Six Months in Costa Rica and Panama

COSTA RICA!
Something Familiar — Something New

We embarked on our second visit to Costa Rica in November 2018. We enjoyed our first quick visit in 2016 so much we came back for more! The first time we toured for three weeks. The second visit — we hung out for three months…

(To see our blog entry for our 2016 three-week holiday go here.)

Unlike most Hotel Guys’ travels to-date we will mix it up combining our stays in select hotels with longer-term accommodations. Truth be told, we are transitioning to spend upwards to 75%+ of our time outside the USA (our permanent address). We will stay in and share some hotels periodically. And we will slow way down and more deeply connect with the people and places in our new surroundings.

Below is a summary of places in Costa Rica we stayed and prices we paid. For more detailed information, see our Costa Rica page for photos and review comments for each of these properties.

Pura Vita

We started with a two-night stay in a favorite hotel, the Studio Hotel (we paid $81/night) in Santa Ana — just outside Costa Rica’s capital city of San Jose.

Below is a 20-second teaser promo or watch the complete three minute review.

Then onward to a month in La Fortuna (property listing we paid $1,100/month) and a month near Tamarindo on the Guanacaste peninsula (property listing we paid $1,650/month).

After a month of delightfully intense sunshine and pool lounging we went back to Lake Arenal and stayed in a condo with wind-swept views of the lake for six nights (property listing we paid just $212 for six nights! That’s not a typo.).

We were then looking for a beach stay and thought we would visit the Nicoya Peninsula. We didn’t find what we were looking for last-minute — too pricey. We were thrilled to stay, instead, a little further south — north of Quepos and south of Jaco — in Playa Bejuco at EcoVita Cabinas for a week. Really loved it! Super value ($330/week) — a little snug but stellar all-around! Highly recommend working with Shannon at EcoVida Properties for all needs!

We stayed a week at Avatar Eco Lodge (we paid $750/week). Lovely in so many respects but was not among our favorite “Good Life” tour destinations. But the Puerto Jimenez area has to be the most intensely bio-diverse area we’ve stayed in anywhere in the world. The insect variety alone was breathtaking!

And then we tried one night near the San Jose airport at the Airport Hotel (we paid $95/night). That was disappointing, except for the people we encountered of course, and wished we’d return to the Studio Hotel for the same price.

We left Costa Rica for Panama end of January 2019 (one hour flight on Avianca Airlines from San Jose — $99 each one-way) but re-entered Costa Rica May 6th, via the Paso Canoas border, for our flight home to Portland, Oregon USA. But we stopped for a return visit for a week in Playa Bejuco, just a few hours drive from the Panama border, to our favorite Costa Rican beach and stayed in a fabulous rental at EcoVida properties’ Casa Oasis — we negotiated $800/week (plus $104 tax and $116 for electricity). Our last night on the “Good Life” tour we stayed at Aloft San Jose — we paid $101/night.

See our Costa Rica page for photos and review comments for each of these properties.

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PANAMA
#1 International Destination for
North American Expat Retirees

We continued on to a first-time visit to Panama after the New Year 2019.

Below is a summary of places in Panama we stayed and prices we paid. For more detailed information, see our Panama page for photos and review comments for each of these properties.

We started with a week in a wonderful, well-run downtown hotel in Panama City (Global Hotel — we paid $665/week). We loved Panama City! Of course we floated the Panama Canal for a half-day tour.

Then, we spent a week in a two-bedroom Playa Blanca condo on the Pacific Ocean two hours south of the City (property listingwe paid $564/week).

Then we stayed a month in Playa Coronado on the Pacific side (property listing — we paid $2,300/month). And a month in David near the “northern” border with Costa Rica (property listing — we paid $2,000/month).

In between our month-long stays we went back to Panama City and stayed a week in a centrally-located two-bedroom condo near Omar Torrijos Park in the San Francisco neighborhood (property listing — we paid a whopping $1,100/week for prime location and amenities).

We stayed beachfront for a week at the Show Pony Resort at Las Lajas — we paid $560/week.

We stayed in Boquete for a week at Villa Yolo in Escondido Resort — we paid $515/week).

We returned to Costa Rica via the nearby Paso Canoas land border. Stayed another week on the beach in Costa Rica (see above).

Then back to San Jose, Costa Rica May 2019 and our return flight to Portland, Oregon USA vis Los Angeles on Alaska Airlines. We paid US$224 each one-way commencing the trip in November 2018; and then US$312 each one-way for the eventual return mid-May 2019 — both booked several months in advance.

See our Panama page for photos and review comments for each of these properties.

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sneak peek: We’ll be leaving for India late August 2019 and you can read about the upcoming “Open-Heart” Tour here.

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