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  #1  
Old April 6th, 2012, 04:16 PM
can'tcatchup can'tcatchup is offline
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Default Thoughts / Feeback on this long Celebrity shore excursion from Puntarenas

Looking for feedback from anyone who may have taken this tour or has heard anything about it.

Tour # CR01 - Costa Rica Highlights: tour includes stops at San Ramon, Palmeras & Sarchi enroute to and from San Jose. In San Jose it visits the Opera House and National Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, and a sit down lunch is served at a Costa Rican retreat. Tour lasts 8 1/2 hours & cost is $109.

Am a little concerned about the length of the bus ride from Puntarenas to San Jose (guessing it's a little over 100 miles???), but then again it might afford great views of various parts of the country enroute.
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  #2  
Old April 8th, 2012, 03:27 AM
can'tcatchup can'tcatchup is offline
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Well, I booked the tour. Found that San Jose is about 70 miles from Puntarenas, and the drive is around 2 hours. Keeping fingers crossed that it'll be worth it for the views along the way.
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  #3  
Old April 11th, 2012, 11:08 AM
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Sorry I'm late responding but I would not book a tour to San Jose on my first visit to Costa Rica unless there is something in particular you want to see. It's sort of like going to a famous seafood restaurant and ordering spaghetti. You will get to see some of Costa Rica on the drive but you will be on the more major roads so your opportunity to see wildlife and the scenery that CR is know for will be limited.
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  #4  
Old April 11th, 2012, 11:39 AM
can'tcatchup can'tcatchup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilotdane View Post
Sorry I'm late responding but I would not book a tour to San Jose on my first visit to Costa Rica unless there is something in particular you want to see. It's sort of like going to a famous seafood restaurant and ordering spaghetti. You will get to see some of Costa Rica on the drive but you will be on the more major roads so your opportunity to see wildlife and the scenery that CR is know for will be limited.
Though I've booked the tour, I understand we can cancel & be refunded up to 4 or 5 days prior. I very much appreciate your response. I wonder which tour you would recommend. I should say that we are 2 "older" ladies & not interested in "high adventure" (g). Ziplining, tours with hiking/climbing are not for us. We're also not "beach" people. We like scenery & charming villages, meeting the people & experiencing their culture, etc. Crocodiles & monkeys aren't high on my priority list. Though I did enjoy all the wildlife on my African safari some years back.

That probably makes it difficult to recommend a tour, but I appreciate any suggestions as alternates. I will also take another look at the tours offered & come back & post a few that sound somewhat interesting to us.
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  #5  
Old April 11th, 2012, 11:58 AM
can'tcatchup can'tcatchup is offline
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Here are 3 other tours that sort of interest me. I checked with Celebrity about taking 2 back to back tours (morning & afternoon) & they said it was possible. The only thing about doing that is that we probably miss lunch that day!

CR60 - Meet the Esparzans - 4 hour tour offered at 8 AM & 1 PM - Drive along the beautiful pacific coast of Costa Rica and visit Orotina, known for its many fruit plantations and browse some truly exotic tropical fruits, such as caimitos (star apples), cashew fruits & its nuts, mangos, and many more amazing fruits. Continue on to Esparza where we will welcome you at the main park with its folkloric dances, music & fresh tropical fruits.
This tour is designed for those who would like to see the diverse and beautiful coastal countryside of Costa Rica with minimal walking. Board your a/c transportation and be driven to the town of Orotina, known for its many fruit plantations. Take the opportunity to interact with authentic friendly Costa Ricans at the Orotina farmers' market. Browse for some of the truly exotic tropical fruits, such as caimitos (star apples), cashew fruits & its nuts, mangos, and many more amazing fruits, most native to Costa Rica.

Continue on to Esparza, which is known as one of the most picturesque towns in Costa Rica's Central Pacific region.

The central park and its church are emblematic of Costa Rica's hardworking rural towns and will welcome you with its folkloric dances, live music & fresh tropical fruits for your delight. Local families of artisans will display their artful souvenirs so you can browse for gifts.
This scenic drive will definitely provide you with fond memories of genuine Costa Ricans and of your visit.

CR51 - Picturesque Sarchi - 5 hour tour offered at 1 PM It was here in Sarchí that, more than a century ago, primitive local artists began painting and decorating their traditional oxcarts in intricate and colorful designs. At Sarchí you will see artisans painting a variety of woodcrafts. Souvenirs of all kinds and for all tastes are availalable.

Located in the west part of the Central Valley the scenic town of Sarchi is considered home of Costa Rica’s best craftsmanship. It was here in Sarchi, that more than a century ago, primitive local artists began painting and decorating their traditional oxcarts in intricate and colourful designs. There was spirited but good-nature competition among families to see who could create the most spectacular designs.

The sturdy vehicles, hauled by teams of oxen, soon became the primary mean of transportation throughout the nation, bumping over rough roads and trails, to carry elegantly dressed young ladies to festivals and dances in nearby villages. Today, the hand-painted Costa Rican oxcart art has evolved into a brilliantly executed form of native artistic expression. Visitors can find an immense variety of local wood products, ranging from elaborated hand-made furniture to inlaid boxes, trays and rare hardwood statuary.

In Sarchi, you will be able to see artisans painting a variety of woodcrafts. Leather goods and souvenirs of all kinds and for all tastes are available for purchase. Before going back to the ship, you will arrive at the little town of Grecia, famous for its historical metal church. A brief stop will be made to take a memorable picture. During this excursion, you will have the opportunity to stop at the Sarchi’s main square to take a memorable picture of the largest oxcart ever built.

CR24 - Puntarenas Coastal Orientation (Panoramic Scenic Drive - 3 hour, 15 min. tour offered at 8:45 AM Costa Rica's topography is one of the world's most diverse - rolling hills, high mountains, plains, valleys, and riverbeds. Your tour starts at the town of Orotina's farmers' market, giving you a great opportunity to interact with the locals. Next head to Esparza, one of the most picturesque in the region, whose central park and church are emblematic of Costa Rica's hardworking rural towns. Next enjoy a drive down to sea level admiring the views as you go.

Costa Rica's topography is one of the world's most diverse. Rolling hills, high mountains, plains, valleys, and riverbeds are just part of the gorgeous landscape that make you think of one word: paradise.

Your sightseeing drive will start by heading south on the Coastal Highway to the town of Orotina. Upon arrival, your tour bus will stop at the farmers' market, giving you a great opportunity to interact with the locals. Here you can find many types of souvenirs including some truly exotic tropical fruits, such as caimitos (star apples), cashew fruits, cashew nuts, mangos, zapotes and many more amazing fruits, most endemic to Costa Rica.

After leaving Orotina you will continue to Esparza. This town has become one of the most picturesque in the Costa Rica's Central Pacific region. The central park and its church are emblematic of Costa Rica's hardworking rural towns.

You will continue your journey down to sea level, admiring the sweeping views that you will see as the most breathtaking sites of the day. The colorful homes along the way with large gardens and living fences grown with the most beautiful plants and trees will look like the decoration of Costa Rica's most beautiful countryside.
==========================

Would the drives on these tours be more interesting?
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  #6  
Old April 19th, 2012, 04:50 PM
can'tcatchup can'tcatchup is offline
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Thoughts? Anyone?
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  #7  
Old April 22nd, 2012, 11:58 PM
startpacking startpacking is offline
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I agree with PilotDane, I would not visit San Jose on a first visit to Costa Rica. Costa Rica has plenty to offer and San Jose is not a good representation of the country, the city is dirty, dangerous and has little of interest to tourists. The Opera House is a grand old building, if you have travelled extensively you'll have seen the same/similar elsewhere. It is nothing unique and definitely not a must see.

BTW, I found the wildlife sightings in Costa Rica to be much better than what I've seen in Africa, albeit, totally different.
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  #8  
Old April 23rd, 2012, 09:34 AM
can'tcatchup can'tcatchup is offline
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Ok, I get it that no one recommends the shore excursion to San Jose, but what's the feeling on the other 3 in post #5?

As mentioned before, we're not "into" beach excursions, zip lining, or "high adventure".
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  #9  
Old April 24th, 2012, 09:45 AM
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pilotdane pilotdane is offline
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Choosing between the options you listed is totally up to you and your interests. All three are relatively similar, focusing on bus rides and doing some souvenir shopping & sight seeing. Personally I'm not very excited about any of the three. The towns are neat but I think lack the old history and interest of Cartagena, old San Juan or Anigua which you might visit on your cruise.

CR60 and CR24 sound very similar with both visiting Orotina & Esparza by bus with time to do a little shopping for souvenirs. Except for the time difference I don't know what separates the two.

The CR51 tour does get up close to some pretty country with much of the drive there and back probably on the Pan American Hwy. It's sort of like driving the Interstate's here in the US. You can see some things and it can be interesting but you're on a big road cruising through.
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