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Advice on the Arenal area, Costa Rica

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We've checked out the book, got some good info from the forum, also got some info online and we think we almost have a plan but just want to nail down a few more points. Were going to be doing a dive liveaboard trip in November at Cocos. But were going to be coming in a few days early to visit Costa Rica. We figured 2 or 3 days in the Arenal area to check out the rainforest, raft, zip line, that kind of thing. Then maybe back towards San Jose to check out the city. We have to meet our ride to the boat at one of two hotels (Alta or Indigo) on Saturday 11/19 at around 5:00pm.
Any advice or recommendation on where to stay in the Arenal area and how to get there would be greatly appreiciated. We'll be flying in on the Delta flight out of Atlanta landing around 1:00pm then making our way to the Arenal area. Just not sure what's the best way to get there. Also, because we're going diving, we're going to be hauling big dive bags with us wherever we go. We're kinda thinking that after 2 or 3 days in the Arenal area on Friday making our way back to the city and staying in one of the hotels we have to meet our ride at (Alta or Indigo). And with what time we have left checking out San Jose. Thanks for any advice or tips.

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