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Help with just beginning of planning

United States
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783 posts
26 reviews
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Help with just beginning of planning

Hi, I'm just starting to plan my trip to with 3 adults total for 2 weeks.

We want to see/do the following so far:

Turtles, volcanoes, tortuguero, hotsprings, cloud forest, canyoning, zipline, beach, some snorkeling, beginner scuba, sloths

Absolute musts for us are the turtles and volcanoes. Specifically, I want to see both turtles hatching and the arribadas at their greatest. With the volcanoes, I want to be able to see Arenal erupting and Poas on a day when clouds don't cover it up.

1. When should I take my two week trip? What things will I not be able to do or will see less of cause I picked this 2 week time frame (I assume some sacrifices will have to be made for turtles and volcanoes)

2. I was thinking I wouldn't book any hotels ahead of time (though I would need to book my flight months in advance) so that I have more flexibility in terms of which area to be in (so if weather is right in Arenal for viewing I could be there at that time or I could stay in the area longer if I hadn't see the eruption yet). Would this really increase my odds of seeing Arenal erupt?

3. What are the odds of seeing the turtles hatching and the arribadas?

4. Any other ideas for maximizing my chances of seeing the poas, arenal erupting, and turtle arribadas and hatching?

5. Am I missing any other must do activities? We like unique things we can't see/do elsewhere and also adventure activities.

Thanks a lot. I realize I asked a lot of questions so if you don't know the answers to all of the above, I would be more than happy to hear answers to just some of my questions.

United States
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783 posts
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1. Re: Help with just beginning of planning

I just read the water at the bottom of Paos is no longer there. If that's true, I will want to see both paos and one other one that does have water (maybe irazu?). Hope it's not the case though cause I don't think I can fit both in my schedule. Would it be better to just go to the other volcano instead?

Costa Rica
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2. Re: Help with just beginning of planning

Wow! A lot of questions! I will try to wade through them....

1. Turtles - there are a number of locations where turtles arrive to lay eggs or the hatchlings head for the sea. Many of these events happen at various times of the year. For instance, turtles come ashore at Playa Grande beginning in October to lay eggs. Of course, there are no guarantees that the turtles will oblige while you are visiting! For more information on this, you can Google sea turtles Costa Rica and get a "calendar" of where and when these events occur. Also check here: www.latortugafeliz.com for more info. For Tortuguero, check here: www.tortuguerovillage.com

2. As far as seeing Arenal or Poas, it's the luck of the draw. Check here for more information about Arenal: www.arenal.net -- you will be able to see when the best times are generally. If you find that you are not able to see the eruption at Arenal, you can ask your hotel staff to wake you up if things clear up during the night. For Poas, the earlier in the day, the better as it gets cloudy/foggy in the afternoons.

Comment: You have to remember that this is not Disneyworld. These are wild animals and natural events that may or may not happen to suit your wishes. Relax and realize that you will see some fantastic things in Costa Rica.

3. Hotels - whether you book hotels or not depends on the time of the year. For the busiest times, you will need to book ahead. For other times, you can just book your first night in each area and then go from there or even just book your first night in the country and go from there.

4. Other - there are a huge number of things to do in Costa Rica. You can check these two websites for more information:

www.govisitcostarica.com

www.costarica-nationalparks.com

Royal Palm Beach, FL
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53 posts
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3. Re: Help with just beginning of planning

I agree with the above reply - remember, this is not Disney World. First and foremost, don't go to CR with such expectations like - I must see the volcano erupting, or I must see Poas without clouds. You will be let down. Go with an open mind and the thought that seeing ANYTHING, you will be lucky. Unless, you live in CR, your demands are quite difficult because it's nature!

We did Arenal and we were lucky that we did get to see it erupt one night, but even the tour guide we were with, who is a native CR, said we were lucky because you have to be at the right spot at the right time at night. It wasn't even a big eruption, but you could see some lava. Keep in mind that during the day, you'll probably be able to feel it and hear it if you're close, but you're not going to see the red lava like you're expecting. We stayed at Arenal Volcano Lodge. It was great and had a nice view, but the eruption changes during the month, so check out the sites about Arenal to see what side it's erupting on these days. But just enjoy Arenal for the beauty that it is - no expectations of it erupting. Also, we did the tour on the lake at the bottom of the volcano at night time. That's when we saw the lava. It was serene and awesome, but chilly (Bring a coat)!

As for Poas, we stayed at the Peace Lodge for 3 days. 2 of them, Poas volcano was closed because of cloud coverage. Again we were lucky we got to see the top, but we had to be flexible and change plans. The day we expected to see it, it was too cloudy. We postponed and saw it the next day. But it didn't take long before clouds started to swirl in - this is a CLOUD FOREST!! So of course, clouds are going to be present.

When you visit Poas, try visiting Doka Coffee estate if you like coffee. It's a great personal tour and reasonably priced. They have delicious coffee, too.

We are from Florida and get to scuba the keys often, but do not recommend scuba diving in CR. It's not what you expect - mostly big fish, like sharks will be present, not the tropical fish you might be expecting. It does depend on the area, but you should spend time in CR doing things like hiking, Manual Antonio, Arenal area, coffee tours, Poas. Skip scuba diving - in my opinion.

Good luck on your trip and remember, don't have expectations going into. CR is all about open mind and Pura Vida!

San Jose, Costa Rica
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46,813 posts
35 reviews
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4. Re: Help with just beginning of planning

Let me try...

Agree 100% with Hattie...she knows Costa Rica...and she lives here in PARADISE!

1- Playa Ostional in Guanacaste turtles arriving all year long...when? that is hard to tell...sorry...

2- Good idea you can book hotels while you are here...

Poas better chances to see the crater early mornig...just stay around for a while...suddenly it will open up for a few minutes...since some activity changes at the bottom of the main crater...the water is gone...but of course BOTOS lake next to the crater still nice and full of water...

Arenal...it is so hard even to try to give you some opinion...I lived there for well over 5 years...and been close to my friends there all the time for the last 44 years...and since I drive for living, I drive about 4 times a week to Arenal...I drive groups of tourist or just couples ...and most of the time I tell them that just be patience...it will happens..and most of the time they see the volcano and some times even the volcano going crazy...of course more days more chances to see a great eruption...

3- Mother Nature is a different kind of lady...never let us know in advance about turtles...but as I mentioned in the top...Ostional Beach can be a nice place to try...also Playa Grande during the month of december...january...feb...

4- In my case I really wish that I could give you an answer...sorry I do not have that answer!

At least I can said that you have a very clear idea about what you are looking for... good luck!

roadadvisor

Pensacola, Florida
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12,945 posts
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5. Re: Help with just beginning of planning

1.If you want to see turtles you will want to go in the right season found here

www.leatherback.org www.turtlebeachlodge.com www.latortugafeliz.com

2.www.arenal.net quite active with lava good lava hotel map here easy to see on a clear night.You do not want to be anywhere near if it "erupts"

3.good in season see #1

4.www.puravidahotel.com for Poas easy to see any day close to airport

5.www.desafiocostarica.com for adventures

www.skytrek.com for zip

www.ruralcostarica.com Rio Celeste for beautiful hike.

Usually best for me to rent a cheap car www.servicecarrental.com

pick up nice hotels at dicounts on my way..

Good guidebooks like www.fodors.com Gold Guide or www.moon.com

for budget might help you a lot on your homework...

Cheapest flights in on sales www.spiritair.com www.jetblue.com

Have fun,

United States
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783 posts
26 reviews
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6. Re: Help with just beginning of planning

Thanks a lot everyone. Your posts have been a huge help. I especially like some of the websites you guys linked like the one that shows which side of the volcanoes is active.

I'll not scuba anymore and I'll try not to have to high expectations. I'm leaning towards going in late july/early august now and will start building my itinerary.

Again thanks a lot. Can't wait to see Costa Rica!

San Jose, Costa Rica
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46,813 posts
35 reviews
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7. Re: Help with just beginning of planning

You are Welcome...in my case I´m sorry I based my answers most of the time on my experiences driving around my country...about 45 years driving almost every where in my dear Costa Rica!

roadadvisor

8. Re: Help with just beginning of planning

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