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-   -   COSTA RICA ITINERARY HELP!!! (https://www.fodors.com/community/mexico-and-central-america/costa-rica-itinerary-help-458284/)

herb1700 Jul 8th, 2004 03:21 PM

COSTA RICA ITINERARY HELP!!!
 
I am travelling to CR in Novermber and am staying 4 nights at Punta Islita. I would like my trip to be a total of 8-9 nights and I would prefer to fly or at least avoid dangerous roads, but would like to see volcanos and do canopy tours etc.. What would you recommend as a great itinerary and where would you stay?

LA_FadeAway Jul 8th, 2004 09:16 PM

In order to see the active volcano, Arenal, you'll have to drive or hire a driver, take a bus, etc. There are no flights into that area.

april0404 Jul 9th, 2004 06:25 AM

I agree, to get an great volcano experience, go to Arenal. (which) can only be reached by driving.) But you could also take Interbus, and they will do the driving for you. From Punta Islita, you'd have to either drive (took us about 7 hours from Arenal to PI, we got a little lost!) or fly back to San Jose and drive from there. Interbus would charge for a private transfer about $200 when I asked about it.

At Arenal, we stayed at Arenal Paraiso and liked it. Moderately priced ($65/$95 per night) and great volcano views. They have a canopy tour from there, or I believe Tabacon has one.

You could do your 4 days at PI, couple of days at Arenal and then some day trips from San Jose.

We drove and flew, and we really didn't mind the driving, it was a great way to see the country. Plus it was dry season.

You can check out www.interbusonline.com they list travel routes and prices. We used them for airport transfers and were very pleased with the service.

herb1700 Jul 9th, 2004 07:32 AM

Thank you for your responses. If I miss Manuel Antonio and Monteverde, have I missed the mist-sees?

herb1700 Jul 9th, 2004 07:33 AM

sorry, I meant must-sees?

april0404 Jul 9th, 2004 07:45 AM

Well, I can say from my experience this past April, Manuel Antonio (MA) has a lot to offer. More than Punta Islita. We were in the country for 12 nights and spent the last 4 at PI, and loved it (gorgeous, peaceful, secluded, great staff), but there isn't much to do there (we were on our honeymoon, so 4 days of relaxation was perfect after 8 days of adventure). they do have tours, but not to the extent of some of the other areas.

It really depends on what you like to do. In MA you can do canopy tours, a park tour (great! we saw lots of wild life), kayaking, white water rafting, sailing, etc.

Is Punta Islita a definite on your trip? If not, and you want to "see more", you might consider skipping PI and go to MA and Arenal. Or if you can extend your trip, then you could hit all three places, which is what we did.

We did not go to Monteverde, but if you had a choice between MA and Monteverde, from what I've heard, I'd choose MA.




herb1700 Jul 9th, 2004 07:53 AM

Well, I think PI is a definite, but would it make sense to do the trip this way:
1st night: San Jose
2nd day and night: go to Arenal for the day
3rd day and night: fly to MA
4th night: MA
5, 6, 7, 8 nights: PI (how do I get there from MA?)
9th night: San Jose?
Thanks again...

keefmick Jul 9th, 2004 08:48 AM

we just returned from a 12 day trip to arenal/monteverde/manuel antonio/alajuela--I would say if you skip monteverde and manuel antonio you are skipping the 2 biggest attractions in CR as far as most tourists are concerned--we loved each place for different reasons but having just been there if I had to skip either monteverde or manuel antonio I would skip MA but a very hard choice--both are unique but I would say the cloud forest in monteverde would be my deciding factor--while the road is slow going it just isn't nearly as bad as the posters would have you believe--have a great time

april0404 Jul 9th, 2004 09:53 AM

When we went we:

flew to MA from SJ (20 minutes)
drove to Arenal from MA (about 6.5 hours with a stop for lunch of 1+ hours and traffic)
Drove from Arenal to PI (abuot 7 hours, we got lost)
Flew from PI to SJ. (40 minutes)

Only way to get from MA to PI is to drive, and that would take a full day.

With 9 days, including MA in your travels seems like a lot much given the long driving times. As the previous poster mentioned you might want to consider PI and then Arenal/Monteverde since they are in the same area.

Hopefully others will have some advice for you, too!


herb1700 Jul 9th, 2004 10:45 AM

Thank you.
Do you think it would be better then to spend 2 nights in SJ (maybe go rsfting on the first day), 4nights in PI, and then 2 nights at Tabacon before returning to SJ for the final night?

april0404 Jul 10th, 2004 06:35 PM

I'm not an expert, but your last itinerary would be the least rushed, based on my experience there this past April.

Have fun!
Stacey


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