Costa Rica: Best Arenal/Tabacon Tour

Oct 28th, 2003, 06:36 AM
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Costa Rica: Best Arenal/Tabacon Tour

I am looking for suggestions for the best company to arrange a combination tour of Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Hot Springs. I know it will be a long day from San Jose (I'm staying at the Real Intercontinental), but I'm just not adventurous enough to stay in the rainforest, even somewhere as beautiful as the Tabacon Lodge. I am looking for a company that will give me the maximum time spent at Arenal and Tabacon, the shortest transportation time, the smallest tour groups. Suggestions?

Also, has anyone tried to do the Canopy Tour on the same day as seeing Arenal and Tabacon? It seems like it would be too much to do in one day, but both The Original Canopy Tours and Costa Rica Tours offer a package where you can do all three things ($120 per person) in one day. It just seems like too many activities.
fluffnfold is offline  
Oct 28th, 2003, 10:24 AM
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I'm not sure why you're trying to squeeze this all into one day from SJ. You say you're not adventurous enough to stay in the rainforest, but I have a suspicion that you don't quite realize what "staying in the rainforest" means. Tabacon (as well as numerous other hotels) are not camping lodges; rather many places you can stay are nicer than hotels you'll find in the U.S. Book a hotel in the Arenal area, and spend some time there, going to the hot springs, canopy tour, hiking, etc.... then go back to your hotel and take a hot shower, turn on the air conditioning, and (in some places) watch HBO. If I misunderstand your statement about not wanting to stay in the rainforest, please let me know what you mean
CarolM is offline  
Oct 28th, 2003, 04:34 PM
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A canopy tour, Arenal and Tabacon are way too much to try to accomplish in one day. You will find that you are being rushed through some incredible scenery. This area is one of the most beautiful in Costa Rica! I would suggest you spend an evening in the Arenal area in order to get the most of this part of the country. Tabacon Resort is breath-taking, and you would be hard pressed to find a nicer place in the States at twice the price. My husband and I have stayed in La Fortuna (near Arenal Volcano)on 3 of our 4 trips to Costa Rica in the past two years. There are many places to choose from, and you won't feel like you're 'in the rainforest'.
cateringbaby1 is offline  
Oct 29th, 2003, 05:41 AM
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Thanks, posters. My main concern with staying in the jungle is bugs: tarantulas and scorpions, also snakes. Last year, my husband and I traveled to Belize and debated about staying in the jungle. We opted to stay in the city and do day trips from there, and were very glad about our decision. We visited one of the jungle resorts (which had A/C, 24-hour electricity, all the comforts of home) during one of our day trips, and found that I would have cried if I had elected to stay there. Yes, it was beautiful, but VERY remote and secluded. As we were looking at their swimming pool, we glanced down at our feet and saw a boa constrictor eating another snake! That was enough jungle for me. So while I am not afraid to day trip, I don't think I could sleep there. I will take your advice and not do the canopy tour while visiting Tabacon/Arenal. Those two things will be more than enough in one day.
fluffnfold is offline  
Oct 29th, 2003, 11:22 AM
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Jacamar Naturalist Tours in Arenal runs a great all-day tour that covers all the "greatest hits" of the area. Sorry, I don't have contact info. But, I'm sure you can have the hotel staff ring them up for you from San Jose.
Kenstee is offline  
Oct 29th, 2003, 11:38 AM
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If you're certain of your decision to stay in San Jose then, I appologize. I just wanted to give you a different perspective of Tabacon resort.

My husband and I stayed there for our honeymoon and I would not characterize Tabacon as in the jungle. The only time I saw any type of wildlife was during a hike up towards the volcano and, even then, the monkeys we saw on our hike were probably 30 feet away. The hotel room was immaculate and it's not an area with lots of mosquito's or bugs. We even had a hot tub outside of our room with a view of the volcano. We did stay at more remote area's during our honeymoon that were more like you described in Belize but Tabacon was not one of them.
RedChicky is offline  
Oct 29th, 2003, 11:56 AM
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I would also encourage you to re-evaluate your plan to visit Arenal/Tabacon as a daytrip. It's one of those places that is heavily trafficked with daytrippers, especially during dry season (will you be in CR during high or low season?) --- consequently, those who stay overnight have the luxury of relaxing in the thermal pools during evening hours after all the daytrippers have departed OR early in the day (9:00 am to 10-ish) before the crowds begin to roll in. PLUS, if you're at Tabacon or Arenal area during evening hours, you may be fortune to see a bit of lava flow. Once the sun goes down it gets pitch black and if the volcano is active, you can see the red glow at night.

For what it's worth, I've been to CR twice; a close friend is there right now on his 6th trip --- to date, neither of us have had any "snake encounters". And actually, your "Jeff Corwin" experience witnessing one snake devouring another sounds kinda cool. I would have been snapping pictures like crazy. I will agree that I prefer my nature outside; it would have freaked me out if the boa was parked in my hotel room.
Tess_Durberville is offline  
Oct 29th, 2003, 01:17 PM
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I would encourage you to reconsider your decision to only do Arenal as a day trip.
We had a fabulous trip to CR, of which 3 nights were spent at Tabacon and it was awsome! I am not that fond of "insects" either and had no problems here. The rooms were clean and very nice - the resort was VERY NICE. We'd go back in a jiffy. Also -part of the experience is spending the evening looking at Arenal and soaking in the warm waters - wow - it's great.
I'm concerned once you got there you'd think - "now why am I not staying here!". Costa Rica is a beautiful country. You will have a wonderful time!
LindyE is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2003, 09:45 AM
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If you haven't paid for your airfare and the Real Int. I would just consider going someplace else. I have stayed in the Real on one of their private floors and while it is a very very nice place it could have been anywhere in the world. There was nothing there to suggest to you that there was a wonderful world of natural beauty to be found in CR. CR is about nature and from the sounds of aren't too comfortable with nature. I can't imagine where you would go on a day tour that you might not run into something. Of course, not all things are to be feared. Monkeys are great fun to watch as are the beautiful hummingbirds and larger birds.
As was mentioned..there are hotels that are very nice outside of the city. Tabacon, Arenal Paraiso are both very clean with airconditioning, pools, tv. They are both on the main road with lovely gardens around. You wouldn't really be in the "rainforest". You could also consider the Paradisus Playa Conchal or the Marriott Los Suenos Golf Resort. Both are high end hotels. IMHO I don't think they offer much in the way of the character of CR but they would at least get you out of a not very nice city. There are a couple of things to see there (in San Jose) but you could do them in about a day and a half.
I have been to Belize and stayed up in the Pine Forest and down in a small town on the beach. I did find that Belize was a bit less developed than Costa Rica.
Suzie2 is offline  

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