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SJO to Manuel Antonio & Arenal - which first?

Dallas, Texas
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4 posts
8 reviews
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SJO to Manuel Antonio & Arenal - which first?

We will arrive at 7pm. Any benefit to choosing one over the other to go to first, given the late hour?

And I assume since it will be dark shortly after our arrival that it would be easiest to get a driver. Suggestions?



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15 reviews
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1. Re: SJO to Manuel Antonio & Arenal - which first?

Manuel road better after dark Arenal winding narrow road longer drive

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3,985 posts
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2. Re: SJO to Manuel Antonio & Arenal - which first?

Do Arenal first. Book a transfer or stay over near the airport the first night if you want to drive.

Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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3. Re: SJO to Manuel Antonio & Arenal - which first?

It will be dark 1 hour before your arrival, so driving by yourself on the same night, is not advisable. Overnight near airport, closest town is Alajuela, about 10 min by taxi. Of course, if you will hire a private driver, that is not any more a concern. In such a case, just start at whichever location fits you better.

Marbella, Spain
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4. Re: SJO to Manuel Antonio & Arenal - which first?

Good advice to lodge near the airport and travel in the morning unless hiring a driver. I have always done Arenal 1st on my trips to CR as much more activity focused and then head to Manuel Antonio for chill & relax.....

Ashburn, Virginia
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5. Re: SJO to Manuel Antonio & Arenal - which first?

Last time I stayed first night in San Jose and left early to Arenal the next day so I can enjoy the scenic drive and stops at coffee plantation. This time, I don't want to waste my first night in San Jose. So, taking private shuttle to near Manuel Antonio so I can wake up to enjoy my beach day. I'll be doing morning drives to arenal and back to San Jose to enjoy scenic drives with stops.

6. Re: SJO to Manuel Antonio & Arenal - which first?

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