Costa Rica in mid summer - Arenal or Corcovado?

Old May 16th, 2009, 05:39 PM
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Costa Rica in mid summer - Arenal or Corcovado?

Hello: Our family of 4 adults who like outdoor adventures and wildlife (lots of wildlife!) are going to Costa Rica for 8 days in late June to early August. It looks like to spend time we want at a location and not play "if this is Tuesday, it Must be Denmark", we have to cut either Arenal or Corcovado. The father wants to go to the jungle (oh, no - the tropical rain forest ! but he also wants to see volcanoes. None of us have seen a volcano. The plan at this point is to land in San Jose and sometime spend days at Turrialba (horseback riding, arch site, that volcano, then a 2 days rafting on the the Pacuare River).. The choice - either up to Arenal for 2 days and then on to a beach on the Pacific or Caribbean OR down to Drake Bay via mangrove swamps and boat trip, beach there, then day trip into Corcovado Park. The father wants to see things he never saw before - volcanoes and jungle and jungle animals. I am the mom and I want the 2 days of rafting (floating around a bend and surprising animals?) and variety of activities at Turrialba. Yet, if we are going so close and can, shouldn't we go to the place most rare - Corcovado? But Arenal sounds just right for us, too. Sigh. . . can you all help? For first timers in Costa Rica - Arenal or Corcovado? Thanks.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 07:35 PM
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Hi,
Just to calm you guys, all of Costa Rica, minus San Jose and Liberia, are a nature lover's dream. You won't be able to make it to Drake and back, because it's a good 8 hours from where you'll be each way. What I would recommend from Turrialba head to Arenal, have fun there with hanging bridges, soaking in hot springs while watching the volcano do it's gorgeous lava show and then head over to Manuel Antonio.

The beaches are gorgeous, and you can do the National Park tour. It's not a rain forest, but a tropical dry forest. But it's still amazing!

This way you won't be stressed by the lack of time. Costa Rica looks small on the map, but it's quite big and the roads are narrow, so if you get stuck behind a truck a 1 hour trip can easily turn into 2 or more.

Hope this helps,
Marina K. Villatoro
http://travelexperta.com
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Old May 16th, 2009, 08:02 PM
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Me personally? I would go to Arenal just because it's our favorite spot - the volcano is just amazing; we got to see the lava flow every night on our first trip from our balcony at the Lost Iguana. We did the Hanging Bridges hike, the Cano Negro tour where we saw capuchins, howlers, sloths, caimans, and tons of birds, and soaked in natural hot springs. If you want experiences like that, then go with Arenal. If you just want wild, then go to Corcovado. The best place we've ever seen wildlife is Bosque del Cabo on the Osa - it's an amazing place, but the kind of place you stay if you don't want to venture off the property a lot. You can hike and view wildlife for days and eat all your meals there. Depends upon which type of vacation you're looking for.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 10:08 PM
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As VG says, it really depends on what type of vacation you're looking for. Arenal is really unique because of the volcano. It's a beautiful area and there are lots of activities to choose from there; definitely more than you'll have time to do in 2 days. We saw some interesting wildlife around Arenal (both at our hotel and on the Cano Negro tour that VG mentions), but not to the same extent as on the Osa peninsula (where Corcovado is). Arenal will have lots of hotels and restaurants to choose from. Drake Bay will be much more isolated; an off-the-beaten track experience.

The 2 options are totally different types of places, but both are wonderful destinations. I doubt you'd go wrong with either one.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 02:38 AM
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I would skip the Turrialba area. You can go on the Pacuare River from San Jose. If your husband wants to see some tropical rainforest, you can go to a place like Bosque del Cabo where there is so much wildlife to see. You don't have to actually go in the park to experience it. The Arenal area would have places to enjoy horseback riding, etc, and actually experience the volcano.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 02:26 PM
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I have to agree with the others... Arenal is a must see. Where else can you go to see a live ACTIVE volcano? ITs been ten years since I was there, but there was a lodge there, near the base. the wall was all glass. you could sit there at the bar and see the fiery lava coming dow... really a must see at night... you won't beleive your pictures!! There was relatively little security around the live volcano, relyng on flks common sense instead. Well, we skirted ours, and hiked up as far as we dared. The sulphuric smell, the flying rocks (really!) and the heat didn't allow us to get too far. The forest at Manuel Antonio is great... go on the tour ... we actually saw a landcrab (creepy) and iguana fight! (crab won!)
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