For many of us heading off for our break in the sun, cost is a big factor. That cost oftentimes directly determines where we can travel to. For many Europeans that rarely means travel outside of their own continent. With such a wide variety of landscapes and weather pattens encompassing skiing in winter through to some winter sun in the Canaries or Costa Verde Islands there is little reason or incentive for many to travel further afield.
Costa Rica is well known for it’s eco tourism credentials and adventure based activities. If you’re still angling for a beach holiday, Quepos on the pacific coast has sand in spades (pardon the pun) but also offers experiences you won’t find on any European beaches.
Getting To Quepos
Costa Rica is probably the best connected airport in Central America. There are many international airports that connect to it directly. Once in San Jose Quepos is roughly a 3 hour drive. Save money and
the stress of driving in an unknown country by getting a shuttle from San Jose. Comfortable Mercedes busses make the trip 6 times a day from the bus terminal in Plaza Vazquez in San Jose. After an up to 10 hour flight, sit back and enjoy the views as you descend from San Jose into the Santa Cruz Province. If you would like to drive, it would be advisable only during the day because the road network leading to Quepos is a little broken up in parts and not well lit at night.
If all this sounds like too much faffing you can hop on a Sansa Airlines 20 minute flight from San Jose but they leave mostly before 2pm. It’s unlikely if you’re arriving internationally that you would be able to make a same day connection.
Staying In Quepos
Quepos is a popular tourist destination for many locals because of the beauty of the surrounding coastline. The town centre has many locally owned B&Bs and hotels as well as restaurants and bars to serve those who visit. Sitting on the beach with a cold drink watching the sun set is a favourite pastime. Costa Rica is only 10 degrees from the equator so sunrises and sunsets are particularly striking here.
While Quepos has what some would consider a vibrant nightlife, the noise is kept to a minimum after 10pm. Nights here are a more casual affair with great company, local cuisine and plenty of choice. Getting around is easy and cheap enough using a taxi or the bus service that connects the town to the neighbouring National Park. Buses run roughly every 15 minutes.
Quepos – Booking Your Trip To Paradise
Booking a trip here will mean you have to shop around for yourself. You wont generally find Quepos on any of the major operators pre packaged trips. It isn’t as scary a thought as you might think. Skyscanner is a fantastic resource for checking the cost of multiple airline carriers from your local airport to San Jose. If you would like some more insider tips on booking cheap flights check out this related post from Zoey who runs a blog specifically related to Budapest. Her article on www.stagkissbudapest.com though has some very insightful thoughts on how you can cut the cost of your flights to anywhere not just Budapest or Quepos.
Accommodation websites like hotels.com who I use regularly will list all available accommodation in the area at a cost per room per night basis.
You can also try a deal website such as Kayak or Trivago but be aware they may not be the cheapest deals available because they do not list every available booking option. Always do a quick check yourself direct with who they suggest just in case it is cheaper direct.
The Climate In Quepos
Being so close to the tropics, Quepos has a warm climate year round, split into traditional dry and wet seasons. That’s not to say you won’t see any rain in the dry season though. Showers tend to be biblical when they happen but soon burn themselves out leaving you to enjoy the rest of your day. The average temperature for the Punta Arenas region is 26.5C. Very pleasant if you’re wanting to soak up some rays and not too unpleasant to go exploring in either.
Some months see heavier rainfall than others though. If you are after something a bit different between January and March Quepos could be your ideal choice. If you are arriving in December or April, Christmas and Easter a particularly busy periods for the area.
Besides the stunning beach there is plenty to keep inquisitive minds occupied.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Adjacent to the town, and the main reason why it’s so popular with the locals, is this little slice of paradise. At just 683 hectares it’s small on area but seriously big on views. In fact, its the smallest national park in Costa Rica.
If you like your deserted beaches fringed with palm trees while piercing blue waters lap gently at the shore you’ve found your nirvana here. The 4 beaches contained within Manuel Antonio are recognised as the most beautiful in Costa Rica.
Away from the beaches (or exploring between them) you will find an abundant array of wildlife to see. Sloth sightings aren’t quite as numerous as the equally adorable squirrel monkeys that also make this place their home. Watch your step because there are millions of colourful tiny crabs surrounding the beaches and trails.
Get the heart pumping with a short hike up to La Catedral, a clifftop peak with views out to small offshore islands. Hiking trails fan out across the park. Between these and postcard perfect beaches you’ll have plenty to occupy you for the day. Entry into the park is just US$16pp and you are allowed to bring food and non alcoholic beverages in with you if you want to make a day of it.
Morning Adrenalin Rush
Get the adrenaline surging with a morning of whitewater rafting the class 3 rapids of the Savegre River, also found within Manuel Antonio. Tours depart at 730am including round trip transport from your hotel and you’ll be back for lunch.
Further down river more family friendly river tubing is on offer. Departing at 730 or 1230, this 4 hour tour is guaranteed to thrill all adventurers.
Outside the confines of Manuel Antonio but only 20 minutes from town, you can ocean kayak through flooded mangroves for an unforgettable morning of wildlife spotting and a little bit of adventure combined. If you’ve never kayaked before this is an ideal introduction.
The timing is determined by the tides. You wouldn’t want to get stuck in there because of an outgoing tide. Floating somewhat silently through the shallow canals this is your best opportunity of seeing local wildlife in their natural habitat. The Damas Community who also act as bilingual guides still live in the area using ancient techniques to survive that have been handed down through the generations.
Be Daring, Try Something Different
Is Quepos as easy to get to as some resorts? No, but thats partly the point. Getting here is the hard part but the rewards more than make up that little extra effort.
Could you name another beach resort where you can spot 2 toed sloths and spider monkeys while lazing on the white sand beach of your dreams? I thought not. If you want to travel further afield, maybe do a twin centre, the cloud forest of Monteverdi is just 3 hours away with a host of activities and completely different landscape to admire.
With plenty to do in the area, Quepos has something for every age and every taste. It is something a little more offbeat to tell your friends about. Chances are they will have never heard of it. Travel is about stimulating not only yourself but also your family and friends. Long after the trip has finished you will be remembering it through stories that you tell to them. That is how travel brings people together.