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Costa Rica tips/experiences:


tristanbaldwin
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Hey Y'all! Just wanted to take a moment to share a few experiences from a recent trip to Costa Rica, in case it can save any of you misfortune/headaches, as well!

 

A) Choice of Airport in: San Jose(SJO)- located in the Central portion of the country, flights into here are generally cheaper, depending on your choice of city pairings. From here, it's a good launching point if you're heading to Jaco(shithole), Quepos(so-so), or Manuel Antonio National Park(gorgeous; and also has the highest concentration of gay friendly resorts). San Jose and Manuel Antonio are the only places I say gay bars and bathouses as well, such as Gaia in Manuel Antonio or 100 Celsius Lounge in San Jose. SJO was about 28 gates; easy to get through security wise.

Liberia(LIR)- my recommended airport if you're heading to the Northwest Coast(Guanacaste, Tamarindo, Papagayo), where the most beautiful beaches and best surfing are. Liberia, despite being only 10 gates, was actually CHEAPER than San Jose, and wicked easy in/out. I'm heading back to Costa Rica in January, I loved it that much- and this time flying into Liberia.

 

B) Destinations- If you're looking for ecological beauty and gay friendly- head south to Manuel Antonio. If you wanna surf, hit beaches, and want a cheaper trip- head up to Tamarindo. All inclusive resorts here were a complete waste of time- it's all people on honeymoons, so five guys by themselves stick out like a sore thumb. We stayed at the Riu Palace in Guanacaste for 3 days, roughly 140 a person a night...yeah, it was MEGA nice...but truly, we had a better time in Tamarindo then we did ANY other city out there. Avoid Coco Beach and Jaco..crime ridden towns with female street walkers and drugs everywhere.

 

C) *RENTAL CAR HUSTLE*- This is the primary reason I'm making this post. Grabbed a Toyota Corolla for 150.63 for TEN days, unlimited miles, from SJO airport, via Budget. I have president's circle status and a sickkkk hook up code for Hertz, but even with all my connections, Budget was still cheapest....ON PAPER, that is. Here's where the hustle comes in, and I don't think it's limited to just Budget. We get down there, and I crack down a credit card with a highhhhhh limit in front of the guy...and he starts doing all the paperwork. Juuuuuust as he's about to hand me the key, he all of a sudden says "Oh...I can't give you the car actually, this credit card has no raised numbers". Well, on the ultra modern United Airlines credit cards, the numbers aren't on the front...they're on the back...and in Costa, they still use the old imprint machines, he says. So I fly the card over and tell him to take the imprint from there. THAT apparently was impossible. So, I spy with my little eye...a standard Point of Sale(POS) terminal with keypad and swipe ability...RIGHT NEXT TO HIM. He refuses to run the card, saying the terminal is down. Well, 8 feet away at the second desk, there's another terminal...he doesn't wanna go over there and use it. So I crack down another card...another issue. And another and another. No card is passing his muster, even though I'm smacking down Visa, Mastercard, Amex- you name it. I was about to crack down Whipped Guy's business card, and threaten this Budget representative with corporal punishment unless he gave me the fucking keys. No, just kidding...LOL.

 

Anyhow, then his 'play' becomes apparent..."Oh, ok...I can deviate from policy and give you the card, but it requires either a 4000 dollar hold on the card, or that you HAVE to get the insurance(35 dollars a day)." The insurance is where these rental car companies make their $$. It's a scam. I told him I had full insurance here in the states; he said it doesn't count here, without even bothering to read my declarations page. Long story short- what they quote you on the phone, is not what it's going to end up being...if you're grabbing a rental car in costa, see if you can check online to see what credit cards they WILL accept, and which they won't, and have an explicit printout from your insurance company as to whether they'll cover stuff or not...and ram it in the guys face. In addition, take pictures AND video of the car at the time of pickup and dropoff...these guys realize they're never going to see you again, so they'll try to put in claims on ANYTHING.

 

Hope this was helpful- any additional questions, PM or call me! 860-281-6382, I'd be glad to help.

 

Tristtttty

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  • 1 year later...
Hey Y'all! Just wanted to take a moment to share a few experiences from a recent trip to Costa Rica, in case it can save any of you misfortune/headaches, as well!

 

A) Choice of Airport in: San Jose(SJO)- located in the Central portion of the country, flights into here are generally cheaper, depending on your choice of city pairings. From here, it's a good launching point if you're heading to Jaco(shithole), Quepos(so-so), or Manuel Antonio National Park(gorgeous; and also has the highest concentration of gay friendly resorts). San Jose and Manuel Antonio are the only places I say gay bars and bathouses as well, such as Gaia in Manuel Antonio or 100 Celsius Lounge in San Jose. SJO was about 28 gates; easy to get through security wise.

Liberia(LIR)- my recommended airport if you're heading to the Northwest Coast(Guanacaste, Tamarindo, Papagayo), where the most beautiful beaches and best surfing are. Liberia, despite being only 10 gates, was actually CHEAPER than San Jose, and wicked easy in/out. I'm heading back to Costa Rica in January, I loved it that much- and this time flying into Liberia.

 

B) Destinations- If you're looking for ecological beauty and gay friendly- head south to Manuel Antonio. If you wanna surf, hit beaches, and want a cheaper trip- head up to Tamarindo. All inclusive resorts here were a complete waste of time- it's all people on honeymoons, so five guys by themselves stick out like a sore thumb. We stayed at the Riu Palace in Guanacaste for 3 days, roughly 140 a person a night...yeah, it was MEGA nice...but truly, we had a better time in Tamarindo then we did ANY other city out there. Avoid Coco Beach and Jaco..crime ridden towns with female street walkers and drugs everywhere.

 

C) *RENTAL CAR HUSTLE*- This is the primary reason I'm making this post. Grabbed a Toyota Corolla for 150.63 for TEN days, unlimited miles, from SJO airport, via Budget. I have president's circle status and a sickkkk hook up code for Hertz, but even with all my connections, Budget was still cheapest....ON PAPER, that is. Here's where the hustle comes in, and I don't think it's limited to just Budget. We get down there, and I crack down a credit card with a highhhhhh limit in front of the guy...and he starts doing all the paperwork. Juuuuuust as he's about to hand me the key, he all of a sudden says "Oh...I can't give you the car actually, this credit card has no raised numbers". Well, on the ultra modern United Airlines credit cards, the numbers aren't on the front...they're on the back...and in Costa, they still use the old imprint machines, he says. So I fly the card over and tell him to take the imprint from there. THAT apparently was impossible. So, I spy with my little eye...a standard Point of Sale(POS) terminal with keypad and swipe ability...RIGHT NEXT TO HIM. He refuses to run the card, saying the terminal is down. Well, 8 feet away at the second desk, there's another terminal...he doesn't wanna go over there and use it. So I crack down another card...another issue. And another and another. No card is passing his muster, even though I'm smacking down Visa, Mastercard, Amex- you name it. I was about to crack down Whipped Guy's business card, and threaten this Budget representative with corporal punishment unless he gave me the fucking keys. No, just kidding...LOL.

 

Anyhow, then his 'play' becomes apparent..."Oh, ok...I can deviate from policy and give you the card, but it requires either a 4000 dollar hold on the card, or that you HAVE to get the insurance(35 dollars a day)." The insurance is where these rental car companies make their $$. It's a scam. I told him I had full insurance here in the states; he said it doesn't count here, without even bothering to read my declarations page. Long story short- what they quote you on the phone, is not what it's going to end up being...if you're grabbing a rental car in costa, see if you can check online to see what credit cards they WILL accept, and which they won't, and have an explicit printout from your insurance company as to whether they'll cover stuff or not...and ram it in the guys face. In addition, take pictures AND video of the car at the time of pickup and dropoff...these guys realize they're never going to see you again, so they'll try to put in claims on ANYTHING.

 

Hope this was helpful- any additional questions, PM or call me! 860-281-6382, I'd be glad to help.

 

Tristtttty

 

Excellent post...and Whipped has a business card? I knew I smelled money. That's it, he's buying dinner.

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