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9 Days in Costa Rica // Itinerary Help // Travel agency?

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My best friend is turning 30 and we are hoping to head to Costa Rica over Thanksgiving.

Last year for my birthday, we took a 15 day trip to Great Britain over Thanksgiving - and it was a whirlwind with lots of train hopping and adventures. This time around we want to do a few days of exploring, and end our trip with a lot of beach relaxing.

We did all of the planning ourselves for our last trip, which we enjoyed - but are considering looking into a travel agent for our Costa Rica trip. Does anyone have any recommendations for companies to use? We have seen Gate 1 travel's packages, which seem to have good options - but I'd love to know of some other reliable, more customized (but still affordable on educators' budgets) options!

I'd also love to hear thoughts on our very rough draft of an itinerary below. We know we want to see the volcano, the cloud forest area, and have the relaxation of the beach. I personally can't sit still all day on the beach, so I thought of all the beach areas Manuel Antonio seemed to have the most to see in the surrounding areas. Is this a reasonable timeline?

If your advice is to plan without an agency, I would love suggestions. Is a rental car a must for the entire trip? Can't miss sites? Restaurants you like in the area? Suggestions for hotels? Ultimately, it seems like a package with an agency might save money - but the lack of choices for hotels isn't all that appealing.

Thanks very much - Natalie

Proposed Itinerary

November 21: Travel SAN JOSE, sleep SAN JOSE

November 22: Travel ARENAL, sleep ARENAL

November 23: Travel MONTEVERDE, sleep MONTEVERDE

November 24: MONTEVERDE

November 25: Travel MANUEL ANTONIO, sleep MANUEL ANTONIO




November 29: Travel SAN JOSE, Travel COLUMBUS, OH

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