Tag Archives: costa rica

Review of Appalachian Outfitters in Greenville, SC

Buying my new gear at Appalachian outfitters was probably the easiest, best experience involved with planning for Costa Rica. Their prices were more than reasonable compared to other local outfitters. I went in there with NO IDEA what kind of pack I needed and what else I would buy. A guy named Russ helped me out. He measured my torso, asked how long I was going, where I was going, what I was using the pack for, etc. Then showed me my best options. He taught me how to properly adjust the packs and how to load it properly.

Russ told us about his 6 month trip on the Appalachian trail.  I was looking for 100% DEET and they didn’t carry it but he even helped us find it in another local store.

I felt very welcome in the store and really enjoyed the experience. I HIGHLY suggest you check them out if you’re in the area.

You can check out their blog here

864 987-0618
email: trail@appoutfitters.com

Appalachian Outfitters
Greenville’s Backpacking Headquarters
96 Orchard Park Drive
Greenville, SC 29615

Review of cellphonescr.com


If you’re planning on going to costa rica just rent from a car rental company.  I thought it would be nice to help support local small business and started researching cell phone rentals in Costa Rica.  I came up with a few options and finally decided on www.cellphonescr.com.  Boy did I learn my lesson.  I should have heeded warnings from other travelers.  Even reputable forums like the fodors forum advise against this company with posts like this:

Be very careful! Do NOT use this company:
they are a total rip-off!!!

I made my preliminary reservation on their poorly designed website about two weeks ago.  I received an email back a few days later answering some of my questions but leaving me with more.  After exchanging emails back and forth for a few days I settled on plan 1 and told them to make the reservation.

A while went by and I never heard anything. I wasn’t charged a deposit. NOTHING happened.  Lauren was going to be showing up a day earlier than I was so I submitted another reservation.  This time I received their automated email saying they had received it and never got anything else.

So finally, today we’re getting everything in order and printing our reservaitons and such and I call cellphonescr.com.  I originally got a hold of a guy who was learning english.  He did his best to help me but ultimately it was very unprofessional.  He said the owner was out of the office but no reservations were in the system for me or Lauren and he advised me to resubmit a reservation.

I immediately resubmitted it and again, I received nothing. I called and left a message stressing how important a call or email back was and again, received nothing.  Finally, I called a couple hours ago and the owner answered finally.  He scoffed at me for submitting the reservation today and was very rude.  He said there weren’t any phones available and I should have reserved one earlier.

I advised him that I DID reserve one weeks ago and never heard back from Sandi (the girl who does the reservations).  I told him about all of the emails and messages I had left and he said I did not send them.  Finally, after arguing with him for about 5 minutes I decided the company must be pretty shady and I had better just go with the car rental company’s cell phone.  To end the conversation he told me he rents hundreds of phones a month and I wouldn’t be missed.

Well buddy, I hope you don’t miss all the people that find this review and decide to take the same route I’m taking.  If there’s anything I’ve learned running a business it is that, one dissatisfied customer will talk about your company more than 100 satisfied customers and my previous post about how slow your service is has already been indexed by google.  Do a search for “cellphonescr.com”. Oh and don’t worry, I remembered the “nofollow” tag in my link to your site 🙂

Two days before the big trip!

Only two days left until I’m off to Costa Rica with Lauren to backpack for 2 weeks. Things are starting to shape up a bit better.

ol laurenThere has however been a slight change. Lauren will be going to Costa Rica on the 16th and I won’t be arriving until the 17th. She’s staying about 5 minutes from the airport in San Jose. I’m guessing she’s just going to hang out and stay relatively close to the airport. I really wish I was going but travelocity is AWFUL. This is definitely the first and last time I will use them for ANYTHING. Good luck getting someone who isn’t an Indian named Tom. I spent 4 hours navigating their maze of automated phone lines and worthless customer support. I may have found a way to get a credit back but a lot of good that does us NOW.

Anyhow, some of you might be wondering how illstreet is going to run while I’m trekking around the hillsides and remote beaches of Costa Rica. Well fortunately, most of Costa Rica has relatively decent TDMA cell service. You can’t do a pay as you go plan or get a temporary phone number in Costa Rica because their systems are overloaded. GSM lines won’t have any space for new numbers for three years!

So as a result I’ve had to rent a TDMA phone from cellphonescr.com. So far they’ve been relatively slow with communication and they haven’t been particularly accommodating but you can get unlimited minutes for about $13 a day. Additionally, they deliver the phone to the airport. I’m a little concerned about the delivery process but hopefully it will be smooth. Additionally, I purchased a phone matrix system and 1-800 number for illstreet that will forward to my cell phone for $.23 a minute in CR. This purchase was probably WELL overdue and I’m pretty psyched to see how it works.

So now you’re probably like well yeah, you can talk to people but how are you going to find your away smart guy? Ha! I’ve got that covered too. We have a 4 wheel drive SUV reserved (with rental insurance of course) so we will be driving the long distances between regions and then we will explore on foot for a couple days. Costa Rica is only a few hundred miles long and a couple hundred wide. For offroad, I downloaded an awesome and FREE TOPO map for my Garmin from http://rwsmaps.griffel.se. Thanks to that dude!

For routing and getting out of San Jose, I bought a map from NAVSAT off ebay. They’re the only company authorized by Garmin for mapping CR. I did however find this and there is a torrent seeded on piratebay as well.

Hopefully tomorrow I can post a little something about all the gear I bought. I have tons to write about still so keep up with the blog! We’re going to see volcanoes, sea turtles, monkeys, rain forests, cloud forests, beaches, awesome surf breaks, awesome wind surfing/kiteboarding areas, etc. Also, I haven’t even written about everything that has changed in the states for me! I just moved into an absolutely massive house on the marsh with a three car garage and awesome dock (plenty of room for a nice home office and my cars). I’m right on the 14th hole of the club’s golf course so I’ll be taking up golf I spose. I also bought a ski boat 🙂 Anyhow, stay tuned for details!

Uh oh….

So I have bought almost everything I need.  I even picked up a couple guide books about costa rica and came up with a preliminary guideline for what I’d like to see.  I did however run into a small problem today…. Lauren and I just realized we bought flights on different days.  The flights are the same number and same time…. However, Mine is the 17th and hers is the 16th.  I hate to admit it but I think I screwed up 🙁

Costa Rica

So it’s finally coming down to less than a week befor I leave for Costa Rica.  I finally got someone to go with me.  My good ol buddy from way back in the day is going with me.  Basically it was 3am and we were both on facebook, I shot her a message that said “hey, wanna go to costa rica?”  She said, “okay, when?” and we bought our tickets that night.  We’re leaving the 16th out of Charlotte and flying to San Jose.  I’m planning on renting a “luxury suv”.  Evidently to the Ticos that’s a montero sport.  Oh, by the way… A tico is what the locals in Costa Rica are called.

Beyond renting a car we really don’t have a plan.  We’ve picked up some info from various people since we decided to go.  We’re planning on hitting up all of the pacific coast, the cloud forest, a volcano or two, scoping out some whitewater/waterfalls and then heading over to the Caribbean coast for a little R&R, rain forest hiking, etc.  The dude I bought my boat from told us to go to the Lotus Gardens in Puerto Viejo.  I just googled it and that shiz looks mad tite so we’ll prolly hit it up.

Puerto Viejo