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7 day itinerary (arr/dep LIR) planning difficulties

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7 day itinerary (arr/dep LIR) planning difficulties

I'm about 2 weeks from my departure date for my C.R. vacation with nothing booked - accommodations, tours, etc. My problem is my travel partners and I cannot agree on a good itinerary. We're flying into and out of Liberia. We'll have 6 full days, not counting the small time available on arrival or departure days. My preference is to avoid as much as possible lengthy drives that would waste precious days that could be spent someplace close. That said, I've recommended we stick with 2 days for a beach in the area of Tamarindo up to Playa del Coco and 4 days for Monteverde and Arenal areas. I know it's a long drive from the coast to Monteverde. I could even drop the beach altogether and add in Palo Verde or Rincon de la Vieja parks.

Now my traveling companions suggest we drive all the way to Jaco on our arrival day and spend the next day there. Then go to San Jose for day, then Monteverde/Arenal for 2 days, then back to beach for 2 days. I have no interest in San Jose, but the two others traveling with me want to go there.

I see their proposal as just wasted time in a car. Furthermore, my primary interest is wildlife, nature, hiking, and general outdoor activities. Sitting on the beach is no thrill.

My partners only suggestion was to let me drive from Jaco to Manuel Antonio for a day while they went to San Jose. Then I'd have to drive to San Jose from Quepos (3hrs) to pick them up and continue on to Monteverde (4 hrs). That pretty much means a full day for me in a car. No thanks.

So I need quick help with a plan that satisfies all parties.

I'm looking for a balance of beach and rain forest/volcano. Maybe someway for us to split up - they go to San Jose for a day and I do something different.

Thank you!

San Jose, Costa Rica
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1. Re: 7 day itinerary (arr/dep LIR) planning difficulties

Dear Jon...

So sorry...but I do not thing is easy to give some advice to you guys that make sense...

I´m with you...your friends are looking for a lot of driving...

Maybe nice LIR...Rincon de La Vieja..and a nice beach around Guanacaste...6 days is not much time...

From Monteverde to the beach areas you mentioned...around 4 hours,...each way...

Trying to go to Jaco then to Manuel Antonio...is a full day of driving...easy about 4 hours to 5 hours...plus stops...etc...etc...

Agian maybe stay around Guanacaste!

Please feel free to ask any question any time here at the forum!!

roadadvisor

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2. Re: 7 day itinerary (arr/dep LIR) planning difficulties

First you all need to sit down and discuss what you hope to see and do in Costa Rica without naming specific destinations. If you're surfers I can understand Jaco but otherwise it's known primarily as a party town. San Jose makes no sense to me at all given that you are flying into Liberia, unless your pals are looking for more partying or hoping to pick up Ticas. I think you need to agree on how you hope to spend your days (& nites) before you talk about specific locations and the fact that 1/2 your trip is going to be spent in a car rather than on the beaches or exploring the rainforest. Given their suggested itinerary you could map out options using www.yourtravelmap.com for driving times as a basis for this discussion.

IMO you should skip Jaco, Manuel Antonio and San Jose this trip, and focus on the many northern Pacific beaches combined with a few nites at Arenal or Monteverde.

Costa Rica
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3. Re: 7 day itinerary (arr/dep LIR) planning difficulties

I think you are right and your friends are nuts.

Show them the yourtravelmap.com information about just how much time you will spend in a car. And really good idea from crfan about discussing what you hope to see and do. With a short amount of time, it's important to focus. You just can't do it all!

1. Skip San Jose. Period.

2. For surfing, it's stupid to go all the way to Jaco when you can easily surf in either Tamarindo or nearby Playa Avellenas or Playa Negra - the last two have been used for surfing movies.

3. You are pushing it with going to three places! I would skip Arenal and Monteverde and just focus on a beach location and Rincon de la Vieja. There's not much of an advantage to seeing Arenal over Rincon de la Vieja. Check the Mega Combo at Buena Vista Lodge and also check Hacienda Guachipelin.

You can stay at one of the lodges in the Rincon de la Vieja area - Guachipelin would be excellent - or just go there as a day trip from the beach.

Edited: 28 November 2011, 12:32
La Fortuna de San...
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4. Re: 7 day itinerary (arr/dep LIR) planning difficulties

WOW you've got your work cut out for you...especially since no reservations have been made and it's the busy season here now! I agree 100% with Hattie!!!

Tamarindo is a great place for surfing and nightlife so that should work instead of Jaco.

Rincon de la Vieja-try to stay at the Hacienda Guachipelin since they have everything anybody would want to do right at the front door step (horseback riding, nature, white water river rafting, zip lines, etc). Here's their website: http://www.guachipelin.com/. If they're full, there are only a few other places to stay so get on it!

Do not try to do too much...you'll regret it as your vacation will not be relaxing at all! Talk to your friends and then make some reservations!!!

San Jose, Costa Rica
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5. Re: 7 day itinerary (arr/dep LIR) planning difficulties

I would forget about Jaco and San Jose it is too much wasted time on the car driving, not my idea of a good vacation. I would do 2 nights Montverde, 2 nights Arenal and the rest at the beach in Tamarindo.

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6. Re: 7 day itinerary (arr/dep LIR) planning difficulties

I appreciate all the suggestions. Now that I have multiple informed opinions to back me up, I believe I should propose a plan like this:

3 nights Tamarindo (or proximity) (1.5 hrs from Liberia)

2 nights Monteverde (5 hours from Tamarindo)

and

2 nights Arenal (3 hours from Monteverde)(3 hours back to Liberia)

or

2 nights Rincon de la Vieja (4-5? hours from Monteverde)(1 hour back to Liberia)

By the way, is it possible to drive from Monteverde to La Fortuna without having to go around the lake by way of Tilaran and Neuvo Arenal? I do not see a route through or around the Cloud Forest.

Thanks again for the input!

Costa Rica
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7. Re: 7 day itinerary (arr/dep LIR) planning difficulties

No, you have to drive around the Lake and to Tilaran to get from Arenal to Monteverde. The only thing that makes it a bit easier is to use the taxi-boat-taxi which cuts down on some of the travel time.

Your itinerary makes much more sense.

Rincon de la Vieja is 45 minutes north of Liberia. So you can look at Monteverde to Liberia and figure from there.

By the way - if you are coming in two weeks, better book now because that's a very busy time of year.

Edited: 28 November 2011, 18:55
New York City, New...
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8. Re: 7 day itinerary (arr/dep LIR) planning difficulties

Thanks for all the advice. I've tried to convince my companions about the disadvantages of all the car travel, but they are fixed on trip into the city. If I give in to their request, the itinerary would look like this:

Day 1: arrive Liberia in the afternoon and then drive to Monteverde, arriving by 6:00-7:00pm.

Day 2 - Day 4: Monteverde / Santa Elena area

Day 5: Drive to Jaco, arriving by lunch time

Day 6 - Day 7: Jaco

Day 8: leave morning for drive to Liberia, arrive by 11:30am

On day 6 or day 7, my companions will take a bus for a day trip to San Jose and I'll stay at the beach or make a day trip to Manual Antonio.

As we discussed this itinerary, I struggled between the choice of Monteverde or La Fortuna. I think there would be less driving for Monteverde, especially for the route to Jaco. But I'm reading that 3 full days in La Fortuna (Arenal) would be more interesting than 3 days in Monteverde.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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9. Re: 7 day itinerary (arr/dep LIR) planning difficulties

Dear Jon..

I like the final itinerary...good one...and every body is happy!

roadadvisor

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10. Re: 7 day itinerary (arr/dep LIR) planning difficulties

Jaco makes no sense and is not a very attractive beach to boot. If your friends want a day in San Jose then they should take a private shuttle on day 5 while you drive back to Tamarindo or any other northern Pacific beach that strikes your fancy. They can overnight in San Jose and fly to Liberia on day 6 where you could pick them up. If they want to rent the car and drive to San Jose, then you could just take one of the shared shuttles back to Tamarindo and spend your days enjoying the beach while they spend their time driving around Costa Rica. They're looking at 4 hours from Monteverde followed by a 5 hour drive back to Tamarindo. Can't figure out why you should lose 2 days in a car so they can do an easy daytrip to San Jose.

Edited: 29 November 2011, 03:42