We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Planning my first trip to CR for 8 days in Jan.2013

Which La Fortuna de San Carlos hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Level Contributor
60 posts
64 reviews
Planning my first trip to CR for 8 days in Jan.2013

I have been reading the forum posts, but not sure yet how to plan our trip. We like to stay at a nice beach, we might do some snorkling, but not interested in surfing, We would like to see a volcano -never seen one (Arenal sounds great), would like to visit a nacional park to see some wildlife. My husband wishes to see both Carribean and Pacific but we have only 8 days to spend.Is it too much driving to try to do both?. We probably rent a car Any suggestions?

Tamarindo, Costa...
14 posts
1. Re: Planning my first trip to CR for 8 days in Jan.2013

the option of Arenal Volcano is very good there can spend 2 days and then finish your holiday in the Guanacaste area, there are beautiful beaches for snorkeling activity as Playa Conchal, Playa Danta and others, plus the opportunity for trips including snorkeling.

guanacaste area the best area to see wildlife is in the area of Palo Verde, which you can see many kinds of birds, monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, bats, and more, is one of the best locations in the area ,

As Westin hotels are very good and also all-inclusive, or hotes in flamingo, like Flamingo Beach, Tamarindo also find good choices of hotels, like Hotel Diria, Barcelo Playa Langosta

you can take a car to drive is safe just rent with GPS is much easy ,or if you like to take private drivers arround the area you can see a lot of options,

if you take some areas in guanacaste I know some people real good for activities and also they offer transportation service



Rainer can help you



Level Contributor
112 posts
37 reviews
2. Re: Planning my first trip to CR for 8 days in Jan.2013

Hi. My husband and I went to CR in February 2011. We spent 3 days in La Fortuna and 3 days in Manuel Antonio. Even that was a lot of driving. My husband thought too much, and we even had Tucan Limo Services driving us around. It's about 3 hours from the airport to La Fortuna, about 4-1/2 hours from La Fortuna to MA and then 3 hours from MA to the airport. I loved both areas though. Arenal is awesome and the beaches in the national park in MA are incredible. Also loved the public beach there. If you can handle all the travel, go for it. I like to do and see as much as I can because you never know when you'll be able to come back. If I were to go again and stay for 8 days, I would book a couple flights instead of doing all the driving.

Have a great trip!!

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
44,953 posts
19 reviews
3. Re: Planning my first trip to CR for 8 days in Jan.2013

If you are flying In at SJO...you can drive to Arenal...and from there to a nice beach at the Pacific side...and then back to SJO or flight out of LIR!!

If flying in and out of LIR...check Hotel Hacienda Guachiplein by Rincon de la Vieja Volcano...and then drive to any of the great Guanacaste beaches!

Hi soccer mom!


Telluride, CO
Level Contributor
82 posts
10 reviews
4. Re: Planning my first trip to CR for 8 days in Jan.2013

The Arenal area is beautiful, so are the beaches of the Pacific. I would look at spending no more then 3 nights in La Fortuna/Arenal and then head down to either Manuel Antonio or up to Tamarindo. With only 8 days you should narrow down your destinations, it would be a lot of driving to see both sides, and may not be worth your time for all that drving for a little time there. La Fortuna has some great hotels, one that is a good 3 star is Arenal Springs, also look at Arenal Manoa and Hotel Mountain Paradise. Arenal Nayara and Tabacon are of your luxury hotels. Tabcon has amazing hot springs.

If it's going to be your first time, I think you should check out Manuel Antonio. Although there are not many hotels that sit directly on the beach, you get wonderful views sooking over the cliffsides. Hotels I like there are El Parador, Si Como No, Mariposa, Makanda by the Sea, and The Falls. You can take a cool sea kayaking tour there called Damas Island Esturary, it's a fun 1/2 day tour. Also there is a great zipline tour there called Midworld. They are a lot of fun!

Hope this helps!!

Level Contributor
60 posts
64 reviews
5. Re: Planning my first trip to CR for 8 days in Jan.2013

Thank you for your replies. I am beginning to make up may mind staying on the Pacific side. I was thinking of staying my first night in Alajuela or Heredia after landing at 5 PM then heading through the coffee fields and Volcan Poas to Arenal (La Fortuna) for the next night. I read that Arenal is spectacular at night. Then we probably drive around Laguna de Arenal. Now I do not know if we can reach MA by the next night or should we stay somewhere in the area in between. We are not interested in ziplines etc. so Monteverde probably does not interest us. Or maybe drive to the coast?

Ulster County, New...
Level Contributor
7 posts
24 reviews
6. Re: Planning my first trip to CR for 8 days in Jan.2013

Just got back last week from our first trip (9 days) in CR. We loved it!! We went in and out of Liberia and spent 4 nights at Arenal and 5 nights at Playa Conchal. I would have moved around more (and gone to 3 places), but my family wanted a slower pace. I would definitely recommend Arenal, but you should know that the volcano is now dormant and has been so for almost 2 years. It puffs some smoke, but nothing else. No more nighttime fireworks. That being said, it is still an awesome sight and worth experiencing. We stayed at the Arenal Springs (not The Springs) and really liked it a lot. (You can read my recent review). Even though we did not zipline, we totally enjoyed being in the rainforest, doing the Sky Tram/Sky Walk. I am somewhat mobility impaired and did not want to risk the zip, but had a fabulous time w/the easy hike and hanging bridges. We used DeSafio Tours for tours and transport and they were terrific. Lots of good choices in Guanacaste for beach time. We stayed at the Westin, which was fine, but not outstanding. It depends what you're looking for (boutique hotel, big resort, etc.) Playa Conchal, however, is awesome and if you want to stay there, the Westin is really the best choice, I think. Another nice beach we saw was Flamingo Beach. Tamarindo is a fun, funky tourist town with a surf beach. Lunch there was great, but I wouldn't have wanted to stay there. No matter what, you can't go wrong. The CR people are so welcoming. For example, when you say "Muchas Gracias," (Thanks a lot) they don't answer w/"Da Nada" (it's nothing). Instead, the answer from them is always, "Con mucho gusto" (with great pleasure). That alone tells you a lot! Have much fun! Pura vida!


Quesada, Costa Rica
1 post
7. Re: Planning my first trip to CR for 8 days in Jan.2013

Hi! I realize your post is from a few months back, but i'd still like to help you. See, I know this really great tour guide who has dedicated himself to going around on trips around the country. I really reccomend him, because i've gone on tour with him and he is seriously the best tour guide i've come across with. He'll also be able to help you with the schedule and make sure to go to as many places as you wish, keeping in mind everything you mention.

(I'm not just doing this to advertise him. he really IS a great tour guide and person, and i just felt the need to help you out)

here is some basic info on him:

- First of all, his name is Gabino Hidalgo

- he has more than 25 years of experience in this area

- he is certificated in a whole lot of stuff, like first-aid, survival, rescue, etc etc etc

-i've met him personally so what i'm telling you is not false info

- his e-mail is gabinoaventurascr@hotmail.com

your costa rican experience will be even better with this guy, seriously.

8. Re: Planning my first trip to CR for 8 days in Jan.2013

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12:16 am, December 17, 2013