Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Baldi Hot Springs NEW REVIEW '10

Baldi Hot Springs in La Fortuna could be the hot springs option that provides the BIGGEST BANG for your BUCK.

We've been wanting to re-REVIEW Baldi Hot Springs for quite sometime now. Our fist video of Baldi Hot Springs was done when we were just starting out and weren't really sure of what we were doing.

First, it's important to note that the entire town of La Fortuna pushes Baldi tickets on the tourists, for the simple fact Baldi pays commissions and Tabacon and EcoTermales don't. So all the tour shops, hotels, restaurants, as well as every Tom, Dick AND HARRY we'll usually suggest Baldi over the other hot springs, not saying that's bad.... just sayin. Baldi tickets can run anywhere from about $16.00 to whatever you're willing to pay, so it's BEST to shop around a bit if you're traveling on a budget or want to save a couple bucks. DO NOT BUY BALDI TICKETS AT BALDI- you will currently pay $28.00 at the entrance if you don't get them somewhere else. We paid $22.00 for use of the hot springs and dinner per person. Dinner is buffet style... we thought this was an EXCELLENT DEAL.

Tabacon Hot Springs is expensive, like $70.mas o menos but the 'Garden of Eden' has nothing on Tabacon and Eco Termales (across the street from Baldi) is more private, tranquilo and GREAT for a more 'chill' hot spring option (here's our write-up and VIDEO REVIEW of Eco Termales) and then there's Baldi,,,,BIG (25 pools of various sizes) and about as close to a hot spring 'theme park' as you're going to get,,,, water slides, loud music, kids, numerous swim up bars..... and LOTS of tourists- at Baldi, it's all about Q*U*A*N*T*I*T*Y.

I gotta say, Baldi is looking much nicer than it did in the past, the vegetation has matured adding some much need LUSHNESS to the area and even in the bigger pools gives the illusion of happening upon thermal waters in the middle of the jungle. It doesn't quite look as natural as Tabacon, but a BIG IMPROVEMENT. My comparison: Tabacon Hot Springs vs Baldi Hot Springs- the TRUTH.

Drinks are ridiculously expensive at Baldi Hot Springs even for a touristy destination- you almost think you're drinking at a swim up bar at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas. We took cans of beer in, we're NOT telling YOU to do that and I know Baldi would frown on that as well, but we did with no trouble, although we didn't advertise the fact either. Towels require a $10. deposit which you get back when you return the towel and lockers for your valuables cost $5.00 which you don't get back.

Depending on your MOOD and your BUDGET- Baldi Hot Springs definitely fills a certain hot springs niche...

Our NEW VIDEO Review of Baldi Hot Springs in La Fortuna Costa Rica

TONS of Costa Rica Travel Info and VIDEOS on our website: Travel Costa Rica NOW and if you want to visit our YouTube Channel: iCostaRica24 ENjoY!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Crossing into Nicaragua from Los Chiles

Crossing the border at Los Chiles Costa Rica into San Carlos Nicaragua is a BREEZE.

Granted, crossing the border at Los Chiles isn't the most popular travel route between Costa Rica and Nicaragua- Penas Blancas holds that distinction- at Los Chiles it's mostly backpackers who want to venture off the beaten path, 'perpetual tourist' types looking for an easy passport stamp and renewal of their VISA's and Nica's looking for work or visiting families, who mostly utilize this border crossing. The reason it's less traveled is simple- there's just not many 'convenient' Nicaraguan travel options once you're made it to San Carlos, although there's a couple boats that go to Granada as well as an airstrip with flights to Managua. So Penas Blancas is far away the border crossing of choice being it's an easily accessible GATEWAY to many points of interest in Nicaragua- San Juan del Sur, Rivas, Granada, Managua, Ometepe etc. But no matter, since we've received numerous e-mails asking for a 'video' process of the crossing, we thought we'd oblige.

So, D'Angelo, myself and 5 of our friends decided to make a day of it. We rented a driver/van for $80. and left at 8:00am from La Fortuna. Stopped at Muelle (about 35 minutes from La Fortuna) and checked out the iguanas and then headed up to Los Chiles, Costa Rica, another hour away from Muelle.

Los Chiles is a border town located on the banks of the Rio Frio, which in turn is the river 'border' between Costa Rica and Nicaragua that you must navigate by boat in order to reach San Carlos. The tiny town of San Carlos is located on banks of Lake Nicaragua just opposite from where the Rio Frio empties into the lake.

Our boat arriving into San Carlos Nicaragua.

This border crossing at Los Chiles is about a thousand times less stressful than Penas Blancas for obvious reasons, and so you can compare the two, I posted both border crossings BELOW.

Once you're gotten your passport stamp at Immigration, located a block from where you get the boat, you'll have to make a decision as to whether to take the 'public' boat to San Carlos or negotiate a price for your own boat. Obviously, if you're traveling by yourself, negotiating for a boat probably wouldn't be the most cost effective option. We made the mistake of negotiating price per person as opposed to haggling over the price of renting the boat itself. I think we paid $50. too much doing it this way. The public boat is about $20. per person TOTAL (there and back). We paid $25. per person to have our own boat, go much faster and we could leave San Carlos whenever we wanted as opposed to the public boat that left San Carlos at 5:30 regardless. All in all, not a bad price, just think we could have done a little better.

Here's the VIDEO crossing the border from Los Chiles Costa Rica to San Carlos Nicaragua:

Crossing the BORDER at Penas Blancas:

TONS of Costa Rica Travel Info and VIDEOS on our website: Travel Costa Rica NOW and if you want to visit our YouTube Channel: iCostaRica24 ENjoY!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Costa Rica Travel Company we RECOMMEND

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D'Angeo and myself LOVE making videos, blogging, answering questions and providing INFO on traveling Costa Rica, but unfortunately we don't have time to set up Costa Rica tour packages, but we've finally found a Travel Company who can. It's taken over a year to find the BEST travel company who BEST represents what we're looking for in Costa Rica travel- personal, decent on the wallet and with a good understanding of the country (you might be surprised how many TRAVEL Companies DON'T have a CLUE about the real Costa Rica).

So, visit our site at Travel Costa Rica NOW and Check OUT the Costa Rica Travel Packages brought to you by Gecko Trail Adventures. And of course they offer CUSTOMIZED travel packages as well. * Yes, we get a referral fee if you book with Gecko because that's the nature of the business, but that's it. We are not affiliated with Gecko Trail Adventures in any way nor did we receive any type of compensation for this 'exposure'.

BUT, we take this recommendation very seriously, so if you ever have a PROBLEM with the overall service of Gecko Trail Adventures or feel in anyway you didn't receive your money's worth, please contact us personally, because if you're NOT happy, I can assure you, we won't be either. Pura Vida!

TONS of Costa Rica Travel Info and VIDEOS on our website: Travel Costa Rica NOW and if you want to visit our YouTube Channel: iCostaRica24 ENjoY

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Do I Need SHOTS to enter Costa Rica?

"Do I need immunization SHOTS to visit Costa Rica? Does Costa Rica have typhoid fever or yellow fever? Do mosquitoes spread Malaria and Dengue, what do I do to protect myself?"

Information is good, but TOO MUCH information IF taken out of context can often be perceived differently than originally intended. For example, in an effort to INFORM the would be traveler to Costa Rica, most Travel Books will explain all the different 'tropical' diseases a visitor has the possibility of encountering when visiting the country- this is a good thing, it's informative. BUT, the relative word here is, 'possibility', much different than 'probability' and many people seem to CONFUSE the two. Just because a Travel Book explains the possibilities, doesn't mean the 'probability' is necessarily HIGH, and although in many countries it could be, Costa Rica is NOT one of them.

So, I'll say it: "If you're sticking to the more touristy destinations when visting Costa Rica, the likely hood of catching any 'tropical' disease is fairly low, again, possible but not probable."

Now, if you're venturing OFF the beaten path, volunteering or doing work in remote or impoverished areas of Costa Rica, staying here for extended periods of time or living in areas more susceptible to outbreaks of Dengue or Malaria, such as Limon, then yeah, TOO MUCH information is a GOOD thing and you should be doing your HOMEWORK.

Here's an overview: Travelers Diarrhea is the most common ailment when traveling just about ANYWHERE. Drink bottled water, make sure vegetables and fruits are washed, peeled and cooked. Travel Books on Costa Rica will usually tell you not to use ice cubes or buy your food from street vendors, we do BOTH, never had a problem. Not telling you to... just sayin.

Consult your doctor, but Hepatitis A can be a problem just about anywhere in the WORLD (although for different reasons) so a Hepatitis A vaccination is a good idea regardless where you happen to be traveling. If traces of fecal matter in water and food isn't enough to get this vaccination, I don't know what is.

But in Costa Rica, most travelers are concerned with contacting Dengue or Malaria which are both spread through mosquitoes. Both incidents are low, but if you're concerned or some of the above variables apply to your situation, then the answer is easy, mosquito repellent should be frequently applied, proper attire such as long-sleeves and pants etc, mosquito netting at night and/or coils and in the case of Malaria, maybe the Malaria pill is the perfect option.

To get more INFO on the above, as well as a few other 'possibilities', visit our website: Travel Costa Rica NOW- Health and Safety in Costa Rica

Here's our VIDEO about needing SHOTS to visit Costa Rica:

TONS of Costa Rica Travel Info and VIDEOS on our website: Travel Costa Rica NOW and if you want to visit our YouTube Channel: iCostaRica24 Oh, and we also have all the INFO about GAY Travel in Costa Rica. ENjoY!