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Taylor
Fort Worth

Costa Rica

What city is the best place to stay in Costa Rica ?

I am looking for lots of wildlife, not a lot of tourists, beautiful beach and jungle....I have been looking into Jaco and think this might be where I choose. What do you think?


16 Answers

top answer by
Ross from Fort Collins

Ok I love CR but it is very touristy :( i have been 6 times so i can help! don't do anything in the other suggestions they are all played out! And avoid Jaco like the plague unless going to Montezuma (my 3rd pick)! Arenal isn't erupting any more and la fortuna is kinda cool but without the valcano you can do everything there elsewhere, and Manuel, really!?? He asked for non touristy area!!! I think i may be the only minimalist, budget, non touristy member lol!  

Your best bet is the Osa Peninsula! It's the best place in CR hands down! The beauty is unmatched and it's the most biologically deverse place on earth! Get supplies in Puerto Jimenez and drive past Cabo Matapalo to some of the vacation rentals out there! Then just drink eat and enjoy being one of the only people that go to this beautiful country..... And actually see it! 

 

Second place goes to Puerto Viejo


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jaco (city)
  2. Montezuma (city)
  3. Arenal (city)
  4. Osa Peninsula (region)
  5. Puerto Jimenez (city)
  6. Cabo Matapalo (attraction)
  7. Puerto Viejo (city)
8 thankscomments (2)


answered first by
Ralph

Hi Taylor,

you might check for Arenal, near the volcano with the same name. It is a very youth city with plenty of adventure attractions and cheap cost.

You MUST check the Tenorio Volcano National Park - Rio Celeste a one of kind blue river! 2 hours from Arenal (car + hiking)

Regards and Pura vida!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Arenal (city)
  2. Tenorio Volcano National Park - Rio Celeste (park)
7 thanks


answered by
tami from New York City

Dont go to Jaco! Its not even close to the nicest beach/place to stay there. I actually found parts of it pretty dirty. 

A great combination would be the jungle.wildlife, hiking, ziplining, white water rafting, etc in Rincon ( I stayed at Rincón de la Vieja Lodge). Its almost as good Arenal but wayyyy more accessible to the beaches on the West. I have done both and I loved both but Arenal is not the easiest to get to and not worth the drive. 

After Rincon, drive down to Nosara. The most quaint, beautiful, surfer beach town with great food and great people... yoga, surfing, massages, relaxing... I dream about going back there!  

I've never been but Manuel Antonio is also supposed to be amazing and a good balance of wildlife, fun and relaxing, beach. 


Enjoy!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rincón de la Vieja Lodge (hotel)
  2. Arenal (city)
  3. Nosara (city)
  4. Manuel Antonio (region)
5 thanks


answered by
Michelle from San Marcos (California)

Check out Corcovado National Park.  No tourists because it is remote.  The only way in is by boat.  It was such an adventure just getting there.  Hiking amazing!   TONS of birds and monkeys.  We stayed at Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge and LOVED every minute!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Corcovado National Park (attraction)
  2. Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge (hotel)
4 thanks


answered by
Joseph from Los Angeles

Jaco is very touristy and not that pretty. Head a little south and stay in Manuel Antonio if you can afford it. Truly magical. Otherwise, try Arenal.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jaco (city)
  2. Manuel Antonio (region)
  3. Arenal (city)
3 thanks


answered by
Laura from Cape Breton

I would agree with the other posters that Manuel Antonio and Arenal Volcano (La Fortuna is the nearby village) are fantastic places to stay in Costa Rica.  In Arenal we stayed at the Arenal Springs Hotel and in Manuel Antonio we stayed at La Mansion Inn - both excellent. We actually booked with Anywhere Costa Rica, who suggested accommodations, activities, and transportation - highly recommended!  I would also avoid Jaco as the beach was less clean and some people had advised us (including our travel planner) that it was less safe. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Manuel Antonio (region)
  2. Arenal Volcano (attraction)
  3. La Fortuna (city)
  4. Arenal Springs Hotel (hotel)
  5. La Mansion Inn (attraction)
2 thanks


answered by
Ted from Chicago

Manuel Antonio is a great beach jungle destination. There is the beautiful Playa Manuel Antonio and then with walking distance is the Manuel Antonio National Park. There is also a fantastic beach within the national park. It is a little touristy, but not too bad.

For a more off the grid experience try the Osa Peninsula down south. The wildlife is off the charts in Corcovado National Park. I am not sure about the beaches, but I am sure there are some around. The beaches in the park are visited by crocs and bull sharks so no swimming there.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Manuel Antonio (region)
  2. Osa Peninsula (region)
2 thanks


answered by
Richard from Costa Rica

Jaco, Playa Herradura, Punta Leona, Playa Hermosa, are all in that area too, Its a good area.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jaco (city)
  2. Playa Herradura (city)
  3. Punta Leona (attraction)
  4. Playa Hermosa (city)
1 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Rae- from Toronto, Ontario

I was in Manuel Antonio last year, the first week of May and I think I was the only tourist in the place :)

I stayed at a b and B half way between Quepos and Manuel Antonio NP...10 minutes and one dollar taxi to either..It was life changing, and I truly felt alone on the most beautiful beaches in the world..use airbnb

Lots of monkey sloths iguanas et al 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Manuel Antonio (region)
  2. Quepos (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
Russ from Ohio

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría (SJO) (attraction)
  2. La Fortuna (city)
  3. Arenal Lodge (hotel)
  4. Lake Arenal Dam (attraction)
  5. Tamarindo (city)
  6. Aeropuerto Internacional Daniel Oduber Q. (LIR) (attraction)
  7. Playa Grande (attraction)
  8. Puerto Quepos (attraction)
  9. Manuel Antonio (region)
  10. Vista Del Valle (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
jodi

Although it has been several years, I would recommend heading further south to Dominical area which is a great beach town, surfing and close to the jungle and waterfalls...Jaco was tired.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jaco (city)
  2. Dominical (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Instituto from Liberia

I highly recommend Montezuma. It can sometimes be very touristy, but if you go during the low season it is an amazing little town. There are incredible beaches, waterfalls, wildlife, and hikes you can do easily from the town. My favorite thing there is the turtle hatchery on the beach where you can see just-hatched turtle and watch them run into the ocean for the first time - it's incredible! Beyond all that, it is a small town with the friendliest people you will ever meet and good food (which can sometimes be hard to find in Costa Rica).

If you feel like studying Spanish during your trip, you should check out Instituto Estelar Bilingue in Liberia. We offer intensive classes that are designed to get you speaking fast. There are also cultural classes like dance, cooking, music, artesan, etc. and volunteer opportunities as well. Check us out at http://www.estelarcr.com/

Have a great trip!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Montezuma (city)


answered by
Hoy from Costa Rica

Jaco has its perks if you like city by the beach that has nightlife.It offers tons of places to eat. Theres really nothing that unique about Jaco. There are much better places to go. Jaco is kind of grimy, it has a pretty bad reputation for drugs and tons of prostitutes who flood the discos there.  If you like you can take a 45 minutes water taxi to nicer beaches of Playa Santa Teresa and Montezuma. If you have anymore questions feel free to hit me up.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jaco (city)
  2. Playa Santa Teresa (attraction)
  3. Montezuma (city)


answered by
Marshall from Los Angeles

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Arenal (city)


answered by
Mary Beth from Cullman

In my opinion, the only plus side of Jaco is that it is close to San José.  There are many much more beautiful places in Costa Rica.  If you only want to go to one place, I would recommend Manuel Antonio.  It's the perfect combination of jungle and beautiful beaches.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jaco (city)
  2. Manuel Antonio (region)


answered by
Eunice from Turrialba

I recommend the South Pacific area. You can stay at Puerto Jimenez, a little fishing town and go whale and dolphin watching in Golfo Dulce. Its pretty near to Corcovado National Park, where you can find about 375 bird species, 124 mammal species, 61 fish species, 71 kind of reptiles and about 8 thousand species of insects. 

It´s not crowded, because it not frequented by locals.  

 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Puerto Jimenez (city)
  2. Golfo Dulce (attraction)
  3. Corcovado National Park (attraction)




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