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    • Instituto Estelar Bilingue200 metros sur de la Antigua Gobernacion, Calle Real, Liberia, Costa Rica
      Sharai Kirk recommended Instituto Estelar Bilingue
      I studied at Instituto Estelar in January of this year. I planned to stay for one week, but ended up staying for one month and advancing 4 levels! It was an amazing experience - I really did learn A ... read more
      LOT (I can more than get by now when I travel in Latin America) plus I got to do trips with the school, take extra classes (like dance and cooking), made new amazing friends, and even volunteer! I will never forget my experience and I am already planning my next classes with them =) If you are wanting to study during your trip, Instituto Estelar Bilingue is the best Spanish school in Costa Rica (in my opinion, of course). It's located in Liberia and I fell in love with this city - it's historical, the people are incredibly friendly, and it hasn't been overrun by tourists like many of the other cities in the country.
      .Comment.6 months ago. Report
    • Sharai Kirk commented on this list

      I was just about to recommend Puerto Viejo, but I see it's already there. But to add to the review, it's a fun town with a lot to do - beautiful beaches, shopping, bike rentals, surfing, hiking, and really good bars. I highly recommend it!.

      Oh and if you end up on the other side of the country and want to study Spanish, you should check out Instituto Estelar Bilingue in Liberia! It's an awesome little school with a lot to offer.

      Enjoy your trip!!

      .Comment.6 months ago. Report
    • Dafne recommended Puerto Viejo
      Nice beach, nice people, nice music. You can find everything in Puerto Viejo, from local culture as Rasta man and Bribri natives, to sushi and international cuisine.
      .Comment.8 months ago. Report

      this town is beside manzanillo, it is the perfect combination between nightlife and nature :)

    • Dafne recommended Manzanillo
      Great place if you love white sand beaches and reggea music!
      .Comment.8 months ago. Report

      This is a nice place to stay if you want to know about the Caribbean coast in Costa Rica, i love this place is really magical.

    • Pro 2014
      Arlo Hemphill recommended Manuel Antonio National Park
      Costa Rica's most accessible rainforest park. Stationed right on a beautiful stretch of Pacific coastline, Manuel Antonio is also one of the country's most visited natural areas - enjoyed by beach ... read more
      goers and nature lovers alike.
      .Comment.9 months ago. Report
      Arlo Hemphill

      One of the best places in Costa Rica to see the rainforest wildlife while also enjoying beautiful beaches and great nightlife.

    • Pro 2014
      Arlo Hemphill recommended Tamarindo
      Fun little surf town.
      .Comment.9 months ago. Report
      Arlo Hemphill

      One of the nicest resort towns on the PACIFIC side...

    • Hotel Mono AzulApdo 297 Quepos, Costa Rica 6350
      Pro 2014
      Arlo Hemphill recommended Hotel Mono Azul
      If I could keep this place a personal secret, I would. However, that wouldn't be fair to the charming Braman family who make this quiet retreat a home away home. Tucked into one of the most beautiful ... read more
      (and climatically comfortable) rainforests in the world, the "Blue Monkey" is a hidden oasis with luxurious comforts. I could spend an entire trip to Costa Rica simply lounging around their jungle-rimmed swimming pools and dining in their open-air restaurant - brimming with quality Tico (local) and American fare. However, this hotel is too ideally located to simply waste away the hours in a private paradise. It's in walking distance from the shops and bars of downtown Quepos, and just a few minutes drive to some of the most spectacular beaches and wilderness areas in Costa Rica. It's also a bargain for your budget, making it an ideal base of operations for exploring Costa Rica's central Pacific coast.
      .Comment.9 months ago. Report
      Arlo Hemphill

      Hi RJ,

      I see that your trip name is 'dental tourism', which leads me to suspect you are headed to San Jose for dentistry, and then looking for a place to enjoy the beach afterwards. If this is the case, are you committed to the Caribbean side? I've been to Costa Rica dozens of times and I GREATLY prefer the Pacific. It has a much more pleasant climate, is stunningly beautiful and in general has nicer tourist infrastructure and places to stay. The Caribbean side has it's appeals too, but it's a common mistake to think it will be like Caribbean islands just because it sits on the Caribbean sea. The water here is not the crystal-clear turquoise you see in the Bahamas or Turks & Caicos, and the coral reefs are not considered a desirable destination as they are in nearby Belize and Honduras. In general, the Costa Rica's Caribbean coast is amongst the most impoverished part of the country, a far cry from the lovely resorts, expansive ranches and pounding surf on the Pacific coast.

    • Hotel Banana AzulPlaya Negra, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
      Liza Prado recommended Hotel Banana Azul
      Hotel Banana Azul is a great little resort located on a black sand beach just north of the popular surfer/backpacker town of Puerto Viejo. The hotel is a laid back place with lush grounds, a new pool, ... read more
      and a large cool-water Jacuzzi. There's a good range of reasonably priced rooms--from basic garden level to a two-bedroom apartment--that feature rich local hardwoods and artful decor; a full breakfast was included in the rate the last time I checked. The only bummer, which is kind of random, are the bamboo beds frames, which creak at the slightest movement (the owners definitely are aware of the situation, though, and are dealing with it). It's also located next to Cahuita National Park, which in combination with Puerto Viejo, has tons of outdoor options beyond snorkeling and diving: hiking, animal-spotting, zip lines, river rafting, kayaking, fishing, and of course, surfing. It's easy to plan your own excursions but if you prefer to let someone else do the work (it's your vacation afterall!), there is a recommended tour operator on-site, Gecko Trail Adventures.
      .Comment.9 months ago. Report