We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Visit to CR inside-how does it look like? Need suggestions~

Which Arenal Volcano National Park hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Windsor, Canada
Level Contributor
547 posts
26 reviews
Save Topic
Visit to CR inside-how does it look like? Need suggestions~


I need help/suggestions… so basically 3 of us are visiting Costa Rica between August 10-18. We plan to visit Arenal Volcano + Manuel Antonio

3 of us:

-Me female 28

-Brother 24

-Mother 56

Now I was hoping to get some advice… here is my schedule so far

August 10: Arrival at San Jose + Private Transport to Arenal

August 11: Canyoneering La Roca (5 hours) + Arenal Volcano Hike (4 hours)

August 12: Rio Celeste Hike (9 hours)


August 14: Rafting Sarapiqui River Class III-IV (7 hours)

August 15: Transport to Manuel Antonio


August 17: River Tubing on Savegre (4 hours) + Aguas Azules (Parasailing+30 minutes Waterboarding+1 hr jet Ski)

August 18: Back to airport in San Jose

So… concerns:

1- Rio Celeste Hike…. My issue is… well I heard the waters turn “ugly” IF it’s raining… well in August (time I’m going at...), I’ve been told it is “Rainy Season”… I understand that means it won’t be raining all the time… but that it will rain everyday for a few hours. At this time, I just want a nice refreshing hike! I heard Rio Celeste is the hike to do (not sure what to expect of the hike… I hear there are springs). What are your thoughts on this?

2- For “OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS” for Manuel Antonio I’m thinking the Canopy Tour (5.5 hr) + ATV Tour (~4 hrs) – any comments on those? I understand it’s not the Monteverde Zip Tour… and I have no idea what to expect of the ATV Tour

3- For “OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS” for Arenal – thinking the Arenal Hanging Bridges + something else??? I wanted to do the Venada Caves… but rest of family does not want it… PS. I’m terrified of spiders LOL!

4- My problem is… I feel like I’m missing out on some wildlife opportunities… I’m not sure what the best opportunities are and where to fit them on my schedule

Now I’m spending a lot of money because I want this to be one of those lifetime trips… so I’m being very picky/anxious/nervous/hesitant/etc about all this… especially since I’m paying for all (not to mention the plane tickets that are $$$)…..

So I need some advice… for first time visitors (and probably not visiting for a LONG time)… do you feel I have captured a good picture of what Costa Rica offers/attractions/adventures? Would you recommend I add something, change something… must dos? Any recommendations – I would love to hear from you.

Again – I know this is supposed to be personalized… BUT suggestions from parties who live there or who have been there are EXTREMELY helpful in making me form decisions/solidify what I want.


Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
9,003 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Visit to CR inside-how does it look like? Need suggestions~

I think you're trying to cram too many activities in. For instance, you're going all the way to Manuel Antonio but not taking a guided tour of the national park where there's tons of wildlife and spending the day at the gorgeous beach. Instead of treating Costa Rica as an adventure park where you rush from activity to activity, just slow the pace way down and enjoy the trip, the scenery and the wonderful people. I know you probably don't want to hear it, but I would limit yourself to 1 activity per day and spend the rest of the time enjoying yourself at the beach, the pool, the hot springs or taking a hike.

In Arenal you could taxi to the La Fortuna waterfall and hike down to enjoy it - bring your swimsuits. Or you could spend a morning at Hanging Bridges (don't expect to find much wildlife without a guide) or check out some of the best ziplines in the country at SkyTrek. IMO the Rio Celeste hike is not worth it if it's been raining the previous 2-3 days. Wait til you're in Arenal to see how the weather's been that week.

Also keep in mind that if you have a fabulous time in Costa Rica you'll want to return again and enjoy even more of the country. I know that's not your intention now but believe me Costa Rica can be addictive.

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,655 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Visit to CR inside-how does it look like? Need suggestions~

Rio Celeste hike: When it rains, the blue water is diluted. When the rain stops, the blue water comes back kind of quickly. (Maybe an hour or so.) Will it be perfectly blue while you are there? No one knows. Just like no one knows how much or when it will rain.

Seeing the blue of the Rio Celeste is only a part of the overall experience. Seeing the huge waterfall and just being able to spend time in the immense rainforest are amazing experiences. With a guide, you should be able to see a lot of wildlife and get a real understand of how the ecosystem of the rainforest works as well as showing you some fantastic plants and trees of the tropical rainforest. There are some small hot springs - I'm not sure whether you can get in them or not. It used to be that you could get in them - but - I had heard a rumor that you couldn't anymore. So not sure about that.....

Your itinerary is fine. It's the most common itinerary for first-timers and will give you a good introduction to Costa Rica. Some people opt for locations less touristy, but it will depend on what you are looking for.

Edited: 12 July 2013, 21:04
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
14,299 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Visit to CR inside-how does it look like? Need suggestions~

IMO your itinerary is too much biased toward adrenaline activities. That will eat a huge share of your available time, not to mention the impact on your budget. Canyoneering, rafting, river tubing, parasailing, jet ski, ATV, ... there is no time for just enjoy the nature and the wildlife. I noticed that you are young and enefgetic, but all those activities are similar all over the world. Just skip some of them and add some nature hike, or just plain relax (and I am sure mother will appreciate some down time).

As already said, Rio Celeste get diluted if the influx of streams is high due to rainy night. It might take an hour or maybe two to get the color blue back; however, less rain more blue. And Rio Celeste is newer ugly. The hike itself is as nice as seeing the unusual color of the river. But it is a demanding hike, so hopefully you are in good physical condition. The springs are at the end of the hike, natural springs of hot water on the bank of the river, so bring your swimsuit with you.

Give yourself a break in Manuel Antonio and visit the park; easy walk, lots of animals, excellent beaches.

Just my 2 cents with disclaimer that I am of mother's age.

4. Re: Visit to CR inside-how does it look like? Need suggestions~

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 14 July 2014, 05:17