Costa Rica?

Jul 11th, 2005, 06:37 AM
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Costa Rica?

I am going to be traveling to Costa Rica soon and am having trouble deciding whether the beach part of my trip should be in the Central Pacific area (Manuel Antonio Park) or in the Northern Pacific area (Tamarindo or Montezuma). Has anyone been to either one or both of these spots in Costa Rica and can you provide an opinion on which one would be better for beach relaxing?

marrj is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 06:50 AM
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Been to Montezuma and Manual Antonio. Enjoyed them both.

MA has lots and lots and lots of activities, but most of the rooms are situated up high on the bluffs, with stunning views overlooking the Pacific and jungle.

Montezuma still has enough activity to keep you busy, is a lot more laid back than MA. We stayed at El Sano Banana Beach Bungalows (now called Ylang Ylang) right on the beach. Hammocks on the beach, under the trees.

It really depends on your definition of beach relaxing, what activities you are interested in and how long you will be staying?
dfarmer is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 07:46 AM
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That was my dilemma also! I have chosen Manuel Antonio because most people on this forum and other forums all said MA was a good destination for first timers and a must see at least once. Although we are not going until December, I feel very comfortable with my decision. Good luck with yours!
Jayneann is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 08:05 AM
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The 1st part of my trip will be to Arenal and Monteverde so I want the 2nd part of the trip to be more laid back where my girfriend and I can plan daily activities on our own (unguided tours). I am looking for a fun beach atmosphere (beach bars, water activities, snorkeling, etc.) as well as some inland adventures that can be done in a few hours. I would probably rent a car in Tamarindo and find daily activities to do where I can get to with a car, such as driving down to Montezuma for a day, etc.

I have heard many people say that Manuel Antonio park and the Nicoya Peninsula are both great but different.

Is the vegetation tropical in the Nicoya peninsula or is everything brown and dry? Are there many daily activities that can done there or is it more just restricted to relaxing on the beach? Is there good wildlife in the Nicoya peninsula?

Manuel Antonio seems like it has the best of both worlds (beach, tropical vegetation, wildlife, daily activities); however, it sounds like a pretty touristy spot?

My main focus, though, on the 2nd part of the trip is a nice beach. After visiting Arenal and Monteverde, I think I would be dissapointed if we went somewhere that did not have a good beach atmosphere. Even if there was a lot of other activities, I would be dissapointed if I couldn't lay on the beach and swim in the ocean where a bunch of other people were.

Thanks for the advice!
marrj is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 10:05 AM
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I've been to MA and Montezuma and I agree w/the previous posters, but if I had to choose only one, I'd say MA. It is just so gorgeous there (rainforest and beaches), despite the fact that it's more built-up. My husband and I liked Montezuma a lot too, but the beaches were a little less swimmable overall (more rocks to avoid) and the forest we hiked in there was nowhere near as lush and pretty as the MA national park (although it's not brown or dry or anything--just not as lush in comparison to MA). And we saw more wildlife in MA.

Montezuma is a more laid-back town overall, but you can relax on the beach at MA all you want, too.
allison04 is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 10:32 AM
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This information has been really helpful and I appreciate your opinions. I think, after reading this and talking to some travel agents today, that Manuel Antonion Park is the best spot for a little of everything and seems to be recommended over a place like Tamarindo.

One agent today, gave me her personal recommendation to replace Monteverde with a white-water rafting trip (Pacuare River trip). She commented that it is more exciting than Monteverde and that you see a lot of nature, waterfalls, etc. Can anyone provide some insight into the difference between these two destinations?

Thanks again!
marrj is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 11:16 AM
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Well the Pacuare River Rafting is excellent. You can do a one day rafting or overnight trips.

As to whether to exchange Monteverde for Pacuare, well they are totally different. We much enjoyed both. It really depends on what you want to experience.

What is the rest of your itinerary - how many days do you have? When we rafted the Pacuare, we did this on our first full day and then headed out for other areas. It may be that you can do them both!
dfarmer is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 11:28 AM
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The rest of my itinerary is to visit:

Arenal Volcano - 2 days
Manuel Antonio Park - 4-5 days

I will be traveling from Sept. 2-11. We will have 9 full days, leaving out on the 10th day.

I wanted to try and stick with 3 destinations so there is time to relax at all 3. I also wanted to have a little more time on the Pacific coast to be able to enjoy the beach and to relax after taking some adventure tours.

marrj is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 11:32 AM
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marrj, Monteverde is unforgettable, magnificent and wild and wet and mysterious and ancient. Nothing can replace it.

Is Monteverde exciting? Well, that depends on what excites you. I woke up each morning excited at the possibilities of what we would discover, in our early morning walk through a beautiful cloud forest, an ancient primary forest that has never been cut down by man...

Near the top of my long trip report you'll see more on Monteverde...See "We're Alive! Costa Rica Trip Report: June 2005: Monkeys, insects..." It gives you a good idea of what Monteverde is like.
Melissa5 is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 11:48 AM
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I loved Monteverde, and there are some very exciting things to do there if you want, but with 9 nights you probably would need to choose either Pacuare or Monteverde.

If you want to raft and want to go to Monteverde then - Consider rafting on the Savegre River while in MA! You might even consider a couple nights at the Rafiki Safari Lodge, easily accessible from MA -

I know - it gets confusing! We have been 4 times, normally for 10-12 days and always try to limit to about 3 places per trip.
dfarmer is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 07:14 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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We were in Tamarindo from 3 p.m. on a Tues. to noon the following Monday and we did not get done all that we wanted to do. We loved the town and the area (mainly due to the water sports and the long walks on the beach). We took a morning 8:00 a.m. to noon snorkel tour near Conchal Beach (boat ride there), we took a 2 hr. estuary tour and there is another one that I hear is even better than the first (Tamarindo and Langosta estuaries), the kids took surf lessons and surfed another day (wish we had more time to surf more), my husband and son boogie boarded right in front of our hotel, we took an 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Buena Vista Combo Tour about 2 hrs. away (Zip lines, horseback riding in the mt., water falls, mud baths and hot springs pool, - price included a buffet meal, we did not have time for a sunset sail nor the horseback riding that our hotel has (right across the st. from the hotel. We ate well, drank fun drinks, loved our stay at Hotel Capitan Suizo. We can't wait to go back to Tamarindo and then venture out to the other beaches the next time.
Dyer is offline  
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