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Tips for Costa Rica visit
Old 04-26-2006   #1
jtzordon
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Tips for Costa Rica visit

Having seen the "Tips for China" thread, I thought, "that's a great ideas." I'll be off to Costa Rica at the beginning of June. My first time really out of the country, unless you count the time I was taken to Canada (taken because I was 4 at the time). I'm planning on being in the San Jose/Central Valley area and the Manuel Antonio area each for several days. Plan on going light with an Olympus Stylus epic and the Rolleicord I purchased from Gabriel.

Any tips? Thanks!
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Old 04-26-2006   #2
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Try this, Jason, the Lonely Planet:

http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com/ca...s.cfm?catid=12


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Old 04-26-2006   #3
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Scanning pictures from Costa Rica right now as I write this. I was based out of San Jose for work for the past 2 months. What activities are planning on while there? You will probably go to the volcanos in the area. I visited Poas and Irazu and also got to see Arenal as well. for your gear, take whatever you want I guess although watch your stuff like a hawk (really just like you would at home). Crime is no more then you would see in any major city. For your gear bag make sure it is something that can handle allot of rain. I have a Billingham L2 Alice and it took to the mission with no problems. I even visited some of the waterfalls in the area and did not have any problems with my gear getting wet.

For eating down there you have a selection of all the USA type restaurants (there is a friggin Pizza Hut on every corner!) but there is also so local flavor.

I would recommend the Jazz Cafe while in San Jose. It is located in San Pedro part of the city close to Calle de Amaguras <SP?> Stay away from Calle de Amaguras by the way. It is a haven for every type drug use under the sun and it is very common to have shootings down there. The street and its problems do not seem to branch out into the surrounding areas though. When attending Jazz Cafe the entertainment does not usually start until 10pm local (they are 2 hours behind us on the east coast by the way) and of couorse it is a jazz band. Good music and nice to take a lady friend!

The Avenida Central can be interesting as well. There is ther News Cafe restaurant there and then, in the same building there is the El Presidente Hotel. On the second floor of this hotel is the Sky Box Sports Bar. They have the best pool table in Costa Rica and very enjoyable atmosphere. Check it out.

La Sabana is nice park area. If you get a hotel around there you can go run and stuff during the day but stay out of the park at night.

For hotel I recommend Apartotel Cristina. It is 70.00 bucks a night and a 4 star hotel but stay away from the receptionist... I'm in love with her (ayyy, mi princessa!)

If you want to get anything developed down there then do not bother. Everything takes about a week to get done and the service does not exist. DIMA on the Ave. Central does carry medium format films but they are a little pricey (no more then the U.S. Though) STAY AWAY FROM THE FUJI STORE! They are clueless man and I had a bad experience at the Fuji store.

That's all I can think of right now. Cool you are in Gainesville! I am here in the Dunnellon/Ocala area. Have to start a rangefinder forum group!
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Old 04-26-2006   #4
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Watch your backside......and your cameras--there's a lot of sticky fingers there.
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Old 04-26-2006   #5
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I've got the waterproof bag undercontrol; I'll be taking my timbuk2 messenger bag which is completely waterproof.

My thoughts on the gear was to go simple so that I could hang on to it at all times; Rolleicord strapped across the chest and stylus in the pocket when I don't carry my bag. I'll be bringing film with me, so hopefully I won't have to hunt for photo shops at all.

The Jazz Cafe sounds like a place I'd like to check out with my lady friend (aka my wife). I'll have to do some checking on transportation as we'll be on the outskirts of San Jose and won't have a car most of the trip.
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Old 04-26-2006   #6
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And we were planning on checking out Irazu and doing a canopy tour somewhere in the area while we're there. Still looking around at my options. I'll probably not decide for sure until we get there, but just collect all sorts of information about the different opportunites so we're prepared for anything!
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Old 04-26-2006   #7
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Take B-vitamin complex 2 weeks before you go and while you are there.
Help minimize mosquito bites.

CostaRica used to be very safe and nice country, friendly to americans and breath taking....
A WA lens was more useful than a tele sometimes.
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Old 04-26-2006   #8
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Quote:
For hotel I recommend Apartotel Cristina. It is 70.00 bucks a night and a 4 star hotel but stay away from the receptionist... I'm in love with her (ayyy, mi princessa!)
Please take photograph of said receptionist and post in gallery upon return! I love the latin ladies!
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Old 04-26-2006   #9
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I go there every two years (check my galleries), so if you have a chance to go to any "feria" (street market similar to "farmers markets" in the US), don't miss it! Great spots to photograph people (ask permission first!).

San José is a large town... and it has its share of thieves. Just be aware of your surroundings.

Now, while the Olympus won't make you stand out, the Rolleiflex surely will... but if you can handle the attention, go for it. I took my Leicas last time, and had a blast with them.

Wides are useful, and if you run out of film, you'll find it easily in down town. There's a Kodak distributor near Club Union, which is the one I favor. The folks at DIMA (right next to the Teatro Nacional) are generally snobbish and that's why I stopped going there: overpriced gear and film. I never went to the Fuji distributor, but I did visit the Agfa one (which probably won't be there since Agfa folded). Development is expensive, so don't even think about it.

As for sightseeing, look for "San José Highlights" tours. The operators usually leave information in major hotels lobbies. It's a nice way to get around some nifty places near San José. I agree with egpj's advice about places in town. Eat well, sleep well and enjoy the pace!

And don't miss Cartago's cathedral!
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Old 04-26-2006   #10
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I don't mind attention as long as it's not the wrong kind; I had thought the 'Cord would be ok as it looks pretty well used. I might just take the Oly into San Jose if that's the case.
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Old 04-26-2006   #11
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I spent 2 weeks in Costa Rica recently. The wild life and birds there are extraordinary and I would recommend taking the equipment I did: an SLR with 2 lenses-from 28mm to 300mm and an Oly Stylus Epic for people and scenics. You really need the long telephoto if you're at all interested in the wildlife and that's what Costa Rica is noted for.
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Old 04-27-2006   #12
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I don't have funds for a telephoto lens; tried to sell some gear but didn't have any takers. I'm probably better off. The wife gets impatient rather quickly with my photoddiction! I'll be concentrating on landscape and people shots.
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Old 04-27-2006   #13
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Jason, the Olympus will do for San José. I'd take the Rollei with anyway because most of the attention you may get will be in the shape of stares (I doubt Costa Ricans will object to your use of a TLR or approach you to chide you because of it).

It's a pity you don't have a long lens. Or that you're not taking an SLR in this trip; even in places as well controlled as "Zoo Ave" (a zoo that only contains birds) you can get some interesting wildlife shots. But if your wife gets impatient... take some walks on your own and enjoy!
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Old 04-27-2006   #14
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I have been surprised in this thread by the number of cautionaries regarding street crime, particularly in San Jose. I had been led to believe that Costa Rica was a placid and generally safe place.

I still hope to visit one day - but this is "disturbing" news.....
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Old 04-27-2006   #15
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Francisco,

Stares are fine. I thought you might be speaking about attention by those with sticky fingers! I tend to understate things in a manner and so sometimes read into a statement like that where I shouldn't.

Regarding the telephoto, maybe I'll round up my dad's 200mm for the Minolta XGM and for those photo emergencies. I'll have to give it some thought, as it's a bit more than I think I'd want to lug around with me; plus I really hate trying to focus that thing!
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Old 04-27-2006   #16
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George, one of the problems San José is facing now is a US export: gangs.

However, in the downtown area, crime is reduced to theft (as opposed to being mugged for a few bucks).

Jason, I'd stick to really basic gear (and only gear you know well) for traveling. In the past, I have taken SLRs along with rangefinders only to find that I tend to use one type over the other. However, the last time I went to CR, I destined the SLR for "promotional" shots (I run a study abroad program every two years), and the Leicas for my own personal pictures. That worked out OK, but I still underused my Nikon AF stuff.

Be ready to face lots of digital tourists! And better yet, be ready to smile at them when, after making fun of your "rudimentary antiques", they find that their superpowerful cameras ran out of batteries and they're missing the shots of a lifetime!

Been there... didn't do that (felt sorry for them)!
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Old 04-27-2006   #17
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Heh! Yes, my wife will be wielding the almighty digi point'n'shoot and I will be responsible for batteries, or her camera will die and remain dead until we return home.

So far I've only gotten positive interest when I've been out with the Rolleicord, though the most common comment is how amazed they are that it still works and then they wonder where on earth someone could buy such a thing!
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Old 04-27-2006   #18
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I hear you, Jason... I've heard the same song every time I go out with my Mamiya C220.

"Oh, what a nice, old-fashioned camera! Does it take color pictures?"

At least they're being nice...
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Old 04-27-2006   #19
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Get the book Lets Go Costa Rica!

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