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Itinerary help for flora/fauna lovers

SF Bay Area
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Itinerary help for flora/fauna lovers

Hi, My husband and I are going to CR for the 1st time in Jan-Feb 2007 for 12 days. Our emphasis is flora and fauna but we want adventure too. Here is our very tentative itinerary:

Nite 1 Arrive, stay in SJ

Nites 2 - 3 Tortugeuro

Nites 4 - 5 Manzanillo Beach

Nites 6 - 8 Monteverde

Nites 9-11 Manuel Antonio

Nite 12 SJ, for early departure

After reading comments here, I think I may want to change this somewhat. My guide books are general and don't talk about what is better at a particular time of year

Would Osa be better than Tortugeuro and Manzanillo? There won't be any nesting turtles at this time of year!! Is seeing the Caribbean really spectacular?

Also, would it be silly to miss Arenal when we'll be so close? But we've seen lava flows in Hawaii.

Thanks for any advice you may have!

New York City, New...
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1. Re: Itinerary help for flora/fauna lovers

Manzanillo-Gandoco on the South Caribe is wonderful for raw nature, but if you're lukewarm on Tortuguero, I think spending the time in the Osa instead of on the Caribe is a fine idea. Then of course the question is if you go to the Osa would you be better off also skipping Manuel Antonio and instead spend the other half of your trip in the highlands of Arenal and Monteverde...

To me, the Arenal area is about more than just the volcano... Yeah, it's great if you're lucky enough to see it in all it's glory, but the surrounding countryside is beautiful and worth exploring as well. If you're into fauna/flora, you'd probably appreciate a day trip from there to Cano Negro as well.

If you decide to do the Osa, Manuel Antonio, and Monteverde, I'd fly to the Osa, then fly to Quepos (Manuel Antonio) on Nature Air, then ground transport to Monteverde and ground transport back to San Jose. You can also do this in reverse.

If you decide to do the Osa, Monteverde and Arenal, fly back and forth to the Osa from San Jose and do ground transports to Arenal or Monteverde to/from San Jose with either a horseback ride or van/boat/van transfer between the two places.

If you decide to stick with the Caribe and want to add some adventure to it, take a rafting day trip on the Pacuare River from San Jose, arrange to be transported to the south Caribe at the end of the day instead of having to go back to San Jose, then from there go to Tort and from there arrange to get over to Monteverde before heading back to SJO.

Oops, methinks I just made you more confused than less... I'd be hard-pressed to tell you than any one option is better than another.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Itinerary help for flora/fauna lovers

Err, I meant Gandoca-Manzanillo. Got a bit tongue (keyboard?) tied...

SF Bay Area
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3. Re: Itinerary help for flora/fauna lovers

Thx much, MJ!

Where in the Osa would you recommend going/staying?

I guess Manuel Antonio is redundant if we went to the Osa? How do the beaches compare? I guess the Osa is less-travelled?

Thanks again

San Isidro de El...
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4. Re: Itinerary help for flora/fauna lovers

Flora and fauna are certainly one of Costa Ricas strong points.

You might want to consider a day or two at Vista del Valle Plantation. Not far from the airport with easy access to La Paz waterfall gardens. VdV has beautiful flora and fauna in its own right and you can take a day trip up to Poas which has some pretty neat plants aound it, visit Doka Coffee plantation and then go to La Paz. Beautiful plants at La Paz both in the designed areas for the butterflies and birds and also down on the more natural trails. Another optional day trip would be to visit Lankester Gardens and then swing down to the Orosi Valley. LG has some beautiful displays of plants from all over the world as well as its pride and glory, the Orchid area.

Monteverde is a beautiful place to go and the Orchid garden up there is fascinating. Gabriel has done a wonderful job collecting and displaying his amazing collection. You will be handed a magnifying glass when you get there to view some of the tiniest orchids. Our son is a botanist who was living up there for awhile and it was a treat to be looking down at the plants instead of up at the birds like I do when traveling with my husband.

After Monteverde I am going to send you in a direction not mentioned yet but will give you the opportunity to view some of the beautiful flora and fauna of the southern part of the country. Las Esquinas lodge is in a lovely setting on the Golfito side of the Gulfo Dulce. They have some beautiful rainforest. Here are a couple of links

1costaricalink.com/eng/…pv-esquinas.htm

http://www.esquinaslodge.com/home.html

It is a lovely place owned by the Austrians. Many of the guests will be german speaking but not all. Adds to the uniqueness of the place. The rooms are very nice. If Esquinas is not enough for you, a day trip to Casa Orquideas would be a treat. You can only get there by boat and the plantings are just amazing. The miracle fruit is really a miracle. You will most likely be given fresh lemonade with fresh ginger in it. I have been trying to get the right combination of that ever since we were there. To top off the whole thing, they will help you arrange a trip over to Wilson Botanical Gardens in San Vito. Just sitting on the deck watching the birds was enough to keep us occupied for several hours when we stayed there. And we still had the plants to look at! It is part of the OTS (Organization for Tropical Studies).

Just down the coast from Las Esquinas is a really remote lodge that I have not been to but an acquaintance has been there several times and just loves it. I will get there one of these days because it sounds great. It is called Playa Nicuesa Lodge.

http://playanicuesa.com/advent.html

You can still visit Casa Orquideas which is just up the coast from PN. Wilson Bot Gardens would not be an option.

Should you still decide to head over to the Caribbean side you might want to think about a night or two at Selva Verde. They have a beautiful rainforest preserve across the river. A morning at La Selva Biological station is also possible from there.

Another possible stop might be at the Aviarios del Caribe B&B just north of Cahuita. Home of the Buttercup Foundation which is a sloth rescue.

So many places, so little time. I suspect I have sent you back to the drawing board. Costa Rica is a fascinating place that captures the heart of many people because of its huge diversity. I don't think I will ever really get to know it completely but I am certainly trying.

SF Bay Area
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5. Re: Itinerary help for flora/fauna lovers

CRT, thanks!!

I am very excited now to look into Las Esquinas and Playa Nicuesa Lodges! Guess we don't need to see the Caribe side this trip! But there certainly are lots and lots of options! I guess that's why it's so overwhelming to make a choice.

We'll probably do some typical 1st timer sites but I'd also like to include these secluded spots, with less human "footprints"...

Thx much

San Isidro de El...
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6. Re: Itinerary help for flora/fauna lovers

happy to help. I think you will find that those places also offer some adventure as well as just looking at flora and fauna.

Owen Sound, Canada
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7. Re: Itinerary help for flora/fauna lovers

For 'flora and fauna' the Osa as noted above is great.

The area around Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui in the caribbean lowlands and the beautiful cloud forests near San Gerardo de Dota are both excellent. Let me know if you wish more information.

cheers

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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8. Re: Itinerary help for flora/fauna lovers

We did the one-day Highlight Tour of the Central Valley. We had breakfast and toured the ground at Doka Coffee Plantation. Then drove up to Poas Volcano and had lunch at Selva Verde. We also saw LaPaz Waterfalls and had a boat ride along the Sarapiqui river. On the way back, we drove through Braulillo National Park. We took this tour the day after we arrived, and it was a good introduction to Costa Rica for us.