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Best 7 Day Itinerary?!

Saint Louis...
2 posts
2 reviews
Best 7 Day Itinerary?!

My husband and I (late 20s) will be visiting Costa Rica in mid July and are trying to figure out our itinerary. Looking for suggestions and recommendations! We are staying for 7 nights and are looking at staying in Arenal for part of the time and then going to Manuel Antonio. Things we want to do: canyoning, white water rafting, canopy tour, day trip to Cano Negro, and Eco Termales. Best to do those all from Arenal (obviously Cano Negro and Eco Termales, yes...)??? Also would like to do a coffee estate tour- not sure which... Have heard the Mantional Park in Manuel Antonio is a must. Is it worth spending any time in San Jose with only 7 nights in Costa Rica and lots on our "to-do/see" list?? Any help is much appreciated. Thanks.

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Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
11,203 posts
23 reviews
1. Re: Best 7 Day Itinerary?!

I think you've already figured out most of this trip. Fly into SJO and overnight in the Central Valley. Check out Cas Bella Rita or Adventure Inn, or if you want to splurge, check out Xandari or Vista del Valle. You can rent a car when you arrive or take a taxi to your lodging and have the car delivered the next morning. Be sure and request a GPS.

Start out day 2 with a drive to Doka coffee estate for a tour. (You can google them for times & directions.) Afterwards drive to Arenal and check into your hotel. Might have time for a hike to the La Fortuna Waterfall. I like Hotel Silencio del Campo, a small simple place with great service but there are lots of other good choices at www.arenal.net.

Day 3 Try canyoning with DeSafio or PureTrek and in the late afternoon hit the hot springs at EcoTermales (advance reservations required)

Day 4 All day trip to Cano Negro

Day 5 Hit the road early morning for the 5 hour drive to MA. Be sure and stop at the Tarcoles bridge and check out the huge crocodiles in the river below. Lots of choices for lodging in MA. Need to know more about your budget before making recommendations.

Day 6 Take a guided tour of the national park in the morning and bring a picnic lunch so you can have lunch at the gorgeous beach inside the park. If you forget the lunch just hit the public beach outside the park with lots of lunch spots right behind the beach. Don't try and cram too much into the last day so you can relax, although a sunset sail is tempting.

Day 7 Make sure you have an afternoon departure so you have plenty of time for the 3 hour drive back to SJO + 2 hours before departure for check-in.

Couldn't figure out how to squeeze the zipline (SkyTrek in Arenal) and whitewater rafting into this time frame unless you skip the rental car and the coffee estate. Then you could change day 2 to an all day whitewater rafting trip on the Pacuare with a dropoff in LaFortuna (www.exploradoresoutdoors.com). Day 3 and 4 stay the same, but day 5 includes a morning canopy tour before your Nature Air flight from Arenal to Quepos departing 12:35 and arriving 1:15. Short cab ride from Quepos to your hotel in MA. On the last day you could hire a driver or fly SANSA from MA back to SJO.

Edited: 1:25 am, February 21, 2011
La Fortuna de San...
Level Contributor
2,002 posts
190 reviews
2. Re: Best 7 Day Itinerary?!

To answer your question, no, don't stay in San Jose unless you're arriving very late and don't want to drive in the dark. And I do love Casa Bella Rita if you need to stay the night in San Jose. If you get into the airport in the am or early afternoon, rent a car and head straight to La Fortuna. You'll need at least 3 nights in La Fortuna since you want to do white water river rafting (5-8 hours depending on which river you go to), canyoning, Cano Negro (day trip), hot springs, etc. For the coffee tour you could do it after you leave La Fortuna, drive through Naranjo and do Espiritu Santo Coffee Tour. They have tours at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm and the tour takes about an hour. After that you could continue onto Manuel Antonio and spend a couple of nights there.

Hope this helps!

Wendy, La Fortuna, CR

Saint Louis...
2 posts
2 reviews
3. Re: Best 7 Day Itinerary?!

Thank you for your advice! We may extend our vacation a day or two so we can fit in everything we want to do in the Arenal area. When visiting MA we are aiming to stay in a hotel that is no more than $200 per night. Suggestions?? Thanks!

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
53,021 posts
119 reviews
4. Re: Best 7 Day Itinerary?!

Manuel Antonio...Hotels...La Mariposa...a little cheaper and close to the park...La Posada Inn...In On The Park...Cabinas Hotel Espadillas...Cabinas Hotel El Bosque...


5. Re: Best 7 Day Itinerary?!

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