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Best strategy for 1 week in Costa Rica

Cincinnati
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Best strategy for 1 week in Costa Rica

I'm looking to go to Costa Rica with 4 others in late May. We have 7-8 days to do it. What is the best strategy? Picking one coast and grabbing a hotel, and trying to day-trip around it or traveling from place to place every other day? If you have 1 week and you may never return, what's the best area to concentrate on? I'd like mostly adventure, with maybe a day or two of relaxing.

Appreciate any advise!

Bend, OR
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1. Re: Best strategy for 1 week in Costa Rica

Depends on what you want to see speciffically, but the carribean is more remote and comprised of Jamician decendents primarily, and the pacific has more amenities and more ticos. There tends to be more wildlife in abundance on the caribean and the snorkeling is much better, but it is a much poorer side of the country. As a result the beaches are nearly empty. Arenal is great- rafting,caving, volcanoe, great hot springs and a nice national park. Puerto Viejo has tons of wildlife, great beaches, good snorkeling and lots of privacy. Tamarindo has some huge beaches, nice waterfalls, decent nightlife, and an ok national park (not nearly as much wildlife). Manuel Antonio is small with some more exspensive hotels up on the hill with commanding views of the ocean, a nice beach below with a great bus system that comes by every 15 min or so, and a great national park with lots of wildlife. You can't go wrong, but it depends on the specifics of what you want to see and who you want to be around.

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Tamarindo
Tamarindo
Province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Cincinnati
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2. Re: Best strategy for 1 week in Costa Rica

Sounds great, thanks for the reply! I'm pretty open to whatever the country has to offer. I live in Kentucky, so obviously I'm not a surfer, but I do like to snorkel when I'm in the tropics. Seeing a volcano and the rain forest would be a must for me though. I'll take wildlife over nightlife given the choice. I'm a hang around a pub kinda guy. Nice laid back cabana bar is fine by me. Is it doable to daytrip from one of the coastal towns like Tamarindo to say Arenal or is a better idea to not stay in one spot? Maybe stay in Manuel Antonio for a few nights, then on to Arenal for few days, ect...? Since I've never been it's hard to judge. It's usually easier and cheaper to stay in one spot but I'm flexible.

Thanks for the info!

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Kentucky
Kentucky
United States
Tamarindo
Tamarindo
Province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Bend, OR
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899 posts
4 reviews
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3. Re: Best strategy for 1 week in Costa Rica

Depends on what you like. I personally like to not move around too much on a short vacation as it seems to wast time, but with that said, the bus system is quite good there and very cheap. It may have changed, but when we were there a few years ago there was no direct bus from MA to Arenal, so we had to go to San Jose and then out to La Fortuna (arenal). I think you would really enjoy Puerto Viejo for all the animal life and the snorkeling if you like that, and the great lilttle town with some good bars and restaurant. If you want more of a place just to chill on the beach and drink at the pubs/bars, I think Montezuma or Tamarindo would be for you. As far as Arenal/La Fortuna goes, the hot springs are the main attraction because you can spend a lot of time there and never see the volcanoe. There are some great raft trips, cave trips, and hikes, but it is a pretty quiet town and far from the ocean. Does this help? Let me know if you have any other questions.

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Tamarindo
Tamarindo
Province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica