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A few CR questions.

Old May 26th, 2009, 06:32 PM
  #1  
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A few CR questions.

I feel very lucky to have found the wealth of information that makes up this forum. It has been a major asset in planing my upcoming trip to CR with my girlfriend. We are going for a week in August and I have a few questions. Here's our trip: Car rental from San Jose to Arenal for a few nights and then to MA for the remainder of our week. We are in our late 20's and very active, gonna be doing a little bit of everything.

- Will we be making a mistake by not including the Monteverde Cloud Forest in our Itinerary? I am thinking we won't have the time for the 3 locations.

-Considering our projected locations where is the best place to zipline(Arenal, MA or dare I say Monteverde)? Should we be considering White Water rafting as well?

- Driving from San Jose to Arenal to MA...etc...Is this something that plenty of tourists do and is recommended?

- Anything that we must not miss(that I may have overlooked) considering our locations?

Thank you everyone for the information I have already obtained from this forum!

Adam
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Old May 26th, 2009, 07:10 PM
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Adam,

If you only have a week, I wouldn't go to Monteverde. It deserves 3 nights on its own. The roads are bad getting there and that can take up 1/2 day. I loved it there, but had 2 1/2 weeks for my first trip.

I would stick with your original plan of Arenal and MA. Lots of people recommend Sky Trek in Arenal for ziplining. Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, Arenal Hanging Bridges, Eco Termales (thermal springs) are all very popular activities for Arenal.

Lots of people drive from SJO to Arenal, then to MA. It will take you around 3 hours or so to Arenal, then I think it's 5 or 6 hours to MA.

Just be careful of your belongings in your rental car. Don't leave anything there unattended, even in the trunk. Take turns staying with the car at stops, thieves can spot a rental car and will break into the trunk.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 07:53 PM
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Thanks! Excellent reply! Is there any reason to consider Monteverde over Arenal?
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Old May 27th, 2009, 03:39 AM
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www.arenal.net plenty to do...

www.monteverdeinfo.com is a unique ecosystem a cloud forest

but much more to see do in Arenal

www.desafiocostarica.com nice MV trips if you visit

better than driving yourself also an option

always drive Arenal to MA nice paved good roads

www.mapcr.com usually rent from www.wild-rider.com

have fun,
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Old May 27th, 2009, 03:51 AM
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I'd definitely stick with Arenal if you're young and active; it just has so much to do there plus the active volcano which is amazing. Monteverde is a little quieter, and it was quite cold and rainy when we were there, enough that our hotel had a fire going in the fireplace. It's known as a place to attract birders. I agree with all colibri's suggestions. Sunset Tours is a great group to do the Cano Negro tour with. If you go to Eco Termales, we really enjoyed our chicken dinner there, and the hot springs were great.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:19 AM
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Awesome! So Cano Negro is a place that you recommend going with a tour company? Thanks!
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:29 AM
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Yep, it's a cool boat ride near the Nicaraguan border. We saw sloths, caimans, howlers, capuchins, bats, and a lot of cool birds - they provide transport there and back in a nice air-conditioned van, lunch, cold drinks, etc. It's a great way to see wildlife. We've done it twice and loved it.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 06:10 AM
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Thanks again! I am torn between Silencio Campo and the Observatory Lodge. Leaning towards the lodge today!
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Old May 27th, 2009, 06:33 AM
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I haven't stayed at either of those Arenal hotels, but they both get excellent reviews. AOL is a bit more remote, but lots of wildlife and hiking right there on the grounds and the best view of lava flow, if the cloud cover cooperates for you!

Cano Negro is your best bet for wildlife viewing in the Arenal area, along with AOL. It takes up most of the day - from AOL it's probably a good 2 1/2 hours each way. Many people book it in conjunction with an evening session at Eco Termales.

We just loved Eco Termales - I wish Monteverde had them, too. MV is definitely quieter than Arenal, harder to access, so fewer people come. There are great hiking reserves, lots of birding enthusiasts love to go there, ziplines and hanging bridges at Selvatura.

But with just one week - stick to your plan of Arenal and MA!
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Old May 27th, 2009, 07:01 AM
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I love El Silencio del Campo -- one of the best places I've ever stayed, haven't stayed at AOL yet, but of course the remoteness and the lava view are a big draw.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 07:06 AM
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Yep, both get good reviews. You just need to decide if you want to be more isolated but right on top of the volcano or if you want to be in town. I really don't think you can go wrong either way.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 07:22 AM
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Thanks everyone! Huge help, not so nervous about the trip anymore!
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Old May 27th, 2009, 08:43 AM
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aj, you can check out pics and reviews at www.tripadvisor.com and pick the one that works best for you. Have fun!
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Old May 27th, 2009, 08:48 AM
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Yes, trip advisor I have found to have the best hotel reviews on the internet! Do you have a personal favorite hotel in MA?
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Old May 27th, 2009, 10:51 AM
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MA has lots of hotel choices in a wide range of budgets. If you're trying to stay in the general price range of places like Silencio del Campo and AOL, you might want to look into Villas Nicolas, Costa Verde, or Hotel California. VN and CV are closer to the national park and probably have better ocean views (if you pick the right rooms), but we were perfectly happy with California when we stayed there a few years back.

We did the Arenal/MA itinerary on our first CR trip and absolutely loved it! It's a great combo for you.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:44 PM
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Can't wait! Thank you!
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Old May 28th, 2009, 02:16 AM
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We stayed at Mango Moon - kind of a boutique hotel. We didn't love our first room, but they upgraded us for free, and our second room was great. If we went back, I'd stay at Buena Vista Villas or Tulemar Bungalows because they have their own beach. The Mot-Mot villa at Tulemar gets great reviews. I agree with all cm's picks too. Si Como No gets good reviews as well, but it's a little pricey.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 04:41 AM
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I am curious why La Posada did not come up? Similar to Silencio in it's popularity on trip advisor.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 05:24 AM
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So, I am starting to think that MA may not be the right spot for the 2nd half of our trip. I would love to do Arenal/Montezuma, but that may be a little too stressful logistically. If we stick with MA for a night and then head south...maybe Dominical will we find the quiet, beautiful secluded beaches we are looking for?
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Old May 28th, 2009, 05:26 AM
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La Posada is very close to the park. It gets good reviews, but most people stay on the hill where the hotels are clustered, so they have the great views of the sunset over the water.
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