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last minute Itinerary help - Costa Rica

Austin, Texas
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last minute Itinerary help - Costa Rica

Last minute questions!

I've been trying to figure out an itinerary but finding it so difficult to figure out exactly which places we should go and how far we can reasonably travel and not waste an entire day.

Nov 23: Fly into SJ - shuttle to Arenal

Nov 24:Arenal ziplining/hot springs

Nov 25:Arenal rafting / rappelling

Nov 26:Arenal --float to--> Samara

Nov 27:Samara or Nosara? (kayak / surfing / turtles tour?)

Nov 28:

Nov 29:

Nov 30:

Dec 1: SJ museums - fly home

My problem is right in the middle on the 28-30th. We are way the hell out in Samara, but do not want to spend the rest of our trip lazing around on the beach. I would love to go to Manuel Antonio NP, Monteverde, Corcovado, Tortuguero and see some wildlife, but I am not sure whether this is feasible. We would have to spend all day Nov 28 driving a rental car which we could do, but it'd be wasting almost a full day.

My questions:

1. Is Tortuguero worth visiting at this time of the year? The turtles are not laying eggs or hatching right now, correct?

2. Is Manuel Antonio or Monteverde better?

3. How would a group of four people most economically travel long distances in Costa Rica?

4. Would you stay in Samara or Nosara?

5. If we rent a car and drive from Samara to Manuel Antonio, is 4-wheel drive absolutely necessary (It's really expensive!!)?

Other ideas or suggestions are very much appreciated.



Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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1. Re: last minute Itinerary help - Costa Rica

You do not have time to cross the country for Tortuguero. In fact even going to MA or Monteverde for a day is an overkill. Stay in Samara and explore around. Regular sedan car is OK.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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2. Re: last minute Itinerary help - Costa Rica

For agroup of 4 people in some transfers could be cheaper to use private transfers

In your case tortuguero maybe can wait...if you are going to be around samara and or nosara try ostional bea h...incredible number of turtles all year long

You really do not need 4x4 but if you visit ostional is better to have one


Edited: 7:58 am, November 21, 2012
Atlanta, GA
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3. Re: last minute Itinerary help - Costa Rica

MA vs Monteverde is not better, completely different kind of experience, but given the driving distances involved if you wanted to get out of Samara, I'd look at doing a night or two up in Monteverde and then heading down to San Jose. From that area, its going to be about a 4 hr drive or so up to Monteverde, but there's plenty to do for a couple of nights there. Its going to be about 2.5-3hrs to SJO (depending on traffic and where in SJO you're going)

OR you could do some day excursions from Samara up to the Rincon de la Vieja area - Guachipelina, Buena Vista adventure combos or even a day trip to Nicaragua

4X4 wouldn't be required to get up to Monteverde, but a lot of people prefer it.

Miami, Florida
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4. Re: last minute Itinerary help - Costa Rica

I would do Monteverde after arenal and then Samara. It will save you time on the road

Brooklyn, New York
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for Sarapiqui
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5. Re: last minute Itinerary help - Costa Rica

Yeah, I would either just add that time to Nosara/Samara/South Nicoya or just skip that area in favor of Tortuguero or Manuel Antonio. Your post-Arenal timeframe is really good for only one destination.

Austin, Texas
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6. Re: last minute Itinerary help - Costa Rica

Appreciate the help guys! I guess I'll have to do Tortuguero and M.A. next time.

I'm required to go to Samara by my tour package - so I have to go. And I want to see Ostional with the nesting turtles anyway.

I think I'm going to follow the advice and head back to Monteverde after Samara, although I'm a little concerned there will not be that much to do in Monteverde that I haven't already done in Arenal. Monteverde seems like a "one day will do it" type of place.

Thanks again,


7. Re: last minute Itinerary help - Costa Rica

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