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10 day Itinerary Help

twovacationers08
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10 day Itinerary Help

Hi, My wife and i are headed to CR for 10 days in early December. We are thinking about spending 3 days in Arenal, 3 days in Monteverde, 3 days in Manual Antonio and 1 day in San Jose before we fly back home. We get in on the first day around 1 pm and leave on the last day around 9 am flight. So we want to be back around SJO the night before.

I had few questions:

-Are we spending too many days in one place?

-Also we are planning on using public transportation vs. car rental. Is it easy to find taxi/transfer around each of the location we are visiting/staying?

Suggested Hotels

-Arenal - Arenal Observatory Lodge

-Monteverd - Arco Iris Lodge

-MA - Hotel Verde Mar or any recommendations

-San Jose - near the airport or in San Jose? No hotel found yet?

Any help is apprecaited, thank you

New Orleans...
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1. Re: 10 day Itinerary Help

I like the itinerary. These are three of the most popular destinations, especially for first timers. But there is good reason for that. All three are beautiful, and totally unique from the others. So these are good choices.

If you don't have a car, I would rethink the Arenal Observatory. It does offer great views of the volcano, but it is awfully remote. Getting to the local hot springs and other restaurants will become a chore. There are lots of hotels out on or near the main road. Staying in these will make moving around a lot easier. We like the Arenal Paraiso, El Silencio del Campo, and Hotel Mountain Paradise. All are great values. All the rooms at the Paradise have their own hot tubs with views, even the least expensive ones. The Paraiso has their own hot springs onsite and free to guests.

I have never been a great fan of the Verde Mar in Manuel Antonio. Good location, but I found the rooms dark and musty. Other choices in this price range would be the oceanfront rooms at Karahe or Hotel Villabosque.

The Karahe rooms are a little vanilla, but are clean and well maintained. The biggest plus is that they are only a 100 foot walk to the sand. From there, it is only a half mile walk to the national park.

The Villabosque does not have the proximity to the ocean. But it is still close and the rooms are a great value. Run by a very friendly family.

Hope this helps! Let me know if I can offer any more advice.

Warm Regards,

Pat Hewitt

Costa Rica Travel Exchange

twovacationers08
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2. Re: 10 day Itinerary Help

Thanks, Pat

We will def. look in to the hotels you have suggested. I was wondering if you can tell me if there is a lot of difference b/w Arenal vs. La Fortuna for hotels. Also is it easier to get to Arenal Volcano N.P. or Tabacon Hot Spring.

And if staying either in Arenal or La Fortuna, is it worth taking a day trip to Paos or stay around there?

We are flying in around 1 pm and are thinking that it might not be worth staying around Paos volcano area since it might not be clear to see the crater. Unless we spend the first night around Paos and then head out in the late afternoon to Arenal/La Fortuna?

Any suggestions? Thank you

New Orleans...
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3. Re: 10 day Itinerary Help

You don't want to stay right in La Fortuna. Nothing bad, but nothing special there either.

If you do not have a car, you want to stay somewhere on the main road. The three hotels I mentioned will do nicely, all have good volcano views. Mountain Paradise will even give you a free transfer to the springs or other restaurants.

By the way, there are better choices these days for hot springs. The new Arenal Springs is amazing, and the tiny Eco Thermales is very friendly and a good value.

If you are flying in at 1:00 PM, you just want to get on your way to Arenal. The National Park will be closing by the time you get to Poas. Plus, you are right to want to visit Poas early in the morning. This is your best shot for a clear view.

You could spend the night at Orquideas Inn, near the airport. (I meant to put this in my last post for your final night in Costa Rica.) If you feel like splurging, they you could transfer up to Peace Lodge at La Paz Waterfall Gardens for the first night. Then get up early, and spend a few hours onsite and at Poas before you head to Arenal.

Hope this helps! Let me know if I can offer any more advice.

Warm Regards,

Pat Hewitt

Costa Rica Travel Exchange

twovacationers08
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4. Re: 10 day Itinerary Help

Pat, Thanks once again.

We were thinking of following schedule:

Day 1 - flying in, head out to Paos and spend night around there.

Day 2 - Paos volcano and then to waterfall and in the afternoon take a taxi up to Arenal/fortuna area - night in arenal/fortuna.

Day 3 - Arenal

Day 4 - Arenal

Day 5 - Arenal heading to Monteverde

Day 6 - Monteverde

Day 7 - Monteverde

Day 8 - Monteverde heading to Manual Antonio

Day 9 - Manual Antonio

Day 10 - Manual Antonio heading to nearby SJO

Day 11 - Fly Home

That's what i have so far. Should i consider one less day in Monteverde and add it to Manual Antonio?

Is there more to do in Monteverde then MA?

Thanks for the recommendation of the hotel near SJO, will look in to it.

Granger, IN
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5. Re: 10 day Itinerary Help

We have a similiar plan on our trip to Costa Rica this Feb., and here's what we chose for our arrival/departure days. We are staying at Vina Romantica, a small bed and breakfast in Alajuela. They have a great Hello/Goodbye package that includes the night you arrive, the evening before you depart, transportation to/from the airport, breakfast each morning,a gourmet dinner, and a couple of spa treatments! It doesn't look like a luxurious place, just a nice B&B, but it gets great reviews. The price is more than reasonable, and we hope that it will help our time to be a little less rushed. We plan to start out the following morning, travel to Poas, possibly a coffee tour, definitely La Paz Waterfall Garden, then on to Arenal. We are renting a car, which would make this easier to do, but you could probably have your driver make these stops, if you requested it ahead of time. That way, our transit time is sightseeing instead of just transfer time. The other option that we considered was staying at the Peace Lodge in La Paz. It would be great, but was a little above our price range. Here is a link to a coupon for La Paz if you're interested: http://www.waterfallgardens.com/spirit/ The other hotels that we considered were Xandari (www.xandari.com) and Finca Rosa Blanca (www.fincarosablanca.com)- both get great reviews and are what we would consider luxury. We decided to save our money for activities, but there are few things to think about.

Granger, IN
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6. Re: 10 day Itinerary Help

Sorry, I forgot to give the link to Vina Romantica www.vinaromantica.com You can find more info. about their special there. Have fun researching!

San Jose, Costa Rica
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7. Re: 10 day Itinerary Help

Nice and complete itinerary...if you really like hiking, birds, flowers, insects...yes Monteverde is maybe for 3 nights...I have been visiting Monteverde for well over 35 years...still the same...just with a lot more hotels and people...

Hard to be wrong with Arenal Observatory...great location...with the worst food miles around!!

Manuel Antonio is a great place...I will stay away from KARAHE...maybe they offer a good location...but a lot of people just walk out of the place after one night...not very nice people to deal if you have a complaint...they are always CORRECT!!

Verde Mar can be nice option...or La Posada...or Inn On the Park..

Aroun the airport...Hotel Aeropuerto...Villa Bonita in Alajuela nice B and B...nothing special but clean and good location!!

Please if you need any more advice contact us here at the forum a lot of nice people ready to help you...

Luis Road Advisor

Just buckle up and enjoy the ride in paradise!

twovacationers08
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8. Re: 10 day Itinerary Help

Thanks guys for the hotel recommendations.

Just wondering… Is it worth staying one more day at Manual Antonio and one less day at Arenal or Montverde?

And how easy is it to get around without car rental. I am hoping to use taxi and transfers. Are there any guides that are recommended?

Also wondering when people say they have hired a driver, does it basically mean that they got someone from the airport and they basically are with the family for the duration of the trip. Not sure exactly how this works?

Any recommendations on drivers/guides are appreciated or where I should look for more information?

Thank you

Denver, Colorado
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9. Re: 10 day Itinerary Help

I am doing almost the same itinerary as you for my first trip in Feb. I have booked my transportation and thought maybe I could offer advice in that area. The best (and quickest) way to get from Arenal to Monteverde is the Jeep/Boat/Jeep. I booked it through Anywhere Costa Rica for $25. Interbus is supposed to be very good bus service to get from place to place and if you're doing 3 trips or more with them you can do the Flexipass at $39.00 for each trip - you save a few $$. I emailed Interbus (had problems with the website) to reserve in advance and it was quick and easy. You can just reserve your reservation with a credit card and pay cash on the trips or pay by credit card in advance.

I am staying at Hotel Silencio del Campo in Arenal. It gets rave reviews on here and was very affordable for such a nice place. Have fun planning your trip!

twovacationers08
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10. Re: 10 day Itinerary Help

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I think we have to do some reserach on our own and i will get back if we have any questions.

Thank you