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Base camp in San Jose for the whole Costa Rica trip a bad idea?

Base camp in San Jose for the whole Costa Rica trip a bad idea?

Old Dec 7th, 2008, 09:57 AM
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Base camp in San Jose for the whole Costa Rica trip a bad idea?

Am i in trouble?
My husband and I've booked to say at Casa Conde Hotel in San Jose for 4 night of our travel to Costa Rica.

Thought I could easily arrange day trips to Arenal / Monteverde / Tobacon Hot Springs / Jaco Beach etc.

Seek for some advise in arranging 5-day itenery.

I have option of 1) hiring a private tour giude for 5 days, 2) take interbus from town to town - but our trip is relatively short, or 3) rent a car and drive around?

I've confirmed my Christmas trip just a few days ago and honestly, we have not prepared / studied so much.

Help me out people.



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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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Wow, maybe you could change your hotel at this time! Consider making Arenal or Manual Antonio your central point and fit activities in around that location. You need to get a guide book instantly and figure out what is important to you. You have underestimated travel considerably.
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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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It's a 4 hour drive each way from San Jose to Arenal and 4+ to Monteverde. This website has driving/bus times:

http://www.govisitcostarica.com/trav...velTime.asp#88

Arenal=La Fortuna
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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 11:40 AM
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Thank you guys,

I've checked with the hotel and there's $25 penalty. But i guess i must change the reservation I made.

I've contacted this 'Danny' guy - many people seem to have hired him - as a personal guide for our 4-day trip.

Do u think it's wise to bring a Lonely Planet on our journey? or reading enough websites prior to our journey is enough?
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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 11:58 AM
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There's no way you have time to see all those place in your time frame. I would just base myself in Arenal and do the volcano, hot springs, Cano Negro tour, Hanging Bridges, waterfall, ziplines, etc. You may have to stay a first or last night closer to the airport depending upon your flight times.
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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 12:50 PM
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Thank you Volcanogirl.

After this trip, hopefully i'll become volcanogirl2. kiki~

Do you have any suggestion for accomodation in Arenal area?

I'd appreciate at least three places. It's only 2 weeks away and I hope to get a room at a nice place.
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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 03:58 PM
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We love the Lost Iguana - very nice place with volcano views, nice grounds, lots of trails on the property. Rooms have balconies with two rocking chairs, and ours had a jacuzzi. It's a busy time of year, so I hope you can get in. Good luck!
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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 04:43 PM
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Arenal Paraiso, El Silencio del Campo, Lost Iguana, all good places. I agree I would take the $25 penalty, trying to do day trips will be an excercise in frustration and you will see much of what CR is not well known for - the roads. I would base myself in Arenal of Manuela Antonio for such a short trip.
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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 06:48 PM
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Has anyone had a 'private guide'?
they charge $180/day and what does this include??? I am having very tough time understanding his email.
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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 07:05 PM
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We've hired private drivers to get us between spots and private guides to do birding/animal watching excursions, but not a guide for a daily fee.
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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 07:33 PM
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tully & VG

Lucky I was able to find a room at Hotel Silencio del Campo for the first two nights.

Our CR trip is 5 day long-24/25/26/27/28 Dec 2008

24 Airpot-La Fortuna-Arenal
25/26 Arenal-Monteverde

move from Hotel El Silencio del Campo to Lands in Love Hotel(?)

27 Monteverde-San Jose
28 San Jose-Airpot

How does it look? is it ok?
And plus, can you suggest some accomodation at Monteverde?

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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 05:30 AM
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We stayed at Fonda Vela in Monteverde and liked it. If you stay there, request one of the new junior suites - they are spacious with big windows and nice views of the garden. Lots of beautiful birds on the property and a cozy restaurant with a fireplace. The prices were pretty affordable.
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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 06:44 AM
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Forgive my bluntness, but you're making a big mistake by trying to cram Monteverde and Arenal into only three full days of sightseeing.

Out of five days, you're traveling on four of them. Just a bad, bad idea.

Pick either Monteverde, San Jose, or Arenal--and only one.

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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 06:58 AM
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I agree with RAC, you are trying to do too much in a short timeframe - you will only see roads!
Pick one spot - Arenal, Monteverde or Manual Antonio since each has loads of activities to fill four days.
If you do go from Arenal to MV, we liked the Arco Iris in Santa Elena, but you will be lucky to get reservations anywhere at this late date for Christmas.
Buena suerte - good luck!
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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 07:49 AM
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It takes about 4 hours to go from Arenal to Monteverde; if you try to do both, you will spend a lot of time on the roads. We did Jeep Boat Jeep with Desafio to save time, but I think you could stay the entire time in Arenal and be happy. You just don't have a lot of time for travel with such a short time frame.
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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 08:01 AM
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ok...things start to make sense to me now.
I'm dropping Monteverde.

I decided to stay in Arenal for 2 nights and in San Jose for 2 nights.

What kinds of daily tour are there to do in San Jose?
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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 08:04 AM
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I would do a tour to Poas volcano and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Poas clouds up, so you have to get there early in the a.m. La Paz Waterfall Gardens is about an hour outside San Jose and has 5 gorgeous waterfalls you can hike to, also the Peace Lodge grounds have a hummingbird garden that is amazing. At certain times of day you can hand feed the hummingbirds. We loved that.
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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 08:12 AM
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Hopefully when you are saying San Jose, you really mean Alajuela. There are several nice places to stay fairly close to the airport that offer day tours. San Jose itself doesn't offer much to most people, especially if it is your first visit.
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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 08:18 AM
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Thanx VC. My husband and I will definately follow ur suggestion.

How did you go around?

rental car/private transportation/local tours/bus??

I'll be staying at Holtel Silencio del Campo. Lucky we got a room.
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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 08:35 AM
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To go from city to city, we hired private drivers through our hotels. In the places where we stayed, our hotels had free shuttles or we used taxis. Lots of people rent cars as well; Tri-color comes recommended. When we did tours, the guides would pick us up at our hotels and drop us back off. Instead of staying in San Jose, we stayed at the Peace Lodge, so we would be close to the waterfalls and to Poas. We booked our tour through them.
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