Sometimes when making plans to travel, we are restricted by time. Only a week here, or a long weekend here - especially if you're in the corporate world.
Making a getaway is something you have to look forward to, and don't we all want the sun to shine on our vacation days? There's a reason they came up with the saying: "don't rain on my parade."
Don't discount the off-season when it comes to planning your trip. The country to make the case? Costa Rica.
When my friend and I made plans around to coincide with the US Labor Day holiday in early September 2009, Europe was too expensive. South America was headed into their summer season, and flight prices were also on the rise. After much deliberation (read: throwing of darts) we landed on the ecotourism beauty that is Costa Rica.
You'll notice in many descriptions from tourist literature on Costa Rica that the term "green season" is in play, because no one wants to travel in the rain. With it's tropical climate, the rain is no surprise -- some areas can receive up to 200 inches annually!
The rainy season spans from May to November, but the amount of rain itself will depend on your exact destination. When choosing your destination, take into account the elevation of the area where you'll be exploring - that will directly effect the amount of rainfall. Did it rain where we were? Yes. Often? No. We experienced some clouds and fog, and the occasional sun shower. Picture the locals calmly waiting it out under store awnings when the tourists are sprinting down the street in flip flops ..
How cheap? We found the late August - early September hotel rates to be markedly lower than the high season which is drier. In our experience it not only effected prices on lodging but also spa trips, excursions and flights both in-country and internationally.
Note: I'm not a backpacker, although I have done some couchsurfing. I like a cheap deal, but will likely never book a hostel. B&Bs and private, non-chain hotels are what I am usually on the look out for.
In this vein, we booked ten days in three different locations (San José, Arenal and Manuel Antonio). For 2-person accomodations, this was the breakdown:
2 nights in the city = $150; 5 nights at a 4 star at the base of a volcano = $500; 3 nights at the beach = $380. Divided by two people = $515 each for 10 nights of lodging.* Sweet? I thought so.
Written and contributed by ThisBlonde