Arenal trip report - we loved it!

Old Jul 29th, 2008, 09:49 AM
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Arenal trip report - we loved it!

We got back from our first CR trip on Friday, well physically we did, mentally; I'm starting to get back today. I wrote every detail down in a diary, so this may be a bit of overkill. Our family is me, husband and two sons ages 12 and 15. And I must say we couldn’t have done it without this forum. My whole clueless family was very impressed with everything I planned and all of the hotel arrangements. Thanks to everyone!
We flew Frontier from Denver to SJ non stop arriving at 5:25 a.m. We hired Luis ([email protected]) to be our driver and of course he was there waiting to take us to La Fortuna. Luis was wonderful! Started the trip with a stop at a local soda for our first experience with a "typical breakfast", which we all really enjoyed. We had reservations at Silencio del Campo and on the way in to town we made a quick stop at Arenal Mundo Aventura to make a reservation for zip lines the next day. SDC is incredible! The people were so nice, the rooms very comfortable, the grounds were beyond gorgeous, and they we able to accommodate a 9:30 check in, which just made our day even better. We had cabina #6 which is right by one of the trees where they leave fruit for the birds - we got a ton of great pictures. After a nap, a little swimming and a great lunch at the restaurant we made a reservation for that afternoon with Canoa Aventura to do a hike and the volcano. We hiked the Silencio Trail which was a relatively easy hike and very pretty. First thing we saw was an eyelash viper. After the hike they took us to the bridge to watch the flow. It was a little cloudy and rainy but we were able to see some activity. The next day we were picked up by Arenal Mundo for the zip lines. The walk up can be a little bit challenging, but it was so worth it. My family is still surprised that I did it, but I loved it, and felt very safe the whole time. After the information presentation on the Malikio we horse backed back to the bottom where we went into the butterfly and frog gardens. After getting back to SDC we were going to do the hanging bridges, but son #1 didn't even like the little one we did for the zips, and it was late so we decided to skip it. That night we caught a taxi in to La Fortuna and after walking around a little decided to eat at Nene's. Food and service was very good, but one word of caution: they told us the specials, but not the price. We were shocked when the bill for four of us came to $166.00 US. If you eat there, make sure you ask the cost if it's not on the menu.
We had made reservations at SDC to do Cano Negro on Wednesday with Canoa Aventura. HIGHLY RECOMMEND this tour! After a stop to see Keel Billed Toucans in the trees and then at the Iguana restaurant, which is a tour on its own, we made it to the reserve. We saw both type of sloths, all 3 types of monkeys, including the baby albino howler, caiman, JC lizards, bats, birds, you name it. If you do the Cano Negro, and happen to see the animals playing with a man's wallet, that would be ours. CC's are no good, but the little bit of cash would be great to have back. LOL. The lunch was very good, we had the arroz con pollo, they must have been tired of the complaints that I read about before we left (vgirl maybe?), because there was plenty of chicken.
That night we went into town again and ate a Don Ruffino's great food and service, good dessert and wonderful coffee, and no surprises on the bill. Taxi was about $7.00 each way.
On our last morning at SDC I got up at 6:30, not sure why, I think the volcano was talking to me because when I went out on the patio the volcano was in full view - top to bottom which was very rare. Woke up the family and we watched it spew smoke/gasses, which was so cool. I'm sure the people on the other side were getting a great show, but we were very happy with our view. I will try to get some of the pictures of it posted – it was just incredible. And of course 20 minutes, there was not mountain at all.
Last minute thoughts: We didn't do any of the hot springs, but really enjoyed the one at the hotel. The weather was what we expected, hot/humid/cool, rainy/not rainy, whatever it was it didn’t seem to matter at all. We absolutely loved the Silencio, and we all agreed we would go back time and again, and that hopefully the monstrosity next door will magically disappear. We had great luck with the Off wipes with DEET, but another word of caution here, they taste terrible.
Luis picked us up at 10:30 for our trip to Jaco, which I will write separately.
kimshotts is offline  
Old Jul 29th, 2008, 11:44 AM
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Sounds like a ton of fun in Arenal. I appreciated your detailed post because we are leaving in a week, doing the same frontier flight and then heading up to Arenal.

Having an overnight flight like that, how did you feel on the first day? Would we want to plan any activities or would you say we should just relax once getting to Arenal?

Oh and how many nights did you stay at SDC? Would you have liked more or less?
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 12:30 PM
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kim, I'm so glad you loved Arenal. After all our trips to CR, it's still my favorite spot. That was the people on our tour that complained about the arroz con pollo; it was kind of funny though because our guide specifically told them it had little tiny pieces of chicken, and they still complained about it. I'm glad you guys got to see the volcano! We stayed only 3 nights this trip, and I wasn't ready to leave.
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 01:04 PM
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Aquabot, the flight is long but CR is actually on Mountain time right now, so you don't have to make that adjustment. We were good after a 1.5 - 2 hour nap and did the volcano that night. Having a restaurant on site really helped because we ate and felt ready to go. We did have dessert for dinner that night and by 9:30 or so we were all in bed, but it wasn't a wasted day by any means. We stayed 3 nights, I would say for us that was good, but I could have found stuff for us to do if we had one more night, so either way would have worked out. There were some activities we didn't get to like the waterfall and the hanging bridges, but like most people here say I now have things to plan on our next trip.
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 08:46 PM
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Great start to your report! So sorry about the wallet but sounds like you have a good humour about it! If you get a charge for a crate of bananas you know who to blame Do you remember how many lines were at Arenal Mundo? Was it just ziplines or rappels as well?
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Old Jul 30th, 2008, 03:37 AM
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Thanks for the quick report! We're headed there as well, on Saturday. Glad to hear the rain didn't slow you down too much!
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Old Jul 30th, 2008, 06:49 AM
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Tully, it was all zipline, I think it was 10 total, no rappels. A few of the zips are very, very fast and one is like 7/10ths of a mile and very high. Having nothing to compare it to, I thought it was great. We had some girls in our group who must do zips often because one went upside down, they seemed to really enjoy it.
Luis sent me an email that there has been a citing of a caiman with an ipod - wonder where he got the money?!
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Old Jul 30th, 2008, 05:00 PM
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Kim,
I'm glad you and your family had such a wonderful time. I know exactly what you mean about the volcano: there one moment, gone the next.

Every time I hear about what people saw on the Cano Negro Tour I kick myself for skipping it.

I can't wait to see your photos.

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Old Jul 30th, 2008, 05:07 PM
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on the ipod! Thanks for the info.
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Old Aug 1st, 2008, 10:29 AM
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Caimen with ipods, monkeys with wallets... What's the world coming to? ;-)

Thanks for your report, Kim. Now you know firsthand why everyone raves about Arenal!

I'll be interested to hear about Jaco, since that's a place that seems to get more mixed reviews.
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Old Aug 1st, 2008, 12:27 PM
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I'm working on it now, but I will say I would go back in a heart beat.
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Old Aug 1st, 2008, 12:55 PM
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I am posting my pictures (55 of 750), I hope this works. They didn't upload in order, but I think it will be okay. http://picasaweb.google.com/KimShotts/CRPicturesByKim
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Old Aug 1st, 2008, 06:56 PM
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Awesome pictures! Thanks for sharing!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2008, 07:01 AM
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I loved your pictures. The anteater one is beautiful!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2008, 07:08 AM
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Thanks, somehow I missed posting the one of him on the end of the branch where you can almost see his tongue getting the ants. We were very lucky!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2008, 07:22 AM
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We've seen two anteaters - one in the Osa, and one in Arenal. I have a picture of one's booty and the other's nose peeking out from behind the branch; they're terrible!
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Old Aug 11th, 2008, 10:53 AM
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Hi Kim,

I liked your pics. Thanks for posting. Was the pic of the caimans at SDS taken near the pond towards the back of the property? We were looking around that pond at night and saw a lot of frogs and cane toads, but no caiman. I would have liked to see those. Were they small ones?
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