7 day itinerary for Costa Rica

Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 01:35 PM
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7 day itinerary for Costa Rica

Hi all,

My wife and I are going to Costa Rica for 7 days. We are debating between sometime the 1st 2 weeks in November or sometime in January or February. Based on the research I've done it sounds like the best option for a 1st trip is to go to the Arenal area and then Manuel Antonio area. I'd like feedback on that and also feedback on how many nights to spend in each spot.

Here's what our tentative plan is:

- Fly out of Chicago and arrive in San Jose late in evening - spend 1 night in san jose just as a pit stop - This full day is not counted as part of our 7 days

- Drive to Arenal in AM and stay at Lost Iguana - How many nights do you suggest at Lost Iguana?
- Drive to Manuel Antonio - How many nights in Manuel Antonio? Suggestions on places to stay?
- Should we try to get Monteverde and the cloud forest with only 7 days?

our 9th day will be a travel day back and won't count towards our 7 days either.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 02:36 PM
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Hi!

Costa Rica is an amazing country, there is so much to do and see.
For a much better experience it is best to travel during the dry season (Jan-Apr).

November is one of the rainiest months of the year. Some travelers choose to visit during this time of the year due to lower costs on airfare, hotels, etc. If you were to visit during this time of the year you may want to consider to visit the North Pacific Coast (known as Guanacaste beaches) instead of the Central Pacific Coast.4
The average stay at each place is:
Arenal - 3-4 nights
Monteverde - 2 nights
Manuel Antonio - 3 nights

It might be best to skip Monteverde on this trip so you spend more time at the other places exploring around.

The Lost Iguana is a beautiful property, it offers great views and its close to attractions. You'll love the quiet environment at the property.

As for Manuel Antonio you find a wide range of properties. If you seek for great service and location you could try either Gaia Hotel and Reserve or Arenas del Mar Beachfront Resort.

Have fun in Costa Rica!
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 05:44 PM
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Thanks gtravelcr! Appreciate the quick response and suggestions. Super helpful to get suggested breakdown on nights. Based on your suggestion and reading up further, we will bounce the trip to January and pay the higher costs vs. risk being rained out the entire time. Those Manuel Antonio properties look insanely nice. Will have to decide if it's worth springing on those for our 10 year anniversary!
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 06:25 PM
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We usually stay four nights when we go to the Arenal area. We've stayed at the Lost Iguana several times and have really enjoyed it. Have also stayed at Nayara, the Arenal Observatory Lodge, and the Springs Resort and Spa (on a Groupon) and have liked those too. Our favorite place in Manuel Antonio is Tulemar Bungalows - beautiful property, and they have their own beach. We had a concierge assigned to us that helped us out a lot. Tons of wildlife right on the property including sloths and lots of monkeys. I think three or four nights there is good; we usually spend most of our time at the beach. Not enough time to go to Monteverde, but if you're like the rest of us you might go back again someday.
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Old Jul 24th, 2017, 05:22 PM
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@bluesphee
There is alternative accommodation in the area, you can choose from a family run property to a high end resort, a hillside hotel or a beachfront property, jungle view or ocean view. There are so many options that I am sure you will find the right place for you and your wife.
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Old Jul 25th, 2017, 07:45 AM
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volcanogirl: I am debating between nayara and lost iguana. Is nayara worth the extra $$$ in your opinion and, if so, why? I'm thinking it would be best to save the money, stay at lost iguana, and put that towards Tulemar bungalows. I'm a little uncertain if the distance from town for Lost Iguana will be too big of a negative.
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Old Jul 25th, 2017, 07:47 AM
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i should have said that I'm also still considering gaia and arenas del mar in addition to tulemar.
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Old Jul 25th, 2017, 09:50 AM
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Nayara feels a little more upscale than the Lost Iguana and is much closer to town; the Lost Iguana is rustic but still very nice, a much quieter property, very hilly, and it's right next to the Hanging Bridges and out near the lake. I think it depends on what you're looking for - if you want to get away from it all and be on a huge property with trails where you can see a lot of birds, butterflies, maybe coatis, etc., go with LI; if you want more pampered fancy boutique hotel, go with Nayara. The grounds at Nayara are pretty small. The road to go from LI to town is an easy drive, just one main road that runs through town and all the way out to the lake, but it does take some time, maybe 30 minutes or so? I can't remember exactly. There isn't much to the town itself, just some hotels and restaurants scattered along either side of the road, a church, a park, a disco, a few shops.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 05:09 AM
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One thing we really like about Tulemar is that we had a frig in our villa and a kitchen, so we could keep breakfast stuff on hand, keep leftovers, keep drinks cold. The other two also get great reviews though. Tulemar also has free use of boogie boards and kayaks at their beach and a shuttle that will take you down.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 02:46 PM
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We've stayed at both Gaia and Tulemar (Villa Mot Mot Upper). Gaia was more luxurious and the restaurant was excellent. Tulemar had a bit more wildlife onsite, is a bigger more spread out property and has its own beach. We slightly prefer Tulemar but it really also depends on the specific accommodations you choose as there's such a variance at Tulemar.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 03:17 PM
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If you do end up going with Tulemar, try to get a room/villa that has a balcony - I think that adds a lot. The octagonal shaped rooms don't have them.
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