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Another Costa Rica First Timer

San Jose, California
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Another Costa Rica First Timer

I'm planning a trip to Costa Rica for my husband and me. We can only stay for 8 or 9 days. From reading tour books and travel sites, the areas that sound the most interesting to me are Tortuguero, Arenal/La Fontuna and Manuel Antonio. are these areas doable by car in the amount of time we have?

We would like to see wildlife, rainforests and beaches.

If not areas would work better for our limited time and still offer the same type of sites? I was thinking of maybe skipping Manuel Antonio.

Any help would be appreciated,

Thank you.

Hoofddorp, The...
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1. Re: Another Costa Rica First Timer

8-9 days is pretty ok and can be done, now you marked a few top locations thats for sure, Tortuguero would be a good start just remember thats the only place you cant go with a car, but you can drive to La Pavona, also called Rancho El Rio Suerte and there you can leave your car at a safe parking for $10 per night, or $50 per week, they 24 hour security, and from there you take a boat , it cost like 3$ i think , just remember the boats leave for Tortuguero from Pavona at around 7:30am, 1:30pm and 4:30pm, be earlier so you will not miss it.

As for la fortuna arenal you will have plenty to see and do, of course now the volcano is sleeping, still the area has an amazing views and great biodiversity , dont miss the chance to head down to la fortuna waterfall , a great day tour and pretty easy hiking - http://goo.gl/poliyC .

There are plenty of places to sleep in the area, its the green season, less tourists , cheaper... and i love that time of the year..

Manuel Antonio is the smallest park in costa rica but you will see there most of the wildlife of costa rica, so its a great way for people who are short in time , just remember the park is closed on monday !! .

Good luck :)

Slovenia
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2. Re: Another Costa Rica First Timer

More pristine then in small and crowded Manuel Antonio NP is nature and wildlife in Sarapiqui area. And Sarapiqui is on the road between Tortuguero and Arenal, thus cutting on your driving times quite a lot. IMO rain forests and wildlife is what one should look for in Costa Rica. Beaches are better elsewhere.

Edited: 14 September 2013, 10:23
Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Another Costa Rica First Timer

Agree w Xelas, skip MA and include either Sarapiqui or the South Caribbean(Puerto Viejo, Cahuita etc) where you'll find the Cahuita National Park and Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge. Hire an experienced local nature guide in either case so you don't miss anything!

Maybe start in Arenal (sounds like the volcano is putting on a show again), Sarapiqui then Tortuguero or from Tortuguero work your way down the Atlantic coast. You'll have a fantastic trip eitherway, enjoy!

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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4. Re: Another Costa Rica First Timer

Oh, yes, if into the beach then definitively south Caribbean. Excellent beaches in Cahuita (next to NP), Punta Uva and Manzanillo.

San Jose, California
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5. Re: Another Costa Rica First Timer

I think replacing Manuel Antonio with Sarapiqui is a very good option. It will cut down on the driving time and we really do want to see wildlife and rainforests on this trip.

I found the driving, parking and boat directions for Tortuguero on this site as well.

New question - Is it easy to find good nature guides in the parks? Should we arrange tours through the hotels?

Thank you so much for all the help. I really do appreciate it.

Sandy

6. Re: Another Costa Rica First Timer

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