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Working on an itinerary for a first trip to CR

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Working on an itinerary for a first trip to CR

We're trying to plan a trip for a family of 4 (kids are 12 and 9). So much to do but we want to limit driving since one of the kids gets carsick. We did not make flight arrangements yet but are planning for ~July 6th - July 18th (or so) of this year. The number one thing the kids want to do is Proyecto Asis, near Arenal, so we figured to stay a few days in that area. We'd also like to try the waterfall hike at Rio Celeste -- and maybe staying up near Tenorio NP. Rincon de la Vieja looks great too. Perhaps Monteverde. Both kids are good hikers. I don't think the beach is a priority, since we've been spoiled in the Caribbean with calm, turquoise water. We will be renting a car & are trying to keep to a moderate budget.

Assuming we fly to SJO and rent a car there... A few days near Arenal, then a few days near Tenorio, OR Rincon de la Vieja, and then the last few days near Monteverde before heading back to SJO. Three locations maximum, I think. It looks like there's the most activities near Arenal, so maybe 6 days, 3 days, and 3 days at each location. Is this reasonable? Are we missing something by skipping Poas, Sarapique, Manuel Antonio, etc? Is there another rescue center, like Proyecto Asis, where the kids could help take care of the animals? Thanks for the input.

Costa Rica
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1. Re: Working on an itinerary for a first trip to CR

This will help you with distances and drive times: www.yourtravelmap.com

You should know that even though Costa Rica is small, it does take time to get around. And driving around Lake Arenal is very curvy and up and down so probably a nightmare for someone who gets car sick.

What you might do to minimize your drive times is fly into SJO and out of LIR. Rincon de la Vieja is almost 5 hours from SJO but only about an hour from LIR.

So with that in mind, you could fly into SJO, use a shared van shuttle or private driver and visit Monteverde (not much need for a car there), take the taxi-boat-taxi to Arenal, rent a car for your time in the Arenal area.

For the Rio Celeste, you can do a day trip from Arenal or spend a night or two in Bijagua, the closest town to the National Park.

From Arenal or Bijagua, head for Rincon de la Vieja and after a few days in that area, head to the airport for your flight home.

Most animal rescue facilities don't do "day" volunteers - but prefer at least a week's commitment.

Another place to consider would be Tortuguero. www.tortuguerovillage.com You could take a shuttle from Alajuela (which is where the airport is actually located) to the boat landing and shuttle back to Guapiles and pick up a rental car there for the rest of your trip.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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2. Re: Working on an itinerary for a first trip to CR

Another great sdbice by Hattie...not a rule of course but from poont S to point Bost of the time about 3 hours...a lot of curves and up downs ...just drive dlow and keep good driving distances...


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3. Re: Working on an itinerary for a first trip to CR

Interesting advice. Does it make sense to take a shuttle/bus to a destination (like Arenal) and then rent a car from there, rather than just renting for the entire trip when arriving at the airport? Does it save money, time, and/or sanity? We are trying to finalize an itinerary as well, but I had assumed we'd rent a car for the entire time & avoid shuttles/buses. (sorry to buzz in with my own question)

4. Re: Working on an itinerary for a first trip to CR

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