Costa Rica Travel Agents and Accommodations

Guanacaste

As you may recall from other posts, our home base in Costa Rica was in Guanacaste, on the Pacific Coast.  Based on Costa Rica Travel Agents and Accommodations available, we chose the Playa del Coco area, and stayed quite a long walk from town at Ocotal Beach Resort.  We chose Ocotal because of the reputation of its dive operation.

Dive Shop recommended by Costa Rica Travel Agent

It is located on a beautiful site overlooking the Pacific, and not far from town by taxi.     Unobstructed View from Costa Rica Hotel Accommodations

Since we planned to dive and brought all of our dive gear, it was more convenient to rent one place for the whole time in Costa Rica. Then we did day trips or overnights to other areas, like San Jose, Arenal, and Tamarindo.  Volcano AheadSome people may think it is crazy to pay for 2 rooms, but it is much easier for us to choose our base, travel from there and only pack what we need.  (See our separate post for More on Diving in Costa Rica.)

Booking Accommodtions + Tours

The Costa Rica Accommodations that we chose for this trip were booked through Stasha Drzewieki of Adventure and Dive Tours of Costa Rica which specializes in Costa Rica.  This was the most cost effective and least hassle to get the type of accommodations and diving we prefer. Plus, at the time, Stasha regularly booked Ocotal, so she was able to get upgrades for clients.  We were originally booked into a hotel room. After one night , she got us an upgrade to a cabin. Cabins are much larger with a sitting area, a walk-in closet, and large bedroom, patio and plunge pool.

The Harbor from our cabin accommodations

Ocotal Accommodations

I can’t vouch for Ocotal today since we were there a few years back, so double check the current recommendations by Costa Rica Travel Agents.  At the time, the majority of the rooms were small hotel rooms with balconies overlooking the sea – gorgeous, unobstructed views. These rooms are also easily accessible to the endless pool which offers incredible sunsets and we were even treated to a whale at sunset.  Sunset on the Pacific

Hotel rooms are less of a walk to dining, but a bit of a downhill hike to the beach and the lower pool near the dive shop. They are less costly than the cabins with plunge pools sited in the woods with views of the moored boats, and closer to the beach and dive shop.

Nature Inside and Out

There was a downside to our stay in the cabin – it is a natural environment. While having modern conveniences, cabins are in the woods.  Hermit crabs find their way into the room by squeezing under the door.  During the day it wasn’t an issue because we could see them, but at night if I went to the bathroom.  We stepped carefully, and didn’t mind since it added to the ambience.  By morning we had many to put outside.

Iguanas make their home in the woods under rocks and buildings, and come out to sun themselves.  I never met an aggressive iguana until Costa Rica.  I was sitting on our patio, eating a banana, and one attacked me.  It jumped on me at waist level and clawed down my front. I think people must feed them, so the iguana expected some of my banana.  A good reason not to feed the animals when you travel!

Despite these scenarios, we loved our cabin in the woods, our location and our views.  I think our trip was reasonably priced as was the hotel at under $100 pp/night including a full breakfast.

Restaurants

There was just one restaurant on site at Ocotal Beach Resort; otherwise you need a car or a cab.  The food was very good when we were there, albeit pricey.  Going to town for more local very fresh and good food was about a third of the price.  We either hitched a ride with other guests, took a cab, or went to town the days we had our rental car.

Know that the views at the hotel restaurant are amazing.  In the mornings you can see the schools of flying mantas and the dolphins playing as you breakfast.

Tours

Using the knowledge of Costa Rica Travel Agents, we decided to book 2 private tours through Stasha leaving from our hotel. We figured out the rest once we arrived.  One pre-booked private tour was to Buena Vista. 

Buena Vista

It was in the canopy in the shadows of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, like the cloud forests of Arenal, but in Guanacaste. We hiked, ziplined, and rode horseback. Going Riding

Afterwards we had fun with the therapeutic hot volcanic mud bath and enjoyed the thermal pools.

Muddy Swamp People

Don’t forget the waterslide in the icy mountain stream. I braved that; Tom would not go.

What to bring: swimsuit, hiking or running shoes, sandals for spa, change of clothing, binoculars, camera, spending money, and sun hat. Includes: Lunch, Snacks, Bottle Water and fruit juice.

Palo Verde National Park

Going on a River TripWe also booked the Palo Verde National Park of Costa Rica, for a river boat tour to see the crocs and gorgeous birds.  We saw several types of Kingfishers and had crocs snapping at the boat.Kingfisher

River Hazard

A white face monkey hopped on board from the overhanging trees.  Monkey in the Tree

We lunched afterward with our driver at a local restaurant on the back roads that we would never have found on our own.  A great cultural experience!

Stasha has moved to Costa Rica, and I would think that she has even more intimate knowledge of the adventures – www.CostaRicaDeluxeTours.com.

Booking Directly

Once we got settled and talked to others, my research on Costa Rica Travel Agents and Accommodations led us to Vacation City.  They are a local tour operator that we used to book a naturalist guide with 3 related tours.  They were very informative and helpful, and the price was quite reasonable compared to others. We chose a private Arenal Hike with a guide – Jacamar S. A., who was terrific.  It was because of his expertise that we chose the Danaus Eco Center Night Hike, and the Hanging Treetop Bridges guided hike. On the Hanging Bridges All were fabulous.  They can book a car and hotel too, but we found it more cost effective to do that on our own.

Arenal Accommodations

I researched the accommodations at Arenal and decided the best value was Arenal Paraiso Resort and Spa. We had a bungalow with a view of the Arenal Volcano from our front glassed-in porch. Resting for a Moment Our accommodations included a full breakfast. The resort had thermal springs throughout heated by the volcano, aa swimming pool and beautiful gardens with gorgeous local birds.  (See our other post for more or our Arenal Adventures.)

Car Rental

We got the best deal for a car with required insurance through a local Thrifty car rental company.  You must take the car insurance in Costa Rica since the are rough roads and sometimes it is required to drive through streams.

Happy Travels!  Let me know if you have questions about Costa Rica Travel Agents and Accommodations.

17 thoughts on “Costa Rica Travel Agents and Accommodations

  1. Pingback: Choosing Costa Rica AdventuresAdventurous Retirement

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  3. Pingback: Costa Rica DivingAdventurous Retirement

  4. We loved those thermal waters at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano! I’ll check out your post for info on your Arenal adventures and how you found the diving in Costa Rica. In Guanacaste, we barely swam in the ocean at all because the water was so rough but the sunsets and wildlife sightings were fantastic.

    • Swimming in the ocean depends on where you are exactly. We were there November/December and the waters were calm enough off of Ocotal in Guanacoste. It is rougher near Tamarindo where people go to surf. However, there were lots of jelly fish so we donned our wetsuits for swimming and snorkeling. I am guessing that time of year also influences jelly fish appearance.

  5. You had planned your discovery and enjoyment in Costa Rica quite well. We have not been there. Do you really need travel agents to get the best deals?

    • Hi Carol, I think that we got a great guide using Vacation City, and they got us some of the best prices, even though I was researching it once we arrived. I think the room upgrade at Ocotal was due to the Travel Agent. Also, she knows all the dive spots and was able to advise us on diving in a way that we would not have been able to ascertain by showing up on the coast and trying to identify the best dive operation. While I think you could find some things yourself, it could take a lot of research, or you could check out my recommendations and not use a travel agent.

  6. Looks like a great time, aside from the iguana incident. I like animals and bugs but have a little fear of all of them. I can talk a person into liking me, but the animals don’t quite understand me!

    • Kim, I can put a trip plan together for you and make reservations for a fee, which will be less than what we paid with our travel agent, or you can try those listed in this post. Know that I used different agencies for different parts of the country, and they are mentioned in this post.
      When are you going? Let me know if you’d like me to put a trip plan together for you. Best, Wendy

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