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-   -   Arenal or Monteverde (https://www.fodors.com/community/mexico-and-central-america/arenal-or-monteverde-834372/)

Bunkhedena Apr 6th, 2010 03:59 AM

Arenal or Monteverde
 
My wife, our 17 year old daughter and I are visiting Costa Rica this Christmas. We will stay 5 days in the Jaco area & do day trips to Manuel Antonio and Carara. We have two nights to spend in either Monteverde or Arenal (including New Year's) and will drive there from Jaco.

When I read about Arenal I decide to go there and when I read about Monteverde, I change my mind and decide to go there.

I'd appreciate it if you tell me the reasons why you'd recommend one place over the other for 2 nights.

Thank you.

colibri Apr 6th, 2010 06:46 AM

It all depends on what you are interested in - MV draws more birders and botanists while Arenal has the active volcano and all the adventure activities.

MV is a beautiful cloud forest reserve (along with Santa Elena reserve), small town of Santa Elena has many restaurants. There is Selvatura for canopy tour and/or hanging bridges, night hikes, waterfalls.

Arenal offers more variety - the volcano, of course, hiking at the national park and the hanging bridges, thermal springs along with canopy tours, waterfall hikes and rappels and Cano Negro boat trips.

I have been to Arenal more than MV, but thoroughly enjoy both destinations. Arenal has better roads, easier to get there from Jaco. For just two nights, I'd go to Arenal.

But honestly, I would cut time off Jaco and put more time at Arenal. Jaco has a bit of a seedy, party town reputation and many people avoid it.

colibri Apr 6th, 2010 06:47 AM

Forgot to add that we have seen much more wildlife at Arenal versus MV, but MV has the beautiful quetzals!

volcanogirl Apr 6th, 2010 07:02 AM

We enjoyed Arenal more and have gone back several times. Love seeing the volcano, doing the Cano Negro tour, hiking the waterfall, and enjoying the natural hot springs. Also the wide variety of adventure activities. Monteverde had very cold, rainy weather when we were there, but we did enjoy seeing the cloud forest and quetzals. Monteverde is a pain to get to because the road is long and bumpy. Make sure the Jaco area is what you want; like col said, it has a party reputation.

Bunkhedena Apr 6th, 2010 10:49 AM

Thanks for the information. We're actually staying at the Marriott Los Suenos in Playa Herradura. I was lazy and it was easier to spell Jaco than Playa Herradura.

My intention is to go to Arenal because I think it offers more for the 3 of us.

The Cano Negro tour looks really interesting.

Do you have any recommendations for a hotel. Do you think I should stay in La Fortuna or on the western side of the volcano.

volcanogirl Apr 6th, 2010 10:57 AM

Our favorite is the Lost Iguana; Silencio del Campo is also popular, as is the Arenal Observatory Lodge. LI and AOL are on the lava side of the volcano. Silencio is closer to town though.


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