7 days in Costa Rica - Itinerary suggestions wanted


Oct 4th, 2017, 07:38 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 98
7 days in Costa Rica - Itinerary suggestions wanted

I feel like I just don't have enough time to do this right, so I thought I'd see if anyone had a suggestion to at least do my short time well.


Saturday: Arrive SJ in late morning on red-eye flight from the Western US.

Sunday through Wednesday: No plans.

Thursday and Friday: Attending an event in Jaco.

Saturday OR Sunday: Fly home to Western US.

We are: 50-ish man/wife.
We like:
-Nature, animals, landscapes.
-Local culture.
-Local cheap food (we don't like spending $$$ on restaurants).
-Moving around and seeing a lot (we don't sit on the beach ever).
-Snorkeling or hiking or other activities especially ones that get us closer to the nature/animals is especially awesome.

We have only a tiny bit of Spanish.

Not afraid to drive either cars or motorcycles. Not afraid of public transportation either. Guided is OK if it's better. DIY is OK too.

Not afraid of super-touristy stuff if it's 'worth it' (think Chichen Itza in Mexico or the Pyramids of Giza).

The questions:
~Stay I one place? Like park it in Jaco and call it good?
~Move a lot?
~Is there a 'one thing' that we should do in Costa Rica?
~Can a person see turtles nesting in April?
~Other suggestions?

Sorry for the vague questions. I just don't really know where to begin.

Thanks in advance!
DrToonz is offline  
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Oct 5th, 2017, 08:46 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 23,190
Most first timers do a combo of the Arenal area and Manuel Antonio. In Arenal, the Arenal Observatory Lodge has lots of nice trails on site and wildlife as well; they do a free guided hike every morning and also have a waterfall on the property. We saw monkeys, toucans, coatis, etc. there. The Smithsonian rooms are pretty nice. Have also stayed at the Lost Iguana, Nayara, and the Springs Resort and Spa - all nice but not as much wildlife. AOL is off a long, bumpy road but worth it to us. For wildlife, I'd do the Cano Negro tour for sure - a boat ride where you can see monkeys, caimans, water birds, etc. The Penas Blancas safari float is fun too. Desafio is a good tour company to go with. There's also good hiking at the Hanging Bridges, and a pretty waterfall hike you can do. The volcano is in this area - not currently active but fun to see if it's not too shrouded in clouds. Don't miss the natural hot springs; we like to go in the evening so we can do other things during the day. Tabacon is good for fancy or Eco Termales if you want something smaller and locally owned; you can eat dinner there. English would be widely spoken in most tourist areas.

Manuel Antonio is a beach town - tons of fairly tame wildlife there. You can do a guided tour of the national park - very pretty with a nice beach; the Damas mangrove tour is fun too - lots of capuchin monkeys. We also saw a tiny silky anteater. We like Manuel Antonio Expeditions for tours. Have not been to Jaco - it has a reputation for being a bit of a party spot. More nightlife than other areas. Have not found very good snorkeling in CR; there tends to be lots of sediment in the water.

We went to Tortuguero for turtle viewing, but the season for the ones we saw is July through October.
volcanogirl is offline  
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Oct 5th, 2017, 03:27 PM
Join Date: May 2007
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As far as cheap food, look for what they call sodas - those are the local joints that serve casados for cheap prices - a meat like fish or chicken paired with plantains, rice, beans, and salad usually.
volcanogirl is offline  
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Oct 10th, 2017, 04:33 AM
Join Date: Sep 2017
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If you are coming to Costa Rica and wanted to spend 7 nights traveling then you can visit up to a max of 3 destinations, however I suggest to do only two destinations so you can do more, If you are flying to Liberia then you can do few days on the rain Forest and then maybe a beach like Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste.

If you type that on Google seach "Playa Hermosa Guanacaste", then you will find lots of information, the second suggested site to learn about is very helpful, here is a link so you can learn more about this particular destination.

rsotocruz is offline  
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Oct 13th, 2017, 09:55 AM
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I'd suggest checking out La Fortuna area. It's about 4 hours from San Jose and a bit touristy but there are also tons of less touristy things to do there as well. I don't think you should just stay put in Jaco. It's not really the prettiest area and there aren't too many day trips you can do from there. Here's a guide to La Fortuna if you want to check it out.

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