3 Best Places in 10 Days

Reply

May 20th, 2003, 07:14 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 244
3 Best Places in 10 Days

My husband and I are going to CR January 24, 2004 for about 10 days. We are looking for the three most interesting, while still being luxurious, places in Costa Rica that can be easily reached in 10 days. We could do private transport, small aircraft or whatever. I am not looking for any hard adventure travel type experience, but we do like white water rafting and other adventures. We are in the 50ish age category. Definitely not looking for a large all-inclusive resort. Thanks for any leads.

Kathy
ctkathy is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 21st, 2003, 08:26 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 117
Hi Kathy:

There are several places you could look at...It also depends on what level of luxury you would like. I would recommend you look into the Arenal area and the Tabacon resort specifically, then in the Guanacaste area, you could look into Cala Luna or Capitan Suizo. You can also look at Villa Caletas hotel close to Jacó, and Si Como No in Manuel Antonio.

Except for Tabacón, these are all smaller hotels that I think you would like.

Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions I may be able to answer.

Regards,

Enriue
ebrener is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 21st, 2003, 09:21 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 63
You should definatly go to Arenal area, the volcano is truly spectacular. You can see the lava cascading down its side at night. I have stayed at the Montana del Fuego, (it is much cheaper than the Tabacon resort) and loved it. Each room is its own little villa with a view of the volcano. It also has a great resturant. It is a lot less resorty than the tabacon, however, you should definatly visit the tabacon hot springs. They are really unique. I reccomend you look into both the Montana del fuego, and the Tabacon resort, then decide which is more your speed. I also reccomend going to manuel antonio. It is a coastal town that has been developed just enough. It has tons of accomodations ranging from very cheap to very nice. You should check out the national park there as it has the best concentrations of wildlife i have seen (translation - you will see sloths and monkeys) it also has a beautiful beach cove. A fun place to eat or have a drink is the avion, it is a plane from the iran contra scandal that has since been turned into a restaurant. (it is also placed on the side of a cliff that overlooks the ocean, very cool) have a great time
sweet_thang is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 21st, 2003, 02:04 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,066
In 2002 we spent two nights at Tabacon with a view of the volcano. It is awesome. Drove from there to Hotel Belmar in Monteverde. Ok hotel, but defanitely not luxurious, there are nicer places there, although I'm not sure any of them fall into the luxury catagory. Then we drove to Manual Antontio and staye at Si Como No. Very nice hotel, two restaurants, great location. The park and beach are lovely.

In 2003 we spent our first two nights in San Jose at the Grano de Oro, very nice older hotel close to downtown San Jose. The hotel was very, very nice, but I can't say as I'd recommend staying in the city any longer than necessary. Next we flew to Palmar Sur, taxied to Sierpe, then down the river and the coast to Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. STayed at Aguila de Osa. Very nice place, sure wouldn't call it luxurious though. Good food and wonderful people though. The tours were great as well. We then flew to Quepos and this time stayed at Makanda by the Sea. A bit nicer than Si Como No, but either one is a great place to stay. Had a driver back to San JOse and spent two nights at Xandari. Beautiful rooms, but for whatever reason I can't say we really enjoyed our time there. The place just didn't have a good feel and the food and bar service was terrible. So, even though the rooms were absolutely stunning, we'll look elsewhere for our next visit.
JeanH is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 22nd, 2003, 07:16 PM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 244
Thanks for all the replies. I had thought of going to Arenal and Manuel Antonio and it sounds like those are great places. I would love to have recomendations for the best places in Manual Antonio, or other areas, that have private pools, outside showers, great views, hot tubs or other romantic thing going on. I would like to play on a couple of really unique accommodations in Costa Rica. Many thanks for any ideas.
ctkathy is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2003, 06:41 AM
  #6
Iza
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 800
It sounds like Makanda by the Sea (www.makanda.com) may be to your liking in Manuel Antonio. We stayed at Si Como No and liked it a lot but it definitely is more family oriented than romantic. Also check out Villa Caletas (www.hotelvillacaletas.com). It is not in Manuel Antonio but a visit to Manuel Antonio is doable from there as a day trip.

If you want something off the beaten path, check out Punta Islita (www.hotelpuntaislita.com) and Florblanca (www. florblanca.com) (both on Nicoya Penninsula). Punta Islita has private plunge pools and other romantic amenities. Florblanca is brand new and there isn't a lot of info about it out there. We are planning a few days ther this summer. It appears to have awesome outdoor baths.

It sounds like with what you would like to do you should arrive in San Jose and stay a couple of days outside of San Jose and do a white water rafting trip from there (great places to stay outside of San Jose are Xandari (www.xandari.com) and Vista del Valle (www.vistadelvalle.com)). Then go to Arenal for a couple of days (this is going to be a tough one for upscale romantic accommodations but try Montana de Fuego or Tabacon (there is also a place a little further away on Lake Arenal that looks great on the web called La Mansion Inn Arenal (www.lamansionarenal.com) - I think they also have a sister place in Manuel Antonio - may be worth checking out). Then spend 3-4 days at one of the beach hotels on the Pacific coast and then head back to San Jose for your last night.
Alternatively, you could also incorporate Osa Penninsula in your itinerary (check out Lapa Rios (www.laparios.com)).
Iza is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2003, 06:46 AM
  #7
Iza
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 800
The La Mansion Inn in Manuel Antonio is at www.lamansioninn.com.
Iza is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 31st, 2003, 11:33 AM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 244
Thanks for all the suggestons. I think that we definitely want to go to the Arenal area and Manuel Antonio. There are several other areas we are considering if we want to add one (do we need to for a 10 day trip?) They are Punta Islita on the Nicoya Peninsula or Lapas Rios on the Osa Peninsula. Is Quepos really close to Manuel Antonio? What about Guanacaste?

We arrive in the evening, so one night near San Jose is a must. What is the best way to incorporate either Nicoya or Osa Peninsula's into our Arenal and Manuael Antonio itinerary? In which order should we go to these places?

Thanks,
Kathy
ctkathy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 1st, 2003, 05:33 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,066
The Arenal part of your trip would be easiest at either the beginning or the end. Probably the end. Since you arrive in the evening, I'd stay close to the airport, then fly to the Osa the next morning. Spend your time there, then you should be able to arrange a flight directly to Quepos, without having to return to San Jose. Quepos is the town closest to Manual Antonio national park. The entire area seems to be called Manual Antonio. From town it's about 7km to the park (or is it 7 miles???) Very steep hills. Plentiful taxis and during the day the buses are cheap and frequent.

After your time there, you can drive or fly back to San Jose then drive to Arenal. I'm not sure the itinerary would work in reverse, because I don't know if you can get to San Jose early enough to catch the flights to the Osa.

JeanH is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 1st, 2003, 08:45 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,441
Jan 24 is a great day to go to CR (my birthday!) We like to head down around that time too. My husband and I are in the 50ish age category and like excitement but not hard adventure trips also.
I would look at Bosque del Cabo rather than Lapa Rios if you should be thinking of traveling down that way. I have stayed at both and found my stay at Bosque much more comfortable. The food was slightly better at Lapa Rios but the hike up the steps to get to it was horribly hot and for us long. We were in the lowest cabina at that time. It is built on a ridge so the only way to get to the main rancho or pool is up and down many many steps. Bosque has beautiful lawns and flowers and views of both the Pacific and the Gulf. There are wonderful trails to hike or stroll on and the monkeys come right up to the bar area which is near the pool. In ten years we have never gone to the same hotel twice because we like to try out new ones but we are already planning on going back to Bosque next year in Jan or early Feb. Also, Bosque is pretty much just across the street from LR and anything that LR would have regarding wildlife would probably be better seen at Bosque because the area is easier to get around on. In the deluxe cabinas the showers are open to the sky and there is hot water if you want it. The bedroom/sitting room is beautiful and there are bifold doors that open to your own covered porch with beautiful views. Every afternoon we would sit and watch the monkeys from our porch.
There are not many options for day tours like you would find in the more touristy areas but there is kayaking, waterfall rapelling and horseback riding and just wonderful bird/monkey watching. There are inshore fishing trips offered but I have heard complaints of those up and down that whole coast area. Deep sea fishing is okay in that area but we have had much better luck out of the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area.
Manuel Antonio would have a lot to offer that you might like including white water rafting. The Pacuare though is the prettiest river to raft on and one of the most exciting. It is done as a day trip (or overnight which we have done several times-with different companies so we don't break our record of no repeats) from San Jose so a couple of nights stay would be required.
Should you want help with your arrangements, Costa Rica Expeditions is one of the more upscale tour companies in CR and we have used them many times. They have helped us with all kinds of things. Using a tour company, btw, does not mean traveling with a herd of people. We are solitary travelers and prefer to do our own thing but they will help you as much or as little as you need in making transportation and hotel arrangements and can make some very good recommendations for the type of places you are looking for. We used them 3 or 4 years in a row and never had a problem. They always made sure we got where we needed to go and everything was very well organized. Your options for quicker travel are much better if you don't mind the small aircraft. We have taken many small charter flights to "airports" in the middle of nowhere to get to places. It does save a lot of time.
Suzie2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 1st, 2003, 01:59 PM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 244

Thanks, again, for the further info. I think I will contact Costa Rica Expeditions. Do you think there is any way to guarantee a request of a Lapas Rios room near the pool without all the steps? They are listed in the Amex point book, and I would like to take advantage of that if possible.

Or maybe we will do something like Osa Peninsula, Manuel Antonio/Quepos and then Arenal. Our flight leaves on 2/4 in the early afternoon so it sounds like we could leave Arenal on 2/4 in the morning and make our flight w/out a problem. In that scenario we would be leaving out the Guanacaste region. I am wondering about LaMansion in the MA area?

Kathy
ctkathy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 1st, 2003, 07:43 PM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 244
Correction: The points opportunity is at Punta Islita, not Lapas Rios. Therefore, We could do Arenal, Punta Islita and then either Manuel Antonio or Osa Peninsula--not necessarily in that order!
ctkathy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 8th, 2003, 04:39 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 24
Went for a 12 day trip in September 2003. Costa Rica was just wonderful. You will have a fabulous time.

We chose 3 spots to visit:

1) Arenal - Were driven by a private driver to Arenal once we arrived in San Jose. Stayed at TABACON RESORT. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the rooms were. The property is very well maintained as well. Spa services were great and the hot springs were lovely. We were fortunate that we had very clear days/evening so the Volcano was very visible. I think this is the nicest hotel in the area.

2) Our second stop was Manuel Antonio. More of a beach area and slightly more populated. Stayed at MAKANDA BY THE SEA and LOVED everything about this resort. We did the rafting trip down the Pacure and it was tons of Fun! We also did the Canopy Tour and visited the Park!

3) Our last leg of the trip was to the VERY REMOTE Osa Peninsula. Took a very small plane to the area. It was truely in the middle of nowhere. We stayed at LAPA RIOS. We really enjoyed this resort. We took some wonderful hikes and had some of the best food!

4) Our last day we stayed at XANDARI in San Jose. The room was very nice and the breakfast was yummy too. The hotel seemed really quiet but we were fine with it. Stayed for a day as we had to catch our plane the next AM.

All in all we LOVED our trip. We saw 3 very different areas of Costa Rica which is what I really wanted to do!

ENJOY your trip!!!!
kasia18 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 9th, 2003, 12:22 PM
  #14
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 244
kasia 18,

Sounds like you did three areas that we are considering. I am just wondering if we should substitute Lapa Rios in the Osa for Punta Islita resort. Would we feel like we really missed out if we didn't go to the Arenal area do you think?

Kathy
ctkathy is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:42 PM.