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Planning a trip to Costa Rica for this summer and thought you assholes would be able to provide some insight.

There will be 4 adults and 4 kids (7-12).

Which area?

Resort vs. renting a house. Since most of our trips are with my family (wife and two kids, my wife's sister (and her 2 kids), and their Mom we usually rent a house or apartment; however, since the kids will be most interested in the beach and pool, it would be easier to just stay at a resort.

My son (10) wants to do some fishing. I haven't done it in a long time, so I'm looking for a captain/charter good with beginners.

Any recommendations/advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

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How long is the trip? We stayed at Arenal (volcano), which is inland so no beach but had TONS of outdoors stuff to do. Hiking, ziplines, canyoneering, ATV riding, hot springs, etc, etc. Can't recommend it highly enough. If you have enough time, and that kind of stuff interests you, you could easily to a few days there then a few days at the beach. It's a small country.

For our beach portion, we went over to the Caribbean coast (Puerto Viejo) to try to find something a little more off the beaten path. Honestly, it was kinda meh though. In retrospect, I wish we had just saved time and gone to the Pacific side (where I understand there is much more tourism infrastructure). It's not that it wasn't nice in Puerto Viejo, it's just that I don't think it was worth the trip all the way across the country from Arenal.

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We love Tulemar   in the Manuel, Antonio region.   https://tulemar.com/

Beach is really great....has a couple of pools too.,

Concierge can set you up with just about any and all things you'd want to do including fishing.  https://tulemar.com/activities/

I have also chartered with Ward Michael's separately and he can arrange whatever you want as well when it comes to fishing in C.R.

Incredible grounds at Tulemar....hell, the "Sloth Walk" on-site is one of my favorite memories. 

Convenient to Quepos.  Plenty of places to eat and drink, or do it in-house in the condo/house.

We had Tulemar arrange a van to pick us up in San Jose and drive us to the resort and back.  With your group that would be easy and cost effective.  You'll have the driver to yourself and can stop along the way as needed.  We had the van stop and spent some time at the "croc bridge" above the Tarcoles River so we could take some pictures.

There are also a lot of houses for rent in that region and across the country, but for my money it was easier to turn key with Tulemar, especially on the 1st trip over.

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On 4/16/2018 at 2:19 PM, Reagan1k said:

We love Tulemar   in the Manuel, Antonio region.   https://tulemar.com/

Beach is really great....has a couple of pools too.,

Concierge can set you up with just about any and all things you'd want to do including fishing.  https://tulemar.com/activities/

I have also chartered with Ward Michael's separately and he can arrange whatever you want as well when it comes to fishing in C.R.

Incredible grounds at Tulemar....hell, the "Sloth Walk" on-site is one of my favorite memories. 

Convenient to Quepos.  Plenty of places to eat and drink, or do it in-house in the condo/house.

We had Tulemar arrange a van to pick us up in San Jose and drive us to the resort and back.  With your group that would be easy and cost effective.  You'll have the driver to yourself and can stop along the way as needed.  We had the van stop and spent some time at the "croc bridge" above the Tarcoles River so we could take some pictures.

There are also a lot of houses for rent in that region and across the country, but for my money it was easier to turn key with Tulemar, especially on the 1st trip over.

+1 on Tulemar.  If we ever make it back down there, I'm sure that is where we will  stay.

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On 4/16/2018 at 3:19 PM, Reagan1k said:

We love Tulemar   in the Manuel, Antonio region.   https://tulemar.com/

Beach is really great....has a couple of pools too.,

Concierge can set you up with just about any and all things you'd want to do including fishing.  https://tulemar.com/activities/

I have also chartered with Ward Michael's separately and he can arrange whatever you want as well when it comes to fishing in C.R.

Incredible grounds at Tulemar....hell, the "Sloth Walk" on-site is one of my favorite memories. 

Convenient to Quepos.  Plenty of places to eat and drink, or do it in-house in the condo/house.

We had Tulemar arrange a van to pick us up in San Jose and drive us to the resort and back.  With your group that would be easy and cost effective.  You'll have the driver to yourself and can stop along the way as needed.  We had the van stop and spent some time at the "croc bridge" above the Tarcoles River so we could take some pictures.

There are also a lot of houses for rent in that region and across the country, but for my money it was easier to turn key with Tulemar, especially on the 1st trip over.

Who is the Ward Michaels? Last time we were there we caught 7 sailfish. Best fishing trip of my life. We are going back this summer and I’d like to repeat. 

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Anything Manuel Antonio gets my vote.  I took a bunch of friends down there and also found some time to get married and it was fucking rad.  

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33 minutes ago, 4HE said:

Who is the Ward Michaels? Last time we were there we caught 7 sailfish. Best fishing trip of my life. We are going back this summer and I’d like to repeat. 

Ward Michaels is a fishing guide/outfitter based out of Florida but he haunts the waters of C.R. a lot.

At one point he held the world record for snook (may still have it) and caught it down there.  Also does a lot of billfishing.

If he's not working down there he can put you with the right captain or guide to fish however you want..

He'll also be honest and tell you if the time of year/weather isn't right for your desired fishing. 

Our summer is during the slow season for C.R. billfish so manage your expectations.  Granted, their slow season can still be the best trip of someone's life, but it helps to have expectations in order.

Plenty of charter boats and lots of people can help you - he's just someone I know. 

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Thanks for the recommendations, fellas. Place in Tulemar has been booked. Now, time to contact Ward Michaels. 

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The two best charter captains in the country are based out of Los Suenos which is an hour north. Mike runs a boat called Epic and Bubba Carter runs Tijereta. In the Quepos marina you want to book Frenzy or if you have a bigger budget Tranquilo. Like they mentioned above, summer is not billfish season so don’t go expecting lots of fish. It’s possible but not likely. And take your rain jackets it’s the rainy season.

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Thanks, hookit. Have heard/read that it mostly rains in the afternoon. Perfect for having a few drinks before dinner.

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Yeah but the rainy season started early this year. I Was there 2 weeks ago and it rained a lot and the locals were saying this year was going to be bad. Just be prepared. It can rain all day sometimes but usually its afternoon and evening so plan your excursions for the mornings. If you have a driver taking you from San Jose to Tulemar have him stop in Jaco at wishbones and order the spicy tuna. Thank me later. I also highly recommend the fish tacos at Sanchos in Manuel Antonio. Aqua Azul is another of my go tos and if you want authentic Italian don’t miss L’Angolo in Quepos.

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3 hours ago, justhookit said:

Also let me know your dates. I’ll be there one week in June, then 2 to 3 weeks in July and then probably one more week in August.

Thanks for the food recommendations. We'll hit up all three places. I could eat fish tacos every day; however, my wife and kids will need pasta at least once.

We'll be there July 28-August 4.

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whubout Uvita?   will be there in June.  reckon on some hardore chillaxin, but the wife wants to do a zipline tour.  too much work, imo.

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Just got back from staying at the Andaz Papagayo up in Liberia. It was a great vacation and the hotel is an awesome way to use Hyatt points. PM me if anyone is considering it.

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16 hours ago, wd40 said:

whubout Uvita?   will be there in June.  reckon on some hardore chillaxin, but the wife wants to do a zipline tour.  too much work, imo.

I vastly prefer Dominical to Uvita-just a better overall vibe. We like staying in town so we can walk everywhere and I can surf while my lady goes to yoga or sleeps in a hammock right on the beach. Lots of expats. Solid, casual restaurants and a brewery with great food.

There are some great rentals in the mountains overlooking the beach if you prefer solitude.

The whales tale in Uvita is cool if you catch it at low tide but when it’s coming back in. It’s a long walk to the beach though and no shade.

El Parasol resturant between Uvita and Dominical has awesome views. Take the short walk to the overlook at sunset. They feed the local monkeys in the afternoon also.

If you have a car Dominicalito is one of my favorite beaches. Uncrowded, palm trees close to the water. Bring a hammock. Grab a pipa.

There are several great waterfall swimming holes between Uvita and Dominical- ask a local for directions.

Manuel Anotonio can get way too crowded for my taste, if you go, go early in the day.

I enjoyed a day trip to Cano Island to Snorkel. Not the best snorkeling but a cool experience and lots of marine life-turtles, spinner dolphins in our wake, whales at certain times of the year.

Edited by Born to Run

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22 hours ago, futureman said:

justhookit do you work professionally in the charter fishing industry or are you just addicted to it

I own a boat down there but we are not CostaRican flagged so we fish tournaments and for fun. When I had it here in Texas we did some charters but mostly fished tournaments. Just upgraded to a 60 foot custom so I have the old one for sale down there. Best part is the new boat is owned by my friend I gave him my captain, mates,and tackle so now I just go fish whenever I want. And yes I’m addicted.

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5 minutes ago, justhookit said:

I own a boat down there but we are not CostaRican flagged so we fish tournaments and for fun. When I had it here in Texas we did some charters but mostly fished tournaments. Just upgraded to a 60 foot custom so I have the old one for sale down there. Best part is the new boat is owned by my friend I gave him my captain, mates,and tackle so now I just go fish whenever I want. And yes I’m addicted.

that’s awesome.  so when are you doing a shaggy surly fishing trip? 

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I did a couple when I still had the boat in PortA. Might have to try one down there next spring when the sailfish season starts back up.

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I was down about a week ago for 5 days. Weather was terrible for 2 days, ok 1 day, and then great the last 2 days. Went with my friend and his daughter and since we had her did not do overnight trips out 100ish miles to the FADs like we usually do this time of year.

BUT There is a new FAD 60 miles off of Quepos that some of the charter boats will go to if you ask them to. You’ll have to pay a little extra. We fished it 2 times this trip. The first day was awful we raised 4 blue marlin and only got 1 bite. The next day was a different story raised 15 blues had 10 bites caught 6. Then went and chased tuna caught two 50 pounders and left them biting. Left the dock at 5 am and back by 5 pm. 

I know for sure Frenzy will do that trip as a charter. A few others will too. Talking to others down there it’s been on again off again at that FAD, but if you are looking for blues it’s worth a shot IMO.

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Where are the best beaches in the country? We're going down there for a "just lay around on the beach and drink" type vacation in September. Good restaurants a plus, too. Not much interest in fishing or wild nightlife.

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Quepos/Manuel Antonio has some great beaches but September is iffy weather wise. You might be better off heading further north in the country that time of year. I haven’t been up there but have heard good things and I know some people on this board have gone there.

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I just want to thank everyone for the shaggy equivalent thread we had on Costa Rica. You guys directed us to Arenal and Tulemar and it was probably the best vacation we’ve ever had.

 

We love the country so much I want to head back down there and try for marlin/sailfish. Trying to figure out the best month to go.

 

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I just want to thank everyone for the shaggy equivalent thread we had on Costa Rica. You guys directed us to Arenal and Tulemar and it was probably the best vacation we’ve ever had.
 
We love the country so much I want to head back down there and try for marlin/sailfish. Trying to figure out the best month to go.
 
Awesome. Where did you stay at Tulemar?

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February and March are the two best months for sailfish. The last two years have been slow, instead of getting 40 or more bites a day it’s been more like 5 to 10. If you want to do a serious marlin trip go June July or August on an overnight trip to the FADs

The sail fishing is due to pick up soon. It’s been a bad combination of the wrong currents and very little bait.

Edited by justhookit

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Awesome. Where did you stay at Tulemar?

At Tulemar we stayed in two story stand-alone condos that overlooked the ocean. They were fantastic. Hot tub on the patio. The monkeys would come up on the patio all the time, even the smaller spider monkeys.

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Thanks for the recommendations, assholes.

Tulemar kicked ass. We were able to rent the Garden House at a reduced rate because there was construction next door. Didn't matter because we were rarely at the house during work hours. 

We had a chef cook dinner for us 3 of the 7 nights, which was absolutely worth it. Nothing better than doing whatever during the day and then coming home knowing that dinner is covered. Especially with 4 kids (7-12) in the group.

Manuel Antonio was a little too touristy for me: however, Agua Azul, Barba Roja, and Bar Jolly Roger were great places. 

We did most of the requisite activities for the area (zip lining, waterfall hike, and Manuel Antonio National Park).

All the Ticos I met and talked with were super friendly.

Can't wait to go back. Fishing is definitely #1 on the to-do list. May need to do a father-son trip.

2dv8mep.jpg

120gqa8.jpg

2irofaw.jpg

 

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On 4/29/2018 at 3:53 PM, futureman said:

justhookit do you work professionally in the charter fishing industry or are you just addicted to it

I believe hooked is the preferred nomenclature.

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Thanks for the recommendations, assholes.
Tulemar kicked ass. We were able to rent the Garden House at a reduced rate because there was construction next door. Didn't matter because we were rarely at the house during work hours. 
We had a chef cook dinner for us 3 of the 7 nights, which was absolutely worth it. Nothing better than doing whatever during the day and then coming home knowing that dinner is covered. Especially with 4 kids (7-12) in the group.
Manuel Antonio was a little too touristy for me: however, Agua Azul, Barba Roja, and Bar Jolly Roger were great places. 
We did most of the requisite activities for the area (zip lining, waterfall hike, and Manuel Antonio National Park).
All the Ticos I met and talked with were super friendly.
Can't wait to go back. Fishing is definitely #1 on the to-do list. May need to do a father-son trip.
2dv8mep.jpg
120gqa8.jpg
2irofaw.jpg
 
I recognize that pool shot. Was Tito your chef? He's a good dude.

f4db34327d19a8c66da3c7cdd0755c83.jpg

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24 minutes ago, Chewbacca said:

I recognize that pool shot. Was Tito your chef? He's a good dude.

f4db34327d19a8c66da3c7cdd0755c83.jpg

Yes. And yes he is. We had some good conversations.

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Bump for midtown

 

i had forgotten about that resort up in Papagayo. Not sure about the nightlife up there but it looks like some people on here may know.

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Thanks.  Found some cheap flights to SJO in Oct for a solo trip.   I know its the rainy season on the pacific side.  Should I still try that side or make the trek to Puerto Viejo?  I don't mind hiking or sightseeing in the rain but I also want to be able to spend some time on the beach or by the pool without 24 hr a day monsoon.   Single dad.  47.  I like to fish, eat, drink, read, kayak etc.  I don't need fancy clubs, bars or restaurants.  I beach side bar will do me just fine.  Fish tacos or other types of beach food are fine

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I know I mentioned the rainy season, but for the most part it’s usually not that bad. It CAN rain 24/7, but my experience in the fall has generally been afternoon and night rains and occasionally no rain at all. Last year I was down twice in September and October and I don’t think it rained more than a few hours during the day. That said, the week before I was there it was raining all day long and there were mudslides that closed the highway from San Jose to the coast. 

Or just wait till after New Years and then you won’t have to worry about the weather and there will still be $400 flights. Sometimes less especially if you fly out of Houston.

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Ok traveling a-holes.  Help me.

AA Arriving in SJO at like 9pm on a Thurs.  Ill just go to a hotel near.

Leaving SJO on Tuesday at 630am.    Ill have to make my way back to SJO sometime on Monday.

What should I do Fri, Sat, Sun, and half of Monday.

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18 minutes ago, Chewbacca said:

Where are you going when you leave SJO?

No clue.  That's why I'm here.   Do I make my way to Manuel Antonio? or just to Jaco?  Btw.  This is Oct 11-16th.  Rainy season but for 25000 AA miles who cares.

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I absolutely love the Manuel Antonio area.  I'd head down there, do some offshore fishing, which is some of the best in the world.  It's definitely a slower pace there, though.  Not much in the way of nightlife down there.

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It really just comes down to what you want to do at night. There are lots more options in Jaco including a pretty decent casino. And you are closer to good surfing in Jaco if you are into that. 

But for just relaxing, you can’t beat Manuel Antonio/Quepos

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Anyone see anything wrong with this place?   Can't figure out why its so cheap. $383 for three nights.  Highly rated on tripadvisor.

 https://www.buenavistabeachvillas.com/

Its much further towards the park.  Is it too far away from Manuel Antonio to be able to walk to get food and drinks?

Edited by midtown

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Quepos won't be walkable (I guess technically it would be, but you won't want to).  But cabs are easy to get.  Probably a 5-10 minute cab ride to Quepos.  There are lots of restaurants in between where you would be staying and Quepos as well.

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I guess at $100 a night if its thats shitty Ill just find someplace else.  Seems like a good property.  Thanks for the validation.

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Yeah speaking of that, no hotels that time of year are going to sell out. You could book a night only and I am pretty positive you’d be fine at the same rate if you want to stay, unless it’s some sort of internet special. Worst case is you could get another hotel there in Manuel Antonio. Or if you decide you don’t like it there just get a driver to take you up to Jaco which is a little over an hour away.

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