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I Need Help Planning a Costa Rica Itinerary. Please Help!

Hollywood, Florida
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I Need Help Planning a Costa Rica Itinerary. Please Help!

I will be going all around the country:

Liberia Airport to Tamarindo (Beaches)

Tamarindo to Santa Elena, Monteverde (Arenal Volcano, something else)

Santa Elena, Monteverde to San Jose (Poas Volcano, quick visit to Limon, explore San Jose)

San Jose to Manuel Antonio (Beaches? National Park?)

Manuel Antonio to Liberia Airport

I will be spending about 3 days in each place (Liberia doesn't count). How do you do this by bus (for two people)? And how do I maximize my time?

La Fortuna de San...
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1. Re: I Need Help Planning a Costa Rica Itinerary. Please Help!

The first thing that jumps out is: Why on earth would you want to go to Limon??? This is not a destination (except for cruise ships). If you want to visit the Caribbean side head down to Puerto Viejo but it's not a "quick" visit so I'd suggest you stay there for at least 2 nights and forget exploring San Jose.

For 2 people I'd suggest doing shuttles not buses if you can...going on buses to all of these destinations is going to eat into your vacation & enjoyment time. Check out http://www.interbusonline.com. It will save you a ton of time and the little bit of extra money is worth it!

Hollywood, Florida
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2. Re: I Need Help Planning a Costa Rica Itinerary. Please Help!

Well I would like to go to Limon because I am Belizean and have a special connection to all my fellow Afro-Central American people (The Creoles, Garifunas, Bay Islanders, Costa Rican and Panamanian West Indian descendants, Miskitos, Panamanian Congos, etc...).

Cahuita is actually a place that I was considering as well though. Then I won't mind ignoring Limon I guess lol

Thanks for the advice about http://www.interbusonline.com. I will check that out

Edited: 19 March 2013, 16:32
San Jose, Costa Rica
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3. Re: I Need Help Planning a Costa Rica Itinerary. Please Help!

If you can rent a car...driving around Nicoya peninsula now days is incredible nice...I just come back from a great ride around Montezuma...Mal Pais...Santa Tereza...Punta Islita...San Miguel...Coyote..Caletas....the main road from Playa Naranjo all the way to Nicoya is in the best shape I have had ever seen it...

roadadvisor

Hollywood, Florida
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4. Re: I Need Help Planning a Costa Rica Itinerary. Please Help!

How expensive is it to rent a car for 10 days?

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: I Need Help Planning a Costa Rica Itinerary. Please Help!

There is no such thing as a quick visit to Limon as it is a half day bus ride from San Jose. There is no reasonable daytrip from Monteverde to Arenal as it's a 3 hour trip each way.

Better to make a loop tour Liberia/Tamarindo/Monteverde/Arenal/Cahuita/San Jose/ Manuel Antonio/Liberia. You'll need at least 2 weeks for this trip and 3 weeks would be better. Allow a 1/2 day minimum for each transfer, so try not to do 2 night stays or you will be spending hours on a bus every other day.

There are a number of shuttle buses companies. Check out the master schedule by Geck Trail Adventures at http://geckotrail.com/shuttle.htm but be sure and recheck any planned legs with the actual shuttle companies to be sure they haven't changed schedules (which happens as we move from high season into low season).

Hollywood, Florida
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6. Re: I Need Help Planning a Costa Rica Itinerary. Please Help!

Thanks for the advice.

How about just going from Liberia Airport>Tamarindo (2-3 days)>San Jose (5 days)>La Fortuna (3 days - Arenal National Park)?

While in San Jose 2 days can be to explore the city, 1 day for Limon or Cahuita, 1 day for Manuel Antonio, 1 day for Poas National Park, with San Jose breaking up travel days?

Edited: 19 March 2013, 21:02
Slovenia
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7. Re: I Need Help Planning a Costa Rica Itinerary. Please Help!

The problem with staying in San Jose is long travel time to almost any destination mentioned. 4 hrs one way to Limon, 5 hrs to Cahuita, 4 hrs to Manuel Antonio, all using public buses. That will leave you with only a couple of hours at any location.

Hollywood, Florida
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8. Re: I Need Help Planning a Costa Rica Itinerary. Please Help!

Ok I will bypass Monteverde. Only the "Cloud Forest" thing intrigued me.

I have actually booked 2 nights in Tamarindo and 5 nights in San Jose (explore the city, Poas Volcano definitely.. Arenal Volcano, Hot Spring and Rio Celeste?). I have 3 days to spear after that.

Do should I spend 2 days in Manuel Antonio, 2 days in Cahuita or 3 days in La Fortuna?

Edited: 20 March 2013, 15:49
Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: I Need Help Planning a Costa Rica Itinerary. Please Help!

Unbook your 5 nights in San Jose. It makes a poor base for visiting anything you have expressed interest in with the exception of Poas volcano. Since you are flying into/out of Liberia you would save a lot of travel time if you just did a Tamarindo/Arenal//Manuel Antonio loop or a Tamarindo/Arenal/Monteverde loop. Save San Jose and the Caribbean coast for another trip.

Costa Rica
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10. Re: I Need Help Planning a Costa Rica Itinerary. Please Help!

Agree. Get rid of those nights in San Jose.

Really, there's a LOT to do in the northwest of Costa Rica since you are flying into and out of Liberia. Here is a list I made for someone else:

1. Do the One Day Adventure Pass at Guachipelin. www.guachipelin.com

2. Visit Rincon de la Vieja National Park for hiking, volcano, waterfalls, hot springs, mud pots, etc.

3. Go horseback riding, fishing or boating

4. Visit Santa Rosa National Park and see the old farmstead known as "La Casona" - now a museum - it figures prominently in Costa Rican history. There are several nearby trails to choose from and one longish trail ends at a deserted beach.

5. Take the boat trip through Palo Verde National Park. www.paloverdeboattours.com

6. Take the boat to Witch's Rock for surfing or just visiting a beautiful beach.

7. Visit the town of Guatil where you can see authentic Chorotega pottery being made.

8. Head to the Tenorio National Park for the hike to the Rio Celeste.

9. Go to Llanos del Cortes waterfall. Huge waterfall with small swimming area. There are often monkeys in the trees overhead.

10. Visit Las Pumas Wildlife Rescue Center in Canas where you can see all sorts of animals, including big cats.

11. Arrange a sailing trip with the Sea Bird out of Playas del Coco. Snorkeling or just a quiet sunset cruise.

12. Take a whitewater rafting trip on the Tenorio River or a float trip on the Corobici River. www.rinconcorobici.com

If you are interested in using the public bus system, take a look here: www.thebusschedule.com/cr/ I would recommend renting a car for at least part of your visit. It will give you a lot of freedom and flexibility.