If you are generally uncomfortable to visit a foreign country other than for an all-inclusive trip in a secluded area, you want to go to Costa Rica for your first and safe introduction to a foreign country. Misertravel recommends Costa Rica for the most exotic jungle excursions without the usual aggressive tourist trap feeling for family and girl/guy trips. Costa Rica gets so much tourist from U.S and Europe that some activities are priced higher than equivalent activities at Disney or Universal.
Where to stay?
Unless you are heading to Liberia Costa Rica, you are going to arrive in San Jose. The top rated hotels are mostly not in the city center and located far apart. That effects how much you pay for taxi, food and tours as well. If you going miser, stay in the city center. Here you have a fair balance of hotels in close proximity. A lot of taxi’s are here and you can walk to many places. When booking, use the map view function and your walking distance to the National Theater of Costa Rica as your reference point.
The major bus terminals will be walking distance as well. UBER works well in San Jose after you leave the airport. If you returning late from a day trip to San Jose, use UBER or take a taxi back to your hotel if you feel uncomfortable walking at night from the bus terminal. Enter the bus terminal names below in Google Maps for walking directions from your hotel. Visiting the bus terminal will give you the most accurate timelines and you can purchase your tickets. You need local currency cash to purchase your tickets.
Terminal 7-10 (Best bus terminal for day trips to the pacific coast for bird, monkey watching, tours)
Empresarios Unidos of San José and Puntarenas (2nd best bus terminal for day trips to the pacific coast and best options for Punta Arenas. This bus terminal stopped at Monteverde as well. If you are going to other parts in the Province of Puna Arenas such as Quepos, Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, use the Terminal 7-10 buses. The Terminal 7-10 buses drop you at the Jaco bus terminal. This bus terminal is further south so you can take the green bus to Quepos or Manuel Antonio. There is a direct bus from San Jose to Manuel Antonio, but the service is not as consistent as the buses from Terminal 7-10.
Gran Terminal del Caribe (Best options to get to Limon and nearby areas in the province)
The TQP Green Bus above is the bus that takes you to Quepos/Manuel Antonio, Punta Arenas. It leaves right across the Jaco Bus Terminal when you get off the bus from San Jose.
If you want to go to local tours around San Jose, having your own car (rental) is the best option or book the tours through your hotel. You can hire a driver. Misertravel use this option a lot. Be sure to know the local distance rates and negotiate. Booking combo tours is the best option. For example, your tour to a volcano could be very close to a waterfall. Waste of time and money booking them separately.
Olla De Carne, AKA, Sancocho, Bouillon, Caldo De Res is my favorite dish in the world. It’s Costa Rican soup and I been eating this before I started talking. The most flavorful ones are found in San Jose, followed by Limon and finally Punta Arenas. I can have it up to three times a day. The 3 plates below are from these three provinces. It’s a well balance meal to get your necessary energy before you excursions.