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Best 2 week itinerary in Costa Rica?

Old Feb 21st, 2011, 04:34 PM
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Best 2 week itinerary in Costa Rica?

Me, my girlfriend, and one other couple are planning to spend 2 weeks (July 1st to July 16th) in Costa Rica and want to know the best itinerary for covering certain parts of the country. We've decided the must visits are Arenal/La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, San Jose, and Puerto Viejo. We'd like to add something else but aren't quite sure what would be best (another beach on the Pacific side? Is the weather in July better on the Pacific or Caribbean side?).

We don't want to spend HUGE amounts of money (want to average about $70/night/couple) on lodging but definitely don't want to do the hostel thing. We also want to be mindful of the time spent on buses. I had the idea to rent a car for a week (http://www.renta4x4incostarica.com/ Anyone heard of or use this company?) while visiting everything west of San Jose and then taking a bus from San Jose to the Carribbean side).

Here's what we've got so far (totally adjustable based on the knowledge of you fine folk!):
July 1- Fly into SJO, Spend night in town.
July 2- Drive to Manuel Antonio/ Relax
July 3- Tour MA National Park, Relax on beach
July 4- Drive to Arenal, explore
July 5- Zip Lines and explore
July 6- (Help)
July 7-(Help)
July 8- (Help)
July 9- Drive to San Jose, bus to Puerto Viejo
July 10- Relax on beach
July 11- Snorkel somewhere
July 12- (Help)
July 13- (Help)
July 14-Bus to San Jose to hang with friend
July 15- Volunteer with friend
July 16- Back to the US

Can you guys help me put together a better itinerary? Any thoughts/ideas would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Feb 21st, 2011, 08:07 PM
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Add one day each to Arenal and Manuel Antonio, add a stop in Monteverde or maybe San Gerardo de Dota.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 05:11 AM
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Have you thought about going to Tortuguero? Two nights is perfect there, and you would be there during egg-laying time. Lots of wildlife in the area and a neat canal environment that's different from a lot of other areas.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 12:07 PM
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In Arenal you could your "wandering around" won't take long, the town is small. If you're up for a long walk you could go to the La Fortuna waterfall.
Other days you could do the "Hanging bridges" (definitely worth it to me). I would also recommend the Eco Termales hot springs.
We were just in Puerto Viejo in January so it's fresh in my mind.
You can go rafting on the Pacuare, and the pick up and drop off can be different locations. You can get picked up in Arenal and then dropped off in PV, which would eliminate your drive to SJ and then bus to PV in one day (that will be a very long day of travel!!) Or you can do rafting back from PV to SJ instead of taking the bus a 2nd time. We went with Exploradores Outdoors and it was awesome. It was $99 so not ridiculous at all since it includes the transportation.

Are you interested at all in learning how to surf? You can spend a morning doing that in PV. We also went to the Jaguar Rescue Centre where you can play with baby monkeys and meet baby sloths - definitely worth it. The whole time we were there we rented bicycles which was nice and made it very easy to get around. We also went on a private tour (with our surf instructor) to private waterfalls and a local "chocolate lady" (they make chocolate in the traditional home-made way - very interesting). We stayed at Totem Resort Hotel which I would recommend and it was near your price range and included breakfast. It is outside of PV in "Playa Cocles" but a 20 minute walk or 5 minute bike ride. We biked to Manzanillo one day and Punta Uva another. In the evenings we went out a couple times to clubs and enjoyed the music. We loved the vibe in PV.
Enjoy your trip!!!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 05:51 AM
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I agree with all previous posts, adding another day in MA and Arenal and great idea for pickup and dropoff at 2 locations on a rafting trip. This is my second winter in MA, I love it, and just returned from a weeks trip to the Carribbean coast, Tortugero, Cahuita and PV. Took a kayaking mangrove tour here in MA through Safari Mangrove, it was wonderful. I've never kayaked before but it was easy and pleasant, I'm 65, my 42 yr old son was visiting me and he loved it also, saw a troop of capuchins, basilisk lizards, tiny crabs along the banks in addition to many shore birds and 3 different kinds of mangroves.
Many good restaurants here and on Thursday nights there is a fun (and hard) trivia game in Quepos at Dos Locos, an expat bar/restaurant. I've ziplined here, but the best was with Skytram in Arenal. I have a fear of heights and one line is 600 ft high, but the views of lake Arenal and the volcano behind you plus the speed you're going, distract you enough it's not that terrifying! Don't rush your trip and try to cover too much ground, you'll miss a lot in the particular areas and you will want to return, everyone does.
Even though it wasn't turtle season, Tortugero was interesting in that you can only get there by water, and kayaking the canals you would see plenty of wildlife. To watch the turtles egglaying would be worth the visit in itself. PV has a reggae feel, great beaches and DO NOT MISS the Jaguar Rescue Center!!! I was in heaven. After 2 years trying to get a good pic of a sloth facing me, invariably when you see one it's a rear view, they have little ones right in front of your face, and you can pet them. Then in the monkey enclosure you stand among the little howler monkeys and they climb on your back and head. While I was there 2 toucans that have been released came to visit the 2 still being treated. Best close up pics of toucans I ever got. One monkey they released ( so far only females have been released, they take all of them out to the jungle to interact with the wild ones everyday, when a female hooks up with a mate, they get accepted into the troop)is now pregnant and comes back to visit while her mate keeps a close eye on her from the trees. Just a fantastic experience. The beach and water in PV are very nice, just a fun place and a different vibe from the Pacific coast. Take your time and soak up each area's ambiance. Regardless, you'll have a fantastic trip!

Karen
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