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.

Overnight mid-way between Manuel Antonio and Nuevo Arenal

Which San Ramon hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Seattle, Washington
posts: 7
Overnight mid-way between Manuel Antonio and Nuevo Arenal

We're still in the early stages of planning, but I'm looking for some advice to narrow down our search.

We're looking at spending a week at a vacation rental in Manuel Antonio and then a week in Nuevo Arenal (or vice versa). It looks like a 5-6 hour drive, so I'm looking for a good mid-way point to break it up a little. Is San Ramon a good stopping point for a night or two? It looks both easier to get to and less crowded than Monteverde.

Anyone have advice for a unique alternative? Any comments on our choices of Manuel Antonio and Nuevo Arenal?

8 replies to this topic
Costa Rica
posts: 21,341
reviews: 26
1. Re: Overnight mid-way between Manuel Antonio and Nuevo Arenal

San Ramon would be good - but - for a "unique alternative," check out La Ensenada Lodge. The turnoff to the lodge is about 30 minutes south of Canas which is where you would turn off Rt 1 to go to Nuevo Arenal. http://www.laensenada.net/ You can also check Trip Advisor reviews of this place.

Munich, Germany
posts: 343
reviews: 4
2. Re: Overnight mid-way between Manuel Antonio and Nuevo Arenal

Ensenada Lodge is awesome. We stayed there about two years ago for two nights. Lots of wildlife and beautiful surroundings.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 7
3. Re: Overnight mid-way between Manuel Antonio and Nuevo Arenal

Ensenada Lodge does look lovely. Thanks for the recommendation.

I am liking the idea of being up in the mountains, though, so I think I'm going to continue to look for something in and around the cloud forest. At this point, it looks like we might have to shorten the trip a night (or two!) due to flights, so the question is possibly moot anyway.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,177
reviews: 20
4. Re: Overnight mid-way between Manuel Antonio and Nuevo Arenal

Only question I have is why did you pick Nuevo Arenal which is isolated far from the volcano and most activities around Arenal? The drive from Nuevo Arenal to La Fortuna where most of the restaurants and excursion offices are located is a 40 minute drive. if you want splendid isolation it is a good choice but if you want adventure activities you may want to be closer to LaFortuna. See the map at govisitcostarica.com/travelInfo/mapLg.asp…

Unless you have lots of time to spare on this trip, I would recommend making the drive in 1 day. If you start very early say 6 or 7 AM you can stop for breakfast and lunch en route and still be there by early afternoon.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 7
5. Re: Overnight mid-way between Manuel Antonio and Nuevo Arenal

I originally tried to find a place near La Fortuna, but we fell in love with a rental property on the lake near Nuevo Arenal. I think the plan is to alternate days of relaxing and exploring, so I don't mind a little extra time in the car for the perfect property. Besides, my "adventure" requirements for Costa Rica are pretty spare: visit a volcano, take a float boat tour, and, most importantly, see a wild monkey.

As for the drive, I've researched a little more and found several estimates ranging from 3-4 hours, so I think we're just going to go for it. I was hoping to dilly-dally on the way, but we'll have to make do with what time we have available.

Costa Rica
posts: 21,341
reviews: 26
6. Re: Overnight mid-way between Manuel Antonio and Nuevo Arenal

This is the most accurate website for distances and travel times (and has great directions): yourtravelmap.com/costarica/…

As you can see, it's just under 5 hours from Manuel Antonio to Nuevo Arenal. Whatever you are looking at that says "3-4 hours" is seriously flawed.

This way does not take you anywhere near San Ramon, really. Note that Nuevo Arenal is on the opposite end of Lake Arenal from the town of La Fortuna. The road around the lake is very curve and up and down and mostly slow going. This is why the directions take you north on Rt 1 to Canas and then to Tilaran and to Nuevo Arenal that way. It's a lot shorter than going to La Fortuna and then driving around the lake. So really, there's not much of an option for San Ramon and vicinity if you are coming from Manuel Antonio - it's quite a bit out of the way.

Edited: 11:34 am, March 28, 2013
Seattle, Washington
posts: 7
7. Re: Overnight mid-way between Manuel Antonio and Nuevo Arenal

My thought was to stay overnight at San Ramon, then drive around via La Fortuna. I expected it might be more total hours in the car, but as the Monteverde cloud forest seemed a bit far from Nuevo Arenal, I thought it would kill two birds with one stone: breaking up the drive and visiting the mountains.

It's all beside the point, though, as we've decided to just make the drive. We've booked six nights in Manuel Antonio and seven in Nuevo Arenal. In the end it was worth it to avoid having to move house an additional time.

Thanks, everyone, for your insightful comments. I'm sure I'll be on here again as we get closer to nailing down an itinerary.

La Fortuna de San...
posts: 1,996
reviews: 106
8. Re: Overnight mid-way between Manuel Antonio and Nuevo Arenal

Villa Blanca is an amazing option and you'll want more than one night there. Here you can experience the Los Angeles Cloud Forest, similar to Monteverde with the climate and some of the same birds. :-) Here's their site....

http://www.villablanca-costarica.com/ Enjoy!

Reply to: Overnight mid-way between Manuel Antonio and Nuevo Arenal
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
Get answers to your questions about San Ramon