Traveling Costa Rica

 “Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”– JRR Tolkien


Beach or Mountain – Every Place is Good to Visit Here!
Above is sunset at Flamingo Beach.

That is part of my retirement job of “enjoying retirement.” And though my entire photo gallery titled “Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA” includes much from these trips I take about every two months or more frequently, it has been mostly organized in subject galleries like Birds, Butterflies, Flora & Forest, places and events. Because people ask me about traveling to a specific location, what I saw there, about guides, activities, hotel, food, etc. I decided to add a new section to the photo galleries called “TRIPS.” Here you will find a gallery or folder on each trip with most recent trip at top and most include multiple photo galleries, like one for all the birds I photographed there, one on the hotel, other animals, scenery, etc. So if you are interested in what you might see and do in say Drake Bay, Tortuguero, or Sarapiqui, just check out my trip gallery to that place. And you already know that nature is my primary focus on all trips!  🙂

I guess this will be most helpful to persons considering a particular place to visit to see if it is something that interests you. Now also be aware that I travel to places multiple times and usually in different hotels/lodges. So check out all three of my trip galleries to San Gerardo de Dota for example. Or if you are just wanting . . .


Me at hotel by Arenal Volcano

And if you only want my opinion on a hotel or lodge? Well, I’m using a new “story-telling” feature on my web gallery host (SmugMug) now to present my opinions of the various hotels and lodges I have visited, over 30 in 3 years! These are listed alphabetically by locations (town. park, etc) and include links to the hotel’s website as well as other links of interest like my above trip galleries!  🙂 You find it in my big gallery under “PLACES & THINGS” as Cost Rica Lodges & Hotels

And for different kinds of reviews, I also write a report on most hotels on TripAdvisor where you should find a list of my reviews.

Most Americans are addicted to cars and thus will use a rent car with a GPS that will get you to any location. Just don’t depend on maps and addresses since house numbers are not used in Costa Rica much nor are streets or highways labeled, which can be a problem at the intersection of two highways where you need to turn. In addition to GPS systems, a lot of locals use WAZE on their cellphones for directions since it includes traffic problems, wrecks, construction work and detours. Or Google Maps provides good directions also on phones. Just bring a car charger for phone!

But if you want to forget the stress and travel the Pura Vida way, take a public bus to anywhere in the country for pennies on the dollar compared to rent car and no stress or getting lost. At your destination town, take a taxi to your hotel or many hotels provide shuttle transportation. To find bus schedules and plan your trip use  and if you can’t handle Spanish, there is a menu item to “Change the Language” with many major world languages included, like English!  🙂

NOTE: Since this post I now use a private driver for most trips not needing a plane. I use Walter Ramirez whose business is linked in the right column of this blog and to logo at left. I highly recommend him and all of his drivers. It costs more than a bus but is quicker, more efficient, more comfortable and relaxing with stops anytime you wish.

For longer distances and to save a long bus ride, I recommend the Costa Rican Sansa Airlines to get you across the country quickly and efficiently (telephone them is best) or their Canadian competitor Nature Air.   Booking online has not worked efficiently for me, so I recommend telephoning either airline.  NOTE: Nature Air has gone out of business since this post. But Sansa was always better anyway!  🙂

Typical 12-passenger plane used for in-country flights
and to neighbors Nicaragua and Panama.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

Well, I may have gotten carried away with travel information and opinions! Sorry! My original purpose was to simply introduce you to my new set of photo galleries called
A New Photo Gallery!
So, I hope you check it out and enjoy some of my trips vicariously or get ideas for trips of your own!
buen viaje
(That’s Spanish for “Bon Voyage” or “Good Trip”)
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, 
leading to the most amazing view.”    
— Edward Abbey


Caribbean Sunrise at Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

My New Web Page: Lodge/Hotel Reviews

Trogon Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica
A new webpage of both words & photos in my Photo Gallery
This took several hours of work and was not all easy!
The hardest part was because I seldom make photos of the building!
I now have reviews of 29 Costa Rica lodges or hotels I have stayed in.
So if you travel in Costa Rica, add this page to your research!  🙂
If you love nature, Costa Rica is the place to travel! Just see my photo gallery!
Soon I will add a similar page for Nicaragua and Panama, though not as many places!


If you are not aware, most Cubans trying to get to the states have now chosen to fly to Columbia and travel by land up through Central America to the Texas border, meaning we have crowds of Cubans coming through Costa Rica daily. 

My TripAdvisor Reviews Read by 61,000+!

In case you didn’t know, I write reviews of places I visit on the TripAdvisor website. I think you can see all my reviews at:  try it. The address is from my member page, so hope it works for the non-member. I have mixed emotions about TripAdvisor, which is good for some things but not all. I don’t recommend it as your main trip planning source. If a hotel, lodge, park, restaurant, etc. has its own website, then your best information is going to them directly. Don’t believe the promise of big discounts from TripAdvisor. And for turnkey trips in Costa Rica I have had good experience with My Costa Rica ( ) at reasonable prices. And if you want to get acquainted with Costa Rica, the absolutely best tour of the country at the very lowest price is from  from $995 including all meals and hotels! And of course my friends have me as an possible personal guide or trip planner, though I don’t have the discounts these big companies have. But my advice is free!  🙂

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Hi Charlie Doggett
Level 86 reviews 12,492 total points
Your advice has helped thousands
Charlie, 61,888 readers have read your reviews – impressive! As a leading contributor, your advice has really made its mark in our travel community. You’ve also earned a Readership badge with TripCollective. Congrats.
Good advice travels fast – so keep on sharing to see how many more travelers you can help!
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