Advise needed for 8 days in Oct to CR

Sep 24th, 2005, 06:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 37
Advise needed for 8 days in Oct to CR

My hubby and I are gong on a much needed vacation to CR for the first time in Oct. We'll be there for 8 days getting to San Jose around noon. What are the areas we should visit? Can we cover more area by hiring a driver or renting a car? Thanks in advance.
hokiegirl is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 08:25 PM
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My suggestion would be to split your time between Arenal (about 2.5 hours north and west of the airport) and Manuel Antonio (about 3 hours south and west). Both locations are beautiful and would give you a great taste of Costa Rica. Yes, they are both a bit touristy, but with good reason. The crowds are really nothing like what we think of as tourist crowds here in the U.S.

My husband and I enjoy driving (because it is an adventure in itself) and both of these locations are easy to drive to with very decent roads. We like the freedom and the mobility. Others prefer a driver. It's just whatever you think you'd prefer. But don't be frightened or worried about driving if that is what you want to do. We prefer Tricolor rental. (or you may need to leave out the s--can't remember)

Getting in at noon, you will have no problem getting to Arenal by dark.

3 nights at each place will give you a good experience. Some like to return to the airport area for the last day or two because there are some nice places to visit nearby, such as Poas
Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens. This combination would be a great day trip for you if you want to experience just a little more besides your two main locations.

shillmac is offline  
Oct 1st, 2005, 01:13 PM
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Thanks for the advise you provided. Is it possible to include Monteverde into the itinerary? I know that a lot of other posters said that even though Arenal and Monteverde look close on the map, they in fact aren't. How far are they from each other and is it feasable to include it to the Arenal and MA as advised?
hokiegirl is offline  
Oct 1st, 2005, 05:33 PM
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Where you should go depends on what things you like to see and do. Do you like touristy places? Do you prefer jungles or beaches? Maybe elaborate a little more.

I strongly agree with Shillmac about Arenal. It is beautiful plus many tours leave from there. I however do not like Manuel Antonio as there are sooooooo many tourists there. Osa, Guanacaste, and Monteverde are wonderful. There are some other off the path places also.
dariow is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 02:45 PM
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True, Manuel Antonio can be "touristy", but October should be a very low month. It's proximity to the airport and the abundance of things to do and see (beach/rainforest combination in one location) make it a choice destination for those wanting to get a good overview of the country in just a few days.

As for Monteverde, do save it for another trip or go there in place of Arenal. It is a lovely place and worth 2-3 days at least. However, it is just too demanding getting in and out of there to try to "work it in". If you had 10 days, or even 9, it wouldn't be an issue. But trying to squeeze in a major site that you really don't have time for could definitely take some of the joy (not to mention "pura vida") out of your 8 days!. You'll want to go back anyway! There is so much to see and do--all over the country!
shillmac is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 03:17 PM
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I guess in Costa Rica terms Manuel Antonio is touristy with quite a bit of building going on . And .... because of it's many good qualities it does have a lot of tourists . But , it is still Costa Rica , with Costa Ricans living there .... Pura Vida exists whether there are crowds or no crowds . You go to the Osa to expect a more pristine , untouched Costa Rica . One would not go to Rio and come back miffed because it seemed " touristy " and there were crowds . It IS beautiful , the Beaches are beautiful , the views are beautiful , it is lush , green , and screaming with wildlife . Soooo .... with this combo and a close proximity to San Jose comes popularity , and more offending tourists !! lol
faithie is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 04:25 PM
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darow - I live in FL so beaches aren't a big concern for me, but I am drawn by water-type activities (ie white water rafting/kayaking). At the same time, very excited about jungle tours. so much to see and do with so litte time...

shillmac - So you'd recommend MA over Monteverde? Why out of curiousity? I agree w/ not trying to put too much on my plate - it is a vacation after all (LOL).

faithie - from the message board MA seems to be the most touched by man in terms of tourists. Is it too spoiled, is what you mean?

This message board is wonderful with the advise - thanks again!!
hokiegirl is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 11:51 AM
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Definitely more touched by man than the Osa peninsula , on par with Tamarindo etc. I guess it depends on what you want out of that area , If you want to unwind for a few days on a beautiful beach , have nice hotels and lots of restaurants to choose from , plus see lots of wildlife and a rainforest , all with close proximity to San Jose , it could be the place !! But go knowing that , so there is no suprise . We still love it , and will return our next trip .... I was sad by the changes , but find the area very beautiful , and with my kids the beach /jungle/wildlife combo is ideal .
faithie is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 05:32 PM
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If you're from Florida I would think you would want to make sure you get to the Pacuare River (Rainforest and the best white water rafting in the world). I also personally loved spending the whole time in the rainforest and would recommend Bosque de Paz if you're looking for something that is not at all touristy. My understanding is the search function on this website is broken but if you search on my name you could see some suggestions. I posted a long (probably too long) travelogue. I also prefered to drive ourselves..
Millie64 is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 07:36 PM
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Posts: 770
Take a look at the post 2 wks 2 days. She used a driver and was in San Jose at the end of the trip. Read the whole report and see if you get any help. Happy travels.
mimipam is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 08:52 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 10
I just got back from costa rica last Saturday and belive me it was an adventure. It is a beautiful country and the people is unbelivably nice. There was no crowds at all, there was about 10 of us in Manuel Antonio las Sunday (of course that was after a big storm hit quepos), we drove al over and in some parks my wife and I were the only people in boat tours, bike tours, the canopy rides, etc even in Arenal Volcano we were the only car ther las Fridauy at 11 am, if you drive don't do it at night and try to avoid the City (san Jose)
aventurero is offline  

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