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Beginning Stages of Trip Planning

Charlotte, North...
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51 posts
102 reviews
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Beginning Stages of Trip Planning

Hi everyone,

We just booked our flight down to San Jose for March. Now I've got to figure out where to go how to spend our time. We are a fairly active family of 4 (2 adults and 2 younger teen girls) and this will be our first trip to Costa Rica. We will be arriving in SJO on a Monday around 1:30 and leaving the following Monday at 2:30. So far I've looked at Arenal, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio areas. We definitely want to do some of the "adventure" activities like ziplining, hiking, horseback riding and whitewater rafting, but would also like some relaxation time near the beach (along with some sailing and kayaking possibly). We will most likely be staying at "moderate" accommodations and using a driver/transport company for transfers between hotels, etc.

Another TA friend who frequents these boards (and who just returned from CR) said she heard less than positive feedback about Monteverede, so I'm wondering if it is worth trying to work that in or skip and just do half Arenal and half Manuel Antonio. All advice welcome on how to attack this. Would a day near Poas be doable in addition to Arenal and Manuel Antonio?

Many thanks in advance to all of you and also my apologies if I have asked a question that has already been answered many times. I did a quick search for itinerary help, but got a little overwhelmed with all the possibilities.



San Jose, Costa Rica
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1. Re: Beginning Stages of Trip Planning

If you are going to Arenal, don´t need to go to the Poas at least if you really want to. The problem with Monteverde and Poas is because is a one day activitie. You can do all the activities that you say at Manuel Antonio and Arenal.

Santa Teresa, Costa...
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for Mal Pais, Santa Teresa
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1,738 posts
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2. Re: Beginning Stages of Trip Planning

Your time is short. I would suggest you pick 2 destinations, either Monteverde and Manuel Antonio or Arenal and Manuel Antonio. Monteverde is more 'natural' than Arenal. Arenal is more commercialized. Monteverde is closer to Manuel Antonio than Arenal, so the travel time would be a bit shorter. Remember, you have to add travel time, Arenal is a good half day trek to Manuel Antonio.

I would skip Poas, it would require at least a morning, unless you want to visit it your first day in Costa Rica and then make your transfer to your first destination right after Poas.

Your activity list is extremely full. You might have to narrow it down to a few per day. Are you planning on relaxing at all or are you saving that for when you go to sleep at night?!

Montreal, Canada
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404 posts
25 reviews
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3. Re: Beginning Stages of Trip Planning

I loved Poas. It's a completely different experience than Arenal, though it only needs a morning. I would recommend a night there (either your first night after arriving, last night before departing, or between Arenal and MA), especially if you've never seen a crater of an active volcano. This also has the benefit of a very scenic drive from Alajuela-Poas-Arenal. However, I'm not sure how easy transportation would be so I would look into that.

4. Re: Beginning Stages of Trip Planning

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