Wife and I traveled to Costa Rica for 12 wonderful days, first week of February 2009.
Arrived in San Jose around noon. Went to the Alamo booth in the airport and we were shuttled to the Alamo office near the airport. No problems here, rented a small car (peugeot), in and out of the office in 15 minutes. Drove towards La Fortuna, road was very good, not too much traffic going out that way and well paved road. Arrived to the Tree Houses Hotel In Costa Rica near La Fortuna. From here we saw the Arenal Volcano from top to bottom, it was a super clear day. It was the only time we saw the Volcano, ‘cause it became cloudy and rainy after that. Place was great, really neat tree houses located high above the ground. We had a family of 7 bats that slept above our front porch. Took a hike around the property, saw a colony of leaf cutter ants hard at work, pretty awesome sight, and made it to the river/waterfall in the back of the property grounds. Other animals we saw in our treehouse was a frog in the shower and a giant spider running near the tree inside the house (scared my wife, I thought it was pretty funny), and a monkey running through the grounds in the early morning. Breakfast was really good too. Saw many birds since they put out fruit and nectar for the birds to eat near the breakfast area. The following day we took a drive to La Fortuna Waterfall which was about 20 minutes from the hotel. Took the hike and swam near the waterfall, the water was so refreshing. Hike was not long, but may be a little strenuous for some people (it's a little steep). Then drove around town and to the Arenal Lake, were we saw a group of Coatis (Pizotes) – about 20 of them. We pulled over and got out of the car to take pictures with them.
Following day left the Tree Houses Hotel and checked into Hotel La Pradera in La Fortuna for two nights. Dropped the car off at the Alamo office in La Fortuna (A bit of a hassle because the office was closed, had to call the corporate office so they can send someone to open it). From La Pradera we would take $3 taxis to the main strip, where we ate at Soda La Parada and also washed at a nearby laundry mat and enjoyed a coffee shop that served starbucks type coffees with Whisky. It rained the whole time we were in La Fortuna… didn’t mind too much since it was still fairly warm. From here we took a tour to Cano Negro –no rain there, just sunny skies (saw Howler monkeys, Jesus Lizards, Turtles, Iguanas, Sloths, Caymans, tons of birds, …), did a night hike in the rain near the volcano where we saw mostly birds and a snake, and went to Baldi Hot Springs at night, neat place but watch out for those $10 watered-down drinks. At night we would walk around the grounds of Hotel La Pradera with our flashlights and look for frogs in the foliage… we got som really good pictures. Also enjoyed our porch here, where I would drink Imperials and saw a giant millipede and a lizard. Lots of fun, … following day we left La Fortuna and headed to Monteverde via the Jeep-Boat-Jeep.
We used Desafio www.desafiocostarica.com to book our tours and some hotels in both Monteverde and La Fortuna. They were great, very helpful and did not have any problems anywhere.
Trip Report to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (two nights, rainy windy cold, yet fun), Manuel Antonio National Park, Tarcoles/Punta Leona and San Jose still to come.