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Costa RicaAuthor: chrisx3mom (More Trip Reviews by chrisx3mom)
Date of Trip: July 2005
Wow, a place to tell you about my trip!! Spent a week with two other couples at the Paradises Playa Conchal on the west coast of Costa Rica. An eight hour flight from New Jersey, but since I am a little claustrophobic, we flew with a stop over in Houston. Then on to Costa Rica. Four hours at a time in the air is enough for me.
Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful and safe places in Central America. They are very ecocologicaly conscious. From the volcanos with hot springs (I highly recommend that one) to the Canopy tours, there's always something to do.
First, the hotel. All suite villa's with 4 suites to a villa. This consists of huge bathroom with tub, sleeping area with king size bed, sitting area and kitchen area. No need for that. This is all inclusive. There is a mini bar (no charge) in each room with beer/soda/water. The only time we went to the kitchen area was to hit the mini bar. The rooms were spotless and very comfortable.
The only problem we had was that we asked for and were confirmed for three second floor rooms together. When we arrived, we were given 2 first floor rooms in one villa, and 1 in another villa around the corner. It took a little verbal force, but once I spoke with the manager, rooms were changed. However, ALL THEY HAD LEFT was 2 together on the second floor and one around the corner. Better than nothing, so we accepted it.
The food was outstanding. The specialty restaurants were great. You needed reservations for this, but you could go as many times as you wanted. Both for lunch or dinner. Great wine list included. Never had a chardonnay from Chile, but I have been buying it at home since. There are bars in every restaurant, and a huge pool bar. Alcohol as well as food was premium. The buffet restaurant is the best I have ever seen at an all inclusive resort. All stations were manned and cooked fresh, weather it was breakfast omelets or steak at dinner time. Didn't use room service, as it was a nice walk in the evenings to the restaurants. This is a HUGE resort. If you did not want to walk, there were shuttles running constantly. Just wait outside your door and they would stop for you. Or, you could call for one and they would be at your door in 5 minutes. Don't recommend the casino. Very small and odds are definitely on the house side.
We were there to relax. If you want to really get into the country, go on a backpacking tour. This was luxury all the way. Took the tour to the Ariel (?) volcano and hot springs. When they say hot, they mean hot. Every level down had a lower temperature. This is an active volcano. Dinner was included in this tour. Our table was at the window (if they had windows) and were able to watch the lava coming down the mountain. Awesome!! Changing rooms with hair dryers for those going in the hot springs.
Also took the day trip to Nicaragua. All I knew about Nicaragua, I learned from the newspapers and Contras. Very calm, peaceful country. Very few motor vehicles, so the roads aren't great. Stopped for lunch on our way to the volcano in a family style restaurant (included in the price), then on to the volcano. This volcano does not spew lava, but you can go right to the top for a fantastic view. Also stopped in Granada to see the beautiful churches and reconstruction to the town. Wish we had more time there. People were very friendly and helpful. We stopped at the hand made market. For $5 American, you can hire a young boy to carry your packages, make deals with the merchants, and show you the best buys. We had a box breakfast on our bus that we did not eat. The younger children were standing outside the bus for any food you would give them. They were very thankful for the fruit and cookies.
Another trip was the sunset cruise on the pacific. Just a small catamaran holding about 30 people. We cruised up and down the coast for about 2 hours to watch the sun set. Had dolphins swimming alongside of use. It was great fun, as we don't have this in New Jersey.
We spent pretty much oftherest of the time just lounging aroundat the pool. There were nice secluded areas with comfortable lounge chairs for resting, reading and relaxing. The pool was very big and had all differentdepths. The jacuzzi had cold water in (pool temp), so we didn't spend much time there. We only spend time in the Jacuzziwhen the water is hot!
No problem going in to Costa Rica. Leaving is a little harder. Since they are a poor country, inspection at the airport is all by hand. All luggage is opened and inspected. After it is inspected, you then turn it over to the airline. Open air waiting room for your plane. Fumes and heat, but no different than many of the Caribbean islands I've been to. All it all, it is a trip I would highly recommend.
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