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Help planning 2 week itinerary!

San Diego...
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Help planning 2 week itinerary!

Hi all!

My boyfriend and I (both native San Diegans) just purchased out flights to Costa Rica this June! I purchased a Costa Rica book and have been doing some research, but this was a spur of the moment trip and I have not had too much time to figure out what places are the best to visit! Everything sounds amazing and it seems like I need a month or two to experience all that the country has to offer! If I could get input, that would be much appreciated. We both love adventure and travel, and are thinking that we want to spend most of the trip doing adventurous activities, with a few relaxing days mixed in.

Here are the details:

We arrive on Sunday, June 1st at 6:00am, and leave to return back to LAX early on Saturday, June 15th (we have 14 full days). We are both planning on saving $1000 each for all expenses EXCEPT flights (including hotels, transportation, food, activities, etc). We have no plans for hotels yet, other than to stay in San Jose the last night of our trip to make it to the airport. My family does have a time share in Costa Rica that we are planning on staying 4-6 nights at, and will not have to pay any expenses out of pocket for hotels those nights. We don't mind staying in hostels, and are not planning on staying in expensive 4/5 stars resorts (other than the timeshare). We both just graduated from college and do not have tons of money to spend, however we are also not on a shoestring budget.

Here are my questions:

1. Since we arrive at 6:00am after a red eye flight, what should we do for the first day? I know we will be tired, but should we plan on doing some touring in San Jose until early afternoon, then head to another city to stay the night? Or should we stay that night in San Jose and leave for elsewhere early the next day? I believe Arenal will be our first stop after San Jose.

2. How many days should we plan to stay in Arenal area? and Monteverde cloud forest? I have read that there is lots to do, and I know we for sure want to do ziplining and white water rafting at some point--is this the best place to go?

3. Where is the best location to book a time share for 4-6 nights? We want somewhere near the beaches of course, but close enough that we can take a few day trips for hiking/sightseeing/biking/etc.

4. What cities are a must see, and for how long would you recommend staying there?

5. Where are the best spots for ziplining, white water rafting, hiking, and mountain biking?

6. Does our budget sound over/under budgeted to you? Keep in mind that we have 15 nights, and about 5 of them will be paid for with time share points (no out of pocket expenses).

7. Is a day trip, or one night trip to Nicaragua worth squeezing in?

Sorry this is so general! This is my first trip I have planned and feel a little lost. The only other time I have planned a trip was a two week trip throughout Thailand, however I had already been living in Chiang Mai (for study abroad) for 3 months and had lots of help in the planning, as well as advice from locals. Thank you SO much for any input!

United States
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1. Re: Help planning 2 week itinerary!

Where are your time share options?

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Help planning 2 week itinerary!

OK you have $1000 each for this 15 day trip to cover transportation, lodging for 10 nites, food and excursions. That's a very tight budget for Costa Rica. Call it $75/day for 10 days and $40/day for 5 days. At the timeshare try and cook your own meals to reduce costs leaving dollars for excursions and nightlife.

Take a look at geckotrail.com/en/… for one possible itinerary although this trip is at a price point much higher than your budget (15 nights modest accommodations but no lunches or dinners). It might form a good starting point for your trip.

The best spot for adventure activities is Arenal with ziplines, canyoning, whitewater rafting, hotsprings, hiking and mountain biking. Most of these activities can also be found elsewhere in Costa Rica.

I would stay away from Nicaragua this trip due to the travel time required to get there and back.

Slovenia
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3. Re: Help planning 2 week itinerary!

Traveling in Costa Rica is almost double as expensive as traveling in SE Asia. However, with 2000US$ you should be able to cover the costs, if planning wise and in advance.

1. Since we arrive at 6:00am after a red eye flight, what should we do for the first day? I know we will be tired, but should we plan on doing some touring in San Jose until early afternoon, then head to another city to stay the night? Or should we stay that night in San Jose and leave for elsewhere early the next day? I believe Arenal will be our first stop after San Jose.

You will probably sleep on the plane, and there is no jet leg to talk about, so you should not be too tired. You are young. I would head directly to Arenal. With such an early arrival you can use local bus for transfer.

2. How many days should we plan to stay in Arenal area? and Monteverde cloud forest? I have read that there is lots to do, and I know we for sure want to do ziplining and white water rafting at some point--is this the best place to go?

In Arenal at least 3 days, in Monteverde 2 days.

3. Where is the best location to book a time share for 4-6 nights? We want somewhere near the beaches of course, but close enough that we can take a few day trips for hiking/sightseeing/biking/etc.

4. What cities are a must see, and for how long would you recommend staying there?

There are no cities that are worth staying at. Most of Costa Rica's attractions are nature oriented.

5. Where are the best spots for ziplining, white water rafting, hiking, and mountain biking?

Monteverde or Arenal, Rio Pacuare, Tenorio or Corcovado, no idea.

6. Does our budget sound over/under budgeted to you? Keep in mind that we have 15 nights, and about 5 of them will be paid for with time share points (no out of pocket expenses).

You can get a room for and breakfast for 50US$, a lunch for 15US$, a dinner for 20US$, all for 2 persons. Local bus is cheap, shared shuttle around 45US$ pp per leg, organised activities you can check prices on internet, but I would budget 50 US$ per day for both.

7. Is a day trip, or one night trip to Nicaragua worth squeezing in? Not.

San Diego...
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4. Re: Help planning 2 week itinerary!

Thanks everybody for your responses! I have an update on our itinerary! Here it is:

Arrive in San Jose around 6:00am on 6/1, travel straight to Arenal. Stay in Arenal for 2-3 nights. I think we will hike to Rio Celeste, zipline, possibly white water raft, and do some hiking around here

From Arenal, we will head to Monteverde and stay for 1-2 nights.

Then we have 1-3 nights (not sure on how many nights yet--depends on how long we are required to stay at the timeshare, and how long we stay in Arenal/MV) that are up in the air. Do you think we should head to Guanacaste area? We are up in the air with what to do around this time.

For the last 5-7 nights (depending on what the timeshare can be booked for) we will be staying in Quepos at the Geoholiday at Pueblo Real.

The last night (june 13th) will be spent in San Jose to catch our early flight the next day.

QUESTIONS:

1. How many nights should be spent in the Arenal/MV area?!

2. What are some recommendations for places to stay at and see during out 1-3 nights of unplanned time? We want to stay on the Pacific side, since it is too much traveling to go all the way to the Caribbean side. (On a sidenote, would it be worth spending the first 1-3 nights on the Carrib. side, then head through to Arenal/MV, then to Quepos?)

3. Are we missing any great places that are a must see?

4. Any hotel recommendations in the MV area?

5. What sort of activities are a must-do in the Quepos area?

1-2 days exploring Manuel Antonio

Ballena Nat. Park

Uvita Waterfall

Playa Ventanas

Anything else?

THANK YOU! Also, I think we can each save around $1200 (instead of $1000) for hotels/food/activities/transportation/etc. Before I had said we have 14 full days, but we actually only have 13. If you need any other info let me know!

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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5. Re: Help planning 2 week itinerary!

1. How many nights should be spent in the Arenal/MV area?!

4 nights in Arenal (one full day at Rio Celeste and one full day at Cano Negro); 3 nights at Monteverde (2 is bare minimum)

2. What are some recommendations for places to stay at and see during out 1-3 nights of unplanned time? We want to stay on the Pacific side, since it is too much traveling to go all the way to the Caribbean side. (On a sidenote, would it be worth spending the first 1-3 nights on the Carrib. side, then head through to Arenal/MV, then to Quepos?)

I would skip Caribbean this visit, and allocate all your extra nights to Arenal and MV.

3. Are we missing any great places that are a must see?

Many, yet you will surely come back to cover them

4. Any hotel recommendations in the MV area?

Rainbow Valley Lodge

5. What sort of activities are a must-do in the Quepos area?

Additional to your list is Carara NP and boat tour on Tarcoles river

San Diego...
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6. Re: Help planning 2 week itinerary!

THANK YOU! That is very helpful to know that we should allocate our extra time to Arenal and MV! I will look into the places you mentioned in Quepos as well! It looks like we will have to visit Costa Rica multiple times:)

7. Re: Help planning 2 week itinerary!

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