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Costa Rica - Itenerary late september

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Aug 12th, 2013, 05:33 PM
  #1
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Costa Rica - Itenerary late september

Hi- First time to costa rica- traveling with my mom ( 80yr) for 10 days. We are looking for a cultural relaxing experience. We are interested in the cocoa and coffee plantation tours, epicurean delights, wildlife viewing from accessible means, nothing to strenuous- perhaps a boat? Some fun in the sun and swimming. We are flying in and out of San Jose. Would love to hear some itinerary suggestions, also we plan on taking shuttles from place to place rather than renting a car.
It seems that most folks just stop in SJ for the night, is the worthwhile spending some time in the city and do day trips and then heading over to either Manuel Antonio,Puerto Viejo or arenal , montevede? Hotel recommendations would be appreciated as well- moderate/pleasant easy access.
Thanks!
wander007 is offline  
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Aug 13th, 2013, 07:43 AM
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Late Sept. can be pretty wet in many locations, so I suggest that you include Tortuguero in your plans. The Caribbean side of the country enjoys a drier Sept/Oct than the Pacific coast. Wildlife viewing is excellent and easy since all tours are via boat. There are many lodges in the area that offer packages - transportation, meals and tours.

We always go with Modesto and Fran Watson who run Riverboat Francesca. We stay at Laguna Lodge and have always enjoyed the lodge and the tours with Modesto. We usually see three species of monkeys, caimans, sloths, herons, egrets, basilisk lizards, iguanas, etc. The beaches here are turtle nesting beaches, not swimming beaches. You'd still be able to observe some of the nesting activity at night.
www.tortuguerocanals.com

SJO is actually located in Alajuela and most people stay around there as a first/last night. There are some nice museums and a beautiful theater in San Jose itself - Jade Museum, Gold Museum and the National Theater.

I would not try to do 4 locations in 10 days since that is too much travel time. I would stay 2 or 3 nights in each location. If you go to Tortuguero you might also check out Selva Verde in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, then head over towards Arenal. The volcano is dormant, but there are plenty of activities there - my favorite is soaking in the thermal pools at Eco-Termales.

Have fun with whatever you choose!
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Aug 17th, 2013, 06:33 PM
  #3
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Thank you!
Excellent suggestion. Do you book through the Watson's or with Laguna Lodge, it seems the lodge offers the same package, but I am not sure it is with the Watson's on the tours?

Also thank you for the Eco Thermals, all I have heard about is Tabacon which sounded intense,

I hear that there are some farm- pineapple coffee plantations around Arenal, do you have any thoughts on this?

Many thanks!
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Aug 17th, 2013, 08:31 PM
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We book through the Watson's tour company called Riverboat Francesca. www.tortuguerocanals.com Fran usually replies fairly quickly, but it could take a few days if they are both out on tours. Laguna Lodge does offer their own package with their own guides. We were so pleased w/ Modesto on our first trip that we've booked w/ him again on two other trips.

We visited a pineapple plantation called Corsicana in the Sarapiqui region several years ago. http://www.collinstreet.com/pages/finca_corsicana_home

There are some organic farms near Arenal that give tours - volcanogirl has been to Arenal numerous times and can give you lots of info on activities.

I have heard of Finca Luna Nueva, but haven't visited it.
http://fincalunanuevalodge.com/

There are a few coffee plantation tours near Poas Volcano/Alajuela - Doka and Britt are popular.

If you plan to do any hiking, make sure you hire a guide. You'll see so much more with their experienced eyes than what you will see on your own. Arenal Hanging Bridges offers a nice trail.

Eco-Termales is great and I like that they limit the number of people per session, so it's not overrun. In late September I don't think you'd have to worry about crowds anywhere.
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Aug 18th, 2013, 10:20 AM
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Yes, we really enjoyed Finca Luna Nueva. It's very close to the Arenal/La Fortuna area. We enjoyed touring the property, and they made us a beautiful organic lunch while we were there. If you happen to make to it Manuel Antonio, the Villa Vanilla spice tour is neat. At the end they serve all sorts of little goodies like homemade vanilla bean cheesecake, little spice cookies, and real hot chocolate. There's a small shop at the end where they sell real vanilla beans, peppercorns, and things like that. We've done the Doka coffee plantation tour that colibri mentioned and thought it was great. It's a really beautiful property, and they take you through all the stages of processing from picking to packaging. There's a little gift shop at the end. If you're in that area, you might consider visiting the La Paz Waterfall Gardens as well. They have five beautiful waterfalls on site where you can hike and a hummingbird garden with about 25 varieties of hummingbirds that you can hand feed at certain times of day. Poas is also there like col said.

If you make it to the Arenal area, both the Cano Negro tour and the Penas Blancas river float are nice easy ways to see wildlife.
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Aug 18th, 2013, 10:21 AM
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I completely agree with colibri about Eco Termales. It's a neat spot; we like it because it's smaller, charming, and locally owned. They serve a good chicken dinner there too.
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Aug 18th, 2013, 10:24 AM
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In Manuel Antonio, we love Tulemar Bungalows. They have their own beach which is great. A shuttle runs around the property and would make things easier on your mom since a lot of CR properties can be steep.
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