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Advice on 5 hr drive from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio

Napa, California
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79 posts
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Advice on 5 hr drive from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio

We are an extended family of 10 headed to CR for Xmas 2013, 12/23-1/2/13. We are planning to go to La Fortun (Arenal + Monteverde) for first 4-5 days and then drive down to Quepos/Manuel Antonio for rest of trip.

Some in the family think 5 hour drive may be too much (we have 1-7 yr old and 3 teenagers; 2 grandparents; and 4 parents.

I think there is plenty to stop and see en route, and we can make a day of it.

Has anyopne done the drive recently and have any advise/insight to share?

Thanks -

Portland, Maine
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1. Re: Advice on 5 hr drive from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio

We did a drive from arenal to nosara a few years ago- a group of 10 of us with 4 boys under the age of five, and grandparents. We picked two stopping points along the way that gave the kids time to run around (we had a slightly different route so can't help you there unfortunately). I was glad we decided to take the long way around the north edge of arenal before looping south. That stretch in particular was a gorgeous drive although it added time. The highway is not scenic at all, bit did move is right along. We did suffer one flat tire on a more rural road and so I would just say pay attention to that other car!

Costa Rica
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2. Re: Advice on 5 hr drive from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio

The drive from the Arenal area to Manuel Antonio is very different from the Arenal area to Samara. Driving around Lake Arenal makes sense for the drive to Samara, but definitely not for Manuel Antonio.

If you just take it easy and plan on making several stops along the way, I think you will be fine. Your idea of "making a day of it" sounds great.

By the way, I'm a little concerned about your writing "Arenal + Monteverde." Keep in mind that it's more than 3 hours between the two so not a day trip and definitely needs a couple of nights. I would probably just stay in the Arenal area and then head for Manuel Antonio.

Jacksonville...
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3. Re: Advice on 5 hr drive from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio

We just got back and drove from La Fortuna/Arenal area to Manuel Antonio. The first 1 1/2 to 2 hours is very curvy road but there are places to stop and have lunch or just get a drink. Once you get down the mountain it's the nice new highway (have money ready for the tolls, I think there were 3 total), lot's of fruit stands and soda's along the way too. You could stop at the Tarcoles River and see the crocodiles, many places to eat nearby. I think it's doable but we were definitely too tired to do much else other than eat once we arrived in MA.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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4. Re: Advice on 5 hr drive from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio

It is a nice kind of a long ride...but really nice..we do it almost in a weekly basis...sometimes by Palamares...some times driving back to La GArita and take road 27 ...that is nice way...a little more driving time but not a big deal...

What ever option you take I can tell you that as today the roads are in great shape...of course maybe a nice stop at Tarcoles...and maybe somenthing to eat at Tarcoles beach...cn be at Steves and Lisas or at the costarican style seafood restaurant...La Fiesta del Marisco...home of the world famous Viagra seafood soup..

roadadvisor

La Fortuna de San...
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5. Re: Advice on 5 hr drive from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio

I just did this last week and I do not like to be in the car for more than an hour or two. That said, the drive was absolutely beautiful and it's easy to stop and get out and the time just flew by. ENJOY your time here! :-)

Grecia, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Province of Alajuela
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6. Re: Advice on 5 hr drive from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio

I second the stop at La Fiesta del Mariscos, the seafood soup is out of this world. Long drive but not bad at all I don't think. The trip is scenic, as mentioned make stops on the way and you will have fun.

Chicago, IL
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7. Re: Advice on 5 hr drive from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio

We also just did the drive recently, and I agree with all that has been said. Beautiful drive! With that said, we used a private driver who I would highly recommend. His name is Mario Montero and you can email him at titi.transfer@gmail.com . Mario speaks very good English, he is friendly, very reasonably priced, professional, helpful, and most importantly, a safe driver. He resides in La Fortuna, but picked us up in San Jose at the airport and made sure we got to Manuel Antonio safely as well. I recommend considering him for your transportation if that's the way you choose to travel.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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8. Re: Advice on 5 hr drive from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio

I think somebody is tryinmg to sell the services of Mario...hummm

roradadsior

Napa, California
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9. Re: Advice on 5 hr drive from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio

You make a great point. I think of Arenal/La Fortuna in same place as Monteverde -- and they're obviously not. I visited Arenal on last CR trip (10 years ago) and was thinking we should try to get to Monteverde but it sounds like you think maybe not worth it? We've all seen active volcanoes so while Arenal is a draw, of larger interest is the wildlife + forest -- on foot (hiking) and/or boat (on river) and/or zip line/canopy walk adventure.

Napa, California
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10. Re: Advice on 5 hr drive from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio

We're running in to no vacancy with lodging in La Fortuna during our travel dates.

We arrive San Jose on 12/23 and wnat to go to Rainforest from 12/24-12/28 and then Manueal Antonio 12/28-1/1, or vice versa (basically 4 nites each location.

Hotel Los Lagos was recommended for La Fortuna (we will have 4 kids 7-17 with us) b/c of their proximity to Arenal and all the on-site activities. Unfortunately, they're booked. Any other recommendations on lodging for 10 during either location/stay?

I'm going to look at private home rentals in Manuel Antonio now, as that may be easier.

TX for all info!