Arenal or Monteverde

Sep 29th, 2004, 12:02 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Arenal or Monteverde

My husband and I are visiting these two areas in mid-May. Would you suggest two days at Arenal and one day at Monteverde or vice versa? Thanks.
LCL is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 12:04 PM
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I have the same question! If you only have time for one, should we hit Arenal or Monteverde? Thanks all.
dcmalia is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 12:32 PM
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You would need to be at Monteverde at least 2 nights to have one day to enjoy it. Of the two, it depends entirely on what you would prefer. The highlights of Arenal, of course, are the volcano itself and the hot springs at Tabacon Resort--in my opinion, a "don't miss"! There are also many other activities that can be done at that location and from that location.

Monteverde is high, literally in the clouds (thus cloud forest), cooler, more rain or mist, with good hiking and an excellent canopy adventure. From what I understand, Monteverde is quite a unique atmosphere, a system unto itself. A little world of mist and forest!

Both have a hanging bridge system. Both have canopy adventures. The main difference is climate and the nature of the other activities.

Monteverde is good if you are interested in birding, although there are other areas said to be even better. However, there is also great birding (and other wildlife) at Cano Negro, a popular day trip from Arenal.
shillmac is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 08:34 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Personally, I think your chances of seeing Arenal are pretty slim in mid May. There is always a chance. I would consider going up to Monteverde for the longer time. There is a lot to see and do up there. I have been to both places multiple times and to me, Monteverde offers a whole lot more than the Arenal area. The option to go to Cano Negro is a good one from Arenal area should you stay long enough there.
Jessie_ is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2004, 05:54 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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People always say there is lots to do in Monteverde, but I would love it if someone would expand on that. We can't decide between Arenal or Monteverde or a brief time at both. When I research Monteverde it seems there is simply a brief walk in the cloud forrest early in the morning. I am not interested in the serpetarium or the cheese factory. I can do the zip lines and bridges in Arenal.

So what else does Monteverde offer that makes it worth my while over the long, bumpy road?
twoinluv is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2004, 08:41 PM
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First off, I just love the sense of community up there. It is the total experience that keeps me going back. Walking through the clouds, never knowing when yet another beautiful rainbow is going to be seen. It is very Jurrasic park.

There are some beautiful art galleries as well as CASEM which is the womens coop.

Two reserves as well as Finca Ecologica and the Childrens Eternal Rainforest to hike around on. All have slightly different perspectives. The butterfly farm is a very interesting place, granted you can see butterflies at La Paz along with waterfalls as well as other places but, again, it is part of the total package thing of Monteverde.

Gabriel's orchid garden is just fascinating and they give you a magnifying glass when you go in because some of the orchids are so small you need one to see them.

Horseback riding down to the San Luis waterfall takes you through some unbelievable country.

As far as the zip lines, yes you can do them in many other areas of the country but, they won't be the same. You are lucky up there if it is cloudy so you get the true experience of gliding through the trees in a cloud forest. (I prefer to take the slow route and walk through though LOL.)

Some people need more specific things to see or do rather than to just experience and appreciate the beauty of a place by just being there. Monteverde is not for everyone. For city people who race from place to place it is a shock to the senses to actually take time and smell the roses although I have met a lot of New Yorkers all over CR who just love the slower pace there.

You might be better off at a place like Arenal where you have to drive to each place. You will then feel like you are going places and doing things. You can walk on the hanging bridges, hike down to the waterfall, hike on the old lava bed, visit the caves-do be prepared to get wet. You can drive over closer to the lake and go windsurfing or fishing. You can take a day trip to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui to go rafting or just take a slow boat. You can go to Cano Negro which is a fascinating place.

The thing that is just so awesome about CR is that it has something for everyone. It may be small in size but the diversity of the country is unbelievable. It may not have huge ruins or big fancy big wonders of the world there. What it is is a place to rejuvenate, once you have felt the wonder of Costa Rica you will understand the meaning of Pura Vida.
Jessie_ is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2004, 08:50 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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I've enjoyed your description, Jessie. I think the reason we keep delaying going to Monteverde is the number of people who have told us it "isn't all that great". I doubt that, however. It sounds beautiful. People have such different expectations and perspectives as you have pointed out. Same with Dominical--half the people we've talked to say "don't bother", the other half say, "you've just got to go". Truth is, we yet to go anywhere in CR that we haven't enjoyed. I think it has to do with one's openness to all kinds of experiences and to be able to appreciate even the small things that make a place special and unique.
shillmac is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2004, 08:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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It is largely a matter of personal taste, and whether or not one takes some time to research the area he's traveling to. We enjoyed both Arenal and Monteverde, but if could choose only one, we'd take Monteverde. If you have trouble choosing, flip a coin because you'll have fun in either place.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2004, 05:16 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 94
Jessie - Thank you for your detailed response. You have firmed up what I had been wavering on, and that is that while Monteverde sounds beautiful we need to be more active. So Arenal here we come!

twoinluv is offline  
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