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is it really worth it in July to drive to Monteverde?

Annemasse, France
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is it really worth it in July to drive to Monteverde?

I have read how many hours of rough driving it takes to get to Monteverde. In July there is a great chance of it being foul weather, so I wonder if it is really worth it. Anyone with expereriece in the summer months?

thanks

j

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Monteverde
Monteverde
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Grecia Costa Rica
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1. Re: is it really worth it in July to drive to Monteverde?

That area is really nice but the trip is very tiring. It only takes about 5 hours to see everything you want to see and it takes a lot of hours getting there. Most people if they go once do not return because of the difficult road. The ride is no fun. You should go there if you do not plan any more trips to Costa Rica. Check out Grecia it is a nice place to start from and starting there will make you feel comfortable about traveling in Costa Rica. Try starting with a place by the name of La Terraza

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Panajachel...
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2. Re: is it really worth it in July to drive to Monteverde?

Montezuma is a jammed-packed tourist town with a rough and long ride to get there. The road will be no better in July! If you go, try the Santa Elena Cloud forest instead of the Monteverde park. It is just as nice and not nearly as crowded. The area is almost always wet. Osa Peninsula is the least developed and there are wonderful beaches and lodges.

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Montezuma
Montezuma
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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Santa Elena
Monteverde, Costa Rica
Monteverde
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Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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Osa Peninsula
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The Bakery
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3. Re: is it really worth it in July to drive to Monteverde?

We did it last July early and had rain - heavy at times - but I've had worse drives. Try and do it early in the day and avoid the worst of the PM rains. I think it's worth it to see the land, but that's up to you.

Tampa, FL
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4. Re: is it really worth it in July to drive to Monteverde?

I'll have to respectfully and completely disagree with applehead. I've been there more than once myself and I know others that have as well. And not only do I think that there is WELL more than just 5 hours of things to see and do there, I think that if that were really the case you wouldn't see so many people going there. Think about it. Why on earth would so many people put up with several hours of rough driving each way if they only had 5 hours of worthwhile things to see and do when they got there? That would be completely crazy. The local residents have been fighting improving the road because a) they don't want to get day visitors and feel their area deserves more than that and b) they feel the area can barely handle the traffic that it gets now. And I tend to agree with them on both counts.

Now whether it is worthwhile for hask74 to visit that area given the barriers to entry that have deliberately been left in place is another matter. Since it is not worth braving the roads for just a day visit or perhaps even an overnight and the area practically demands a commitment of at least a couple of nights, is it worth it for hask to spend 2 nights out of his trip to go there? That really all depends on how many days he has to play with on his trip, what other places he plans on visiting, which way he would be coming from and what the weather will be like while he is there, just to name a few factors.

If he has just a week in CR and already has a long list of other places that he really wants to visit or was figuring on just spending a night in monteverde maybe he SHOULD cut this area out. There are other cloud forest areas that are more easily reached, albeit few or none with as much to see and do as the Monteverde area. That is the flip-side of being a "developed tourist town". It can get pretty busy during the peak season, but it will definitely not be "jam-packed" during the rainy season and a good argument can be made that time is actually the BEST time to visit. Sta Elena reserve does get less traffic than Monteverde but it should not be visited INSTEAD of Monteverde. One should take the time to visit BOTH.

Also on the topic of alternative areas. The Osa Peninsula can be very nice and may be worth visiting, but I'm not sure I would recommend it over Monteverde or anywhere else in CR in the context of this question. First of all it is a RAINforest area not a CLOUDforest and thus is an entirely different type ecosystem. Secondly if one is going to trump the fact that it is less developed and thus less crowded than Monteverde (which as I just explained is not as large a concern during the rainy season) one should also acknowledge some of the reasons why it is. Hask was concerned about the difficulty in getting to Monteverde. The Osa Peninsula/Drake Bay area is in many way even more difficult to get to. It is twice as far from SJ as is Sta Elena which means 8 instead of 4 hours of driving (I'm not sure of the conditions of the roads in that part of CR during the rainy season, but in general road conditions get much worse the further one gets from the capital) or the added expense of a domestic flight and local transportation there.

As for the road conditions to Monteverde, the direction one is traveling can make a difference. If one is planning on coming around the lake, you're talking about several hours between the Fortuna area and Sta Elena and often rough road especially during the rainy season. This can be avoided or at least delegated to someone else if one takes the jeep-boat-jeep tour across the lake (the horseback version is not recommended during the rainy season). The road between Sta. Elena and the PAH will probably even rougher than the road around the lake, but one is only talking a couple of hours on that before one reaches the relatively smooth pavement of the PanAm Hwy and downhill will be easier than driving up. I think Tourmalines assessment of the driving conditions is right on the mark. It can be wet and sloppy but it is definitely do-able and leaving early to arrive before afternoon when the rains tend to come will help you avoid the worst of it.

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Monteverde
Monteverde
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Osa Peninsula
Osa Peninsula
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Drake Bay
Drake Bay
Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
san francisco
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5. Re: is it really worth it in July to drive to Monteverde?

I agree with Prolijo on all counts. Some areas of Costa Rica are way too crowded simply because people want to visit the places mentioned by their friends, leaving other equal or even better locations with all the peace and quietness one could desire.

One should understand that while driving to Monteverde, much of the fun is admiring scenery unlike any other in the country and world, so why would you focus on the road condition?

I just discovered a new location through ACRtours.com a wonderful cloudforest one hour from downtown San Jose in the mountains close to the Irazu Volcano, here you may see the Quetzal and experience the real Costa Rica. Europeans tend to discover and prefer these types of locations while others couldn't fathom a vacation away from crowds and all forms of comforts.

It just depends on what you REALLY want out of your vacation.

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Costa Rica
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Monteverde
Monteverde
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
San Jose
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San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Tampa, FL
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6. Re: is it really worth it in July to drive to Monteverde?

BTW, applehead, I see that you have made a number of very helpful posts on this forum which I'm sure many of us appreciate. I'm sure this was just an oversight on your part. I believe it is okay to tell people about your hotel, but you should somehow indicate or make clear that its yours rather than possibly lead some to think your recommendation was just from an independent unbiased person who had stayed with you.

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7. Re: is it really worth it in July to drive to Monteverde?

I have a question. I am going to CR for 8 nights. I want to go to Arenal volcano, possibly Monteverde, and Quepos.

My questions is: to get to and from Monteverde, do you have to go through La fortuna? Can I go from San Jose, to La Fortuna, to monteverde, to Quepos? Or is that too much travel for 8 nights? I want to have 4 solid days at the beach.

Or would it be better to go to San Jose, to Quepos, to Monteverde, to La Fortuna and then back to San Jose?

I'm having trouble planning a realistic trip.

Any help is appreciated

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Arenal Volcano National Park
Arenal Volcano National...
Province of Alajuela, Costa Rica
Monteverde
Monteverde
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San Francisco...
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8. Re: is it really worth it in July to drive to Monteverde?

If you really like an exciting and long drive Monteverde is worth it. I also found it to be crowded and touristy and saw more wild life in other parts of the country than in Monteverde. Some of the views are spectacular but I won't go there again. Now, in answer to hask's wanting to see a volcano, don't count on it. While I had a lot of fun in La Fortuna it was too cloudy to see the volcano and I understand this is pretty common. In terms of the rest of your itinerary, it can work but consider the Los Angeles Clound forest between San Ramon and La Fortuna and also look for places to stay in Manuel Antonio as well as Quepos.

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9. Re: is it really worth it in July to drive to Monteverde?

Whether it is worth it or not is a personal opinion. We visited Monteverde in THE RAINY SEASON! and we were not sorry. Yes, it was a long, tedious drive full of windy roads and pot holes and local drivers who were used to the roads (if you know what I mean). Anyway, the advantage of the rainy season is that there were very few tourists. The scenery and hikes were beautiful as well as peaceful. As we come from a climate where it seldom rains, it was cool for us to lie in bed at night and listen to the rain. No TV's where we stayed; it was absultely serene.

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Monteverde
Monteverde
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Tampa, FL
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10. Re: is it really worth it in July to drive to Monteverde?

Like recluse said "Whether it is worth it or not is a personal opinion." but there are plenty of people who think it is for them. I think it would be worthwhile for me, but not if I was only going to spend 5 hours there (if that were all the time I had to devote to a cloudforest then I'd go to someplace Los Angeles or perhaps Tapanti). Zeuz did not mention what time of year he was there, which as has been pointed out can make a huge difference in the crowds. But if one is going to complain about a location because of the crowds I find it a little hard to understand how one could complain about Monteverde being crowded and touristy and devoid of animals because of the large numbers of tourists in one sentence and then recommend Quepos in the next. Frankly, I'd be at least as likely to return to Monteverde as I would to Manuel Antonio.

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Monteverde
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