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Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, or Monteverde?

Oklahoma City...
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Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, or Monteverde?

Hi all! I'm planning a trip to Costa Rica in July. My schedule will only permit 4 days of outings, and I am having a hard time deciding which tours to do! I have decided to do the Palo Verde tour and a zip line tour, but I cannot narrow down the other two! I am mostly interested in nature-watching, and experiencing the rainforest and Costa Rica landscape. Can you help by providing a review of your experiences of the following?

Arenal Volcano

Rincon de la Vieja

Miravalles Hotsprings

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Many thanks!

Costa Rica
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1. Re: Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, or Monteverde?

Unfortunately, any of these will meet your requirements! Not much help, I'm afraid.

The only difference is that Miravalles is less crowded than the others. Look here for possibilities - www.volcanoadventuretour.com

Here are my comments - for what they are worth:

1. Arenal - lots of excursions and things to do in this area, including a trip to Cano Negro and the Rio Celeste of the Tenorio National Park. Avoid going with tour groups if you want to see any wildlife. Get a guide and go on your own.

2. Rincon de la Vieja - lots of choices here from quiet walks to the very busy Mega Combo tour. Check this out - www.rincondelavieja.net

3. Miravalles -- has lots more to offer than just hotsprings. Water parks, waterfalls, hot springs, mud baths, horseback, etc. And a visit to the geo-thermal electric generating plant.

4. Monteverde Cloud Forest - Monteverde not quick or easy to get to - but worth it if you are determined to visit the Cloud Forest. My opinion: best tours are very early am (beginning at 5:30 am) and night tours. If you go to Monteverde, don't miss the Hummingbird gallery with tons of hummingbirds during the day and bats at night!

At any of these locations, I would advise going with a guide rather than an organized tour.

By the way - Arenal and Monteverde are not day tours from the northern Pacific beach area.

Edited: 29 April 2011, 18:18
Bermuda
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2. Re: Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, or Monteverde?

Because you only have four days I would spend most of the time in arenal as it has lots of things to do and see also monteverde can be done as a day trip from arenal.

Costa Rica
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3. Re: Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, or Monteverde?

Whoa! Monteverde as a day trip from Arenal? That makes for a pretty long day, Mr Sullivan. But, of course, it is possible.

I really was not sure where abanda58 was staying and whether looking for day trips from somewhere or for overnights. Not really clear to me but I plunged ahead with a bunch of information anyway. Maybe it is all just blah blah blah! haha

Oklahoma City...
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4. Re: Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, or Monteverde?

Thanks for the input! To answer your question, I am staying in Playa Carillo. After looking into some info from a local guide, it appears that the trip to Arenal is a very long day. I don't mind a long drive as long as the scenery is entertaining and the destination is worth the trip. Given that, would you still recommend Arenal? I think I'm leaning toward that and Rincon de la Vieja at this point.

Oklahoma City...
10 posts
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5. Re: Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, or Monteverde?

Thanks for the input! To answer your question, I am staying in Playa Carillo. After looking into some info from a local guide, it appears that the trip to Arenal is a very long day. I don't mind a long drive as long as the scenery is entertaining and the destination is worth the trip. Given that, would you still recommend Arenal? I think I'm leaning toward that and Rincon de la Vieja at this point.

Costa Rica
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25,654 posts
25 reviews
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6. Re: Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, or Monteverde?

Assuming that the volcano is not active - it is not active now - then it would probably be a long trip for nothing since all the other activities can be done in one of the other Parks.

Maybe you can wait and see to decide, based on whether the volcano is active or not. However, the most stunning views of the active volcano would be at night and would be a really long day. It is about 3.5 to 4 hours from Playa Carrillo to Arenal.

If you are not actually staying at Playa Carrillo and you are staying at the RIU (which is not at Playa Carrillo) it's about the same.

If you have a private driver and you can watch the scenery on the way there (it's beautiful) and talk to your driver about various Costa Rican things, then you can rest on the way back and it wouldn't be so horrible.

If the volcano is not active, I would look at either Rincon de la Vieja or Miravalles because you could see and do the same thing without the long, long drive.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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7. Re: Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, or Monteverde?

Maybe Arenal and Monteverde...but staying overnigth at Monteverde...

roadadvisor

Bermuda
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8. Re: Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, or Monteverde?

hattie we drove there in less than three hours if i remember right (i don't always) and that was when the road in from tilaran was atrocious! it was a lot smoother this year which made it a lot faster, but i know that can all change with a good rainfall. we drove in, took our time on the hanging bridges and had lunch. we could have done the ziplines and still made it back to arenal before dark.

guanacaste
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9. Re: Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, or Monteverde?

Palo verde and rincon de la vieja are 2 great tours,

for tours in rincon de la vieja contact javier at guiasrincondelavieja@yahoo.es

for tours in palo verde contact minor at toursyourway@gmail.com

my choice would be to fly in/out LIR go from there

Oklahoma City...
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10. Re: Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, or Monteverde?

Thank you all. You have given me quite a bit to consider!