I used a bus most of the time when not being transported by my homestay family and I rented a car with another pharmacy student and her father. Renting a car is 8 dollars per day cheaper if the driver is over 25. The cost for 7 days was 312 for the car and 66 for GPS. Due to the fact there are no street signs in Costa Rica GPS is highly recommended.
Places I went – NOTE: Bring student ID for discounts
1. San Jose – city wear I worked in the pharmacy. During the rainy season it is cold here so bring warm clothing that can dry easily as it is warm in the morning but usually rains from 3pm into the night. Downtown San Jose is dangerous so watch your belongings and leave what you can at your accommodations.
2. Domincal – nice small town by the ocean. I took a surfing lesson here and it costs $30 for a 2 hour lesson. During the rainy season the beach was rocky and woody it is supposed to be nicer in the dry season.We stayed in a hostelish type accommodations, 3 beds for 30/night. Note always bring your own towel, toilet paper, and soap as these are not always provided.
3. Jaco – nice beach. This is a tourist area and has larger waves for surfing. It is better to go during the week so there are less people.
4. Punta Leona – this is a private resort/beach. It was very nice and clean. Rooms contained shampoo, soap, towels, etc.
5. Puntarenas – try a drink here called Churchill colado. It is very sweet and delicious. (It is non-alcoholic) There is also a tourist strip here for shopping.
6. Volcan Poas – better to go in the morning when there are less clouds. There is also a nice hiking path through the forest and a tourist ship. You can take the bus here from San Jose.
7. Volcan Irazu – 1.5 hours from San Jose by bus (about 1 hour by car). It was very cold at this mountain so dress warm. I would even suggest to bring a toque if you don’t have one you can buy it on the mountain, but it will be expensive.
8. La Fortuna/Volcan Arenal – this was my favorite Volcano and it was active. Smoke came out of it about every 30 minutes and sometimes you could here thunder like sounds. We stayed at Gringo Pete’s Hostel for $8 per night with just a sheet and toilet paper. Everything was clean and ok but I was too cold and could have used a blanket. Baldi hot springs cost $26 per person but there are 20 different pools heated by the volcan. It was so wonderful here we stayed for 3 hours. If you buy the ticket from the Volcan you can supposedly get in for $30 and have supper included.
9. Playas Del Coco – stayed in a hotel Vista Azul Botique hotel. It was very nice and had a great view of the ocean. The only down fall was you have to drive up a steep hill to get there. The beach had black sand and the boats were close to shore. There was also some fish heads on the shore.
10. Playa de Flamingo – This was a beautiful beach with white sand and large waves. The waves were probably too large for most surfers. There was no rocks and it was quite.
11. Playa de Tamarindo – This was a busy beach but a really good place to learn how to surf. There was many little shops. Surfing lessons costs $35 for 2.5 hours.
12. National Park – just a beach with white sand. Larger waves than Flamingo
13. Monteverde – very poor road to reach this area so if you plan on drive you NEED a 4 by 4.
14. Selvatura Park – We went on the zipline 2.4 hours, the sky walk 1.5 hours ($50 for both for students and$65 for adults) and to the butterfly garden ($12). Ziplining was awesome!! There is also a Tarzan rope for the brave, a treetop walkway tour and a humming bird garden which did not cost extra.
15. Tivives – water was dirty and there were crocodile warnings
16. Manual Antonio – nice waves but too big for surfing. There is a national park near here where you can see monkeys.
17 Lapaz Waterfalls – This was like an American style zoo for the most part. It was very nice and for some things you could go right in the cage with the animals. For example with the frogs and birds.