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Itinerary/accomodation/activity suggestions

Gastonia, North...
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Itinerary/accomodation/activity suggestions

My husband and I(both in our 50's) will be traveling to Costa Rica the first week in June and are planning about a 7 day trip. Our flight arrives in San Jose at around midnight. We plan on visiting the Arenal area and Manuel Antonio. We have reached out to AnywhereCostaRica for some help, but are still working on our plans...We will be renting a car. . I know time is quickly approaching. Tentatively we are planning on staying 1 night near La Paz waterfall park at Poas Volcano Lodge then to the Arenal Area. We are open to a variety of experiences and look forward to the natural beauty and wildlife we hope to see.

Since we are getting in so late, where is an inexpensive place to stay near the airport? Since this is just a stopover so we aren't driving in the dark, we don't want to spend much but want clean and safe.

We anticipate touring the LaPaz Waterfall park,staying overnight and then driving to Arenal. We want to go ziplining, what are other "must do" things in Arenal around the Volcano? Recommended Lodging?(reasonable, but we don't need luxurious)...

From Arenal, I though about going to MonteVerde, on the way to Manuel Antonio...stay one night, visit the park and then drive on to Manuel Antonio. Is this reasonable? We probably don't want to spend a whole day driving from Arenal to Manuel Antonio. IS the stop in Monteverde practical? or is there another 'midway' stop that would be interesting?

In Manuel Antonio, I am looking at Hotel San Bada since it appears to be near the beach and the Park. Any thoughts on this?

One last question....in the Manuel Antonio area, we thought about possibly Scuba Diving, but we aren't certified... Is there a provider in the area where we could get our certification? and any idea/recommendation on cost and feasibility?

So we are thinking 1 night in La Paz,2 nights in Arenal, 1 night in Monteverde, 2 nights in Manuel Antonio...

I know this is a lot of questions in one post, any help would be greatly appreciated.

ON, Canada
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1. Re: Itinerary/accomodation/activity suggestions

The drive to/from Monteverde warrants at least a 2 night stay -and there's enough to enjoy there for 2 or more days ... anything less would be frustrating because of the challenging drive and time that it takes to get there from LaFortuna (due to road construction, it took us 4 hours - about 1/2 hour longer than it should have - the last two hours on bumpy, rocky roads.)

Manual Antonio would also seem short for 2 nights - again due to the driving time to get there and back to SJO. I would drop either Monteverde or MA.

Re scuba diving ... have you already taken a course but just haven't gotten the certification?

Los Angeles...
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2. Re: Itinerary/accomodation/activity suggestions

El sol in Monteverde. La posada Jungle in Manuel Antonio. Stay at Casa Bella Rita the night you get in.Steve will pick you up. You don't want to be driving at night! Get your car delivered the next day. I like Vamos. Drive after lunch to Monteverde for a few days then head to Manuel Antonio. Can't give advice on diving but I say just relax on the beach or hike. Don't think this area is known for it unless you take a day trip to Canos. Check out my previous postings. Leaving for our fourth trip to CR in a few weeks.

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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3. Re: Itinerary/accomodation/activity suggestions

Sound advice by jjsfish. In your timeframe do 2 locations only. It could be Arenal and Manuel Antonio or Monteverde and Manuel Antonio. I would skip La Paz waterfall gardens; they are nice but overpriced. San bada is on the other side of the road from La Posada Jungle Bungalows. One is full blown hotel the second small lodge. Do not waste your money on introductory diving in Costa Rica; instead invest in a private guide if going to Monteverde.

Chicago, Illinois
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for Costa Rica
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4. Re: Itinerary/accomodation/activity suggestions

Loved Casa Bella Rita about 20-30 minutes from the airport. With only 6 nights and the 1st night near the airport you really need to limit yourself to 2 destinations. Arenal and Monteverde are a great intro to Costa Rica. While Imprefer the waterfall in La Fortuna to the falls at La Paz you cpuld conceivably visit La Paz on day 2 and then drive to Arenal for 2 nights, leaving you with only 1 day to explore the area. Be sure and check out zilpines with Sky Trek and Tabacon hotsprings.

On day 4 your best bet is to fly Nature Air direct from La Fortuna to Quepos (20 minute flight vs. 5 hour drive). Forget scuba diving as others have suggested as there is no coral and Manuel Antonio is not much of a diving or snorkeling destination. Instead take the husband out deep sea fishing or try whitewater rafting. You don't really need a car in Manuel Antonio and tou can easily leave the car in La Fortuna for a dropoff fee.

Lenexa, Kansas
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5. Re: Itinerary/accomodation/activity suggestions

We spent 5 nights in Manuel Antonio and 5 nights in Arenal. Costa Rica is great for adventure seekers and those who love the outdoors. We loved our place where we stayed in Manuel Antonio. It was near everything. Make sure to hire a guide when visiting the park. It is worth the money. We took a snorkeling excursion out of Quepos. It was a fun day even though the snorkeling did't come close to the snorkeling we have done at other destinations. We hired a driver for part of our trip and am glad we did this. We took a shuttle bus between Manuel Antonio and La Fortunate (Arenal). I can send you specific information if you would like.

Gastonia, North...
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6. Re: Itinerary/accomodation/activity suggestions

Thank you for the advice. Is it practical to drive to the Arenal area from the airport area? We probably would be leaving between 10 am and noon.

How much would the flight from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio cost? If we did this, we might need to rent a car in that area, as my husband is certain he wants to be "in control" of driving.

If we were to drive from Arenal Area to Manuel Antonio, where might be a good place to stay over as a 'half way point' if we didn't want to make all in one trip?

Brooklyn, New York
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for Sarapiqui
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7. Re: Itinerary/accomodation/activity suggestions

About 3-4 hour drive from airport area to Arenal, depending on traffic, weather, and where exactly in Arenal area you're staying.

Farmington Hills MI
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8. Re: Itinerary/accomodation/activity suggestions

We just returned from 10 days in CR. We have driven lots of place (all over Europe and the USA). In CR we chose to use private drivers for the transfers from one location to another and we were glad we did. After seeing the road situations I know that we could have handled the driving, but honestly it was really nice to leave it to someone else who knew the way. It was much more relaxing and we had some great conversations with the drivers. We were there during the elections and it was fun to hear the views about the candidates and political process. We did rent a car for 3 days in La Fortuna and that was a good thing. Attractions there are somewhat spread out.

upnover
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9. Re: Itinerary/accomodation/activity suggestions

As far as cheap places to stay we flew into SJO around 9pm and stayed at Hotel Eskalima. It's a no frills but very clean hotel less then 5 minutes away. They don't have a shuttle but called a taxi for us that was $8. (there were hordes of taxis when you exit that quoted us $10 to our hotel) Including breakfast it was like $55 a night. I was honestly expecting a dirty hostel like place for that price but it was very clean and would have gladly stayed there again.

Oakland, California
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10. Re: Itinerary/accomodation/activity suggestions

Hi, how did you make arrangements for drivers? We are planning a trip for two weeks in August, there will be 4 of us. One will have spent the summer as a trip leader with kids, the other on the way back to NYC to finish grad school. We love outdoor adventures, not afraid to drive but love what you can get from chatty , knowledgable drivers.