Arenal Kioro or Tabacon Resort? And, Monteverde?

Old Oct 25th, 2010, 10:52 AM
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Arenal Kioro or Tabacon Resort? And, Monteverde?

Putting final touches a trip with my boyfriend for mid-November. We start with 4 nights at the Florblanca Resort on the Nicoya Peninsula, followed by 2 nights in Monteverde (El Establo Mountain Hotel) and 2 nights in Arenal (will have rental car). Considering Tabacon or Arenal Kioro. Though 5 star, have read many negative reviews about Tabacon, not specific to the hot springs, but to the hotel part. Any recos?

Also, wondering if there is enough of a difference in the experience between Monteverde and Arenal (aside from the Volcano) to keep Monteverde on the itinerary vs. another place. Thoughts or recos for another place? Thanks.
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 10:58 AM
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How much into ecology and ecoutourism are you? If you don't really find cloud forests and quetzals interesting, you can skip Monteverde. But, if those kind of things fascinate you, you should keep it.

Can't help on Arenal--we always stay at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, which isn't a luxury place at all, but rather an adventure/wilderness place.
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 11:31 AM
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We like the Lost Iguana. We visited Tabacon for its hot springs, which were beautiful, but it was loud and crowded when we were there. Tour buses go there for the springs, so you'd have to be okay with that. The hotel does get good reviews. We met people staying at Kioro, and they didn't really love it but haven't stayed there personally.

With a trip that short, personally I'd skip Monteverde, but really up to you. Like RAC said, the main draw is seeing the cloud forest and quetzals. It was very cold and rainy when we went; we wore sweatshirts and fleece jackets at night. It's a long bumpy ride to get there. I could easily spend three or four nights in Arenal. We've been several times and still haven't seen and done it all - the volcano, the waterfall, Hanging Bridges, Cano Negro tour to see wildlife, rafting, and natural hot springs. It's one of our favorite areas.

The Peace Lodge is also nice for a couple of nights if you want a posh place - you can do a tour of Poas and the Doka Coffee Estate from there.
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 06:49 PM
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I would also recommend 4 days in Arenal and skip MV this trip.
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 08:04 PM
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Boyfriend more into the hiking, ecotourism, I'm definitely the Florblanca part of the trip! Now thinking that perhaps make it three nights in Arenal and on the way back to San Jose, spend a night at the Peace Lodge and then back to SJO for our flight out. Sounds like there is enough to keep us busy in Arenal for three nights as both Monteverde and Arenal offer the same activities.

Peace Lodge looks a little Disney like, but perhaps those are just the pics, based on what i am reading, all reviews are positive.
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Old Oct 26th, 2010, 05:54 AM
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www.fondavela.com best at MV El Establo not so much.

Have personally stayed at www.tabacon.com in a volcano view

room that LAVA the view was great at night the room was ok but

if you stay there your get 2 free hot spring days at $70/day

Tabacon best springs in the area the facility is not as great.

Kioro ok not great no springs no lava view but room better/

www.thespringscostarica.com probably the newest best but

still no lava view...

www.lostiguanaresort.com best lave view room if you can

live without the springs..

For me all in still www.tabacon.com for best deal free best

springs lava view...usually pick up deals on directrooms.com

bookit.com from $149/nt

Happy Hunting,
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Old Oct 26th, 2010, 06:02 AM
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keep in mind over on TripAdvisor for profit owner controlled

owned now sadly by for profit Expedia(EXPE on NYSE)

lots of bad reviews are all censored by lots of

hotel owners that pay to be in their secret owners forum

so many reviews are not as they seem some fake by competitors

some deleted some by clueless firstimers...

So some hotels get to delete all their negatives

Some like Tabacon who do not pay do not...

So Caveat Emptor hotels.com booking.com reviews more accurate

and timely and more honest than TripAdvisor
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Old Oct 26th, 2010, 08:05 AM
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jo, Peace Lodge is way over the top. We still enjoyed it though. It's got huge jacuzzi tubs, waterfall showers, lots of waterfalls on the property. The rooms have comfy beds and fireplaces, and nice balconies. One thing we loved there is that you can hand feed hummingbirds at certain times of day. That was so cool. And they have a nocturnal frog tour that's fun. The rocks that the place is made of are fake, so if that kind of thing will bother you then you may want to go somewhere more authentic. We resisted going there for a few trips, but when we went, we really enjoyed it. It's so relaxing after being out sweaty and hiking everywhere else. Three nights in Arenal and then a night there would be a good combo.

If your boyfriend is into hiking and ecotourism, you guys should go to the Osa sometime. Bosque del Cabo is gorgeous. Here's a video if you want to check it out for a future trip.

http://bosquedelcabo.com/home/index.html

The wildlife there is amazing.
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Old Oct 26th, 2010, 02:35 PM
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Thanks everyone. Volcanogirl, did you stay in a superior or delux room at the Peace Lodge? Also, with one night at Peace Lodge, how much time should we allot to experience the park and what did you think of the Doka Coffee Estate Tour? Thanks.
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Old Oct 26th, 2010, 02:46 PM
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We've stayed in both on separate occasions. The standard room is really nice, no need in my book to spend the extra money on the fancier room. We only did it because there were no standards available on one of our trips. One thing we did that I really enjoyed is getting up really early and having the entire waterfall hike to ourselves before the park opened to the public. There are a lot of exhibits - some we didn't really care about, but the aviary and butterfly house are cool, along with the waterfall hike, hummingbirds and frog tour. I just think it's a great place to decompress at the end of a trip. I really liked the Doka tour, but if you only have one day at the Peace Lodge, I'd skip it so you can enjoy the property. You really need a full day to do it.
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Old Oct 27th, 2010, 09:59 AM
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Volcanogirl, another question. Have you been to Manuel Antonio? We arrive into San Jose from Florblanca at noon, pick up our rental car and plan on driving to Arenal for 2 or 3 nights. If we spend 2 nights in Arenal, was considering driving to Manuel Antonio for the remaining 2 nights and then we are overnight in the Marriott San Jose (which is near the Peace Lodge/La Paz) before our early AM flight out. My concern is that with the drive to Manuel Antonio, we will cut our time short in Arenal and perhaps stretching ourselves to thin and should stick with the one night at the Peace Lodge.

Love your thoughts? Thanks.
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Old Oct 27th, 2010, 10:09 AM
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For me personally, 2 nights in Arenal and then 2 nights in MA wouldn't be enough time for me. Plus you'll spend 4-5 hours on the road in between, then about 3 hours getting back to San Jose. You wouldn't get enough time to really enjoy either spot, so I would stick with Arenal and Peace Lodge. I've been to MA, and for us, the best part was the beach inside the national park, but you'll already get your beach time at Florblanca. If you decide against the Peace Lodge, Xandari is another good option for a night.
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Old Oct 27th, 2010, 02:17 PM
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I think you're on the right track. 3-4 nights is better for Arenal than 2. Lots to do there. You should probably go on the Cano Negro tour for a good dose of wildlife. The standard rooms at Peace Lodge are over the top so agree there's really no need for a deluxe. You're correct in that it's a very contrived lodge, not natural, but does have nice things to offer. Personally, I would choose Manuel Antonio over PL, but ultimately you'd want 2-3 nights there as well so it's just not doable unless you can add a couple more nights.
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