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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:19 pm 
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kecapcrazy wrote:
I think I'd choose Nica over Panama for a first time visit.


I'd love to hear more about your thoughts on this Thank you so much for the feedback.

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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:20 pm 
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molasses jane wrote:
jdfunks wrote:
When's the off season?


the rainy season is late may-late october/mid-november. most everything is cheaper, but one thing to consider is that many of CR's already shaky roads can become impassable, and some more remote areas become impossible to reach. on the osa peninsula, even in the dry season you have to drive through rivers on the main roads. in the rainy season, much of the area becomes closed off due to inaccessibility.


Good to know, thank you! We'll be visiting in June-July. Still debating on where, exactly. Or well, regionally, I don't want to make many plans besides plane tickets for now, anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:08 pm 
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If you are thinking of Panama/Costa Rica, one trip you could do that sounds like it might fit your bill is Puerto Viejo Costa Rica, and Bocas Del Toro Panama. I've been to both and loved them. They are near each other and there is a shuttle that will take you to either destination (Caribe Shuttle). Both towns are very laid back and less touristy...by that I mean, no giant resorts or golf courses. There is a definite Caribbean vibe there...things move at a lot slower pace, and you'll hear reggaeton music blaring from all the bars. There is so much to do in both places. The highlight of my trip to Puerto Viejo was the Jaguar Rescue Centre. They do great work there. During their 2 hour tour, you'll get to have howler monkeys climb all over you and you'll get to hold a sloth. The Zip lining was also fantastic. There is also some really good vegan food in town.
Bocas del Toro is an area comprised of many islands. The main island is Isla Colon, capital is Bocas Town. I stayed near Bocas Town and loved it. I found the area to be a bit livelier than Puerto Viejo. There is amazing snorkelling and some stunning beaches. I didn't get around to doing half of the things I wanted to do. I will definitely go back some day.
If you go to Panama City, I agree with the earlier poster to stay in Casco Viejo. It is one of a kind.
I don't know how those places compare to Nicaragua. It's on my list of future destinations too.
I'm excited for you!


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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:32 pm 
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jdfunks wrote:
kecapcrazy wrote:
I think I'd choose Nica over Panama for a first time visit.


I'd love to hear more about your thoughts on this Thank you so much for the feedback.



Hmmm.....NIcaragua just seemed so lush to me. It actually reminded me of Bali (the lushness and gentleness). As a country, they seem more concerned and committed to the environment, too. In Panama, we spent most of our time in Panama City so we didn't get to see much of the country at all. Apart from Casco Viejo, Panama City is not very walkable, or walking-friendly at all. Traffic is outrageous, very few sidewalks etc. I think there are some beautiful places to visit in the country itself (as someone mentioned a few posts up). I think towns/city in Nica seem more walkable (with exception of Managua--we didn't spend any time there and doesn't seem the safest--esp for 2 women). Granada is certainly walkable and Leon, too (though didn't go there). I sound obsessed about walkability, but that's so important to us on a holiday---love to walk and explore nooks and crannies of towns/cities. If you go to Panama, I'd stay in the Casco for a couple of days (it's a small area and easy enough to sink into it for a couple/three days) and then explore some of the other places, like the islands/beach areas. I think Panama is a great place, but like I said, we spent most of our time in Panama City. I've heard great things about the Islands and beaches.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:58 pm 
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Thank you for the thoughts and experiences! We're gonna book for Panama or Nicaragua soon!

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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:03 pm 
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Yes, thank yoU!

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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:10 pm 
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Can't go wrong with either.......

if you decide on Panama, be prepared for everyone to ask "are you going on a cruise?" Almost everyone asked us that!


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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:16 pm 
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Haha!

I will add that Panama is annoying to find vegetarian travel tips about because everything points to Florida!

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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:44 pm 
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Yes!


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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:36 am 
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kecapcrazy wrote:
jdfunks wrote:
kecapcrazy wrote:
I think I'd choose Nica over Panama for a first time visit.


I'd love to hear more about your thoughts on this Thank you so much for the feedback.



Hmmm.....NIcaragua just seemed so lush to me. It actually reminded me of Bali (the lushness and gentleness). As a country, they seem more concerned and committed to the environment, too. In Panama, we spent most of our time in Panama City so we didn't get to see much of the country at all. Apart from Casco Viejo, Panama City is not very walkable, or walking-friendly at all. Traffic is outrageous, very few sidewalks etc. I think there are some beautiful places to visit in the country itself (as someone mentioned a few posts up). I think towns/city in Nica seem more walkable (with exception of Managua--we didn't spend any time there and doesn't seem the safest--esp for 2 women). Granada is certainly walkable and Leon, too (though didn't go there). I sound obsessed about walkability, but that's so important to us on a holiday---love to walk and explore nooks and crannies of towns/cities. If you go to Panama, I'd stay in the Casco for a couple of days (it's a small area and easy enough to sink into it for a couple/three days) and then explore some of the other places, like the islands/beach areas. I think Panama is a great place, but like I said, we spent most of our time in Panama City. I've heard great things about the Islands and beaches.

I'm going to have to go there now if it reminds you of Bali. I loved Bali so much. I share the walkability obsession with you. I love more than anything to walk around and explore places I visit.
I felt the same way about Panama city. Walking around Casco Viejo was great, and up calle central to the the less touristy area was awesome. The rest of the city, at least the parts I saw, were not pedestrian friendly.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:07 pm 
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Yah, Nica was green, warm, and there was something about it that reminded us of Bali---is was just a kind of feeling about it, hard to describe. People were warm and generous, we felt relaxed, beautiful sunsets. I hope you go, von m, and I hope you love it, but I don't want to set up big expectations! The reminders of Bali were probably partly related to how we felt and partly the country,---know what I mean.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:56 am 
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This is so inviting to read even more about!

I've been researching just where we'd like to go...leaning towards Bocas Del Toro in Panama or maybe the Corn Islands in Nicaragua. Just figuring out bussing vs. flying vs. private transit prices and how much and how long that will all take. Happy for any feedback!

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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:59 pm 
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I am a little sad to report that this trip will not be happening this summer - we couldn't pass up some really alluring rates on SE Asian airfare for early fall. One day!! Thanks everyone for all the super appreciated help along the way.

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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:46 am 
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i am glad SOMEBODY is getting good airfares, we are just sitting here and cringing thinking about how much airfares are going to be!

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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:57 pm 
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Where are you heading, Torque? I know I don't have any airfare-searching-from-Brasil tips, but I'm curious because I've become so dang obsessed with airfares these past 2 months...!

FYI, it was Delta fares found via Skyscanner that sold me. We were toying with Priceline NYOP possibilities in the meantime (I was on a little obsessive streak for hotel bids on our Seattle/BC trip last week) but in the end, I'm more likely to use that if it's a solo trip vs. a duo. We're fine not sitting together (hello to my airline enemy, SW), but I didn't feel 100% about booking on airlines I'm not super familiar with.

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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:17 pm 
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sadly, we don't get the good fares coming up from the third world, even when the same carrier has good fares down here, at least i can't find any. i'm coming up to NY area this summer, end of june, and it will be peak season too [can't really play with that much though]. i've had some bad experiences with expedia and priceline and normally buy directly from the carrier.

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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:20 pm 
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I'm sad to hear it. Jules and I are also trying to squeeze a trip into NYC for mid-June and the fares are so not appealing. It's a little disconcerting with Virgin America has the cheapest flights. I had an awful experience with Expedia hotel reservations in the past, good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Where to fly (& book) on a budget for 3 weeks this summe
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:28 pm 
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thanks, we'll figure it out and well, flights are pricey, what can you do.

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