Costa Rica Itinerary - Arenal, Monteverde, Tamarindo

May 12th, 2004, 10:41 AM
  #1  
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Costa Rica Itinerary - Arenal, Monteverde, Tamarindo

Hi all -

Just curious what thoughts you have of this itinerary -

2nts Arenal at ?? maybe Observatory Lodge
1nt Monteverde (specifically to do the Canopy Tour since I've heard it is the best one) at ??
4nts Tamarindo at El Jardin del Eden
1nt San Jose at Melia Cariari

We leave June 30th and have 8 nights total.
sclubb is offline  
May 12th, 2004, 11:47 AM
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We stayed at the Melia Cariari and found it very nice with a good outdoor restaurant with a fabulous breakfast. We got a good rate on Expedia.com.

In Fortuna, we stayed at the Volcano Lodge and really liked it. Every room has a view of the volcano and they wake you if it's visible at night. They also have a good restaurant and offer day excursions so you don't really need a car there. It's also easier to get over to Monteverde if you don't have a car. So, leave your car at home.
Otis_B_Driftwood is offline  
May 12th, 2004, 01:06 PM
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One thing that you might consider--as difficult as it is (and time consuming)to get into and out of Monteverde, it doesn't make a lot of sense to just stay one night. I think you would be spending a tremendous amount of your precious time with transportation! I'd either skip this (there are great canopy elsewhere) or just stay at Tamarindo 3 nights. It's a fun place, but 3 nights will probably do you!
shillmac is offline  
May 12th, 2004, 03:16 PM
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shillmac - where are some other great canopy tours? and if we still decide to go to monteverde would you recommend the original or skytrek?
sclubb is offline  
May 12th, 2004, 03:34 PM
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I haven't been to Monteverde, but I have heard that Skytrek is absolutely fantastic! Having said that, I know that near Tamarindo there is Bill Beard's Witch's Rock Canopy Tour. You can look it up online. Although Skytrek is said to be really good, if you haven't done this before, you will really enjoy any of them. Most have 9 or 10 ziplines and take a couple of hours. The one we did 2 years ago was in the Rincon de la Vieja park north of Liberia. It was excellent, but we were staying the in Papagayo area and you will be a little too far away from that one in Tamarindo. We have a friend who worked at Bill Beard's Canopy and he thought it was one of the better ones.

If you really want to do Skytrek, it is easy to combine Arenal and Monteverde for 4 nights. You could then have 3 nights in Tamarindo. This would give you a good experience. Again, I don't think anyone would recommend Monteverde for just one night because of time involved in getting there.
shillmac is offline  
May 12th, 2004, 03:44 PM
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sclubb,
My apologies! Witch's Rock Canopy is up near the Allegro Papagayo resort (about an hour from Tamarindo). There is another canopy closer to Tamarindo, but I don't know the name of it. El Jardin del Eden will be able to tell you specifics.
shillmac is offline  
May 13th, 2004, 06:47 AM
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We took the canopy tour right outside La Fortuna. We booked it at our hotel, The Volcano Lodge. Half the tour is a horseback ride up into the forest that takes about 45 minutes each way. There were awesome views of Arenal along the way. The zip lines are way up in the trees off platforms that are quite high. If you have vertigo, try another activity. The whole excursion took about four hours.

After that we drove up to the falls and hiked down and took a swim. The trail is straight down the cliff. This is not a hike for those with high blood pressure.

After spending most of three days in the Arenal area, we decided to skip Monteverde and headed directly for Rincon de la Vieja. We do plan to visit Monteverde on our next trip.
Otis_B_Driftwood is offline  
May 13th, 2004, 07:39 AM
  #8  
Iza
 
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We did the canopy tour at Rincon de la Vieja which is an easy day trip (1.5 hours) from Tamarindo. It is a good canopy tour that has been in operation for a number of years. I think you can check it out by looking at the Rincon de la Vieja Lodge website.

I did not enjoy Jardin del Eden in Tamarindo - we stayed there 3 or 4 years ago. The hotel is not on the beach and can get rather hot (we had A/C in the room but it was so noisy that we couldn't use it). The pool area is enclosed with no view (which is important for me: if I am not on the beach, I like to lounge at a pool with a great view of the ocean) and can get very hot too. We like Capitan Suizo much better and it is comparable in price.

I agree with Shillmac that 2 nights at Arenal, 2 in Monteverde and 3 in Tamarindo is a better plan.

Be aware that Observatory Lodge does not have lava flow views - you are very close to the volcano but on the opposite side from the current lava flows. Arenal Paraiso or Montana de Fuego currently have the best views. Tabacon also has decent views.
Iza is offline  
May 13th, 2004, 07:55 AM
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Thanks all.

As you may have seen on my other post, I think we are going to skip Monteverde altogether now & do 1 nt Peace Lodge, 2nts Arenal, 4nts Tamarindo, 1 nt SJO.

Iza, I have read that Capitan Suizo has so many kids there - and with it being just my husband & I wonder if we will have a more relaxed time at Jardin. I understand they have made some good changes since new owners took over. Did you see many kids during your stay at Capitan Suizo?

I think we will plan on the Canopy tour by Fortuna & then maybe again in Rincon as a day trip from Tam.

Also - re Observatory Lodge, they said there has been having more activity lately that was viewed from their side. Do you think thats accurate?
sclubb is offline  
May 13th, 2004, 11:23 AM
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Iza
 
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Capitan Suizo is definitely family friendly and July and August are popular summer vacation months. We go with our daughter so it suits us just fine but I can definitely understand if that is not what you are looking for. When we were there in August of last year for 6 nights we had about 6-8 kids on average at the hotel every day (it is a small hotel with only about 30 rooms). If you think that it is more than you can handle, then definitely look at other places. Sueno del Mar is a very nice place that is actually on Playa Langosta so it is much quieter than the main beach. You may also want to check Casa Cook - right next door to Capitan Suizo with the same on-the-beach location; looked really nice from the outside. Another option would be Cala Luna - the only disadvantage to it is that it is not directly on the beach.

As to lava flows, the lava was definitely on the Arenal Paraiso/Montana de Fuego side last August. But things do change all the time. Post a separate thread with that question and hopefully you will get an answer from someone who has been there more recently than we did.
Iza is offline  
May 16th, 2004, 05:07 PM
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Hi sclubb, don't knowe if you are still planning to stay at Jardin del Eden. We stayed there about three years ago right after Xmas, and loved it. No, is is not on the beach but there is a walkway that leads right to it. You have a view of the water from your room if you are on the second floor. There are nice balconies. The gardens are beautiful. I found it completely relaxing around the pool area , plenty of chairs. We went to look at Capitan Suizo. The pool did not look clean and there were lots of kids. The pool is not that big. The other thing about jardin is that there is a nice full breakfast buffet. Also, we ate there several times for dinner. The dinners were so delicious and the dining area was so pretty at night, lit with little sparkling lights. It definitely was more of an adult atmosphere. I was there with my husband and twenty year old daughter. The staff was so friendly. We were there to see the turtles nesting, took a boat trip, and went to Rincon. Cala Luna is not on the beach either.
karenf is offline  
May 16th, 2004, 05:16 PM
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Thanks Karenf - we have confirmed our reservations at Jardin del Eden. We are staying our 1st night at Peace Lodge at La Paz, 2 nts Arenal Observatory Lodge, 4 nts at Jardin & last night at Melia Cariari. Good to hear you liked El Jardin. I don't think we will mind not being directly on the beach since we will have an ocean view room. I'm sure we'll spend most of our time on the beach anyway!
sclubb is offline  

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