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budaman

Let's talk Costa Rica

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Mike, the Austin team is good for either Wed or Thurs night at 6:45-7 at el Arroyo,, so pick the night and let me know, I will spread the word,, guess someone will have to wear their sailing tshirts to recognize each other,, or just that longing to be on the sea look!! Looking forward to meeting you all, Gail

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If you will allow me to jump in here, I have been to Costa Rica twice on the Wind Star, including last January...and I want to let you all know if you are just thinking about it: GO! The SC cruise seems like it will be similar to what WS has been doing, and in Costa Rica, you just can't go wrong. This is a beautiful, friendly country with so much to see and do, right up close with nature.

 

If you are looking for a cruise that includes shopping, big towns, restaurants and casinos, you most likely will not find it ON this cruise....but you CAN get that if you allow time before and/or after your cruise. You also will get a better chance to enjoy the really friendly CR people!

 

We used two tour operators to get us around: Odyssey to get from ship to port after our trip and Coach Costa Rica at the beginning of our stay. We were in CR for a full day prior to our trip (it was supposed to be 2 days, but that's another story) and we had set up with CCR to take us touring, and it was fantastic!! Ask for Roiner (roy-ner) as your driver. We visited a working coffee plantation, butterfly farm, had a traditional CR lunch, etc. And lots of fun touring and information! Then he took us straight TO the ship. CCR has an agreement with the docks to allow them to do this. If you use another tour operation, check to see if they have the ok to drive right up to the ship. If not, you will have a very long walk, dragging your luggage in yourself. Our entire day with CCR cost $125 for the two of us, lunch extra, but including drop off at the ship. We deemed it well worth it. We made our arrangements with Patricia at CCR, and told her Roiner had been recommended.

 

One thing we have found, let people know they were recommended by others on Cruise Critic. It never hurts, and it sure can help.

 

We didn't make arrangements for pick-up after our cruise, because we figured we would have new friends by then and we all could share a trip to airport. That's what we did, and we ended up on Odyssey. Cost was $40 a couple for 2 couples.

 

If you are going to CR in January....weather can be a problem. I noted above that we planned to be in CR for 2 days/2 nights prior to sailing. But weather was so bad trying to land late at night that AA sent the plane to Nicaragua and put everyone up in two gorgeous hotels. We finally got to CR about noon the next day. AA not only took care of hotels and meals, but also gave us 5000 miles extra each!

 

Weather in CR was fantastic, but once onboard, the winds picked up again, and our ship never got to Nicaragua. Captain deemed it unsafe and turned Wind Star around and headed south, and he found another place to visit in CR. So we were the only ones on our cruise who actually got to Nicaragua!

 

We stayed in a hotel in San Juan, with a really hokey name but traditional beautifully tropical and within two historic buildings that have been connected. Are you ready for it?? Hotel Dunn Inn. Has a great restaurant that is so tropical, good food, fun people. But before you consider it, ask them if the work on a casino next door is done. When we were there, we had to ask for a room change because ours was right next to all the jackhammering. Hotel folks were very accommodating. They also didn't charge us for the night we didn't get to stay there (our night in Nicaragua). And they have airport shuttles and Internet connection (but slow).

 

Hopefully, Star Clipper will offer lots of fun shore excursions: zipping through the trees with the monkeys chattering at you, mangrove riverboat trip, horseback riding on the beach, river rafting...all great fun. But be aware, no dive trips, and snorkeling is ok but not great because the waters in the Pacific in that area are usually too churned up.

 

We have cruised all over the Caribbean, plus Panama and Costa Rica, and I can truly say that CR is my favorite. And doing it via a tall-ship, well it just can't be beat!

 

Have fun, you guys!!

Sailor JM in San Diego

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Thanks for the info SJM! Surprised to hear about the weather issues in January...figured that would be one of the safer times. Also, did you sail out of Puntarenas or Caldera? gail is doing the CR/Nicaragua leg & we are doing the CR/Panama leg, so between the two of us, we'll cover it all:D

 

Gail....that sea look is the same as a two margarita look there, so we may be in trouble. I figure I'll have my Tommy Bahama shirt on that is Sunset Orange with Nautical Flags on the back...should be easy to spot. Connie will probably be in fashionable black...the color of choice for stylists:p Wed will probably be the night...still need to get confirmation.

 

Mike

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That was a freak weather situation, we have been told. Last January, you may recall, is when that horrific frozen storm came out of Canada and slashed south through the US and caused lots of problems....especially in Florida.

 

Costa Rica is south of New Orleans, and well, the wild wind that was part of that storm just kept on heading south (wind, but not the cold). CR actually had to close the airport for awhile....right after our pilot aborted our landing when plane was pitching side to side. That was one scary almost-landing. Then came the night our ship tried to reach port in Nicaragua. It was about 1:30am when the wind blasted thru again. Captain's wind gauge (I'm sure there is a nautical term for it!) showed the winds at hurricane force! 109mph when he decided to turn the ship around. They took a photo of the gauge and printed it for us all the next day. Captain and crew did a great job! Lost some awnings and deck chairs, but that was all. Amazingly, my husband and I slept right through it...and rest of the trip was fantastic.

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Mike, yep, see you at El Arroyo Wed 6:45-7:00, I am tall and sort of blond and the Rhena and Jenny are shorter with dark and gray hair respectively,,,, see ya down there.

 

SailorJM, thanks for the info,, every little bit helps! Gail

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We are looking at the CR cruise on Feb. 6. Is anyone else? We plan to spend the week prior to the cruise in the Monteverde area (been there twice before and love it!). After the cruise we'll spend a few days in the San Jose area. We are hoping to be able to share transfer from the port back to SJ with some fellow cruisers.

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I am considering the Costa Rica cruise Jan 2012....never too early to plan.

Having been on all three Star Clipper ships I know how great they are.

I did do a week hotel stay in Costa Rica a while back......and must tell you....zip line, zip line, zip line!!!!!!!

Hope you all post comments on your trip ....especially the transfer issues to Puerto Caldera......

Have overdosed on big ships...time to return to something, small, fun and more physical activities.

Thanks

Tom

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Thanks SailorJM for the tip about Coach Costa Rica. It will be my first time in Costa Rica & I'm looking forward to it. We're flying in late Friday for a Sunday sailing-- using points for the San Jose Marriott. Anyone have suggestions for how to spend that short amount of time?

 

We'll take your recommendation for the Coach Costa Rica to transfer from San Jose to the ship. Again, what would be a few interesting spots to stop at along the way?

 

I'd hope to stay for another week post cruise in Monteverde, but the lodging options are all booked. Another time perhaps.

 

Anyone else on this sailing?

Bev

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I did talk to Rachel at Miami office, and she said they are offering transfers to and from Intercontinental in San Jose for 50 bucks each way,, we may do that on the return,, take the train on the way down since we have plenty of time (Dec 5 sail) as we fly in on Nov 30th,,, still have not nailed down the hotels ,,, but getting closer. Gail

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Jim and I are booked on the Dec 5 and Dec 12 sailing.

We did a B/B out of Athens in May 2009. This will be our second trip to Costa Rica. First was in Dec 2001. We did a 2 night pre tour before a Canal transit.

Still need to get our air in/out of Atlanta.

 

MSEm

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We have gone ahead and booked Villa Caletas for 3 nights prior to Dec 5 Star Flyer sail out of Puerta Caldera. If anyone else is staying there pre-cruise and wants to share transport from hotel to Caldera on Sunday, let me know! I will look for the Rollcall post you put out, NoeHill,, (and MSEm), will have to meet up once we get on board, always nice to know of folks going on!

 

On disembarking, we will probably take the ship transport to San Jose Intercontinental, where we will stay for 3 days before heading back to Austin. Again, if anyone wants to share transport, I think we can get a van for 100. US for the entire van rather than 50. each on the ship transport. Talk to you all on the other post but will ck back here as well.

 

Now I want to book something for spring,,, Gail

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Copy Cat:D VC really does look great doesn't it. It seemed like the trip was so far away not too long ago & now we're down to just over 4 months. I had to look up when I needed to send payment to VC....couldn't remember if it was 30 days or 90.

 

We ended up getting some friends of our's from Maine to join us...should be fun to share the memories.

 

Mike

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Mike,

 

Just booked the Jan 9th sailing with my husband, so now I am working on airfare and pre/post trip reservations. Do you plan to create a Roll Call for this sailing?

 

Peggy

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Hadn't really thought about a seperate Roll Call....usually not enough Star Clipper folks on CC to really get it going. I think just about everyone has been on this thread that have booked.....but, we could. Maybe some more folks will chime in.

 

I started a Roll Call for our very first cruise back in Feb. of 2005 for the Rhapsody, and it is still alive....has to be some kind of record here:D

 

One thing I hope we get to encounter are Humpbacks or Whale Sharks. We were able to swim with the Whale Sharks on our recent trip to Cozumel and it is an awesome experience. Have video of the encounter in the Gallery link in our signature.

 

Mike

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I know what you mean about swimming with the sharks...swam with Blacktip sharks in Tahiti. Looking forward to our first sailing aboard a Star Clipper ship!!

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Mike,

 

I may just copy your ideas as well...and book the Villa Caletas as well...The hotel looks awesome. Did you book via the hotel website or use an agency? I have our flights on hold w/Delta using FF miles...considering flying in on Fri 10pm (maybe stay near the airport), then 1 night pre and post cruise at the Villa Caletas.

 

Peggy

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I know what you mean about swimming with the sharks...swam with Blacktip sharks in Tahiti. Looking forward to our first sailing aboard a Star Clipper ship!!

 

The Tahiti trip on the Star Flyer is still my favorite...hopefully Costa Rica will compare. You're going to love the Flyer.

 

So, does anyone plan on taking their Pirate costume with them? Quepos is supposed to have a large Gold stash that the Spanish in Panama tried to hide from Henry Morgan so it would be fitting to have a Pirate's Night.

 

Mike

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Mike,

 

I may just copy your ideas as well...and book the Villa Caletas as well...The hotel looks awesome. Did you book via the hotel website or use an agency? I have our flights on hold w/Delta using FF miles...considering flying in on Fri 10pm (maybe stay near the airport), then 1 night pre and post cruise at the Villa Caletas.

 

Peggy

 

Mike,

 

Not sure if you saw the above post....

 

Peggy

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Guess we were posting at the same time:D

 

We booked directly with the hotel. We fly in Sat. afternoon on Continental. We booked a Villa arrival evening since we probably won't get to the hotel till after sunset, so having the oceanview for that night wasn't critical...they don't guarantee OV in the Villas. Post we booked the Jr. Suite which does have OV.

 

You can book transfers through them also. Don't know who they use, but for all 4 legs needed it would have been $360 for the two of us. That's a little less than Odyssey, whom we have a booking with, so we may switch. They require payment for transfers in advance, however, where Odyssey doesn't & Odyssey has gotten very good reviews on Trip Advisor & in the CC Costa Rica forum. We have enough time between when the CR cruises begin & when we go to see some opinions on various aspects.

 

Do you Scuba by chance?

 

Mike

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Mike,

 

Yes, I figured that's what happened...posted the same time so you didn't see my post.

 

Nope, we don't scuba :-(

 

Have a few questions: 1) How far is the hotel from the ship 2) If we book the Villa Caletas, would you be interested in sharing transportation for 2, possibly 3, of the 4 legs? 3) What time does your flight depart from San Jose on the 17th?

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As the crow flies, it's not that far, but the road is up, down & round & round, so it takes just about as long as going from the airport to the hotel. I think it is only around 30 miles though.

 

Would be interested in splitting the shuttle...there is one other couple that we are meeting at VC...they are going in sooner than us. I believe they will be returning after also. The shuttle is the same price whether you have 2 or 8 people, so it will cut costs substantially. I don't have the actual amount in front of me, but I believe with Odyssey, it was $130 each way from Airport to hotel, $100 each way between hotel & port.With 6, it would reduce the cost to around $35 a couple for the hotel to ship leg.

 

Mike

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OK, I am pretty sure I will be booking VC, just need to work out our flights....trying to decide whether to arrive of Fri or Sat...since we will be flying from the north (CVG) I hate to wait until Sat and risk a delay due to bad weather...so we'd definitely be interested in sharing the shuttle for the middle 2 legs...What time is your return flight out of San Jose? Our's is 1:50pm.

 

In a previous post, you mentioned taking a train...is that just from San Jose to the ship, or can I take the train from San Jose to Jaco?

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That's about the same departure time as ours...I think 1:45.

 

I looked for the link to the train tour, & couldn't find it, but did find a site that said the trip was cancelled due to a new bridge being built.

 

Mike

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