only about 3 to 4 kilometers away from the airport, while San José is about 17 or 18 k. from there. Once you clear the airport and customs you just grab an ORANGE airport taxi and $4.00 later and about 8 minutes you are at Vida Tropical and prolly already checked in.

 

Alajuela is an ideal place to explore San José and the western parts of the Central Valley on day trips. It is the second largest city in Costa Rica and has most everything you will need, without the congestion and heavy traffic of San José. But to get to SJ when you need to only takes about 25 minutes on one of the frequent buses that cost about US 65¢ one way, making for easy access to and from the city. And when you are ready to fly home you are already almost at the airport in Alajuela, which is one of the great conveniences of staying there.

 

Here is the URL for Vida Tropical:

 

http://www.vidatropical.com

 

Hope this is useful information for you.

 

Cheers!

 

Paul M.

==

Absolutely! Thank you so much, Paul. These are the kinds of advice I'm looking for. You guys are great. What I like about your suggestion is the chance to meet other people, some of whom (I'm sure) will give me further direction. Great. I'm going to the web site now. This is sort of like detective work :ph34r:

 

Charlie

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Another advantage is that you will be visiting in the off-season, so changing accommodations should be relatively easy. Norman and Isabel at Vida Tropical can help you with your Costa Rica itinerary, even after you get there.

Don't make our initial mistake and over-plan up front. We spent too long in some places because we had booked and paid in advance. Remember that cash will usually get a discount.

 

Yeah--I have a tendency to overplan (obsessive-compulsive--I'm working on it :P ). I will keep that in mind.

 

Charlie J

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Can you share your CR experiences?

 

Look up my past posts. There are many. I will give you a little more advice:

 

1) do not look at your list for at least two of your 5 days.

 

2) take those days and cruise around, on foot, on buses or in a taxi

 

3) work on your listening and observation skills most of all on those days

 

Buena Suerte!

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