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Costa Rica 10 day/9 night trip- are 2 locations enough?

Costa Rica 10 day/9 night trip- are 2 locations enough?

Old Jun 27th, 2012, 05:26 AM
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Costa Rica 10 day/9 night trip- are 2 locations enough?

My fiance and I are getting married in Costa Rica this October near Puerto Viejo and I am have a REALLY tough time trying to figure out how much time we should spend in each location. We are working with a great tour company, but I was hoping that some of you that have been several times may have some advice.

The original plan is to fly into SJO and drive to PV in the same day. The next day is the wedding and then we spend another 5 days in PV. Is that too much time to spend in that location? We only have 2 half day tours (Animal rescue/Chocolate tour and a guided hike in Gandoca-Manzanillo) planned so that will leave a lot of time to fill with lounging on the beach, kayaking and snorkeling. Then we use a rafting trip to get to Arenal. We would spend the next day there with a canopy tour and then make our way down to the La Fortuna Waterfall. The next day we fly out of SJO.

Would anyone recommend taking away a free day in PV to add another day to Arenal? Is there enough to do in Arenal for another full day without spending a bunch on a guided tour? If we are going to the Jaguar Rescue Center near PV is Proyecto Asis worth the trip?

Another option is to take away 2 days in the PV area to squeeze in a 2 day/1 night tour in Tortuguero or a 2 day/1 night stay in Sarapiqui. I have read great things about both on the forums, but would either of those be worth cutting our time in PV down to just 4 days and adding extra travel time?

Planning this trip would be so much easier if we could just stay longer! We will just have to come back again in a few years since I really want to make it to the Osa area and this time we are going during the month with the heaviest rain there.

Thank you so much for any advice or suggestions!
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 05:58 AM
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I would do PV plus Sarapiqui and Tortuguero. 4+2+3 or 4+3+2
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 06:52 AM
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Do the side trip to Tortuguero. You could still catch the end of turtle nesting or the hatching of the babies at that time of year Look into using the Watsons and their Riverboat Francesca.
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 07:38 AM
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It really depends on what you're looking for. If you're interested in seeing turtles and being in a canal environment, then go with Tortuguero. If you want adventure activities and a better shot at seeing the volcano cone, and a chance to visit the hot springs go with more time in Arenal. A lot of the lodges in Tortuguero will assign you to a group to eat with and tour with, not sure if you'd want to do that on your honeymoon. We stayed at Tortuga Lodge, and they let you be a little more independent but they're also a little pricier. Most lodges in Tortuguero just have screens for windows. Arenal offers a little more variety in accommodations. We really liked Proyecto Asis but haven't been to the jaguar rescue center so can't compare. At Proyecto Asis, we were able to feed monkeys, scarlet macaws, and a sloth which was pretty neat. The Cano Negro tour in Arenal is also fun if you have a full day to spend on the river looking for wildlife.
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 12:16 PM
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I would suggest the overnight tour to Bocas del Toro in Panama from PV. It's about a three hour transfer (car, walk across the bridge/border, car, water taxi) which is an adventure on its own. Then you can choose to spend the night on one of the many islands or Bocas Town, which we did. You arrive about noon and then you have all afternoon to check out the town or visit another island. We just walked around town and had dinner at one of the really great restaurants on the water and then listened to live music at a few bars. The next morning we headed out on our tour early (we were the only ones on the tour BTW) which consisted of dolphin watching, great snorkling (way better than in costa rica) at two different locations, lunch at a beautiful restaurant in the middle of the water, and a couple hours beach time at Red Frog Beach. We got back to our hotel in PV by about 5 PM. It was one of the best tours and one of the most cool places we've ever been.
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Old Jun 28th, 2012, 09:23 AM
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Personally I wouldn't attempt to fly into San Jose and drive to Puerto Viejo the day before my wedding. Things happen - planes get delayed, landslides close roads. I would want at least another day in PV prior to the wedding!

I love Tortuguero, have been twice and going back again, and it would be very easy to add in from PV.
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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 06:35 AM
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Volcanogirl- I found Tortuga Lodge when I was looking around online, but unfortunately it it a little bit higher than we wanted to pay once taxes and meals are added in. We just want a clean, comfortable and attractive place to stay. Screen windows are just fine with us since we are there to enjoy nature; however, a place where most of the critters stay out of my bed would be nice.

MichelleY and Colibri- Do either or you happen to have a good suggestion for a place to stay in Tortuguero?

Kayekaye- You are not the first person to suggest that to me. Bocas del Toro isn't too much like Puerto Viejo except with a little bit better snorkeling? Do you have any good suggestions for a place to stay if we decide to go there? Was it safe staying so close to town? If I can find somewhere to stay that isn't too expensive, we might be able to stretch our stay in Bocas to two nights. Would that make the travel there worth the trip?

Colibri- As we modify our itinerary, it looks like the wedding might be the third day we are in Costa Rica. The reason I wanted it so close to the start of the trip is so I don't have to sorry quite as much about how sunburned I get. My fiance and I both burn very easily
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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 07:59 AM
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Gotcha - you could also check Turtle Beach Lodge, Mawamba Lodge, and Laguna Lodge - those are all popular too.
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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 01:02 PM
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Check with the Watsons. They offer transportation and lodging packages to Tortuguero. See if they can work within your price point.
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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 01:08 PM
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I second the recommendation of Michelle to check with the Watsons. You can google them and you should find a website. We used them several years ago and everything was taken care of. You have the benefit of a much smaller group and personal service if you go with them to Tortuguero.
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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 01:21 PM
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http://www.tortuguerocanals.com/tours-boats.html

Watson's website
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Old Jun 30th, 2012, 12:55 PM
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Third rec for Modesto and Fran Watson! You can meet them at the dock in Moin for the 3 hr. boat trip to Laguna Lodge. Prices are very reasonable - excellent wildlife guides. I've gone twice w/ them, can't wait for Feb. for my third Tortuguero trip.
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Old Jun 30th, 2012, 08:32 PM
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We are having a REALLY hard time trying to deciding whether to spend two full days in Tortuguero or in Bocas del Toro. They are just so different. I wish we could go to both!

It seems like most of you in this thread really like Tortuguero. It appears to be a very nice laid back place. For those that have been to Bocas, is it too much of a "party" place? We really do not want to go there for bars, but rather for nice beaches, snorkeling and a jungle tour.
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Old Jul 1st, 2012, 06:05 AM
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Bocas is only a party place if you want it to be. Bocas town does have lots of restaurants and bars but we were still in bed by 10pm. We stayed at Swans Caye which is a cheap clean hotel on the edge of town. We never felt unsafe. You can also choose to stay on one of the many islands and you can still take a water taxi over to Bocas town for dinner. We booked our trip through Gecko Trail Adventures and didn't have any issues.
Its hard to compare Bocas del Toro to PV. They are completely different. BDT is all water, water taxis, island hoping, snorkling, and dolphins. PV to me is more beach time with some wildlife in the parks and rehab centers, chocolate tours, etc.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2012, 06:18 AM
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If you are looking for nice beaches and snorkeling then Tortuguero wouldn't be a good fit. The beaches there have very strong currents and no one swims. Tortguero is known for its excellent wildlife viewing via boat tours.

Sounds like Bocas would work better for you - it's still on my endless list!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2012, 06:41 AM
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I agree with col. If you want nice beaches and snorkeling, that's not really Tortuguero. Due to strong currents, sharks, crocs, etc. people don't swim there, and the beach is sort of volcanic looking. Go there if you want to see a lot of wildlife and spend a lot of time touring canals via boat.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2012, 05:23 AM
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I think we are going to go with Bocas del Toro for this trip mainly for the reason that this is our honeymoon and we would like to spend time with each other and it sounds like Tortuguero is more of a in groups thing. Wanting to experience Tortuguero will just give us a good reason to come back again!

It looks like we will spend 1 and a half days in Arenal, 1 day rafting Pacuare, 4 and a half near Puerto Viejo, and 2 and a half in Bocas del Toro. Now if we could just pick where we want to stay in Bocas, everything would be all set. I can't wait!

Thank you all for your help and we will definitely go with Riverboat Francesca when we make it to Tortuguero.
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