Tickets more expensive to Costa Rica at least from where I live. Have a couple of friends that have traveled there and also DR. Hotels more expensive on average. Beach isn't quite as good. Girlfriends are slightly more expensive as well. The CR people are very friendly though and didn't receive anything really negative about it. Very tourist friendly. I am going to visit CR at least once in the future. Friends prefered DR a little more than CR so I guess you would have to stay there and make judgement call.
CR is known to provide good education to its citizens as far as third world standards are concerned. People are in fact very friendly and have some cultural standards.
The DR scholar system is one of the worst in the continent and most of the people are completely ignorant,arrogant and do not havy any cultural background. Unfortunately these facts may also be seen with many people having an academic background and degree. There are many lawyers, doctors etc. who cannot even write a sentence without severe errors in orthography. The papers are full of errors.
I leave it up to you what place to choose !
Thanks for the feedback folks. I will be going there for a week right after I return from seeing Theresa in Atlanta. Always wanted to check it out and got close but didn't get into the country. Got as far as Boquete Panama which is close to the border.
Any other info or suggestions from people that have been there are welcome. All I have done is made plane and first night hotel reservations so far. I want to make this a fruitful week so any help is desired.
There are a lot of dirt roads and it will take you twice as long to get from one area to another in a 'standard' two-wheeler. Well worth the extra $$ if you want to see as much as possible in a short time.
I know from the advice you gave me on a earlier post regarding car rental in DR that you like to take your time....but 7 days will zoom by and this is your first trip...
I can't give you any comparisons about DR vs. CR as I have never been to DR....but I know a bit about CR, having traveled around there twice in the last few years. Within a few months, I will have personal knowledge and experience about both places...
Try not to miss Manual Antonio...National park and beautiful beach.
Type in 'discovery press costa rica' on google and it should take you to a message-discussion board with a lot of local input....
I would be very interested in any trip report you make about your first visit...if you look at RE be careful about those "gringo prices"
Delta has a non stop flight from atl to san jose.
Once you get there, you will see that costa rica is highly over rated. The beaches on the pacific are all black sand and the water is dirty looking (just don't know what the big deal is about the ocean there, i guess if you are a surfer, you would appreciate the waves).
San jose city turns into a huge red district at night. Thats when all the hookers come out to play. You will see all kinds of merchandise on the streets. They are not cheap.
If you complained about noise and pollution in santo domingo, wait till you see san jose in the day time.
Good points: Food is good and cheap. Girls are more elegant looking as compared to sosua and cabarete. They are more like the santiago type. The country is fairly small so you can get around pretty quick from one city to another. People are better educated and well mannered. Towns in the out-skirts of san jose are very clean and people are very hospitable.
Don't go to places like jaco or quepos. They are boring town with nothing to do. You will see alot of gringos living and touring the country.
Over all, its a present experience but it is nothing compared to what the travel books tell you. Simply an over-rated country.
Jazz, give me the exact dates of your trip, i might go with you on the same delta flight. Since you already got your rented car, might as well, let me be your personal pimp there. Hahahaha
AZB, compared to what is Costa Rica over-rated? Not necessarily disagreeing, just wondering.
You also quickly gloss over noise "pollution". In the DR it is not "pollution" but planned. There is no way to escape the sound trucks, or boom boxes, or trucks and buses blasting with air horns (even when stationary), or music being cranked up far above the threshold of pain. I believe that Dominicans' normal sense of hearing is destroyed at a very young age, perhaps while still in the womb. I haven't been back to Costa Rica in about 10 years, but I don't think TICO's would allow the same amount of such torture as in the DR.
Also, the smog in San Jose is greatly exacerbated by its being in a valley surrounded by mountains. It is not necessarily due to a lack of concern. Compare it to Phoenix, for example - it is simply hard to do anything about it.
I am also amazed that no one else has referred to the climatic differences. I suspect that I am not significantly older than most people on this board, and I find that as I age I am ever less tolerant to heat and humidity. San Jose is always comfortable, but even the Pacific coast (I haven't been to the Atlantic one) is significantly cooler than the DR.
Concerning the climatic preference maybe somebody can explain it to me. Even Scandinavians only spend a half hour or so at a time in the sauna, so what's so great about the constant sauna in the DR?
Been there twice and my son lived there for a year. Strangely, I found the landscape and the way that the place falls on the eyes quite similar. (Cannot comment on women - strictly the landscape).
A list of quick comments.
- San Jose is noisy, poluted (my eyes watered!) and has a fun nightlife
- The roads, especially through the mountains, are much worse than the DR - big holes out of one side around blind curves - you have no option - you have to close your eyes and hope nothing comes from the other side. Get that 4-wheel drive but be careful.
Food is great, cheap and beer flows freely.
- Rainforest areas are wonderful - but logging is going on as we speak
- Many American expats sitting around in bars not knowing what to do with themselves. Sun and Fun gets old if it is a steady diet. I guess a big difference is that there are many American and fewer Germans, Italians and so on.
- Local people are very colorful in the more remote areas. Went to a soccer tournament and fiesta in a little place called Sierpe. Beautiful mountain ponies all dressed up with their riders in fiesta gear. Colorful. And then the fights started between the different soccer factions.
- Spent a lot of time in a remote area in the Osa Peninsula. Could get there only by flat bottom boat - two hours of river travel, an hour of ocean travel - nowhere to dock the boat, so they wait for a set of big waves, gun the engine and surf it in. A few fellows wait on the beach to catch it. I grew a couple of years older in a few minutes.
- Surfing is great - beaches, black beaches are wonderful and not oversubscribed.
- Many many colorful birds
- That nasty little snake - I don't remember the name - kills you in seconds.
- Lots of little monkeys chattering away in the trees in the more remote areas.
I guess it depends what you want. I enjoyed my time in Costa Rica.
Also looking forward to your trip report when you get back. My friends never ventured much outside of the capital and trekking through the rainforest and exploring the countryside sounds pretty good. I already know about the nightlife in San Jose so any other info you can relate about the country in general, I will glean with interest.
dale7(wishing I was in Jazzcom's shoes, lol)
The only way a snake can kill you in seconds is the same way a cacata does - by scaring you to death.
Only a few nights ago on Animal Planet, one of Steve Irwin's helpers was bitten by what is normally considered the world's most venomous snake. They took time to bandage his arm before hauling him to the hospital in an ambulance. Later (probably a few days) he was back at work.
The fer-de-lance, a cousin of the rattlesnake and about as venomous, is almost certainly what you have in mind. Normally, unless an artery is hit, one is thought to have about 4 hours before things get desperate (IF things get desperate).
Even for the super venomous snakes like Irwin's "fierce" snake (inland taipan), about the quickest one dies is 30 minutes - or would without medical help. Actually, no one is documented to have died from the bite of that snake because it is rare, only professional handlers are crazy enough to touch it, and anti-venin is always available.
Flying out of NY on American. Had to bring my dad back to NY and made my arrangements in that order. Things changed yesterday when...
Wow, that sounds tempting. With you as my pimp, do you think I will get a woman to even look at moi? LOL
Going with my girlfriend so you are not invited. Next time maybe! She found the link on her computer to DR1 and called me up today to ask me who is Theresa. Nosey woman! When you are at your girlfriends house erase the history and you will save yourself some bullshit. I have half a mind to go with AZB instead of her to Costa Rica.
Atlanta just got cancelled. I have a previous obligation to go to a wedding on the 22nd of Feb that I forgot about. Went to book my flight and looked at the calendar and whooops. Too bad, I wanted Theresa in a bad way! I was going to make her mine since I am now employed in the DR making 3000 a month and can afford her. (psst, just don't tell her it is in pesos)
I do have to go to Atlanta to see my family whom I have dissed by not coming down see in quite a while. They got used to seeing me every month and now are jonesing for me. Maybe in March we can hook up in Hotlanta. April I will be back in the DR so... Samana Santa at the beach anyone?
"What are the hidden expenses of eco-tourism, and who pays for them? He cited the case of the Dominican Republic, which subsidizes the tourist industry and has spent huge sums of money trucking sand around to shore up the beaches that excess hotel development has eroded. "So what you see is the ironic outcome that a poor island nation is losing money to support rich tourists," he said. Sebastian says that as long as people pay to see sea turtles flippering madly across the sands of Tortuguero, the turtles have a shot. The local people have a shot, too, he said. Local businesses are built on the turtle's hardy back. Local nature guides who once worked for big tour companies have started setting up independent operations. I could swear that Karla's ears perked up when she heard that. And when the eco-tourism industry can no longer absorb entrepreneurs, there's always Costa Rica's other big growth industry: the production and distribution of the most hated garbage of all?spam."
People really pay good money to fly down to Costa Rica to see turtles? Jeez...Almost every time that I go out fishing we have to dodge those things here. In the Keys it seems that every Tiki bar or Bait & tackle place has a tank out back with a "recovering" Sea turtle. Go Figure!