Costa Rica Travel

Where to stay in Costa Rica

Since we received a lot of requests to get the full itinerary about our most recent trip to Costa Rica,  here is the full travel guide on what to do, where to stay and where to eat during your 15 day stay in Tico land.

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Day 1: We took an early flight from Montreal to Liberia (closer to the Guanacaste than if you fly to San Jose). When we arrived to Liberia, we went straight to our car location agency. We had previously booked a car with Budget (the agency is located a bit outside the airport but a shuttle will bring you directly from the airport). We highly recommend booking in advance so you can shop prices. The rent of the car is not expensive in itself, but most insurance companies in Canada do not provide insurance in Costa Rica so you might have to pay for additional insurance, which adds to the cost… And please make sure to reserve a 4-weel drive if you intend to do our itinerary; roads in Costa Rica can be pretty chaotic.. I also recommend the GPS even though there are no street names in Costa Rica, it will be helpful as you can enter the name of the place you want to go and it will guide you to it..

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Once you have your car, head to Tamarindo (which will take you around 1 hour). In Tamarindo, we recommend you to stay at the 15 Love Bed and Breakfast, which is owned by Belgians and is at a 5-min walking distance from the beach and the village… The place is really nice with a small pool, tennis courts and healthy breakfasts. You will probably be tired on the first day, so I recommend you go for a walk on the beach and a nice meal at the Pangas restaurant.

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Day 2: On the second day, we stayed lying on the beach in Tamarindo… It can easily get crowded but it is still nice to enjoy.. Have a Pipa (coconut water in a real coconut) and enjoy the sun… For happy hour, enjoy nice drinks at the Tamarindo Diria and then grab a typical meal at Gallo Fino.

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Day 3: Drive to Playa Grande (which is around 30 min from Tamarindo) and take a surf lesson at the Frijoles Locos surf shop (if you can, reserve in advance to make sure there is an instructor available) Playa Grande is much less touristic and the waves are nice for surfing! Drive back to Tamarindo on the evening.

Playa Grande

Day 4: Departure in the morning for Playa Samara. We stayed at the Hotel Samara Beach but it wasn’t exceptional… I would suggest you stay at the Samara Tree House Inn… After dropping your luggage at the hotel, head to Playa Carillo for a nice walk on the beach. Come back to Playa Samara at night to grab dinner at Tabanuco… At night, enjoy a drink at Arriba Bar.

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Day 5: Wake up early and enjoy some surf lessons at the C+C Surf School and spend the day at the beach.

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Day 6: Departure for Santa Teresa /Mal Pais. The road will be long and scary (taking the ferry will be even longer), but don’t worry it’s worth it. Santa Teresa was definitely our favorite place… We stayed at the Horizon hotel (kind of a yoga retreat) with individual cabins. The scenery is romantic, the food is healthy (and exquisite), yoga classes are the best with the view on the ocean and it is well located. If you are a good surfer, you will probably like the waves in this area… You can also rent a 4×4 and drive the coast… At night, we suggest eating at the Las Piedras Parillia Argentina…

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Day 7: After a yoga class, enjoy the beach, surf, grab a coffee at the coffee shop and eat a nice dinner at Brisas del Mar.

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Day 8: Departure for Montezuma (around 1h from Santa Teresa). Locally called Montefuma, you can easily figure out that the town is filled with hostels and it is hard to find a nice hotel around there… We were staying at the hotel Amor del Mar, which had been recommended to us and we were really happy with this small hotel facing the ocean, even if it’s a bit outside of the main place… Right in front of that hotel, you will find the trail to go to the waterfalls, which are worth seeing. Grab dinner at Playa de los Artistas or restaurant Montezuma.

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Day 9: We went on a tour to Isla Tortugas where we did some snorkeling. The tour is nice and you get to eat some fresh stuff from local fishermen. Enjoy the beach on the island and the boat ride coming back to Montezuma. At night, we suggest eating at Cocolores.

Isla Tortugas

Day 10: Early departure for Monteverde as it is a long ride and we suggest taking the ferry to minimize the use of bad roads. We were staying at the Trapp Lodge, which is the closest one from the reserve. In the afternoon, enjoy a visit of the cloud forest in the reserve, where you will have spectacular views of the region. At night, have a drink in Santa Elena at the Tree House.à

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Day 11: In the morning, go visit a coffee plantation We did our tour with the Monteverde Coffee Company and the coffee was excellent. In the afternoon, do some ziplines at Monteverde Extremo and make sure to the superman to fly like superman above the forest and the wildlife along a 1 kilometer cable that has a height of 180 meters.

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Day 12: Departure for Arenal in the morning. The view is magnificent when you get close the volcano region, when driving around the lake Laguna de Arenal. As it was our last destination in Costa Rica, we decided to treat ourselves so we stayed at the Tabacon Grand Spa, but you can easily find something more affordable in the area or in La Fortuna (where we were usually going to have dinner). Enjoy the hot springs at the Tabacon for the day and treat yourself with a massage (or a massage in duo) in this magnificent scenery.

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Day 13 : Visit the national park of the Volcano Arenal in the morning if the sky is clear… Different trails are available depending on your condition, but you will likely have great views of the magnificent volcano! In the afternoon, visit La Fortuna and eat at the Don Rufino.

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Day 14: Departure for Liberia to bring back the rental car and fly back home 🙁

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