trek hidden costa rica

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trek hidden costa rica

Postby eiomcd » Tue May 14, 2013 2:15 pm

do we have to carry our own backpack
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby foxer » Fri May 17, 2013 3:28 pm

eiomcd wrote:do we have to carry our own backpack


Heya,

I just came back from this trip - and yes, you will have to carry your own backpack, but not everywhere. The equipment list only states backpack - but you'll want to bring a day pack also. While hiking out to the home stays and the cave, you will ONLY take the gear/clothes you'll need in your day pack, and the rest is left behind in a safe place. Your main pack will join you again before the white water rafting, then will meet you again in Domincal. There will be times you make stops before getting to the next hotel etc, and the bags will stay on the bus with the driver (if you hire a private shuttle - we did because we were a full group). Everyones bags were safe.

Are you taking the trip or in the thinking about it stage? It's an incredible trip that I would take again in a heartbeat. If you're taking the trip, I have a few other tips/suggestions for ya!
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby eiomcd » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:14 pm

Hi, Yes we are booked to go December 28, 2013. Any information you can give us will be appreciated. Thanks, we are looking forward to this experience.
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby jinsop » Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:47 pm

Have a question for 'foxer'.
According to the itinerary, each day's hiking time seems to be rather short, lasting 2 hours or so for the most of the day. I'm looking to have 5-6 hour hike for a few days. How long was each hike during your trip?
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby foxer » Sun Jun 16, 2013 1:10 am

jinsop wrote:Have a question for 'foxer'.
According to the itinerary, each day's hiking time seems to be rather short, lasting 2 hours or so for the most of the day. I'm looking to have 5-6 hour hike for a few days. How long was each hike during your trip?


Heya Jinsop,

The hiking varies day by day, and I didn't actually time the hikes while I was there. I do know the longest hike is the one to Piedras Blancas, for the three nights of awesome family home stays.

That hike is estimated to take 4 hours in the online description, however our group took longer to do it, about 5 1/2 to 6 hours - and you will be carrying your own bag. As mentioned in my previous post, you won't be taking all your things with you, and while it wasn't mentioned in our packing list, make sure you bring a day pack, as that's what you'll be taking to the homestays, and to the cave.

The hike to the homestays is quite hilly.... very hilly. So it's a great challenge! Not to mention you're dealing with heat, and likely some rain... and hills.... lot's of hills!

Also, your hike times will vary depending on the make-up of your group. According to our CEO, the group before us were able to do the trek much faster than us.

The next three days are spent hiking back the way you came in, with homestays in between. From the Lopez home to the Granados home is about 1 to 1 1/2 hours of hiking. From the Granados home to the Fonsecas home, is about 2 1/2 hours. From the Granados home to Brujo, is about 2 hours, then straight onto white water rafting.

Once at the home stays though, you have time for many activities; cheese and bread making; swimming; zip lining; exploring, etc.

*I'm basing this off my trip only, and things may have been altered/modified for upcoming trips....so don't take my account of the itinerary as the gospel!*

After rafting we were driven to Dominical for a night. The next day we hiked to Diamente Verde, the cave - that's all up hill (again, awesome workout!) and is scheduled to take about 3 hours. There are other smaller hikes once you're at the cave over the two days (I don't want to spoil all the surprises...so I'll leave it at that!). There is rappelling and cliff jumping, too.

Once in Uvita, you can choose between optional activities, or go walking around town or the beach, and/or surfing. There is lots of beach to cover if your looking for more hiking on your own. There is also a chance to do ziplining and other activities.

On our way back to San Jose on the second to last day, we opted as a group, to go Manuel Antonio National Park - which was awesome. We saw lots of wildlife, and got in more hiking.

While there isn't 5 to 6 hours of hiking everyday, there is a lot of trekking, some more challenging than others - however I guess that would depend on what you're used to! But there are other physical activities to do while you are there, so you'll be kept active most of the time. Not to mention you will have personal time where you can do more exploring with other group members if you wish.

I had an amazing, life changing time on this trip - and would go again in a flash.

Hope that answers your question. If there's anything else I can lend my views on, let me know.

*****

Eiomcd:

Congrats on booking the trip! I have a feeling you won't regret it!

A few suggestions I can think of off the top of my head - now you may already know these things, but seeing as I don't know what type of things you already know....!:

-WHITEWATER RAFTING: I would recommend a long sleeved rash guard shirt, and wearing capris or something to cover your knees. I happen to be very pale - and thought I took enough precautions to protect against the sun by putting on scads of waterproof/sweatproof sunscreen multiple times throughout the rafting trip, in fact, we all did, however we ALL - including most of our awesome guides, got burnt. My knees got burnt to the point where they became swollen, and blistered the next day. I had miss out on some of the activities for the next few days because of the pain and fact that I couldn't really bend my knees! EW! It was very painful and lasted several days. Now as I said before, I am very pale, and I live in a climate that doesn't see much hot sun...however I wasn't the only one to get blisters, and badly burnt! So take some extra precautions, as mentioned above, and hopefully you'll be spared and be able to enjoy the trip to its fullest extent!

-FIRE ANTS: They are awful, AWFUL! And live in Costa Rica, among many other places! Be mindful of where you are stepping. If you haven't experienced them, they are small, and you don't feel them on you right away. Ensure before your traditional sauna/sweat at the Fonsecas home, that you're not sitting on a fire ant colony - as you aren't supposed to talk and won't have anywhere else to go unless you run out! A few in my group now share this incredible bond thanks to the incredible pain experienced courtesy of fire ants in that traditional sauna! (The ants were only in one part of the sauna, and the rest of the group was spared....!) BLOODY NASTY CREATURES! (I still have marks on my feet!)

-WATER: You can drink the water in Costa Rica most everywhere! Your guides will tell you which streams etc you can drink from - but no need to bring water purification tablets or buy bottled water. Some of best water I've ever tasted! Just make sure you bring a reusable water bottle and/or water bladder.

-MONEY: I suggest having a mix of US dollars (in smaller denominations 1's, 5's, 10's and maybe some 20's, but nothing higher, and make sure the bills are in good condition) and colones. The ATM's in Costa Rica will dispense both currencies, however having said that, many us experienced problems with our bank cards, and weren't able to get extra cash from the ATM's. We had all notified our various financial institutions we would be abroad, but it didn't seem to matter. You will be tipping guides, bus drivers (if you hire a private bus) and the families from the home stays etc, so the smaller bills you have the easier it will be for this. Also, trying to pay with a US $20 at the supermarket brought looks of dread on the clerks faces - I basically demolished their float. Also, if you pay in US you will be given colones in change. I wished I had gotten more of the local currency and brought smaller US bills.

-RAIN GEAR: I realize it's on the equipment list, but I wished I had left my rain coat at home. Myself and at least one other traveller, found our rain coats to be stifling hot, and while it kept the rain off, the amount of sweat inside our coats from the heat and the fact the coats don't breath, made it pointless! We got soaked from our sweat. And I don't know about you... but I would rather get wet from fresh rain than manky sweat! Our rain coats turned into one extra thing to carry and to take up room. What is a must, however, are rain covers for your backpacks, both the day pack and regular pack. MUST HAVE THESE! It would be awful for the contents of your bag to be soaking - cause once something gets wet, it doesn't truly dry there unless in a dryer. Also - if you have gators (the covers that go around you feet, ankles and shins - in case you didn't already know), I would look to bring them. If you don't have them, there are fairly cheap. They would help to keep the rain water from going into your boots from above. Wish I had had a pair with me!

-FOOTWEAR: Good hikers are a must. Mine were day hikers, and came up just past the ankle and provided awesome support. Make sure your hikers are worn in, you don't want to do what I did and break them in on the trip! I recommend the boots that go past your ankles for the following reasons:

a. Costa Rica is hilly! And the path can be very uneven and is rocky. You'll also be carrying your bag, so you will be weighted down a bit, thus throwing off your balance. I found the extra ankle support to be a life saver, as there are many places to roll ones ankles!

b. The paths can be muddy and/or have mini lakes across them. In some cases, giant mud bogs that a Brit might get caught in...(inside joke but have pictures to prove it!) The higher ankle on my boots kept my feet dry longer than those who had the hiker shoes, and their ankles exposed.

Once your shoes are wet however, don't expect them to dry until you leave the country.

I brought my flip-flops to wear after the hiking, as you'll want to boots to air/dry out as best they can, and for your feet to breath and dry!

-CLOTHING FOR HIKING: I recommend the workout shirts, capris, shorts, etc, that wick away sweat, and/or rappel water. You will sweat, no if's and or but's about it. But the fabric from workout clothes is easier to clean in my opinion, and dries faster. You will have chances to clean your clothes at the home stays and at the cave. We had the opportunity to have all our clothes washed in Dominical for a fee - which was nice and worth it!

-TOILETS: Do not flush toilet paper! EVER! Use the appropriate receptacle next to the toilet for this!

That's all I can think of for now. I'm sure there's more I'll think of later. And again, I'm not sure what knowledge you already have of the country or traveling in general - so if this appears long-winded (which it somewhat is!) or contains obvious observations, my apologies.

I hope this was of some assistance to you. I wish you the best in your travels and for the trip. I loved my trip, and all the people in my group. Have a wonderful time, and by all means, should you have any other questions, don't hesitate. (I'll try not to be as long winded next time!).

Foxer
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby jinsop » Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:11 pm

Dear Foxer, thanks a lot for all the valuable tips you provided. There are so much to learn from what you described that I'm going to save the whole message as a separate file. What you described regarding the hiking duration indeed confirms the official itinerary. What's left for me is to decide between the 'trek' & 'active' programs. Thank you, again.
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby foxer » Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:59 pm

jinsop wrote:Dear Foxer, thanks a lot for all the valuable tips you provided. There are so much to learn from what you described that I'm going to save the whole message as a separate file. What you described regarding the hiking duration indeed confirms the official itinerary. What's left for me is to decide between the 'trek' & 'active' programs. Thank you, again.


Heya,

Glad you were able to find some useful points in amongst that behemoth response! As I mentioned before, I adored my trip for many reasons; my travel mates were great; I loved the home stays; our guides were amazing; and it was a very physical holiday - which kicked my butt in getting back in to shape! Good luck on your choice!
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby eiomcd » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:32 pm

Wow Foxer, thanks for the great advice. I am sure it will all come in handy. We are very excited for this trip and reading your post just elevates us to another level.
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby kyoldtymer » Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:59 pm

Great info foxer. We are considering taking the adventure this coming July. Not worried about the rain or sleeping bags, but the hiking was our only concern. We are in our early fifties and do moderate hiking. i like a brief up hill to get the heart pumping and level out to catch your breath. 30 minutes straight up hill is a different matter. I was curious just how strenuous the difficult portions are. What was the general make up of your group? We are in decent shape, but not 30 any more. Our biggest concern is not whether we can make it, but rather, we don't want to hold people back (and they are usually too polite to tell you). I've been on a few trips and wondered why they chose to come... probably because they didn't know exactly what to expect. just curious on your thoughts.
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby foxer » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:31 pm

Heya Kyoldtymer,

Our group was made up of mostly 30's, or almost 30's, with a few younger, and a few in their mid to late forties and one who was 52 years (she rocked by the way, fearless and gave us all a run for our money!). Our CEO told us they've had older on the trip and they did just fine.

When I took the trip, the physical grading was a '3' but I see they have now made it a '4', which I feel is more appropriate. I remember thinking if this was a '3' I can't imagine what a '4' or a '5' must be like.

I wasn't in the best of shape, by any stretch, when I went, and I was just getting over pneumonia. Red hill, the estimated 30 minute climb, slaughtered me and took me the better part of an hour to do. I also had a heavier bag, because I hadn't brought a day pack - but enough with my excuses, it's definitely a work out. We all had our own pace to do things, and I didn't notice anyone in the group being too bothered about those of us that took a bit longer. If I were to do it again, I would train ahead of time (and avoid getting pneumonia). I would go on hilly hikes with a weighted bag, or climb the treadmill on various inclines with a weighted bag. I lost 10 pounds on my trip.

The other way I look at it too, is that if you spend your whole hike eyes down watching your footing, trying to race to each destination, you don't have any time to look around and truly enjoy your surroundings. Taking ones time does have its advantages. As I've mentioned a million times, I would do this trip again in a heartbeat. It was truly amazing and worth the huffing and puffing.

If you have any other questions, don't hesitate.

Take care
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby superlu79 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:43 am

Hey Foxer
Thanks a lot for all the informations, very helpful!
I'm booked on the April tour and i was wondering which one is the best size for the back pack.
I was thinking to use a 60l not packed full and a 24l as day pack.
Do you think it will be ok? Or should i go for for a balanced solution 50/30 or 40/40?
In the daypack i will only pack my wallet, mobile, ipad and water...
Let me know...i'm totally scared :shock:
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby foxer » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:12 am

Heya Superlu79,

Congrats on booking the trip!

I went with an Osprey 65L bag, and a small across the shoulder bag, and a small wear-under-your-shirt pouch to keep cash/passport safe.

If I were to do it all over again, I would keep the 65L bag (cause it's the only one I have!), but your 60L should be fine, especially seeing as you weren't going to fill it anyways.

There are a few things I would have left behind (I was a little over-prepared and brought clothes I never wore once) but I would bring a day pack. It should be big enough that you can fit a bathing suit, a few change of clothes and your toiletries and whatever else you need, to last you for at least 3 nights, 4 days. (I would also recommend if you don't already have one, a small camping towel - they are pricey, thin and feel flimsy, and don't look like they could dry much, but are amazing and dry fast - at least as dry as it will get. Mine was quite small but did the trick.)

Before you leave on the hikes, your CEO will likely go over what you should be bringing.

Keep in mind, whatever you bring in the daypack, you will be carrying the entire time during the hikes. Something too heavy/cumbersome, will weigh you down and be a bore, to which I can attest!

It sounds like you travel fairly light as it is, so I wouldn't think you should have a problem with a 60L bag and 24L daypack.

As I've mentioned before, things may have changed since my trip, so if something I've mentioned about the trip is no longer the same, my apologies!

Hope that helps!
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby superlu79 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:51 pm

Dear Foxer
Thanks again for the info!
I was planning to buy those microfibre towels which work well and don't use too much space!

I didn't understand if we will have to carry our big backpack (in my case the 60l) while we hike or if they will bring them at the destination...

Usually i overpack but from my last trip to Galapagos where i have usednhalf of the things ihad brought, i will reduce it to a minimum :)

Just bought my hiking boots - they are in goretex so i should have problems :)

So excited...i think the shopping will cost me more than the whole trip :lol:
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby foxer » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:48 pm

Heya Superlu79,

I have to laugh at your last comment - that was me getting ready for this trip. I had to buy my backpack, hikers, microfibre towel, socks, you name it. I refused to add up all the receipts as I was sure it would cost the same if not more than the trip itself!

Hopefully you have some time to break in your new boots before you go (unlike me as I bought mine two days prior!). I had terrible blisters and some toe nail injuries (I'll spare you the icky details but good thing nails grow back....).

When I did the trip, our backpacks stayed packed away somewhere safe when we went on the hikes, and we took only what we needed in the day packs. We met up with our bags when we got back from Piedras Blancas and Diamente Verde.

You'll have to let me know how it all works out! Can't wait to hear about your trip!

Safe travels!
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Re: trek hidden costa rica

Postby grsumukha » Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:46 am

Hi Guys,

I have booked my TREK HIDDEN COSTA RICA in the month of July,2014.

How about the security in COSTA RICA. Do i need to carry my passport every where or is it OK to leave it in my regular BAG-PACK.??
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