After a long year of events Garth, McBride and Tenzin and I decided to take a quick three week trip to Costa Rica and Panama for some sun, surf and scuba, (I just went for the sun).
I haven’t been to Costa Rica in about 6 years and wow it’s changing fast with lots of new developments and prices are quickly rising, I should note that we traveled during some of the busiest weeks of the year (Christmas/New Year). For lodging a private room (2-3 beds with bathroom) was about $20-30 per person per night, meals were around $5-18 including a beer or two and surfboard rentals were $10-20 per day. If you go during the high season when it rains less I would recommend reservations but we never really have a solid plan so we just asked around until we found places with room which lead to some more shall we say “rustic” accommodations. One really nice thing we found was with four people sharing a cab we could get better rates and faster service traveling from city to city than with the tourist shuttle busses and we had some fun conversations and meals with our drivers.
I’ll keep this short so here’s my brief descriptions of each town we visited.
Tamarindo – touristy, small and good beginner/intermediate surfing. I’d pass on this place if we did it again.
Samara – Super laid back, more of an authentic vibe and good beginner surfing, super family friendly. Best ceviche!
Santa Elena (Monteverde) – Gorgeous tourist town near the cloud forests with lots of wildlife and scenery. If you’re looking for adventure activities like zip lining or rafting this is your place it’s basically a natural amusement park.
Puerto Viejo – Cool Caribbean town with lots of character, reggae music all over, cruiser bikes and great food. The surfing is advanced. The wildlife rescue center was my favorite place here.
Bocas Del Torro (Panama) – Chill island town that is shielded from the surf by other islands in the network. Advanced surfing (Kelly Slater was in town). It has lots of scuba and surfing opportunities but no sand beaches in town though just dock swimming.
All said Costa Rica and Panama were easy to travel through and filled with opportunities to be really active or way chill. With direct flights on Frontier from Denver it’s an easy destination to get to and Southwest is working on adding flights as well. If you haven’t been you should go.