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Itinerary help for 9 Days in Costa Rica

Yonkers, New York
9 posts
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Itinerary help for 9 Days in Costa Rica

Thanks to everyone here @ TA, helped me a lot to plan my Trip.

I have the following itinerary with a lot of questions, sometimes I feel it’s too much. We are in our early 30s with a 3yr old who loves to walk, We like to hike nature/waterfall/see wildlife and don’t mind driving but not to point that we waste a day unless it’s absolutely necessary. Please let me know what I can do to make the trip easier.

I have planned an itinerary for 8 day in first week of May

Day 1 - SJO - Hotel#1

Day 2 - Drive to Baru hike nauyaca - Manuel Antonio- Back to Hotel #1

Day 3 - Ruins of Ujarras/Orosi, Drive to Samara - Samara Hotel#2

(I think this is the longest drive)

Day 4 - Stop @ Llanos de Cortez,Bagaces - Tilaran Hotel#3

Day 5 - Monteverde area - Back to Tilaran Hotel #3

Day 6 - Tenorio NP - Caño Negro Boat Tour- La Fortuna Hotel # 4

Day 7 - Arenal area - Hotel # 4

Day 8 - Poas NP- La paz Garden/Hike - Bjos del toro - Poas Hotel #5

Day 9 - Return Rental Car - SJO

Cahuita NP was part of the plan but skipped it cuz of time.

1) Is there a better way to cover these areas? is this too much shifting of hotels?/too many places?, I am not a fan of going to many hotels but looks like this way I make a loop and spend more time in places than driving to and from Hotels.

2) Should I trust Google maps with the time it takes to go from one place to another, I mean average? I have been told its takes more than that but Google even includes traffic.

3) I would like to see wild life, which places should I get really get a guide if I have to pick one Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, Arenal?

4) What is a good plan for Monteverde area to see wild life (Cloud forest/ Santa Elena)? Are butterfly gardern/ Orchid garden worth going to? Are there any Sky Tram/ Hanging Bridge here?

5) Will I be able to do Rio Celeste Hike and Catch the Boat Tour at Cano Negro? I see a lot of tours picking up from hotels at 7am, if I drive to Los Chiles are there local tours available there in the afternoon/evening?

6) What is a good plan for Arenal, Will I have enough time to hike arenal, do Sky Tram then hike La Fortuna Falls. How long is each going to take? Should I skip any? Should i do Arenal Hanging Bridges for birds/Wildlife?

8) How long is La Paz hike to waterfalls? Can we do Poas NP, La Paz Garden, Del toro waterfall hike in one day?

9) Please let me know your suggesions/opinion.

Thanks in advance for all the help.

Punta Uva, Costa...
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for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
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1. Re: Itinerary help for 9 Days in Costa Rica

Wow I'm dizzy just looking at you zig zagging, you need to re evaluate your trip!

Edited: 17 March 2014, 21:25
Punta Uva, Costa...
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2. Re: Itinerary help for 9 Days in Costa Rica

Use this site for your driving times and distances. http://www.yourtravelmap.com/

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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60 reviews
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3. Re: Itinerary help for 9 Days in Costa Rica

1) Is there a better way to cover these areas? is this too much shifting of hotels?/too many places?, I am not a fan of going to many hotels but looks like this way I make a loop and spend more time in places than driving to and from Hotels. - yes, definitively there are better ways. Days 2, 3 , 4, 5, 6 and 8 has to be changed.

2) Should I trust Google maps with the time it takes to go from one place to another, I mean average? I have been told its takes more than that but Google even includes traffic. - DO NOT trust Google Maps driving times; instead use this site: www.yourtravelmap.com . Much more reliable.

3) I would like to see wild life, which places should I get really get a guide if I have to pick one Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, Arenal? - Monteverde

4) What is a good plan for Monteverde area to see wild life (Cloud forest/ Santa Elena)? Are butterfly gardern/ Orchid garden worth going to? Are there any Sky Tram/ Hanging Bridge here? - checking any Monteverde related web site will give you all the answers. In short, get a private guide and let him decide the best Reserve to hike at that particular day.

5) Will I be able to do Rio Celeste Hike and Catch the Boat Tour at Cano Negro? I see a lot of tours picking up from hotels at 7am, if I drive to Los Chiles are there local tours available there in the afternoon/evening?

- my dear, you have some very wrong ideas about was is feasible and what is not feasible; Rio Celeste is a full day affair, specially if not staying near Tenorio NP. So the answer is NO

6) What is a good plan for Arenal, Will I have enough time to hike arenal, do Sky Tram then hike La Fortuna Falls. How long is each going to take? Should I skip any? Should i do Arenal Hanging Bridges for birds/Wildlife? - the more I read the less I understand you. There is no "hike arenal"; you can hike in the Arenal Volcano NP, which is situated at the base of the volcano. You can do Hanging Bridges for birds/wildlife but this is a very visited area, and if not entering as first, not much of the animals will be around when the bus loads of tourists will arrive. For true wildlife go to Arenal Observatory Lodge, also early in the morning

8) How long is La Paz hike to waterfalls? Can we do Poas NP, La Paz Garden, Del toro waterfall hike in one day? I am tired only by reading about this particular day.

As you can find from my answers, you will need to rewrite your complete itinerary. Take some time and read several trip reports published here. And read about driving in Costa Rica. Or at least get a guide book.

To be more positive here is a sample itinerary based on your initial one:

Day 1 - SJO - Hotel#1

Day 2 - Drive to Poas Volcano, then to La Paz waterfall, then to Arenal Hotel#2

Day 3 - Arenal activities Hotel#2

Day 4 - Rio Celeste Hotel#2

Day 5 - drive to Monteverde area Hotel #3

Day 6 - Monteverde activities Hotel #3

Day 7 - Samara or Manuel Antonio Hotel # 4

Day 8 - Samara or Manuel Antonio Hotel #4

Day 9 - Return Rental Car - SJO

Day 7, 8 and 9 location and timing depends on your return flight time.

Punta Uva, Costa...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
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6,874 posts
10 reviews
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4. Re: Itinerary help for 9 Days in Costa Rica

Zelas, I'm still dizzy. I would just do three locations Arenal, Monteverde, Samara or MA.

Yonkers, New York
9 posts
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5. Re: Itinerary help for 9 Days in Costa Rica

Thank you so much ..i did expect these replies, guess i took Google map times too literally, I will do more research on places and time and will be back with a new Itinerary. Thanks a lot for the input and thanx to xelas for answering every question..that really helps..

Yonkers, New York
9 posts
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6. Re: Itinerary help for 9 Days in Costa Rica

thanx for the site for travel time cubanon :)

Yonkers, New York
9 posts
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7. Re: Itinerary help for 9 Days in Costa Rica

So i took zelas advise please let me know if this is feasible.. I have some more questions ..

Day 1 - SJO - Hotel#1

So should i say nearby airport or get a cab and stay near poas ?. I was thinking to have my car delivered to the hotel since we are only getting there at 8 and didnt want to waste money for a day.

Day 2 - Drive to Poas Volcano, then to La Paz waterfall, then to Arenal Hotel#2

Day 3 - Arenal activities Hotel#2

Day 4 - Rio Celeste & drive to Monteverde area to Hotel #3

(What is the best trail to get to the Waterfall, or where should i enter?)

Day 5 - Monteverde activities Hotel #3

(Should i spend the entire day at Could forest what are some must see around Monteverde other than rain forest)

I know there are plenty of options was wondering what everyone recommends

Day 6 - drive to Samara Hotel # 4

(Is samara beach shallow for kids to play or what are some good nearby beaches looking for shallow,not crowded, calm)

Day 7 - Samara Hotel # 4

Day 8 - Drive to Manuel Antonio Hotel #5

I would have stayed Samara on day 8 too but i have my fight at 1:00pm so dont think i should do that. and really dont want to miss Samara either.

Day 9 - Return Rental Car - SJO

Any tips regarding itinerary is appreciated just want to start booking hotels.

Thanks for all the help ..

8. Re: Itinerary help for 9 Days in Costa Rica

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Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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60 reviews
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9. Re: Itinerary help for 9 Days in Costa Rica

Day 1: if your arrival is at 8 pm, then get a hotel near the airport, and collect the car next morning; if your arrival is 8 am then collect the car and drive to Poas.

Day 4: some good info with a photo of the map can be found here twoweeksincostarica.com/1/post/2014/02/the-e…

Day 5: you do not stay an entire day in one of the Reservas, there are plenty of other interesting things to do and visit; but you will be in or around cloud forest for an entire time you will be in Monteverde

Day 6: Samara beach has some shallow parts, and sea is usually calm(er). You can also try nearby Playa Carillo, although at the time of our visit, it was more for body boarding then for swimming.

Day 8: I don't understand why would you go to Manuel Antonio?! As your flight is at 1 pm on day 9, even from MA it is just not enough time to drive to Alajuela, return the car and check-in (3 + 1 + 2 hrs). So overnight day 8 in Alajuela again.

Yonkers, New York
9 posts
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10. Re: Itinerary help for 9 Days in Costa Rica

Thank you zelas again for all the tips

I arrive at 8pm so will stay near airport. Thanks for the link was exactly what I was looking for.

First I was thinking Day 8 will drive to MA and drive back and stay at Jaco and then got to SJO in the morning but I think it will be too much. Will just skip MA and drive near SJO and If we have time on day 8 may be will go San Jose. Any must see in San Jose or anything you recommend?. What are some food we should try?. Any special fruits, drinks, fresh fruit juices we should try? not just is San José but all over Costa Rica. Only fresh and authentic not tourist traps.

Sorry for all the questions, thanks for all the help.