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Activities in Arenal - what did you do & who did you use?

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Activities in Arenal - what did you do & who did you use?

Old Jul 17th, 2009, 09:24 AM
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Activities in Arenal - what did you do & who did you use?

Sorry for the multiple posts...counting down the days until CR.

Next question - what activities did you do in Arenal and who did you use to do them?

We would like to WHITE WATER RAFT in Arenal. I have looked at unset tours, rios tropicales, and desafio so far. Choices seem to be to raft Rio Sarapiqui or Rio Balsa. I have never done this so I want to do the calmest river with the best company!

HORSEBACK RIDE - which is better doing this to La Fortuna waterfall or the ride to the volcano? (or is this an activity I should save for Manuel Antoino)?

ATV - again something I would love to try but not even sure where you do this?

ZIPLINING - I said I would not do it here in CR - one "stress" is enough per trip (being WW Rafting) but perhaps we shouldn't miss it??

If there is anything else we should do in Arenal please let me know!
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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We did the Sarapiqui with Rios Tropicales and loved it; they have a great reputation. The waterfall is awesome, so that would be my pick. Sky Trek is the most popular zipline - very long lines with good views. I would check with Sunset Tours for ATV; we haven't done it, but they're a good company. We use them for Cano Negro. Cano Negro is our favorite - best place to see wildlife near Arenal.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 11:43 AM
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www.desafiocostarica.com was best for me.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 12:03 PM
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Desafio would be my choice for rafting the Rio Balsa. Their motto is "serious fun", which refers to taking safety seriously and always having fun. They actually hold the guide schools in Fortuna and teach most (not all) of the other company's guides.

The horseback ride to the volcano or waterfall are both fun. Don Tobias Horseback Riding is great for the volcano option.

Eco Glide has a pretty good zipline right on the base of the volcano. They also have a gigantic Tarzan Swing!

Cheers
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 12:23 PM
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Parker, I had never done whitewater rafting either; part of the fun of it is going fast. It wasn't scary at all, and the best parts were doing the rapids. Sarapiqui only goes up to level III so not too scary. You wear a helmet and life vest so you're pretty protected.

I am a chicken sometimes - would not do night hikes or ziplining on my first trip, but when I did them, they were really fun.

One thing that was interesting on our trip was that we were divided into two boats; ours was the "fun" boat and we went over rapids, did the "washing machine" etc. The other boat was full of more timid people, and when the river would split, they would go down the calmer side while we went down the faster side. Honestly I don't think they had nearly as much fun as we did. They didn't even get wet, and we were laughing the entire time and having so much fun. Okay, do what's right for you, but I think if you're going to go, you should go for it. To me, it's like going to an amusement park. I will remember the fun, fast rides that made me laugh.
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Old Jul 21st, 2009, 12:04 PM
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We are defintely going to go white water rafting in Arenal -- what is another activity we should do while their?

I would like to go to the waterfall but not sure what activity besides horse back can get us their (want to save horse back riding for Manuel Antonio). THX
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Old Jul 21st, 2009, 02:25 PM
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If you just want to visit the La Fortuna Waterfall, you can also line up a tour by car or simply call a cab.

If you are up for it, the Lost Canyon by Desafio is an awesome adventure. This is a canyoning tour which allows you to rappel down 4 separate rain forest waterfalls. This can actually be done in combination with the Rio Balsa in one day. They call it the Mambo Combo. It can also be reserved solo.

Part of my job is to evaluate tours and tour operators all across Costa Rica. This is definitely one of my favorites.
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Old Jul 21st, 2009, 02:32 PM
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We took a cab to the waterfall and got the number of our taxi driver and just asked the reception/front desk to call him when we were ready. The falls were great! There is a neat little swimming area off to the left, not under the waterfall, but another little area with crystal blue water. There are steps leading down to it and a tiny sand "beach" - really neat.
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Old Jul 21st, 2009, 06:52 PM
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volcanogirl - did you need a guide or did you do this buy yourself? about how much of the day did this take up and is it a must see or should we use that day for an excursion?
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Old Jul 21st, 2009, 09:09 PM
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No, you don't need a guide. It's actually pretty structured. There's a big parking lot and building at the entrance where you pay a $10 entrance fee, and they give you a little wrist band to wear. Then you just hike down the steps until you get to the bottom. It takes about 10-15 minutes to get down, not too bad. You can swim at the bottom or take pics and then you just hike back up when you're ready. Hiking up wasn't as easy as going down, but it's totally doable. We thought it was really gorgeous. You can do the whole thing in a couple of hours, less if you don't want to swim. This was our third trip to La Fortuna and the first time we saw the falls. When we came back up we saw what they call a "Mirador" which is basically a lookout point and also a little shop where you can buy bottled water and drinks and souvenirs. I would definitely do it again. We've been so many times that it's fun to see something new.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2009, 08:12 AM
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I second PTW's recommendation for Desafio Adventures. They can organize any number of things--bungee jumping, horseback riding, rafting and kayaking. In terms of safety, they're highly regarded.
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