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Costa Rica beaches/ Nicaragua and Panama

Wakefield, United...
Level Contributor
161 posts
2 reviews
Costa Rica beaches/ Nicaragua and Panama

Hi all we are plannning a holiday to Costa Rica but I have read some mixed reviews about the beaches, are they nicer in the Pacific or Caribbean side? We would prefer white sandy beaches with clear and warm water. We are also hopping to spend some days in panama near the Caribbean coast, is there any nice beaches ? Also in terms of eating out is it cheaper than Costa Rica? We are also considering Nicaragua just near the border with Costa Rica, any advice please? Are the beaches nice? We are planning to hire a car to travel around. We are going around Christmas so planning to rent a villa for a few days and then book hotels when we are there. Thanks a lot

4 replies to this topic
Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
9,769 posts
70 reviews
1. Re: Costa Rica beaches/ Nicaragua and Panama

Usually, you cannot take a rental car across the border.

CR beaches are nice, but different, not your usual white, sugary, soft sand of some other destinations. Nor is the water calm all the time. Many CR beaches are surfing beaches, so have waves, and some have riptides. Water visibility is not guaranteed, and may depend on the rainfall.

X-mas is one of the peak travel seasons in CR, when tourists and locals are on the beaches, etc. Accommodations during the holidays are booked months in advance, so getting a place to stay "when you get there" may be difficult.

Prices are at their highest during X-mas (and Easter). In addition, some hotels have special conditions for this time of the year bookings - e.g., no cancellations, minimum required # of nights, etc.

You might want to read more about Dec. in CR here: https:/… .

CR is not an inexpensive destination. To eat less expensively, you can try sodas - small family restaurants.

This article might be good for you to read - How Much Does it cost? about budgeting for the land portion of your CR vacation: https:/… .

December is the highest amount of rain on the Caribbean coast - on average, no guarantees: see the monthly rainfall and average # of days with rain here: https:/…weather.php .

One of our trips to that coast was in July, which is even wetter, and we still liked it, as we found it less developed than the Pacific coast, easier to spot wildlife, but we were unable to snorkel due to waves and poor visibility, and the beaches were grey/light grey (sometimes called golden in travel brochures), not white.

You might need to do more research on your destinations and especially for the time of the year you are considering, keeping in mind weather and availability.

A nice place
Level Contributor
935 posts
10 reviews
2. Re: Costa Rica beaches/ Nicaragua and Panama

Have a look ar Bocas del Toro in Panama, clear water! Yous should make reservations during peak season, like SubjectivelyObjectiv already recommended! Right now I wouldn't recommend to visit Nicaragua, but maybe the situation is calmer in December. Around 47 people have already died since the riots started!

Wakefield, United...
Level Contributor
161 posts
2 reviews
3. Re: Costa Rica beaches/ Nicaragua and Panama

Thanks you all for the advice. Could you clarify if December is the raining season in the Caribbean side of Costa Rica as I have heard mixed reviews. Thanks again

Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
9,769 posts
70 reviews
4. Re: Costa Rica beaches/ Nicaragua and Panama

If you look at the weather page of the link in my earlier post, you will see that Dec. could be rainy. It is the 2nd rainiest month on that coast.

No one knows for sure how the weather will be when you are there.

We were there in July, for ex., which is the wettest month of all, and were still ok, but it was cloudy a lot, very hot, humid, nothing dried for days, even swimwear, inside or outside - it did not matter. There were a few days of blue skies, a couple of days in 2 wks of pouring rain, the rest would be a mix if sun and rain at any time of the day and night, so we just needed to be prepared.

We talked to the locals there and they said Dec. was usually quite rainy. The info on https:/…weather.php shows it, too.

Good point in previous post about Nicaragua! Forgot to mention in!

Not the time to fly to Managua or possibly anywhere there now...check out the Nicaragua forum.

Edited: 14 May 2018, 09:42
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