We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

8 days in Costa Rica this April (Arenal and Manuel Antonio)

Tustin, California
Level Contributor
21 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
8 days in Costa Rica this April (Arenal and Manuel Antonio)

Hi everyone! My husband and I just booked our flight to Costa Rica! So exciting! Anyhow, we will be there for 8 days/nights. I was thinking of spending 4 nights in Arenal and 4 nights in Manuel Antonio. I was wondering if that is too much time in each area? I hate to move around too much so I thought two places would be ideal...but now I'm wondering if we should go to a third location?

I would also love any suggestions on must dos in both of these locations, tips, or recommendations on hotels (under $200 a night).

Thank you! :-)

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
13,961 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 8 days in Costa Rica this April (Arenal and Manuel Antonio)

It is a good itinerary; plenty to do at each location. Arenal area: Arenal volcano NP, La Fortuna watrerfall, visit a hot spring, Cano Negro boat tour, Hanging Bridges, ziplining, ... Manuel Antonio relax, visit to National Park (closed on Monday) mangrove tour, sunset sail, dining out, ...

For hotels check Tripadvisor section of hotels reviews.

Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
64 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 8 days in Costa Rica this April (Arenal and Manuel Antonio)

Had almost an identical itinerary and felt it wasn't enough time in each place to do everything we wanted.

Arenal: must do waterfall hike, zip line, hot springs

Manuel Antonio: park tour, beach, water activity of your choice

Edited: 09 March 2013, 14:14
Monteverde, Costa...
Level Contributor
25 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 8 days in Costa Rica this April (Arenal and Manuel Antonio)

This sounds like a good plan. Which airport are you flying into? As there are also day trips from San Jose if you end up with a spare day.

There is lots to do in Arenal and Manual Antonio. Must-dos I would add to the list give above... whitewater rafting (a lot of fun) and if you like more adventure there is canyoneering and some good mountain biking,,, like the single-track madness. There are also day trips from Arenal such as Rio Celeste - beautiful tour.

Westfield, New...
Level Contributor
99 posts
128 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 8 days in Costa Rica this April (Arenal and Manuel Antonio)

You won't be disappointed! That was the itinerary I booked 15 years ago and I've been hooked on CR ever since!

I understand Arenal is no longer really active (with regards to lava flow anyway), but still so much to see and do. There's been a lot of development since I last visited, so I can't advise on hotels, and it looks like you've gotten some great advice on the must-do's.

We love Hotel Costa Verde in Manuel Antonio. It has some affordable options relative to other resorts (we like Casa Quinta for our family now, but used to love B-12 before we had 3 kids). It has a nice, unspoiled jungle setting, so it's very easy to watch the monkeys and sloths from your deck or Anaconda restaurant. We generally see as much wildlife on the property as we do in the national park (which is closed on Mondays by the way - plan accordingly). Costa Verde II is adults only (never stayed there, but sneak off to the pool with my husband sometimes) and it's pool and bar area probably offer the best sunset view around. There are many newer and "cooler" options in MA as well, but we've never found a reason to change.

In addition to the other activities that were mentioned, we liked the mangrove boat tour, for more mellow (and shaded) experience. The butterfly garden and crocodile tour (across from Si Como No) is also a nice low-key or rainy day activity.

Tustin, California
Level Contributor
21 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 8 days in Costa Rica this April (Arenal and Manuel Antonio)

My goodness! Thank you everyone for the replys. We will arrive in San Jose on a Friday morning (before 10). We plan to go directly to either Arenal or MA from there. Please let me know if I should go to one location over the other first and if you have any suggestions on transportation from each place. Thanks again!! :-)

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
13,961 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 8 days in Costa Rica this April (Arenal and Manuel Antonio)

It depends more on your preferences: would you like to start with a relax (Manuel Antonio) or with activities (Arenal). With 10 am flight you have plenty of time to reach either place. Maybe decision maker would be your flight home as MA is slightly closer and easier to drive to SJO then Arenal.

Westfield, New...
Level Contributor
99 posts
128 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 8 days in Costa Rica this April (Arenal and Manuel Antonio)

Perhaps it will also depend on whether you want to take advantage of any night life as there seems to be more going on on the weekends. I don't remember much in Arenal (though it's been a while). Manuel Antonio may have more to offer in terms of night life. There always seemed to be live music at El Cantina (across the street from Costa Verde and part of the resort property) on weekends. Weekends also tend to be more crowded in general.

My family always seems to have a harder time leaving the beach areas...

8. Re: 8 days in Costa Rica this April (Arenal and Manuel Antonio)

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 11 March 2014, 06:16