ShermansTravel » Blog » Costa Rica
Latin America is home to some pretty amazing cities — Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Cusco to name a few — so we can understand if you’re having trouble picking and choosing what to see and what to skip. That said, there are so many equally impressive destinations that get overlooked. Whether you’re a history buff or an outdoor adventurer or wine lover, here are five underrated Latin American cities worth exploring, no matter your interest.
Travelers are a savvy bunch — they know that it’s better to visit certain destinations during certain months. But the prevailing question is: Where should I be booking trips right now? With that in mind, we’ve drummed up the smartest places you should be making plans for June, whether you’re looking for shoulder season savings, an explosion of culture, or outdoor entertainment. Here’s where to go:
If you’ve never been to Peninsula Papagayo on the north Pacific coast of Costa Rica, here’s the first thing you need to know: it’s isolated. Very isolated. Now, depending on what type of traveler you are, that might sound incredibly alluring — but just keep in mind that the nearest “town,” and the airport, is around 45 minutes away.
If you’re yearning to flee the coop this winter for a little heat, Apple Vacations wants to help you out. Its Winter Super Sale kicks into effect for select packages in various sunny locales — shaving close to $300 off busy season prices from booking air and hotel separately. The sale encompasses three-, five-, or seven-night trips between December 18, 2014 and April 30, 2015.
We’ve all heard the familiar adage it’s the journey that matters, not the destination — at least when it comes to crazy travel stories. With all of the globetrotting that the staff here at ShermansTravel does throughout the year, we certainly have more than our fair share of hilarious (and somewhat awful) tales. So we thought we’d share the best (and the worst) with our readers to keep in mind the next time you take off in an aluminum tube full of strangers.
Long known as a mecca for surfers and sun-seekers, Costa Rica is, has been, and always will be a hotspot. But what many travelers are only just starting to discover is that Nicaragua, its central American neighbor to the north, offers much of the thrill, scenery, and sizzle — with a culture all its own. The fact that Nicaragua is an affordable destination, given its off-radar status, is a great reason to fold it into a Costa Rica itinerary. After all, both countries deliver their own brand of charm, and crossing them off your bucket list in one trip is both practical and illuminating when it comes to getting a feel for the region. Here’s how to create such a Central American tasting menu:
For some of us, every day is unofficially Coffee Day, but the official National Coffee Day is just around the corner: September 29. Celebrate by pouring yourself another cup of your best brew and by planning a visit to these coffee-centric destinations. Read more
Sounds impossible to buy a ticket to the wrong destination, right? You’d never mistake York, England for New York State. But would you notice an airline issuing a plane ticket for Grenada instead of Granada, like British Airways did last month? Or the 1,500 mile difference between airline codes SJO and SJU? Believe it or not, these things do happen. Here, 9 commonly confused cities that should make you check your boarding card.
Nothing defines Costa Rica in traveler’s minds as much as its leafy tree canopies and endless fields of grass. But first-timers who flock to this Central America paradise during the dry, peak season are often sorely disappointed by barren landscapes. Why? It’s only a few weeks after the first rains, typically in May, that the fields and trees sprout into the lushness that we imagine.
That’s one of many surprises we learned about Costa Rica on a recent visit: It’s much more beautiful in shoulder season. Here’s what else you might not know about traveling in Costa Rica, and in the rainier, less-crowded, and less-expensive months:
It’s no surprise that vacation rentals have stolen the hearts of savvy travelers everywhere. Great savings, extra amenities, even the chance to get some local advice…what’s not to love? The fact that HomeAway has hit one million listings — making its inventory almost twice the size of other similar companies — just comes to show how this once-alternative means of accommodation is going mainstream. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up five affordable rentals that you can book this summer and beyond, for a taste of something different:
1. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica: $80/night
For the design enthusiast, this Costa Rican rental delivers on one-of-a-kind digs with a futuristic, geodesic design. Sleeping four to five with two bedrooms spread over two floors, this villa is less than a five-minute walk to Santa Teresa Beah and the area’s shops and cafes. We recommend getting out early to beat the heat, then settling in for an afternoon siesta if the rain hits. And, don’t worry, the AC units are well-equipped to keep you cool. 4-night minimum.
A Segway tour is a great way to get an overview of a new city or region. You’ll cover more ground than you would on foot, and your guide can teach you about the local history, suggest restaurants, and refer you to other great tours in the area. Plus, Segways are just fun to ride. Here are 10 awesome Segway tours to add to your bucket list.
Chicago: Several companies operate in Chicago, but Absolutely Chicago Segway offers a few unique options in addition to the standard tour past Grant Park, the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, and Soldier Field. We like the Chicago Gangster tour ($65) featuring the hangouts of Al Capone and other wise guys and the Chicago Haunted Tour ($65) that glides you past haunted hotels, murder sites, and even a morgue. If you are in town during Halloween, the guides dress up as ghouls for the haunted tour.
On your next trip to Costa Rica, do yourself a favor and venture outside of the city of San José, where most flights into the country disembark. On a recent trip, we headed 60 miles northwest of the capital in search of dense rainforest hikes, relaxing thermal spas, and the “frog walk,” a guided tour by Arenal Oasis Wildlife Refuge where you look for 25 indigenous species. On top of that, we hiked, zip-lined, and bathed under a crashing waterfall. See the full slideshow here.
Make no mistake, collecting points to use for travel is a hassle. With black out dates and restrictions, actually using them for travel can be an even bigger hassle. That’s why loyalty programs are often overlooked as too conflated or difficult to actually enjoy, but those who put in the effort can be rewarded handsomely. Case in point: I recently used a combination of points to fund a visit to a remote island paradise in the southern Maldives. It wasn’t easy, nor was it straightforward, but it enabled me to travel to a place I could never afford otherwise. Here are five astonishing properties around the globe that may not be so far out of reach after all… Read more
Whatever happened to the good ol’ days, when hotel bars served as an oasis for road-weary travelers? A place to mingle with your fellow vagrants and meaninglessly converse about the weather? These days, hotel bars are often just impersonal TV viewing rooms serving overpriced Budweisers and poorly-poured Guinnesses.
Well, except for the five hotels listed below. Priding themselves on perfect pints, these ale-loving properties charm guests with decades-old brewing traditions, and a staff of knowledgeable bartenders eager to share the secrets of their craft: Read more
If there’s one thing we know at ShermansTravel, it’s deals. In this new series, “Where To Go Now?”, we help steer you towards the best money-saving offers to book right now. For our first edition, we’re focusing on short, cheap, warm-weather getaways. Got some extra cash and want to splash away a weekend in the Caribbean? You’ve come to the right place. Without further ado, here are five easy, value-packed deals you can book right now… Read more
Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals