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Self guided tours

Offenburg, Germany
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Self guided tours

I have a question for the experts:

Among all the great national parks in Guanacaste, which ones can be a great experience if visited without a tourguide and which ones should definitely be done with a guide?

We are very adventurous and don’t like big groups. I’m reading as much as I can about it, maybe get a written guide and some maps to explore the parks. I think that it makes sense to spend the money on things that has to be done with a tour operator, like boat tours or canopy for example. Especially Rincon de la Vieja, Palo Verde, Monteverde and Santa Rosa.

Also: Being based in Brasilito, which parks can be done in a daytrip and see most in one day (obviously you cant see EVERYTHING), and for which ones should we consider staying one or two nights to see more.

We are travelling Dec 27th to Jan 8th and due to the high rates I want to make sure to plan the trips and also the hotel nights in the most cost efficient way.

Costa Rica
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1. Re: Self guided tours

General advice re guide and no guide: You can visit any of the Parks in the northwest of Costa Rica without a guide. However, some of them are better with a guide as far as spotting wildlife, history, culture, etc.

I would recommend you purchase ahead of time books or pamphlets on the wildlife and plant life of Costa Rica to help you understand what you are seeing. Do some research on the internet about the various parks you will be visiting and that will help, also.

Which Parks from Brasilito:

1. Santa Rosa - a huge National Park that includes dry tropical forest and lots of beautiful beaches. Part of the Guanacaste Conservation Area which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Head for La Casona, an old farmstead/museum that figures prominently in the history of Costa Rica. There are hiking trails around La Casona, and some of the longer ones will lead you to a deserted beach.

2. Rincon de la Vieja - two volcanoes, rainforest, waterfalls, hot mud, hot springs, horseback, etc. Lots of activities available near the park and some excellent hikes in the park. Choose the Las Pailas entrance, about 45 minutes north of Liberia or the Santa Maria entrance, in a different area about 1 hour from Liberia.

www.guachipelin.com or www.buenavistalodgecr.com for information

on activities

3. Palo Verde - a boat trip through Palo Verde National Park on the Tempisque River. (Learn about the 'Tempisque River - it's important) http://www.paloverdeboattours.com/

4. Miravalles - Miravalles Volcano is a somewhat active volcano with opportunity for some good activities or a visit to a water park. www.volcanoadventuretour.com or www.yokotermales.com or www.thermomania.com

5.Tenorio - The Tenorio National Park in which the Tenorio Volcano is prominent in the rainforest there. Take the hike to the blue water Rio Celeste with its huge waterfall and visit hot springs. Horseback also possible. www.heliconiaslodge.com for more information

For general information, www.costarica-nationalparks.com or www.costa-rica-guide.com or www.anywherecostarica.com

Edited: 14 October 2011, 13:47
Brooklyn, New York
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2. Re: Self guided tours

Is it okay if I insert a question here?

What's a realistic driving time from Flamingo/Brasilito to Santa Rosa? And, in May, are there any concerns regarding river crossings, etc?

Thanks.

Playa Conchal...
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3. Re: Self guided tours

Just to add a little more to Hattie excellent response-as guides work the parks every day they have a very good idea of where the wildlife will be, and they also communicate sightings between each other on the day. So while you can use guide books and maps, you are still likely to see and learn much more with a guide. You can also make your own way to the parks and hire the services of a guide on arrival, if you don't want to use the organized tour options.

Please note that if you do decide to visit Rincon (or any other park) without a guide don't even think about going off the path.

Day trips-RIncon, Palo Verde, Barra Honda, Santa Rosa, Las Baulas, Miravalles, Tenorio

Recommended overnight trips- Arenal, Monteverde

Hope this is useful.

Edited: 14 October 2011, 16:10
Playa Conchal...
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4. Re: Self guided tours

Hi Robert! About 2 hours to Santa Rosa. Depends of course if and how much rain, and how far into the park you're going. Should be ok to visit La Casona, but check conditions at the time.

Costa Rica
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5. Re: Self guided tours

If you will check the map of Santa Rosa, you will see that there are two entrances: One at La Casona and one a bit north.

All the roads from Brasilito to the entrances are paved so no problem there and the road from the entrance to La Casona is paved - or at least most of the way - and no river crossings or problems there.

The more northern entrance has some tricky roads so best to ask, for sure.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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6. Re: Self guided tours

HI Dennis!

Is it okay if I insert a question here? OF COURSE!

What's a realistic driving time from Flamingo/Brasilito to Santa Rosa? And, in May, are there any concerns regarding river crossings, etc?

From Brasilito to La Casona about 2 hours...all the way down to Playa Naranjo depends on the vehicle and driver...and of course the road condition...maybe about one hour...

No problem at all with rivers...some times the tide by the beach side...but you can ask that question once there to Park Rangers...

Thanks.

roadadvisor

San Jose, Costa Rica
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7. Re: Self guided tours

You can do most of the parks if not all without a guide, however for me a guide can give your explanations of everything you see and they might be great at spotting wildlife, but it is a personal decision

Brooklyn, New York
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8. Re: Self guided tours

Hi Simon! Okay, thanks -- that's about what I thought. Was hoping for a shorter drive, but I think we'll be able to squeeze that in in the middle somewhere. And we'll of course stop by for dinner one night -- can't wait!

Offenburg, Germany
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9. Re: Self guided tours

Thank you so much guys! You are of great help!

We will arrive in Liberia Dec 27th at 1.30 pm.

I'm thinking about driving to Arenal and spend a night there, then to Monteverde and spend a night there and than to Brailito, stay there for the rest of our trip and do daytrips to all the other parks.

Does that make sense, or would it be better driving first to Monteverde and then to Arenal? The road connecting the two places isnt really direct. Or even leave the car in Arenal, take the boat taxi through Lake Arenal to get to Monteverde and back and then drive to Brasilito from Arenal?

I basically just want to do the driving around alltogether at the beginning and then stay in Brasilito for the rest of the trip.

Also,how are the roads around Christmas? Anything to worry about?

Gracias

Colorado
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10. Re: Self guided tours

I am not an expert, but if you don't like big groups, you can hire a private guide. We've done it both ways. Depending on the park, there a local experts available at the park headquarters who will go with you and share information about the flora & fauna. You will be surprised how much more they will spot that you might miss.