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costa rica: san jose to arenal to monteverde to playa teresa to san jose

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Sep 15th, 2011, 02:21 PM
  #1
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costa rica: san jose to arenal to monteverde to playa teresa to san jose

My husband and I are planning a trip in mid-January with our 25-year old boy/girl (twins). We are a very active family. Flying into San Jose, we'd like to go straight to Arenal and stay for 2 or 3 nights (maybe at Linda Vista) and then do the car-boar-car to Monteverde for another night. We'd like to raft on the Sarapiqui or Rio Toro, perhaps mountain bike, do some canyoning. In Monteverde, perhaps some hiking and ziplining. Then we'll need a driver to take us to Playa Teresa, where we'll stay for another 2 or 3 nights. We'd like to take a quad tour and a nice hike to the waterfall while we are there. Then, back to San Jose.
Do you think this is a do-able trip over 7 or 8 days, or is there too much traveling?
We think we'd be better off hiring drivers as opposed to renting a car.
Any suggestions?
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Sep 15th, 2011, 03:20 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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These are actually three of my favorite spots. But I think you are being a little ambitious.

Monteverde is worth more than a single night. There is a lot to see and do there. When we plan itineraries for our clients, we usually recommend three nights there.

It can be an arduous climb up and descent down that mountain too. Even with the boat / bus thing it will be late morning (at the earliest) when you arrive. It is quite a trek over to Santa Teresa from here too. So you want to get going early. If you only spend one night here, you are really only giving yourself a single afternoon.

You need to take the ferry in Puntarenas to get to Santa Teresa, or take the slower route across the bridge at the Rio Tempisque. Either way, figure four to five hours from Monteverde.

As much as I love all three of these destinations, I urge you to pick two of them and do them well.

I would also recommend that you spend the last night in San Jose, or near the airport. You have to check in for your flight three hours ahead of time. Any of these destinations are at least three hours away, and that is if you don't encounter any issues on the road. So you have already been traveling for six or seven hours before you even board your flight.

It makes sense to spend a last night getting organized and having a good dinner. Much less stress, and you will enjoy your travel more the next day.

Hope this helps! Let me know if I can offer more advice.

Warm Regards,

Pat Hewitt
Travel professional
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Sep 15th, 2011, 07:51 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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I agree with Pat...we did SJ arrival and went straight to Monteverde, then to Arenal via jeep-boat-jeep and back to SJ before flying to OSA.

We had 2 nights in Monteverde, 3 nights in Arenal and 3 nights in OSA. We also spent 1 night in the SJ suburbs prior to our flight to OSA and after returning from there prior to our flight the next day.

So we had a total of 10 nights and I felt like we could have spent another day or two in each location...less would not really give you time to do much of anything. The transport between locales is much longer than you would expect because the roads aren't great.

We used Wilson Rojas for our driver from SJO to Monteverde and then from Arenal back to SJO and I would highly recommend him. It is really nice to just sit back and observe...no maps to read or arguments with spouse to worry about. Wilson was great about stopping when he saw wildlife and we stopped on the way to Monteverde and had lunch at a local restaurant right near his house.
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Sep 16th, 2011, 04:00 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Always enjoy the feedom flexibility and cost savings of rental

mapache.com servicecarrental.com mapcr.com good map

tabacon.com best at Arenal.net for me

fondavela.com or hotelbelmar.net at Monteverdeinfo.com

hotelcasachameleon.com or moanalodge.com for a little beach

Couple of days in each place might do just an overnite

at MV sort of crammed but doable in 6 days...

I might pare back personally just do

hotelvillacaletas.com and tabacon.com

relax enjoy do not cram...

Happy travels!
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Sep 16th, 2011, 08:44 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: May 2007
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You don't want to go to Monteverde for just one night; it's a long bumpy road to get there. If you're going to do it, stay at least two nights. Arenal is worth at least three nights; we usually stay four. We did rafting on the Sarapiqui with Rios Tropicales and thought it was great.
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Sep 16th, 2011, 11:41 AM
  #6
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Thank you all so much! I have been noticing that the trip from Monteverde to Playa Teresa would probably be 8 hours (with the ferry) and that would kill a whole day. So, I'm now considering Manuel Antonio instead. That would give us 3 nights in Arenal at Linda Vista, 2 nights in Monteverde at Hidden Canopy Treehouses, and then 3 nights in M.A. possibly at Issimo Suites or Hotel San Bada. Does anybody know about them? We can do all the same activities in M.A. as we would have done in Nicoya but with less hassle. Then it's a quick ride to San Jose the last morning.
Or, I could fly home from Liberia (instead of San Jose) after going to Monteverde and spend those last 3 days in Guanacaste if someone can give me a good reason to do that, and/or at which beach to stay.
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