5 days / 4 nights in Costa Rica

Jan 19th, 2009, 03:53 PM
  #1  
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5 days / 4 nights in Costa Rica

I plan to be in C.R. in mid February for about 5 days. What do you recommend for such a short visit?
Ruben is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 04:01 PM
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What is mort important to you?
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 07:12 PM
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Which airport(s) will you be flying into and out of?
Linda137 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 07:42 PM
  #4  
RAC
 
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Do you prefer beaches, volcanoes, adventure sports, wildlife, or scenery?
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Jan 20th, 2009, 03:06 AM
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For a first visit, most people usually either do Manuel Antonio if they like beach time or Arenal if they want volcano/adventure time. Depending on your flight times, you might have to spend a night in San Jose. Do you have an idea of your budget? If you offer up a few more details, you'll get all kinds of suggestions. CR is a wonderful place.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 11:23 AM
  #6  
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The reason I am going for such a short time is my wife works for an airline and she got some free tickets on Martinair. We are flying out of Miami to San Jose. This is typical of us to travel for short visits as you are most likely aware of airline employee benefits. I would say our interest would most likely be volcanoes and nature. I think the flight from Miami arrives in San Jose in the evening. I would say what ever you can recommend within 3 - 4 hours drive time from San Jose.
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Jan 20th, 2009, 11:24 AM
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How far is Arenal from San Jose in drive time?
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Jan 20th, 2009, 11:26 AM
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Do Arenal, stay at Volcano Lodge.
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Jan 20th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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RAC
 
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Arenal would probably be a good choice then. I'd recommend spending the entire trip there, given that you may have to spend either the first or last night in San Jose, depending on flight times.

If you are going to rent a car, I'd personally recommend the Arenal Observatory Lodge--it's got the best view of the volcano and is right there in the National Park, so there's plenty of wildlife to see.
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Jan 20th, 2009, 11:47 AM
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I'd go with Arenal. We always stay at the Lost Iguana - really nice property with volcano views. There are a lot of activities in the area - volcano watching, the Cano Negro tour with Sunset Tours to see wildlife, the Hanging Bridges hike, a waterfall, and natural hot springs like Eco Termales and Tabacon. SkyTrek is popular if you like zip lines. Arenal/La Fortuna is about 3 hours from San Jose. A lot of people make the drive, or you can hire a private driver when you book your hotel, or take Interbus.
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Jan 20th, 2009, 01:07 PM
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The Arenal area is wonderful! Lots to see and do...

You mention an evening arrival flight. If you plan to drive yourselves, you'll probably need to stay near the int'l airport your first night in the country. If your flight home is early in the day, you may need to stay near the airport on your final evening as well.

This cuts into your trip, but you should still be able to get a decent overview of Arenal. Hope you get to see the lava flow!
cmerrell is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 06:21 PM
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I'd pass on the beaches and head right for Arenal. We loved the Hanging Bridges but wished we had a guide to help spot the birds. Personally, I thought the Cano Negro tour was a bit boring.
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Jan 20th, 2009, 06:28 PM
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Agree about getting a guide for the Hanging Bridges. We saw no wildlife there at all. People with guides saw vipers and I was jealous.

stotz, you thought Cano Negro was boring? That's blasphemy - lol. Didn't you see a lot of wildlife? We saw howlers, capuchins, sloths, birds, caimans - even an albino baby howler monkey. It's the best wildlife spotting we had in the area. I loved being out on the water too. What did you guys see?
volcanogirl is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 04:03 AM
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How many nights? 4? 5?

You might consider an add-on to the main Arenal trip (which, by the way, is a perfect suggestion).
If you stayed one night (or 2)in San Jose (Hotel Brittania, Hotel Don Carlos, Hotel Grano de Oro), you could do a day trip down to Volcan Irazu and Orosi Valley (including Lankester Orchid Garden). It would give you a different perspective and is a very interesting area of the country. It's all beautiful.



shillmac is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 04:07 AM
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Sorry, you would "have thunk" I would have read the post title!

Arenal, Arenal, Arenal!
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Jan 21st, 2009, 06:11 AM
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Hi Jill, VG, and Hip! How are you guys?

You know I love Cano Negro too, VG. I think it's the best place to see a variety of wildlife in that area. Slow boat trips aren't for everyone, but I tend to really enjoy them!

We did use a guide for the Hanging Bridges, but visited on a really rainy day so most of the animals and birds were under cover. I still thought it was beautiful though. Even in pouring rain, it's hard to beat CR! ;-)
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Jan 21st, 2009, 09:14 AM
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Hi, c! You must be busy at work lately. Long time no post. I'm with you. I'll take a rainy day in CR over just about anywhere.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 12:36 PM
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Hi cm long time no see!

Agree with Arenal area. The Cano Negro is a must do...end the evening with Eco-Thermales hot springs and dinner. Lots of other tours and things to see and do as well. Many great choices for lodging there as well.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 02:52 PM
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Hi cam. . .I assume work has been getting in your way again! Good to "see" you. Hope you had a great Christmas and that all is well for you in the New Year. Are you still thinking of joining us?
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Jan 21st, 2009, 02:53 PM
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Hi Ladies,

Yep, I've been swamped with work deadlines, holiday guests, and sinus surgery (yuck!) over the past month or so.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to start spending quality time on the Fodor's forums again! I bet I've missed all sorts of good stuff over the past several weeks. I'm working to get caught back up!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are off to a good start for 2009.

I am still thinking of joining you, Jill. I've got the Peru trip that fell by the wayside tentatively re-scheduled for early May, and have mentioned to my boss that I might be looking to take a week of vacation at the end of June as well. I think I can juggle everything with the two trips and make things work out financially and schedule-wise. I'll keep you guys posted.
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