Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Mexico & Central America (
-   -   Costa Rica - Itinerary Help Requested for August (

Kathy Jul 7th, 2002 03:15 PM

Costa Rica - Itinerary Help Requested for August
My 15 year old daughter and I are planning our first Costa Rica trip this August for 11-14 nights. Our plan is to stay in San Jose for the first and last night. We intend to finish our trip with either 3 or should it be 4 nights in Manuel Antonio? In between I am trying to decide if we should go to Tortuguero and explore the canals and hopefully see the nesting turtles and if so is two nights enough? Should we go to Monteverde or maybe the Los Angeles Rainforest? And, should we go to the Oso Peninsula/Corcovado and stay at Lapa Rios for 3 or 4 nights or would another location offer more variety? Also, what clothing should we pack? Looking forward to your replies. Thank you so much. Kathy

Iza Jul 8th, 2002 07:07 AM

Kathy, we travelled in Costa Rica with our daughter last year in August (and also the year before in August). I will try to pull up my trip report for you so that you can have a look at it.<BR>We spent our first and last night near San Jose and then did 3 nights at Manuel Antonio, 3 nights at Lapa Rios, 2 nights at Arenal and 4 nights in Tamarindo.<BR>I think that 3 nights in Manuel Antonio is sufficient, unless you plan to take some day trips and do a lot of activities from there. We did not so we had enough time to spend on the beaches and explore the national park in 3 days.<BR>As to what clothes to pack: shorts/t-shirts and tank tops for beach areas and Osa Penninsula; lightweight long pants and long sleeve tops for any areas located at higher elevations (we needed them in San Jose area and in Arenal). Pack a pair of hiking boots (or sneakers with good traction), teva-type sandals and a pair of flip flops. Don't forget insect repellant, sunblock, a flashlight and a hat. You will also need a waterproof jacket or a poncho.<BR>Please post here if you have any additional questions.

Kathy Jul 8th, 2002 08:26 AM

Dear Iza, Thank you so much for responding. How did you like Lapa Rios and was 3 nights just the right amount of time or would more or less time have been better? Did you make all of your reservations and transportation arrangements ahead of time or did you plan as you went? Were Arenal and Tamarindo good destination choices or would you consider in the future Tortuguero and/or one of the cloud forests? I look forward to your reply. Thank you so much. Kathy

Iza Jul 8th, 2002 09:17 AM

Kathy,<BR>I topped our trip report for you - it is a few posts below this one. <BR>We liked Lapa Rios for the wildlife watching possibilities but I felt a bit uncomfortable being in such a remote area (plus the weather was stormy which did not give us a nice feeling either). 3 nights there was just right for us.<BR>We really liked Tamarindo (it was our second time there) but it is more of a relaxing beach destination than an adventurous one. One thing about that area: the weather was consistently better in Tamarindo than in any other area of Costa Rica we visited.<BR>We also liked Arenal even though we were not able to see the volcano. If I were to go again, I would probably consider visiting Los Angeles Cloud Forest (for some reason I am not attracted to Monteverde but a lot of people visited there and liked it).<BR>I heard very good things about Tortuguero as well. It is really a matter of personal preferences and what you want to see and experience in Costa Rica. <BR>We made all arrangements from the US but a lot of people we met in CR did not - they got reservations for just a couple of nights and then planned as they went. If you feel comfortable travelling that way, then definitely it is a possibility, esp. in August which is not that busy in Costa Rica.

Tess Jul 9th, 2002 01:45 PM

Kathy,<BR>I was in CR last November --- and am planning a return visit this September. A friend (who will be my travelling companion for this 2nd visit) loves the Manuel Antonio area. And probably we will be staying at La Mariposa (he's been there on prior trips). He was there in May and while exploring beach in Quepos, did happen upon turtle tracks in the sand. I don't know what the "turtle schedule" is for that region. During my November visit (w/ tour group), we did get to see turtle laying eggs on a beach just north of Tamarindo. Earth Watch was there for a project and they had guides that took you out onto the beach at night (red flashlights only!) to witness the event. Truly amazing. We did have to wait several hours, hanging out until they spotted a turtle coming ashore to lay her eggs.<BR><BR>I did go to Monteverde Cloud Forest --- it was okay, but I wasn't overwhelmed. Again my traveling companion has gotten a recommendation that the Cararra forest is the one to see (on Pacific side) --- fyi, different between "cloud forest" and "rain forest" is altitude --- cloud forest being up higher in mountains, and consequently, cooler in temps. Which brings me to weather issue and what to pack. CR is a tropical country, which is pretty much hot & humid, with variations by altitude ("cooler" in Monteverde might mean high 70's). Although I do agree with Iza that weather in Tamarindo was quite pleasant. <BR><BR>I very much enjoyed our day at Tabacon Resort --- we spent the afternoon frolicking in the hot springs and had dinner there, at which we witnessed a red glow from the volcano. When I go back this fall, I'd like to take one of the hikes that goes around Arenal (not too close, don't want my shoes to melt!). <BR>

Stephanie Jul 9th, 2002 03:17 PM

I would highly recommend white water rafting on the Pacuare River (Rios Tropicales was the operator). It was so much fun!!! No worries if you've never been rafting before - the guides are great and my friend, who's never done it before, managed fine. It's an exciting way to see the beauty of Costa Rica.<BR><BR>While in San Jose, stay at the Costa Rica Marriott. Absolutely gorgeous property. Although it's a short cab ride outside of town, it's well worth it. Have a great holiday!

Tess Jul 10th, 2002 08:08 AM

Kathy,<BR>Last night I looked at my CR literature re: turtle nesting seasons; if you don't want to make a trip to Tortuguero, there are several other options on Pacific side:<BR><BR>Santa Rosa National Park (this is in northwest region of country) --- the Playa Ostional-Nancite has Pacific Green Turtle nesting from August to December.<BR><BR>Also at Playa Ostional and at Playa Grande (that's where I saw the leatherbacks in Nov), there are Olive Ridley turtles nesting from July to December. You can also see Olive Ridleys at Las Baulas National Marine Park and at Corcovado National Park.<BR>

Tess Jul 10th, 2002 09:10 AM

One last turtle tidbit --- a good site for information is<BR><BR>

Kathy Jul 10th, 2002 02:56 PM

Thank you all for the information. I will follow up by locating the website. Also, I have a question for Iza, I am new to using a message board and I am not familiar with the term "topping". How do I find your trip report? Thank you. Kathy

Tess Jul 11th, 2002 08:37 AM

Kathy,<BR><BR>Here's the link to Iza's trip report --- tart=0&searchText=trip+report<BR><BR>Or you can do a search on 'trip report' --- her thread is titled "Costa Rica Trip Report - Manuel Antonio, Osa, Arenal, Tamarindo

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:40 AM.