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How to split time Arenal and Nosara

florida
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How to split time Arenal and Nosara

Mother and two kids ages 10 and 13 will be traveling to CR the last week of Nov. Going to be brave and rent a car and want to visit Arenal (hopefully staying at AOL) then travel to Nosara for the rest of the time.

I am trying to decide on how many nights at Arenal, two or three? Thinking of doing Skytrek zipline ( if I don't chicken out), hike to the waterfall, maybe the hot springs...might be too expensive...and not sure of what else. Would like a chance for the kids to see wildlife...don't know about how much hiking sense I am terrified of snakes.

Will spend first day traveling from Santa Ana...thinking three hours to get there?

Want best chance at seeing eruptions at night etc. We will then travel to Nosara (5 hours?) and either stay five or six nights depending on time spent at Arenal and then head back to Santa Ana...thinking 6 hours?

Hoping the roads are not too scary to these destinations...should I be concerned with the driving? Any steep mountain roads or drop offs?

Any others suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Pensacola, Florida
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1. Re: How to split time Arenal and Nosara

would go with 3 nights at www.arenal.net lots to do.

Your drive times are pretty correct.

really nothing major scary along your route

lock your stuff up when you leave your car

you should be fine...have fun,

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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2. Re: How to split time Arenal and Nosara

I would also go with three nights in Arenal; we usually stay four just because there's so much to do. You might hire a guide and hike the Hanging Bridges; it would be less scary for you to have a guide and would increase your chances of seeing wildlife there. We went on our own and didn't see much. We love the Cano Negro tour with Sunset Tours to see wildlife - that would be a good option for you since the tour is done by boat - no hiking, no snakes. Doing Cano Negro during the day and hot springs in the evening for dinner makes a good combination. Animals we've seen at CN include howlers, capuchins, spider monkeys, sloths, caimans, loads of birds, and even a cute little albino howler monkey. To me, that's one of the best chances to see wildlife in that area.

Antigua, Guatemala
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3. Re: How to split time Arenal and Nosara

Hi,

I think it's a great idea that you're renting a car. You'll be fine. The roads are not in bad condition and are easy to navigate.

Staying in AOL will increase your chances of seeing the volcano erupt, since it's the best view in all of Costa Rica and also wildlife.

I would really recommend doing a tour to the hot springs for one evening with dinner. This is truly a wonderful experience.

If you can, stay in AOL for 3 nights!

You also have the driving times just right:)

Hope this helps,

Marina K. Villatoro

San Jose, Costa Rica
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4. Re: How to split time Arenal and Nosara

Considering that you are travelling with the little ones...maybe the best is 3 nights in Arenal...and please do not worry is perfectly OK to drive...just common sense...do not listen to some drama queens...they have nothing better to do but scare breave people like you!

Yes from Santa Ana 3 hours...to Arenal...yes around 5 hours to Nosara...take the Amistad bridge...then Nicoya...Samara...Barco Quebrado...Garza...Nosara...nice drive!

Go for it...you can do it! Of course again common sense...observe the speed limits...and distances!

Just buckle up an enjoy the ride in PARADISE!

San Jose
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5. Re: How to split time Arenal and Nosara

Just to add to the very good previous recommendations, remember that there are other options for the hotsprings other than Tabacon Resort. I know you're a bit concerned about the price, and Tabacon is indeed the most expensive of all the options. But, there is also Eco Termales that offers a great experience at a more affordable price. The hotsprings are a true experience for the whole family, so try not to miss it. There's even another option, Baldi, but if you can, try with Eco Termales, you will like it much better.

Your stay at the AOL will provide a great opportunity to observe the volcano at night. And I also recommend the hanging bridges guided tour, the peñas Blancas Safari River Boat tour, and Caño Negro.

About the rental car, hire a GPS! Most rental car companies offer one and they can be a very handy tool driving around and will provide you with more confidence while driving around. Prices usually go around $9 to $ 12 depending on rental car company. I usually hire with Europcar

Where are you going to stay in Nosara? If you need help here too, let me know!

good luck

florida
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6. Re: How to split time Arenal and Nosara

Thank you...thank you....thank you!!

I hope you have some idea of how helpful your suggestions have been and how they have helped me be more courageous.

This is my first trip out of the country with my kids, I have always dreamed of traveling and simply could never find anyone to head out with me and was brought up with the rule that girls do not travel alone. This will be a great start on trying to show my kids as much of the world as I can...and what is better than traveling with my two favorite people on the planet! :)

I am now planning on three nights in Arenal...going to email and try and secure lodging at AOL.

The Cano Negro boat trip looks promising...checked on the web sites and looks like pricing is done on bases of which hotel you are staying at. Being that we will have a car is it possible to reduce the price...we won't be able to afford all the tours that we are looking at being they seem to run $60 or so each.

Also the Hanging Bridge hike with guide is looking cool...going to try and suck up the fear of snakes...mentioned to my daughter and she seemed to be sacred of it...how's the fear factor? How's the fear of heights factor? Best to book a guide out of the hotel?

Figure we can hike down to the falls on our own...maybe thinking the first day...does anyone know if you can, and is it safe to check your baggage while you wait to be able to be checked in at AOL?

The hot springs sounds neat...is it really worth it? Is the water kept clean? and what about driving back to the hotel after dark?

Nosara... we are looking at the Guilded Iguana...have close friends who have been to CR a couple of times and have stayed there...they also have a few friends who now live in Nosara which made the decision of where to go after Arenal easier.

Thanks for the suggestion about the GPS...I was wondering about that one...if we get it do we take it out of the car every time we stop and keep with us to keep it from being stolen?

Once again, I can't not take all of you enough!

florida
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7. Re: How to split time Arenal and Nosara

Uh...I meant...I can not thank all of you enough! :)

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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8. Re: How to split time Arenal and Nosara

We've done both Tabacon and Eco Termales, and we actually liked Eco Termales more. Tabacon was pretty crowded and loud when we went; it does offer more pools and a water slide though. Eco Termales serves a great chicken dinner, and the springs are pretty - and yes, they are clean. It's really relaxing to go there.

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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9. Re: How to split time Arenal and Nosara

The tours usually do charge a transportation fee to come pick you up and drop you off; a lot of them will charge extra to come out to AOL since it's on that long bumpy road and a little bit outside of town. You could probably save on your costs by just driving yourselves to the tour office if you're going to have your own car.

Antigua, Guatemala
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10. Re: How to split time Arenal and Nosara

Hi,

To be picked up from AOL is $30 extra for everyone for the tours. However, you can save that if you want to drive yourselves. You can leave the car at the operator's office, it's totally safe!

I too would recommend Eco Thermales with dinner!

Have a great night!

Marina K. Villatoro