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Need help with my itinerary

Los Angeles...
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Need help with my itinerary

Hi there, I've received mixed feedback on my itinerary and would appreciate your input as well. I would like to know if the direction Im going is best for road travel and also, if anyone knows distances between each of these places. We are budget concious so any great deals on guided tours in any of the places Im going to would be so helpful.

Im arriving in Costa Rica March 31 @ 9am with probably no sleep and will be renting a car once I get to San Jose and returning to san jose on the 10th for departure. I thought about staying a night in San Jose, but decided to head straight to Poas Volcano Lodge since I feel so limited in time.

Day 2 we were interested in maybe driving to Braulio Carillo and then head to Moin to catch a boat to Tortuguero. I know that lodges offer package deals to Tortuguero but since we are a couple we dont want to pay almost $500 for one room when we could spend $40 a night at Casa Marbella for a 2 night stay. Just not sure if I should sleep over near Braulio Carillo or if you think I have enough time to drive to Moin at the end of the day. Im not sure how much time we would need at Braulio. Ive read that boats from Moin have one departure at 10am. Are there water taxis or another options throughout the day? Do you know what the prices are?

My next stop is Arenal for a 2 night stay at arenal observatory. Then to monteverde for 2 nights (not sure yet on lodging) and then to MA (Kamuk hotel)and back to San Jose.

My other question is we like the idea of doing the canopy tour, and we would like to know the best place to experience it and if people prefer any other option. It seems like a great experience, but we are also animal lovers and dont want to miss out. also, is MA good option for nice beaches at the end?

I know Ive asked many questions so ANY tips or suggestions would be so appreciated as Im spending countless hours on the internet.

Thanks!!

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Need help with my itinerary

So you've got 11 days and you're spending them as follows I think: Poas/Tortuguero(2)/Arenal(2)/Monteverde(2)/MA(3)/San Jose. I'm not sure if you have 10 or 11 nights from your post. I got to tell you I would need a vacation after all the time you're going to spend in transit. The Caravan tours cover this much ground but they have profesional drivers and a guide to arrange all the details for you. The 1st thing I would suggest is to cut out 1 of your stops so you can slow down a little and enjoy Costa Rica. Each of your stops requires 4-5 hours in transit and you'll be transferring every other day.

In response to your specific questions, you negoitiate a price for the roundtrip boat ride from Moin to Tortugeuro. Might be $50-70/each or could be more if there's noone else to share the boat. If you're not there by 10 AM your chances of getting a boat go way down. For more info on Tortugeuro access check this link: www.geocities.com/tortugueroinfo/main.html

Both Arenal and Monteverde have highly rated canopy tours and here are several available at MA. Mundo Aventura in Arenal include a short horseback ride and a vie of the waterfall in their zipline package. Sky Trek at Arenal has great views of Lago Arenal and some steep drops.

Los Angeles...
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2. Re: Need help with my itinerary

I think we are going to go this route and skip Tortuguero unfortunately..

1st day visit braulio carillo - Aerial Tram

1 night in San Jose

1 night Poas Volcano Lodge -

2 nights in Arenal - Hotel Linda Vista

2 nights in Monteverde

2 nights Manuel Antonio

I still have one night left and not sure which place I should stay the extra night.

Any thoughts?

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Need help with my itinerary

hi- I like your ambition, but you may feel overwhelmed by all the checking in and out of hotels and moving around. just me, but I would at least cut out the night in San Jose and head straight to Paos 1st night, see the Paos Volcano early the next day (before fog sets in) and end up in Arenal that night. Arenal 3 nights, Monteverde 2 nights, MA for 4 nights then San Jose last night (if needed-depending on flight time). If you wanted to stay in San Jose the 1st night, I would consider cutting out Monteverde (so much extra driving) Again, just me, but this way you would have time to actually explore each region and relax a bit too. Good luck!

chicago
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4. Re: Need help with my itinerary

You will feel as if your vacation was spent inside a car or packing and repacking your luggage. A 10 days vacation gives you enough time for only 3 destinations. Monteverde is great but it is very similar to what you can find in Arenal. Manuel Antonio is very far form Arenal. If I were you, I would do Poas early on the second morning and then head to Tortuguero, then Arenal for 3 nights, a quiet beach like Samara for the remaining time and then an overnight in San Jose (fancy dinner at Le Monastere, perhaps) before you head back. Make sure to slow down and enjoy the great Tico lifestyle. Pura Vida!

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: Need help with my itinerary

OK you got rid of Tortuguero (which is a great place to visit by the way) but you still have all these 2 night stops. Also not at all sure why someone who is young, physically fit and on a budget would want to spend a day at the Rainforest Aerial Tram. Its a very slow moving ski gondola that goes through the tree trops and costs a pretty penny. May be great for tour groups but I think you'd be much better off with a guided hike at La Selva, a research station nearby. Here's my suggestion:

Day 1: Pickup rental car and drive to the top of Poas Volcano for a hike. Have lunch and if your energy permits check out LaPaz Waterfall Gardens or just drive past and you can see the best of the waterfalls from the road past the entrance (and walk underneath it). Overnight Poas Volcano Lodge.

Day 2: Drive to Sarapiqui (1 hour) and take morning guided hike at La Selva (advance reservations) or Tirimbina Reserve. Afternoon whitewater trip on Sarapiqui with Aguas Bravas or Pozo Azul. Afterwards its a 2 hour drive to Arenal for overnight.

Day 3: Hike to the waterfall near LaFortuna and later in the day hit eco termales hot springs (advance reservations).Overnight Arenal.

Day 4: All day trip to Cano Negro for wildlife. Its not Tortuguero but its pretty amazing. Overnight Arenal.

Day 5: Drive to Monteverde (4 hours+). Take night hike.

Day 6: Check out ziplines and hike in the reserve. Overnight Monteverde

Day 7:Start early & drive to MA (5 hours) stopping at Rio Tarcoles to see crocodiles. Hike at nearby Carrara Reserve to see scarlet macaws if you have time. Hit the beach outside the park entrance to watch the sunset. Overnight MA. Try La Posada for great lodging near the beach.

Day 8: Morning hike through national park followed by picnic at beach inside the park. Overnight MA.

Day 9: Try kayaking at the mangroves at Isla Damas. Afternoon at the beach. Overnight MA

Day 10: Departure

St. Petersburg...
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6. Re: Need help with my itinerary

I would really skip moving around so much for such a short stay. Getting from one place to another can be a very time consuming thing in CR. Also agree to skip the tram, the marketing I've seen is that it is marketed mainly towards tour groups or people with limited mobility. JMO, but I would still drop another stop or re-arrange your trip. Maybe you could look into driving on arrival to Selva verde lodge, about a 2 hour drive from the airport. Stay 2 nights there, it's cheap, in a beautiful spot and there is a ton of wildlife in the area. Then drive the hour over to La Paz waterfalls & Poas, as a day trip, before continuing on to Arenal where I would spend 3 or 4 nights. From there on to either Monteverde or Manuel Antonio for 3 or 4 nights, then back to Alajuela to spend the night before your departure.

Los Angeles...
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7. Re: Need help with my itinerary

Ok here's my itinerary now...

Day 1: arrive at 9am, renting a Bego suv from ticotravel.com, this was the best deal I could find for 10 days. Driveto Poas for an overnight at Poas Volcano lodge. Take a peak at Poas volcano to see if its visible and then head to La Paz Waterfalls.

Day 2: Wake up early to either check out Poas volcano (if we couldn't see it on Day 1) or head straight to Arenal. Arrive and check into Linda Vista, jr. suite with a view of the volcano for 3 nights. Check out the observatory and the park and maybe head to the eco termales.

Day 3: Cano Negro tour at 7:30am (I heard this was the best time to see the animals) and maybe a night hike, still not sure if I should do the hike in the forest or volcano.

Day 4: Sky Tram or hanging bridges/Sky trek (maybe if it doesnt look too intimidating), then to Fortuna Waterfall and do the hike ourselves.

Day 5: Head to Monteverde for 2 nights at the Arco Iris lodge. Bat Jungle and/or butterfly garden if we are up to it.

Day 6: Natural History walk tour, night tour. Maybe zip lines

Day 7: Head to Manuel Antonio for 3 nights at the Villas Nicolas type 3 units, stop at the Rio Tarcoles for crocodiles on the way and grab dinner somewhere to watch the sunset, Maybe La Mariposa hotel.

Day 8: Aguila tours - mangrove tour

Day 9: Thinking about doing a catamaran tour or something like that. I still need to do some research in this area for activities, we may just hangout at the beach all day.

Day 10: departure

Thank you so much for all your suggestions, I don't know what I would do without this website. It's my new addiction!

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Need help with my itinerary

Sounds good to me. Make absolutely sure day 9 is not a Monday as the park is closed on Mondays. There's a large public beach outside the park entrance but you absolutely need to spend time inside the park whcih has an absolutley gorgeous and undeveloped beach, great for swimming. Also be sure adn take a guided hike as there is a ton of wildlife in MA and the guides carry scope to help you spot it all. Have fun and Pura Vida!

9. Re: Need help with my itinerary

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