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10-11 Day Trip - Arenal, Drake Bay and Corcovado in February

Richmond, Virginia
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10-11 Day Trip - Arenal, Drake Bay and Corcovado in February

Hello, my wife and I are planning our first trip to Costa Rica and would appreciate any advice you could give to help us to fill in the gaps and identify any fatal errors. We like to do a lot of hiking and nature oriented things, but want to enjoy some of the local culture and food as well.

We have already booked the flights and the permits for Corcovado Nat'l Park, so I will put a * by the things that can't really be changed. Any ideas for fun activities or restaurants would be great.

Day 1 - Fly into SJO at 9:45 PM*. Picking up rental car and staying at Courtyard Marriott* near the airport with free points. Hopefully buying some groceries near the hotel. Are places like grocery stores and WalMart open late in Costa Rica?

Day 2 - Drive to Arenal, possibly staying at Hotel Cerro Azul. Ideas for hikes or tours, especially a canopy tour and/or zipline? Can you drive to and around Arenal in a regular car, or do you need a 4x4?.

Day 3 - Arenal

Day 4 - Leave Arenal, drive to SJO and fly from SJO to Drake Bay on Sansa (Dep. 12:45, Arr. 13:28*) Any ideas for hotels? $30-$100 range

Day 5-7 - Take boat to Sirena Station and hike around Corcovado*, staying in dorm rooms, return to Drake Bay by boat. I have figured out that the boats leave Drake Bay at 06:00, for $30pp, but can't figure out where they leave from or when they leave to return from Sirena. I assume that our hotel will help us to arrange this, is that correct?

Day 8-10 - Drake Bay, Tracie the Bug Lady, snorkeling at Cano Island, beach time. Any specific recommendations for things to do or places to eat?

Day 11 - Leave Drake Bay, fly to SJO* and from there back home.

Thanks!

Slovenia
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1. Re: 10-11 Day Trip - Arenal, Drake Bay and Corcovado in February

Day 1: you might do better to pick up car next morning; more time to do the proper inspection of the car. The shops will be closed when you will be finally out of the airport.

Day 2: you can drive to Arenal and around in a regular sedan type of car.

Day 4: almost all of the places includes three meals so their prices are per person, and are more on the expensive side. Check out Finca Maresia

Day 5: no worries here, it is one bay only, and you will easily spot where the boat is waiting for you. It is a "wet" landing in La Sirena, be prepared! Also in La Sirena your departure and arrival spot are the same (more or less).

Safe trails!

Richmond, Virginia
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2. Re: 10-11 Day Trip - Arenal, Drake Bay and Corcovado in February

Thanks a lot, it makes me feel better that the roads are pretty good around Arenal.

Brooklyn, New York
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for Sarapiqui
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3. Re: 10-11 Day Trip - Arenal, Drake Bay and Corcovado in February

Have you booked a guide for Corcovado? You can book Sirena guide and transportation through your hotel.

We stayed at Finca Maresia while in Drake Bay, which is right in your price range. Lovely place that blends modern design with nature and that will provide the best lodging for the buck in the Drake Bay area. Down side is that it's a fair distance from town and former agricultural area, which cuts down on the wildlife you'll see there (you'll see plenty in Corcovado though).

We booked our tours and guides and transporation through Finca Maresia.

Richmond, Virginia
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4. Re: 10-11 Day Trip - Arenal, Drake Bay and Corcovado in February

Thanks, did you feel like you got a lot more out of your trip with a guide? We feel comfortable hiking and navigating without a guide, but obviously don't know much about the native species, etc. (Edit for typos)

Edited: 22 January 2014, 04:11
Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: 10-11 Day Trip - Arenal, Drake Bay and Corcovado in February

We saw lots more wildlife in Corocvado with our guide than we would have on our own including multiple herds of peccaries, a mother tapir and baby, and monkeys that we could hear but not spot on our own. The guides know where best to find animals and can track them by ear as well as by smell. IMO it would be a serious mistake to take the time and effort to get to Corcovado and not have a guide to help you locate wildlife. It's not really about the hike - it's about the wildlife.

Oh and the guide had us hiking up the rivers and I mean in the rivers which I would have been freaked out to do on my own since we spotted caimans and bull sharks.

Brooklyn, New York
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6. Re: 10-11 Day Trip - Arenal, Drake Bay and Corcovado in February

We saw a lot more with our guide than we would have without him--including the tapir. He also tracked a pack of white-lipped peccaries for us--using nothing but smell.

It's also useful to have a guide to explain the various trees and plants around the trails.

7. Re: 10-11 Day Trip - Arenal, Drake Bay and Corcovado in February

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