First time trip to Costa Rica - Booking this weekend Please Assist!
Just found out a friend and myself can sneak away to costa rica sometime between April 20-27. We will probably only be able to stay for five days. She has no surfing experience and i've been surfing almost 20 years(i'm 28). would love to find the best of both worlds - great surf for me, an easier break close by for her to learn, and plenty of nature to explore close by- would love to zipline, horseback ride(run them not trot), rent atv's, hike jungles, jump cliffs, check out volcanoes, pretty much anything active you can do i'd want to, that way we both get the most out of the trip. being near nightlife is ok but definitely not a priority as i am trying to get up early and hit the water before i take her out for a session. i'd want her to feel comfortable and safe for sure. am curious what kind of expenses we'd incur on activities, food, booze, board rentals, and anything else you can think of. where on on the pacific coast should we stay?
The good thing about Guiones is if it is big the whitewash is still rideable for those learning. there are horses, atvs, boats, not sure about ziplines, waterfalls and the rest. Very mellow and family friendly, so not much of a nightlife. Google Nosara or Guiones and you should find a lot of info.
Guanacaste is the entire peninsula basically so there are dozens of places all varying from sleepy town (if you could call it a town) to Tamarindo which is the main toursit center and has the most options for entertainment.
Mal Pais area is good too, has everything you need close by but less forgiving surf when it gets big. Montezuma (close by) has a cool waterfall, and I know there are zip lines close by, along with the rest of the stuff you can pay for.
Definitely rent a car.
I'm leaving on the same type of trip this Sat. It's a delayed honeymoon so no chasing surf up and down the coast for me First time to CR for both of us. We were looking for the same activities as you listed above and decided to stay in the Hermosa/Jaco area since everything you listed above seemed close by. Plus, my wife hasn't traveled much and it's her first time out of the country so I figured baby steps would be best for her first trip.
Here are a few links I've been using to get an idea of what's available:
from the get go my mind was leaning toward tamarindo but am not sure if we can do all the acitivites i listed above, does anyone know? Tommy when you say entertainment do you mean nightlife or cool ish for during the day?
then started thinking hermosa/jaco because it seemed like all the activities were close but waves might be too much for her.
any long distance(2hr+) traveling we do while there would be to visit touristas stuff not new surf spots, only because i want her to have fun too, i'll save that for when i go again with my buddies.
is it better to rent a 4x4 as opposed to bus/cabbie?
would prefer the waves close by so i can take advantage of swell when she wants to relax with margarita.
Guiones is my personal favorite spot, but if your friend has no surfing experience, and gets bored easily, don't rule out Tamarindo.
Very touristy, but good central location. Waves are almost always small, but plenty of better breaks within a short drive. Tour company in town that will take you on lots of different "non-surfing" type tours. Some of the hotels offer tours too.
When I've stayed there with my now wife, we stayed on the south end of town (Langosta end) which is more mellow and away from the hustle of tamarindo, but you can still walk down the beach to the main town if you want. Stayed at Capitan Suezo. Not cheap, but nice and felt safe.
We had the beach out front basically to ourselves which was nice for teaching her to surf. The waves in Tamarindo were no good for me, but I took day trips to Avallenas, Grande, Negra and even Guiones. Always bigger/better at those spots. One day it was thigh waist at Tamarindo, and on the other end of the cove in Grande there were sets a few feet overhead.
Just rent something that is 4x4. A little dihatsu or something. Shoudl help with the "puddles" you may encounter on the dirt roads. I would fly into Liberia not San Jose, to make the most of your short timeframe.