Arenal and Tamarindo

Old Jul 26th, 2005, 02:09 PM
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Arenal and Tamarindo

You are all so good about helping everyone so here I go. 8 to 10 of us going Dec. 7 to San Jose. Having a private mini bus pick us up at 3 p.m. for the drive to Arenal Observatory Lodge. Two nights there doing tours and such then same type of transportation to the Tamarindo area and rent a house near the beach. I understand there is possibly some pretty fair snorkeling at Playa Conchal. Staying there 7 nights and doing tours from there either by rented 4 x 4 or using private transport. Does this ring like a poor plan to anyone out there? Never thought it would be this difficult to decide what to do. Thanks.
patams is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2005, 09:14 PM
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Dear Patams,
There is absolutely nothing ugly about Costa Rica. It is hard to tell anyone what is the best route to take or the best tours or things to see.

Let me start with San Jose. Many people like to see Poas Volcano... near by. Waterfall Gardens... near Poas volcano. Not far over the mountain is Rainforest tour, Sarapiqui river tours.
Britt Coffee Tours, Orosi Valley and Cartago famous church and ruins. Now, mind you, you have not hardly left town. All in the central valley.

Once up at Arenal/La Fortuna you are in a world of things to do. Hanging bridges, zip lines, waterfalls, float trips, nature walks both day and night. Most horses in Costa Rica, I think.
Birding tours, rafting tours.... even caves that I won't go into!

Should you cross the lake in boat and then van up to Monteverde, the cloud forest is awesome. Zip lining through the tree tops is something else in the clouds. Fresh clean air can't be beat.

Around Manuel Antonio and Jaco there is Turubari adventure park, Rainforest tours, Island monkey tours, Kayak, Awesome National Park with hiking and many animals... not to mention beautiful views of the Pacific from wonderful hotels and restaurants.

I did not take you to the jungle in Tortugero.... my favorite. Isolated, just you and nature! (and a few other folks in the small boats in the canals with all the monkeys, iguanas and sloths)

And then.... you go north.
Tamarindo, Conchal, Flamingo, Portrero, Liberia, Coco, just to name a few.
Nice volcano up there, Rincon...
Dry area, not much rainforest to explore.
Lots of beautiful ocean but dry mountains, a little bald.
Beautiful gardens and pools around the hotels but dusty streets.

Some people just love it!
For me, I would reverse the trip.
2 nights up there, come back to Arenal and take your pick.

Just my opinion....
What every you choose, you will love Costa Rica.
hopabout is offline  
Old Aug 6th, 2005, 03:16 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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My husband and 2 teenagers are going to Tamarindo and Arenal for Christmas this year. My neighbor and her friends are from Costa Rica and those are the two places they recommended for us. I think that is because teenagers are more into action than scenery.

So, if it's action you want, I think you are going to the right places.
Lucyfranklin is offline  
Old Aug 6th, 2005, 08:06 PM
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Hopabout hit the name on the head. Tamarindo area is excellent for exploring Guanacaste. December 7 you will probably still be able to enjoy most of the gorgeous green left over from the rainy season.

The only thing I might consider doing differently is perhaps staying another night at Arenal. 7 nights, at least for us, would be too much of Tamarindo area. Although all the areas of CR are beautiful, its beaches aren't its most outstanding feature. . . you might enjoy spending just a little more time in the central or Arenal area.
shillmac is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2005, 08:43 AM
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I do not like Tamarindo as it is crowded with Gringo tourists but there is a lot to see in Guanacaste. Three places I suggest visiting are Santa Rosa Park, Palo Verde Park, and Tecorio Volcano.

I stayed in Playa Hermosa to avoid the tourists but even in PH, it is getting over developed.

Arenal and La Fortuna are beautiful. I suggest doing the Caño Negro tour. Lots of animals there.
dariow is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2005, 09:09 AM
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You can snorkle at Playa Conchal--the beach is made up of shells, not sand, so it's really pretty. Although there is the breadth of sea life you will see in the carribean and hawaii, the water is a bit murkier, just to set your expectations correctly.
MonicaRichards is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2005, 02:47 PM
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After reading several posts, I think I am going to skip Tamarindo. You are so good with your information.
At this point, we will land in SJO and be taken by shuttle to Arenal Observatory Lodge for two nights. On the 9th (DEC) go to Playa Hermosa for three days in a rental house not far from the beach, then on Dec. 12 go with private driver from Playa Hermosa to Manuel Antonio/Quepos and stay the remaining 4 nights there in a house on a hill overlooking a beach. That way we will not be so far from San Jose and can make our flight at 3 p.m. on the 16th. Tell me, is this a pretty good plan or am I just crazy? Maybe if I skip anything, it should be Playa Hermosa.
All on this forum are so interesting and helpful. Thanks all.
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Old Aug 8th, 2005, 04:44 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Your plan sounds good, but why not get cars? Driving is no problem. Just keep to the speed limits or you get pulled over easily. There is a lot to see just driving around.

I agree with your Tamarindo skip. We went and were not impressed at all. Dry dusty place anywhere but right on the beach.

I loved the Rincon park (can't remember full name). I will never forget walking from rain forest to savannah and back within a 2 mile walk. It was an amazing climate change. Long dirt road to get there though
curtdo is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2005, 05:26 PM
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I recommend Playa Hermosa over Tamarindo also although be warned that there is a HUGE amount of construction in Playa Hermosa hence it is noisy and dusty there. I suggest going to Coco for dinners.

Another option to driving is flying from Quepos to SJ and Liberia to San Jose.
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Old Aug 8th, 2005, 06:13 PM
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Certainly your plan is do-able. It would be better if you had just one more day, but that's what always comes to my mind when thinking of or traveling to Costa Rica--just one more day!

You'll have 2 days in Playa Hermosa. Sorry to hear about all the construction. . .reminds me of that song about "they ________Paradise and put up a parking lot". . . .that one word won't come to me! Senior moment. . .is it "sold"?

But in those 2 days, you can enjoy Playa Hermosa and Coco Beach--good place for nightlife! This would be a good place right in the middle of your trip to just do hammock time, less activity.

Yes, it all sounds good to me. We like driving ourselves also, but lots of people really enjoy having a driver and learning all sorts of extra information from him. If that's what you are comfortable with, then it's a good plan! Enjoy!
shillmac is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2005, 06:41 PM
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Wow! All of you are so helpful. Seems the Rincon de la Vieja Park and the Santa Rosa National Park will be near enough for us to visit during our couple of days in Playa Hermosa. Does sound like it will be dry and dusty in December. Here I am planning this 10 day excursion for my husband, myself and 5 much younger adults. Guess they will hook me to a zip line if I don't do a good job. It just seems that everywhere in Costa Rica must be so great. This forum is most helpful in learning about the things to do, places to see and places to eat. The Observatory seems a little far removed from tours in Arenal but looks very interesting. If any of you want to know about Southeastern NC, just let me know. One other thing. I have heaties all the time, so, on Arenal in December can I survive without A/C? Thanks to all.
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Old Aug 8th, 2005, 07:10 PM
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A couple of other things to see near there are Palo Verdes and Tecorio Volcano.

Plao Verde is a boat ride on the river where you see a lot of animal life. Although I liked Caño Negro more, Palo Verde is great.

Tecorio was one of my favorite places. Most of the gringos don't know about this volcano. I hiked up it all day and we could see Lake Nicaragua. At the top is a lake crater. Very Beautiful.
dariow is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2005, 07:13 PM
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I think it's "paved" shillmac
tully is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2005, 08:13 PM
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Yes, Tully, you're right! Thanks for rescuing me from a sleepless night! LOL!

At any rate, a shame. . . ."don't know what cha got til it's gone"!
shillmac is offline  
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