Costa Rica Part 1. - Logistics and Travel
Pura Vida! Costa Rica. January 15-20, 2019.
This blog will be in two part focusing on Logistics and Experience. I wanted to ensure that you get the best experience from this post and will help you plan your own trip to Costa Rica!
Pack Smart with the Executive Traveler!
I was so excited for this trip because it would be my first major international trip with my Executive travel bag. When I designed it, my goal was to create a travel bag that replaced a small suitcase as my only bag. Whenever I have a big vacation like this, I always like to make a check-list. This led me to create a new template that is separated into categories that helped make sure I didn’t forget anything!
I may have designed the Executive a bit too well because I wound up packing a few extra items because of the extra room the Smart Dividers afforded me!
Where Exactly is Manuel Antonio?
Manuel Antonio is a small beach resort town located on the Pacific Ocean side just outside the Central Valley area. It offers a variety of eco-focused activities for all skill levels, along with many beautiful beaches where you can either rent a chair with service of just throw a towel down and take in the views. I was fortunate to have some friends that have been to Costa Rica to help me select the right town for my trip, and Manuel Antonio definitely delivered!
What’s interesting is that while Costa Rica is not a very large country, because of the height of the mountains and number of national parks it could take several hours to get to any cost line if you opt to stay in San Jose or other land-locked areas.
Because I wanted to get to Manuel Antonio as quickly as possible from San Jose, I opted to take the regional airline Sansa. The planes are Cessna Grand Caravans, and while known for their safety it was a bit unnerving, but the views were amazing!
If flying in a Cessna isn’t right for you, there are many options and prices ranging from $8 to $55 USD. The direct public buses have a limited time schedule, and take roughly 4 hours based on traffic and stops.
Group shuttles are available for about $55 USD per person but can be longer based on number of stops. Group shuttles can vary in terms of direct vs. indirect, so make sure you do your research.
One options is to rent a car, which can range from $45-$65 USD per day. If you plan to take day trips to other locations such as Dominical then a car can be an option. Make sure your phone has the latest operating system updates so your GPS will work; not all cars will be equipped with this feature. You can learn more about travel options from this link.
Many Lodging Options
Manuel Antonio has a wide variety of hotels, hostels and resorts for all budgets. However, it is best to do a good amount of research as some hotels don’t always accurately represent the ‘quality’ of the rooms. Using sites such as TripAdvisor or Booking.com are a good way to gauge the quality of the hotel. In addition, there are many AirBnB options along with full home rentals on VRBO.
The currency of Costa Rica is the Colon, which has an average currency exchange of 550 C per each USD. This means that you can enjoy a relatively low-cost visit as many services and goods are on the cheaper side! For example, many restaurants offer a full breakfast including coffee and juice for around 2,500C, which is about 4$ USD! Same for beers, which run and average of 1,500C which is about $2.50 USD!
I found that taking out Colons at local ATMs was easier than using USD more so that many locals will attempt to short-change you. I found it very helpful to always have Colons on me as you will always find yourself at some small beach where vendors only accept currency.
Time for the Experience!
I hope you found this first part of my Costa Rica blog helped you get the basics for traveling to this exquisite place. Stay tuned for my next entry that will showcase the beauty of Costa Rica!