Ambitious itinerary in June/July

May 13th, 2004, 12:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 3
Ambitious itinerary in June/July

Hi gang,

My girlfriend and I will be traveling on our own through Costa Rica, and I wanted to get some feedback on our planned itinerary:

6/26: Arrive in San Jose.
6/27: Bus to Fortuna. Arenal evening tour.
6/28: Van/boat/van to Monteverde.
6/29-6/30: Monteverde.
7/1: Bus to Nosara? Turtle nesting tour.
7/2: Nosara, turtle nesting tour.
7/3: Bus to Manuel Antonio?
7/4-7/5: Manuel Antonio.
7/6: Flight to Puerto Jimenez (via SJ?).
7/7-7/8: Corcovado.
7/9: Return to San Jose.
7/10: Depart Costa Rica.

As you can see, it's an ambitious itinerary... maybe too ambitious, so I'm looking for some input. I have some specific questions:

* Is the van/boat/van transfer from Arenal to Monteverde available in July? I heard that the van/boat/horse transfer wasn't offered during the rainy season.

* Nosara is pretty out of the way in our itinerary, and our only reason for wanting to go there is to go on a couple of turtle nesting night tours at Playa Ostional. I notice that most tour packages to Costa Rica go to Tortuguero for this. Given our itinerary, would Tortuguero be easier for us to get to than Nosara?

* Can you fly from Quepos to Puerto Jimenez directly? How about from Quepos to Bahia Drake? Or, are we going to have to fly first from Quepos back to San Jose, then from San Jose to either Puerto Jimenez to Bahia Drake?

Thanks in advance for any help you can send my way.

jedlau is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 06:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,211
Gee Jed,
You haven't had any takers on your questions! I don't have a lot to contribute (as usual) BUT I do think your itinerary looks way too busy. I would suggest:

1 night San Jose (if you arrive early afternoon, definitely go ahead to Arenal and skip this night in SJO)

2 nights Arenal

2 nights Monteverde

2 nights Nosara (it will take a good part of your time to get here from Arenal on one day)

3 nights Manuel Antonio--again, a good portion of your time will be in transferring from Nosara to MA. Be sure you plan to be here on a day other than Monday when the park is closed.

3 nights Corcovado

1 night San Jose

As I look at it, I guess this is the same basic itinerary you proposed. You have 14 nights, right? That is best suited for 4 locations, not 5. Two per week is a good rule of thumb.

While do-able, this is a very ambitious itinerary in a country where bus travel takes a lot of time. We're talking anywhere from 3.5-6 hours per transfer. I wish others would respond to you--perhaps they will if we bring this back to the top.

From what I've heard about the Osa Peninsula (going there in July), 3 nights is not enough time for such a great place! I think I would cut out Monteverde and put more time in either at Nosara (because it takes a good while to get there!) or Corcovado.

I wish I could help you with airline info, but if you will go to the Sansa or Nature Air websites, you will find schedules. I do think that you usually have to go back to SJO to fly to the Osa, but could certainly be wrong.

I hope you guys have a great time, and I hope you hear from others who can help you more than I!

shillmac is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 06:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,211
Not sure Tortuguero would be easier. If you did that, I would start out there (from San Jose), then do Arenal, then MA, then the Osa. Tortuguero would certainly give you a taste of a different part of the country and a different way of life. You are already going to 2 Pacific beach areas. You can fly to Tortuguero or do go by vehicle/boat. Come to think of it, I think this sounds like a great plan!
shillmac is offline  
May 18th, 2004, 07:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,194
Before making a decision, I asume you know WHEN the turtles will be around? I don't know the 'season' for Tortuguero, but I don't think it's every month. As for Ostional, it is just about every month, but only on a new (dark) moon, so make sure you would not be there on a full or even half moon!
Ally is offline  
May 18th, 2004, 12:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,211
Ally is right. The season for turtles at Tortuguero is July through October. How will this fit into your plans? I doubt they begin nesting exactly on July 1, ending on October 31 but you should check with Tortuguero hotels about this before making plans, I guess!
shillmac is offline  
May 18th, 2004, 10:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 3
Hey gang,

Thanks so much for everyone's replies. You all rock.

So, we ended up deciding that this itinerary was too ambitious after all, and we ended up paring it down to the following:

6/26: Arrive in San Jose.
6/27-6/30: Corcovado.
7/1-7/2: Arenal.
7/3-7/6: Monteverde.
7/7-7/9: Tortuguero.
7/10: Depart Costa Rica.

Corcovado and Tortuguero will be visited via package tours leaving from and returning to San Jose. We'll be staying at the Corcovado Tented Camp and the Mawamba Lodge in Corcovado and Tortuguero, respectively.

We're going to do Arenal and Monteverde ourselves (i.e. without a tour operator), which seems pretty straightforward, given the well-developed bus routes to/from these locations and the abundance of lodging options at each location.

Any thoughts on this revised itinerary? Seems much more relaxed, eh?

Finally, thanks for everyone's concerns about whether the turtles would show up on July 1. After doing some reading on the matter, it turns out that turtles time their nesting according to the moon phases, and that they tend to show up on the beaches around the "last quarter moon" of the moon phase. I believe the "last quarter moon" in July is on July 9, so we might be in luck. Indeed, it was one of the reasons why we decided to go to Corcovado first and Tortuguero last.

Anyway, things are coming together now for this trip. As always, I appreciate everyone's feedback and advice!

jedlau is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 06:08 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 30
Are you planning on the Corcovado Tent Camp in Carate or the Corcovado Adventures Tent camp in Drake Bay? More than one person has been confused about this from what I have seen on the various boards.

The Drake Bay area has a lot more in the way of tours to do but Carate has very little. I really like Carate but unless you are planning on doing a lot of relaxing I would think about shortening up the time there.

If you are flying into Puerto Jimenez and taking a taxi to Carate you could head back towards PJ a day early and have a full day there to do something. The kayak trip with Escondido Trex is fun. Either the mangrove or the night time sunset tour would be fun.
KatHep is offline  

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