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Travel Advice for First Timers to Costa Rica

So are you planning to go to Costa Rica this summer? What are doing to plan? What boards are you bringing? Or is it fishing poles, or hiking boots?

It stinks to show up at a country and not know a little bit about what's happening - culturally or currently. So the first thing to do is get your hands on a copy of the Lonely Planet - Costa Rica. You get background, maps, safety, Spanish, hotels, tours, and weather. The Surfers Guide for Costa Rica by Mike Parise is another recommendation if you're surfing. These might even be found in the local library.

Second, check the NOAA wave models for about two weeks out and start praying for some big, long, dark red bubble to form just east of Australia with arrows pointing at the Galapagos. At a week out, check for the professional prediction and to print the tide charts.,,, and are worth a glance to confirm the forecast. Double-check your flight reservations and passport expiration date to avoid last minute disasters.

Then make a list of what you want to bring. The less - the better. The essentials are two bathing suits, two shirts, shoes/flops, sunscreen, sunglasses (with a backup pair), flashlight, mosquito repellant, anti-diarrhea pills, passport (with a backup copy), camera, some cash, and some credit. Shove those in a backpack and the rest you can get once you arrive. No worries about surfboards and baggage fees, there are ten surf shops in Jaco, at least eight in Tamarindo, and every beach town in between has at least one shop that sells or rents boards. One favorite is Walking on Water Surf Shop in Jaco. The owner, Chuck Herwig, has Al Merrick shapes as well as Kechele's, local shaper Carton's, H.I.C.'s, and T&C's in stock and in most every size. He also rents quality boards, from 5.0 fishes to 10.0 logs, with the softracks, leashes, and boardbags included.

If you have to go anywhere fancy, there are lots of shops selling all the latest styles. If you're hiking, buy or bring your rain gear, especially from May to November. For the fisherman, camps like the Rio Colorado Lodge and the Roy's Zancudo Lodge (with 50 world records) will take care of you from picking you up from airport to your departure - all inclusive is the call.

With these tips in mind, you'll be carrying knowledge and not luggage. For advice on your specific summer trip, just drop me a line - Pura vida!






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