Costa Rica Honeymoon - Recommendations and Insight

Old Dec 16th, 2010, 09:00 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Costa Rica Honeymoon - Recommendations and Insight

Hi all,
I’ve been on the boards for awhile now, reading your advice and opinions. You’ve all been very helpful and I appreciate it.

My fiancée and I will be going on our honeymoon to Costa Rica in January, and while we have a general idea of the places we’ll be going, we have a few questions as to what you all might think is best.

We’ll be going for 10 nights. The first night somewhere near the airport or San Jose as we’ll be getting in later in the afternoon/evening. Then the next day we’ll be traveling up to the place we’re staying close to Arenal. We’ll be there for a couple of nights and then the next night be going to the Arenal Observatory Lodge. After that we’ve decided to do three nights in Monteverde and then 2 nights in Quepos followed by a night somewhere closer to San Jose or the airport to be able to catch our flight the last day.

Do you have any suggestions as to a place to stay in Monteverde? We tend to like something more laid back then upscale and are trying to keep our budget fairly low, but certainly want a place to stay that we’ll enjoy and not feel is just a cheap room.

And then, basically the same question for Quepos. We’ll spend our time in Manuel Antonio and exploring more than we will on the actual beach, though we’ll be sure to spend some time there as well.

We are planning on doing a lot of different outdoor activities while in Costa Rica. Among them are hot springs near the volcano (potentially), hiking, zip lining and tree top walk in Monteverde, night walk in Monteverde, canyoneering during the first couple of days near Arenal, visiting Manuel Antonio and exploring the town of Quepos. Of course, we’re up for more and would love to hear what you would recommend. Also, is it best to try to book these activities before we go, or are we better off just doing so once we are in Costa Rica (essentially, could we book these the day before through our hotels or something similar?)

We’re also planning on doing our traveling by something like Interbus. We’ll take them to Arenal and then down to Quepos, unless you all have a better suggestion. I think to go from Arenal to Monteverde we might try the jeep, boat, jeep tour. And then from Quepos back up to San Jose, we were thinking of renting a car. Overall, we don’t want to have the car so that we won’t have to worry about it, but wanted to hear your thoughts on the drive from Quepos to San Jose. We were thinking it could be fun to be able to stop at a roadside stand for food, or pull over and enjoy some scenery, and other things like that which couldn’t be done on Interbus.

Sorry to have so many questions. We feel like there is so much to do and see and we want to get in as much as we can and thought who better to ask than all the experts here. Thanks so much for your help!
A3Pack is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2010, 09:26 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 124
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have been MIA on the boards for awhile but I did do almost the same trip you're planning, back in Feb 2008. We did San jose -> Malpais (near Tambor) -> Manual Antonio (Quepos) -> Monteverde -> Arenal -> San Jose

We stayed at the Tree House hotel in Monteverde. Personally perhaps 3 nights might be a bit much, the town itself is very very small. But if you want to explore both Monteverde and Santa Elena cloud forests and the ziplines then this is OK. Hands down I had the best coffee I've ever had in Monteverde, even in the small hostel restaurant it was better than Starbucks - must be the fresh fresh coffee. I would recommend the Treehouse but we did not get a good night sleep because it was stormy during the nights and the church bell was loud, but that could have just been the location of our room (right at the front of the hotel). We budgeted around $80/night for hotels, you can find a wide range of prices ($10-$400).

Because I am a planner, we planned all our transportation and hotels ahead of time, but planned the activities once we got there. I had a list of "must sees" written down (example must do a canopy tour) and worked from that, but it was nice to have the flexibility to plan based on weather and based on locals recommendations. We did the Selvetura park canopy tour, and it worked out great for us because it included the ride from Monteverde to the park, which was very close to the Santa Elena cloud forest entrance. I would highly recommend the Selvetura ziplining, it was an amazing experience!

Arenal to Monteverde, Jeep-boat-jeep is the way to go. Although they are not actually jeeps so that part is disappointing so wrap your mind around that we booked it ahead on anywherecostarica.com. Horseback riding also looked fun but I'm really glad I did not book that, because it was raining that travel day and the people on horseback did not look impressed!!

We also booked hot springs ahead of time on the same website, we booked dinner and hot spring at Eco Termales because I heard of great reviews and knows that it sells out, I highly recommend it.

We travelled between Manuel Antonio and Monteverde by private driver, but only because our itinerary did not work out to take Interbus. We took Interbus from Arenal to San Jose and it worked out fine (again, I booked it ahead of time). We flew on Nature Air between San Jose to Tambor, and then Tambor to Quepos, this worked out great too.

We stayed at Hotel Costa verde (more monkeys than people) in Manual Antonio. If you don't have a car I would suggest Manual Antonio over Quepos, because you can more easily walk to the national park. You can also take a bus for very cheap (20 cents or something??) This hotel was OK, it definitely lives up to it's slogan... but I would suggest a hotel even closer to the park entrance (it was sold out by the time I booked it) La Posada private jungle bungalows was literally right next to the park - we walked past it and it looked great.

Renting a car might be fine, but after seeing the roads in CR I probably wouldn't (sometimes some of the road was missing and there was a single pylon to indicate it!) I think Interbus would at least make one stop between Quepos and San Jose, probably to see the crocs at Rio Caracoles.

Enjoy!!!! We loved CR.
Andrea_loves_travel is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2010, 09:31 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,413
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Check out Fonda Vela in Monteverde; it's a nice place with pretty grounds, trails, a good restaurant on site, and is close to the Reserve. We like the new junior suites. Jeep Boat Jeep is a good idea; we used Desafio for that. Agree with Andrea - just more convenient and nicer to stay in Manuel Antonio than in Quepos. We liked Mango Moon, but there are lots of good options.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2010, 02:22 PM
  #4  
RAC
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,951
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We stayed at the Honeymoon Cabin at Arco Iris in Monteverde and it was amazing--it's a three-story cabin with native hardwoods, a kitchenette, walk-in shower, jacuzzi, and big bedroom with a four-poster bed. Oh, a garden and balcony too. Only $180 during high season when we were there.
RAC is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2010, 03:46 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Congrats!

Go a lot always find www.servicecarrental.com www.mapache.com

best for economy freedom flexibility things are quite

spread out taxi fares

interbus drivers more hassle more costly not as fun...

have satyed at AOL more of an ecolodge ok if that is your gig

www.tabacon.com better more romantic www.fondavela.com MV

www.hotelvillacaletas.com magical on your way down to MA

www.issimosuites.com best at MA for romance...

Around SJO flights

www.mybeaconescazu.com www.thealtahotel.com www.xandari.com

my favs for romance...

Best wishes and happy journey,
qwovadis is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2010, 03:49 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
forgot if you stay at AOL up several miles of bad road

plus fording a creek or 2 you definitely want car rental

taxi fare from there to town is astronomical.
qwovadis is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2010, 03:49 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 29
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Don't forget Lake Arenal, great place for windsurfing if you enjoy water sports.
www.happierthanabillionaire.com
HappierWithLess is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2010, 08:52 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,008
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hubby and I were in CR in May of this year for our 30th anniversary. Visited Monteverde and Arenal, but not Manuel Antonio or Quepos, as we went to the Osa instead.

We flew into SJ around midday and were met at the airport by our private driver, Wilson Rojas. He took us to Monteverde and I'm glad he did because the last hour of the drive is on curvy dirt roads with no guard rails. He had snacks, soft drinks and beer in his van (no charge) along with several bird and wildlife guide books. We paid $150 for the trip and felt like it was well worth the money. We stopped on the way at a local restaurant near his house for us to have a typical tico lunch that was very good. He was also very good at spotting birds, monkeys, etc. and would pull over for us to take pictures.

We stayed at the Rustic Lodge (actually closer to Santa Elena) and the owner, Jose, couldn't have been more pleasant. He is great at responding quickly to emails and arranged dinner reservations at a local Spanish restaurant, Sabor Espanol, for the night we arrived (paella and stuffed avacado are both very good). Don Juan, Morphos and Cafe Maravilla were good too. He also arranged our night hike, morning walk in Santa Elena reserve and ziplining with Selvatura. The inn is very small and outside of the main town, but an easy walk or a cheap cab ride. We had the room above the office with two queen beds (no kings are available). It was large with a huge bathroom and breakfast & taxes included at a cost of $65 a night.

We did the jeep-boat-jeep to Arenal with a smaller company, Aventura del Lagos, Jose recommended them, and it was $50 (cash) for the two of us. We enjoyed our meals at Anch'io and Don Ruffino in Arenal, but I don't think they are very convenient to AOL. We used Wilson again to take us from Arenal back to SJ, this time $140. I did tip him a little over 15% for both rides.

For your nights in the San Jose area, I recommend Casa Bella Rita which is run by an American couple that previously owned restaurants in the States. It is a beautiful B & B near Santa Ana with very nicely decorated rooms and beautiful views off the back patio. Breakfast is whatever you request and they will also prepare dinner for you at an additional (reasonable) cost. The rooms are in the $100 range and include breakfast, but not tax. A 10% cash discount applies. We had our anniversary dinner at Xandari and it was lovely, but the rooms are pricey and we didn't stay there. It has beautiful grounds though.

Check the lodging and restaurants out at TripAdvisor.
Deb15July is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2011, 07:19 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow, thank you all so much for your help. We've been busy planning away the last couple of weeks making sure all is in order for our upcoming trip. And with all that planning we've been regularly referring to your comments.

We've decided on the two nights just outside of La Fortuna followed by one night at the Arenal Observatory Lodge. We'll do canyoning one day and save the other day for other hikes, etc while at the lodge. We had also read in a guidebook that you can rent horses at the lodge for just $8 an hour so we are going to see if that is available.

From there we'll do jeep boat jeep to Monteverde. We'll be staying in the Arco Iris in Santa Elena. The night we get in, we'll do the night walk and the following day we'll do zip lining and the canopy tour. It looks like the night walk is available either at the Monteverde Reserve or the Children's Reserve. Is one better than the other? We're also trying to decide where to go for the zip line and canopy tour. If both are available in the Monteverde Biological Reserve, we thought it would make sense to do it there so we can pay admission into the reserve and spend all day there, first with zip lining and canopy tours and then spend the rest of the time hiking around.

Then we're going down to Manuel Antonio for 3 nights. We've been in contact with Leo Rodriguez about driving and are set on that. Along the way we'll make a stop at the crocodile bridge. In Manuel Antonio our plans are to spend one day at the beach and in town just exploring around and another day in the park. We've read that beach #3 is the best and least crowded so we'll try that. We'd like to do some snorkeling as well and will probably plan that once in town.
A3Pack is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2011, 08:26 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,413
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We did our night hike at Hidden Valley, which was recommended on the boards. We really loved it, and saw some great things, including a fox, a porcupine, tarantula, some cool birds and insects, a raccoon, a sloth, and some coatis.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2011, 01:11 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,008
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We also did the Hidden Valley hike, but didn't have a lot of luck that night. We were impressed by the guide though. There was a hard to see sloth, a tarantula, neat insects, etc.
Deb15July is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Tinaindenver
Mexico & Central America
4
Dec 8th, 2014 10:11 AM
shannonj
Mexico & Central America
9
Sep 29th, 2009 03:25 AM
costa_ricabound
Mexico & Central America
6
Dec 10th, 2007 04:20 PM
LSUsajani
Mexico & Central America
10
Jul 18th, 2005 11:14 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:41 AM.