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Tour Arenal in 12 hours by Car?

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Chicago, Illinois
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10 posts
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Tour Arenal in 12 hours by Car?

We would like to visit Hanging Bridges, Arenal National Park or AOL, La Fortuna Waterfalls and Hot Springs (EcoThermales). Many tours companies offer this whole day itinerary with transportation but are quite expensive for us ($190pp). We plan to hire tour guides (or self-guided) at these locations upon arrival, if possible. Is it OK to cover all of the above attractions in one day by rental car.

Has anyone done if before?, Does driving/hiking gets too much by the end of the day?, Also, what is the best strategy/sequence for this trip. We are staying at Arenal Manoa.

Thanks!

San Jose, Costa Rica
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1. Re: Tour Arenal in 12 hours by Car?

It is possible ...but a lot of moving around...you are correct DO NOT pay any tour company...even that are good tours...you can do and visit Arenal without a middle person!

roadadv isor

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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2. Re: Tour Arenal in 12 hours by Car?

It's possible, but that's a lot to pack in. Do the hot springs at the end because you don't need daylight hours to enjoy them, and you'll probably want to relax after all that hiking. The Hanging Bridges us took us more than three hours when we did it with a guide. I'd probably pass on hiking the national park since you're pressed for time and there's no current lava flow. The volcano is visible from almost anywhere in town. If you do the Hanging Bridges early, you probably have a better shot at seeing wildlife. We saw a lot more when we went with a guide vs. when we went on our own.

Colorado
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3. Re: Tour Arenal in 12 hours by Car?

No problem. Start with the hanging bridges in the morning (you'll see the most then) and you'll be done around lunch time. You can either eat in the restaurant there or pick something up on your way through Fortuna to the waterfall which takes about an hour to explore quickly or two if you take a leisurely swim. Head to Ecothermales in the evening and you've got a perfect day. There's a free printable map here costa-rica-guide.com/travel-map/arenal-fortu… that shows your destinations and restaurant options.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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4. Re: Tour Arenal in 12 hours by Car?

Yes, do it on your own. The only place you'd want to hire a guide is at the Hanging Bridges, and that can be done directly with them. The hike down to the waterfall is pretty straightforward (and steep in places). I second the recommendations for Ecotermales at the end, or at night...

San Jose, Costa Rica
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5. Re: Tour Arenal in 12 hours by Car?

In Eco Termales try to get the Dinner combo...I love the Chicken option...

roadadvisor

Bermuda
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for Bermuda
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6. Re: Tour Arenal in 12 hours by Car?

it's doable but you'll need to start early and be in good shape. there are 461 steps down to the waterfalls alone!

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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7. Re: Tour Arenal in 12 hours by Car?

We've eaten at the Hanging Bridges and had some good casados there. We were expecting snack bar food, but it turned out to be very good.

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Tour Arenal in 12 hours by Car?

Thanks everyone!.

So as per your suggestions, I have decided to start early and tour hanging bridges (8-11 am), using a guide (if available), followed by lunch close by. After lunch we will drive and explore La Fortuna waterfalls (till 4 pm) followed by Eco Termales hot springs and meal combo (5-8pm). Relaxing in hot springs could be a perfect end to this busy day, specially after 461 steps at the waterfall. And I agree, that we might have to skip the arenal national park tour as its slightly out of the way and may not add much our trip.

Thanks again!

9. Re: Tour Arenal in 12 hours by Car?

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