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3rd CR trip suggestions please...

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May 15th, 2013, 08:48 AM
  #1
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3rd CR trip suggestions please...

First trip was Arenal/Samara, second trip was Arenal/Dominical...I am trying to decide whether or not to do Monteverde??? I have also avoided Manuel Antonio because I feel like it may be too touristy for my liking but just read volcanogirl's trip report and is making me take a second look at MA. We are definitely doing 3-4 days at BosqueDelCabo. Thats the only thing i am sure of right now. I just hate not going to Arenal because its so pretty and so much to do there. And my boyfriend has never been to CR before so i hate to leave off Arenal. We will be staying for 11 days. Cant wait to hear your suggestions...Just a little about us, 36/38 year old active couple, will be renting a car and driving, I LOVE having the freedom of our own 4x4, i think thats just part of the adventure!
Thank you in advance!
We are going the first 2 weeks of December.
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May 15th, 2013, 08:56 AM
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r, if you like Arenal that much, I'd go back. We've gone there just about every year, and we still love it. With two weeks, you could add Arenal and Monteverde both. If you're active and adventurous, take a look at the La Roca tour; we loved it. Did you already zipline at Sky Trek, do the waterfall hike, and raft? Arenal just has so many great adventure activities that I think you can keep going back and just try new things. Manuel Antonio is definitely touristy but not tacky touristy, just a lot of people in the park.
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May 15th, 2013, 09:23 AM
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VG, what are some of your most favorite locations??
I will check out the La Roca Tour...I have ziplined in Arenal twice with two different operations but never Sky Trek.
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May 15th, 2013, 09:53 AM
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There are plenty of other places in Costa Rica besides Arenal. It's by no means a must-see even for a first time visitor.

I would add more time in the Osa peninsula--maybe stay at the Iguana Lodge in Puerto Jimenez for a couple of nights.

I would add then a non-rainforest destination to complement the Osa.

Monteverde would be an option, as would the Savegre/San Gerardo de Dota region (which is also between San Jose and the Osa). You could also explore the central valley area, which has two volcanoes (Irazu, Poas) whose craters you can look down into, Tapanti national park, the Orosi valley, La Paz Waterfall gardens, the towns of Grecia and Sarchi, and the big highlight, a rafting tour on the Pacuare river, one of the very best rafting rivers in the world.
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May 15th, 2013, 09:54 AM
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If you're doing Bosque del Cabo I'd skip Manuel Antonio. It will be a pale imitation of BdC. When I first went to Costa Rica 20 years ago (!) Manuel Antonio was similar to what Bosque del Cabo is now but since then it's become very built up and crowded.
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May 15th, 2013, 10:11 AM
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r, Selva Verde in the Sarapiqui area has some nice wildlife, and La Selva is close by. We also like Tortuguero, but I'd expect to get some rain in December. Manuel Antonio is nice if you want to visit a beautiful beach and enjoy some of the creature comforts you won't get in other areas like a.c. and lots of good restaurant choices. Fantastic wildlife, but a lot of it is habituated to people.
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May 15th, 2013, 10:14 AM
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RAC, Great ideas, I was already thinking about Irazu/Poas idea, and just looked up Orosi valley yesterday in the Fodors paperback. I was reading the thread about everyones favorite places to stay "with a view" and stumbled across Orosi valley. The rafting sounds like a great idea also. And it makes sense that if we drive down to Osa to stay a little longer and explore...I will check that out. Thank you.
M,thats kinda what i was thinking.
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May 15th, 2013, 10:20 AM
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VG, I will check is out. As for Tortuguero, How would I do that with a car? I have read that it is only accessible by 1.5 hr boat ride? Is that true?
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May 15th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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Yes, you can boat in which is amazing; we saw crocs, otters, roseate spoonbills, blue morpho butterflies, etc. when we did it. You can also fly in. We boated in and flew out in the interest of time. It's all canal based.
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May 15th, 2013, 12:49 PM
  #10
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My concern with Tortuguero and Bosque del Cabo in the same trip is that you'd essentially be combining perhaps the two most remote, inaccessible locations in the country in one trip--and they're nowhere close to each other to boot. Tortuguero becomes logistically less challenging if combined with stays in the South Caribbean, Sarapiqui or even the Cartago/Irazu areas.

I agree that you can skip Manuel Antonio if you're staying at Bosque del Cabo.
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May 15th, 2013, 01:25 PM
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RAC,I agree, I'm thinking trip #4 will be Tortuguero and Caribbean side like Cahuita and Manzanillo.
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May 15th, 2013, 04:18 PM
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r, did you ever do the Cano Negro tour in the Arenal area? If so, Tortuguero reminds me a lot of that area only with even better wildlife. Most people stay at one of the lodges in Tortuguero, and they can usually handle all the transportation for you. Some popular spots are Tortuga Lodge, Pachira, Laguna Lodge, and Mawamba.

We've haven't gone yet, but a lot of people like the Puerto Viejo area.
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May 16th, 2013, 12:24 PM
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VG, I have not done Cano Negro tour, definitely something i will look into.
A big thanks to everyone that has responded, it has given me some great ideas to explore. When I decide where I'm going I will post my itinerary to get some "must do's" and recommendations on places to eat!
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May 16th, 2013, 02:11 PM
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r, I love the Cano Negro tour; we've done it a few times. If you ever go, both Sunset Tours and Desafio are good companies to use. You can see monkeys, sloths, caimans, lots of water birds, etc. The Proyecto Asis animal rescue center is fun too.

So have you given up on Bosque? It really is amazing, best wildlife we've ever seen. If you did want to do a couple of remote spots, you could always fly on Sansa or Nature Air.

I meant to ask you - did you prefer Samara or Dominical? What were the best/worst points of each do you think? Those are two areas we're interested in, so I'd love to hear what you thought.
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May 17th, 2013, 08:56 AM
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VG, I am for sure doing BDC. I wanted to go last time but time/money restraints wouldnt allow. So this time I am definitely going. I think we are going to drive down, drop off car in PJ, then fly back to SJO.
I loved both Samara and Dominical. Samara has a nice beach but I liked that there were other beautiful beaches close by to explore by car as well. Just to the south, Carillo has the most beautiful palm lined beach, with no one there! We went fishing one day, caught blue marlin, black marlin and a huge sailfish. Great day on the water! We didnt do a whole lot more in Samara, just pool and beach time, getting out exploring the other beaches to the north and south of Samara and eating some good CR food in all the little sodas in Samara.
Dominical has a cool beach/surfer vibe. I liked it for some of the same reasons...very low key, not many tourists, beautiful jungle right down to the beach. We rode horses to a beautiful 3 tiered waterfall, beautiful scenery on the entire trip, then you get to this very impressive waterfall to take a dip and relax before heading back. We took surf lessons one morning...lots of fun. Just south of Dominical, Uvita has more amazing beaches and home to Ballena Marine National Park. Definitely worth exploring, we rented boogie boards one day and just played in the water, without anyone in sight, at one of the most beautiful beaches. We saw alot of monkeys in Samara as well as Dominical.
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May 17th, 2013, 09:03 AM
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VG, I just remembered while in Dominical we also took a night boat tour on a river about an hour south of there, that was really neat too. We saw alot of wildlife and we were the only 3 people on the tour!
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May 17th, 2013, 09:43 AM
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Thanks, r, for all the info. It ALL sounds good! I would love to do a night boat tour too. Glad you're still going to make it to BdC!
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