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Itinerary Advice and Feedback

New York City, New...
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Itinerary Advice and Feedback

We are a family of four, with a 14 and 15 year old, that like nature, hiking and adventure. We travel light and do not mind changing locations to explore new areas. We are looking forward to our trip to Costa Rica in April. Here is our planned itinerary. Please let me know if it looks realistic. All suggestions are welcome.

Friday - Arrive 920 pm SJO and stay at Hampton Inn near airport

Saturday - Pick up rental car and drive to Paos Volcano for hike and La Paz waterfall gardens - drive to Arenal area before dark and stay near La Fortuna for 2 nights - possibly at Hotel El Silencio del Campo

Sunday - DeSafio rappeling and rafting full day - relax at night - springs? (La Fortuna overnight)

Monday - La Fortuna Falls then travel by car to Monteverde (3 hours) - stay 2 nights in Monteverde

Tuesday - Monteverde Cloud Forest early tour then explore on own, Hummingbird and Sloth areas (Monteverde overnight)

Wednesday - Selvatura Park and canopy tour, lunch and then drive to Tenorio (3 1/2 - 4 hours) - possibly stay at LaCarolina Lodge (1 -2 nights)

Thursday - Go with guide to Rio Celeste - Stay again at LaCarolina Lodge or not?

Friday - Rincon de la Vieja - hike to Blue Lake and Cangrejo Falls and possibly Las Pailas trail - drive and stay in Playa Flamingo for 2 nights

Saturday - relax on beach and possibly 2 pm sailboat for 4 hr trip (sunset)

Sunday - relax at beach and then drive late afternoon to Hilton Garden Inn Hotel near Liberia (drop off rental car)

Monday - very early flight home from Liberia

I welcome any thoughts on the following questions:

1. Best way to drive from Tenorio to Rincon de la Vieja? How long a drive?

2. Best way to fit Rincon de la Vieja in itinerary. Are we better to try and stay in Playa Flamingo for three days and visit Rincon de la Vieja from there rather than on the way between Tenorio and Playa Flamingo?

3. Suggestion for lodging for time at Monteverde (2 nights) based on planned activities.

4. Thought on early morning vs. night guided tour of Monteverde Cloud Forest

5. Car rental agency suggestions since renting car in SJO and dropping it at LIR - read lots on forum - have CDW through credit card and relaize need to have liability insurance

6. Thoughts on Hotel El Silencio del Campo location based on activities selected for La Fortuna area. Would Tree Houses Hotel Costa Rica, La Fortuna de San Carlos be a better option?

7. Would hanging bridges fit in at Monteverde or be too much ?

Thank you for any suggestions and guidance in advance.

Chicago, Illinois
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for Costa Rica
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1. Re: Itinerary Advice and Feedback

Sorry to say but I think your plan is nuts. You are spending hours in the car every other day of this trip. Add in time checking in and out of hotels and you have made it difficult to do anything more than a cursory visit to each of the area you have chosen. I would suggest cutting the number of destinations in half for this 10 day trip.

I will only try to advise on a couple of the questiond raised.

4. You really should try to include both a night hike and an early morning tour in Monteverde. You are not going to see quetzals on the night tour and many of the mammals will be sleeping on a night tour + you can't really enjoy the clouds in the cloudforest at nite.

5. Do a search on this forum for recommended car rental agencies & read the top questions on the right. Nearly all the companies will let you pickup SJO and dropoff Liberia but the drop charge will vary.

6. Silencio del Campo is a much better choice if you want to be close to activities. The Tree House Hotel is in a remote location, a 30-40 minute drive from most activities. Not to say it isn't a great place to stay but for a trip with only 1.5 days in Arenal.

Edited: 20 January 2013, 16:27
La Fortuna de San...
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2. Re: Itinerary Advice and Feedback

My first thought is that Rio Celeste can be done as a day trip from La Fortuna so stay one more night at Silencio del Campo (great choice). Just spending that one more night in La Fortuna would ease your "go go go" itinerary some. Tree Houses hotel is great but for your family, I'd say stay with Silencio del Campo-the location is better for the activities you're looking at doing.

Monteverde: Monteverde Rustic Lodge is a good value but look at TA's hotels so you can see what you would like best since there are all types of hotels of all price ranges in that area!

Selvatura Park has hanging bridges so you can do that with the rest of your canopy (zip lining) tour-easy! It's either there or SkyTrek.

And yes, I would say visit Rincon de la Vieja from Flamingo vs. trying to drive there from another area...it will be much easier to just do it from Flamingo..still a long day but easier in my opinion.


Costa Rica
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3. Re: Itinerary Advice and Feedback

1. From Tenorio to Rincon de la Vieja is about two hours.

South on Rt 6 (towards Canas) to Hwy 1. At Hwy 1, turn right towards Liberia. Follow this through Liberia (at the traffic light, keep going straight) until you see the turnoff for Curubande and Rincon de la Vieja, about 10-15 minutes from the traffic light. Turn and follow this road all the way to the entrance to the Park.

2-...... WAY too much. Cut out about half of this and you will be fine. You will be exhausted from packing and unpacking and traveling from place to place and that's no way to spend a vacation.

I would do this: Arenal - Tenorio - Flamingo -- period. You basically have 9 days so 3 days in each area - or 2 days Tenorio and 4 days Flamingo would be perfect. This will allow you to enjoy each area. And yes, you can easily visit Rincon de la Vieja from Flamingo. The entrance to the National Park is about 30 minutes from Liberia.

There are many options in the Tenorio area and La Carolina is just one of them. It's an isolated farm so if that's what you are looking for, it will be fine. Otherwise, there's Tenorio Lodge, Celeste Mountain Lodge, Hotel El Cacao and Casitas Tenorio, to name a few.

For distances and travel times: www.yourtravelmap.com

Here's a great thing to do from Playa Flamingo, in addition to hiking the National Park: http://www.guachipelin.com/one-day-pass.html Your kids will love it!

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Itinerary Advice and Feedback

Thank you for the feedback. It is greatly appreciated. We have decided to stay three nights in the Arenal area (Hotel El Silencio del Campo) instead of two and visit Rio Celeste as a day trip from there. We will do the same with the Pacific coast stay and visit Rincon de la Vieja from there to reduce the amount of moving between hotels. I am looking at hotels on the coast closer to Rincon de la Vieja and the airport than Playa Flamingo to reduce the amount of time in the car.

5. Re: Itinerary Advice and Feedback

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