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Costa Rica - traveling with a group of 5 adults

Old Mar 31st, 2009, 03:31 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 3
Costa Rica - traveling with a group of 5 adults

Hi to all,

I have enjoyed all of your posts - very informative. I have been appointed group planner for our party of 5 (2 couples and my Mom who is a young 80). None have been to CR except my husband, Doug and I and we have been twice (more than 10 years ago). We have one week in May and would prefer a more casual pace. Doug & I have visited Lapa Rios (loved it), Turrialba (rafted the Pacuare & loved it) and Quepos (Manuel Antonio - it was ok but felt like a zoo with all the people). We have not yet visited Arenal but I get the feeling (from your posts) that we are missing out here. So far, I have found (what sounds like) a fabulous villa in Dominical for a base (couldn't pass up the price of $300 per night for a 4 bdrm. villa with pool) with trips down to Corcavado and up to Manuel Antonio. Someone please tell me why I should opt for a few days in Arenal in place of a few days in the Osa (probably Bosque del Cabo)?


Jillin is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2009, 05:38 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,252
Ooh, tough one - Arenal and the Osa are my two favorites. Arenal just offers loads of activities plus the volcano which is amazing. We love the Sunset Tours Cano Negro tour - very fun to get out on a boat and see so much wildlife. The natural hot springs like Eco Termales are really neat too. Also the Hanging Bridges and the waterfall and the Sky Trek zip line with some of the highest, longest lines in CR. Arenal just has a number of things that are unique.

I don't think you can go wrong with Bosque del Cabo though. If you've already done the Osa and want to try something new, then Arenal would definitely be amazing. If you loved Lapa Rios so much though, maybe you just want to go back to the Osa and try BdC for a new place to stay.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2009, 05:42 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Hi Jillin,

Arenal and the Osa are completely different types of experiences. Both are wonderful! One obvious reason why you should maybe consider Arenal is that you've never been there! You have been to Lapa Rios which is just down the road from BdC, so you've experienced that area.

Arenal has a different type of ecosystem, generally cooler in temperature and more akin to cloud forest terrain than coastal rain forest. The volcano dominates the surrounding countryside, and if you're lucky, you might get to witness the lava flow. You've got a number of natural hot springs (courtesy of the volcano), the hanging bridges, waterfall, terrific ziplines, and the Cano Negro reserve. There are lots of activities to choose from and the little town of La Fortuna has several good food options. It is not remote and off-the-beaten track like the Osa is, but it's a really fun place.

That said, I would never tell anyone not to go to Bosque del Cabo (unless of course, I needed them to stay away so that I could get their cabina!). It's less luxurious than Lapa Rios I believe, but truly special.

Basically, both places have much to offer. I think your group will be thrilled with whatever you decide. So basically I'm not much help, but this is a good conundrum to have because there's no wrong decision.
cmerrell is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2009, 04:18 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Personally would do a day or 2 at Arenal from SJO

when you fly in then head for Dominical/Osa... or

For 5 a good driver makes sense...

Just a heads up the road between Dominical Quespos

is VERY bad even by CR standards...

Have fun,
qwovadis is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2009, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 215
Just how bad is that road between Quespos and Dominical?
Next week when we leave Manual Antonio, we planned to drive to Dominical and then over to San Isidro and up to San Jose. The map planners say it takes hours and hours - allowing for the bad roads, no doubt.
It sounded like beautiful scenery through the mountains and central valley. KB
kbrennan is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2009, 03:45 PM
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First, thank you one and all for the replies - great feedback! From what I have heard, the road is really bad (read 4 wheel drive) between quepos and Dominical. After that, (going south) pretty good. Is that accurate - anyone? Would appreciate any good ideas for Arenal - hotels/villas for 5 people (2 couples/1 single) for 1-2 nts. Closer is better but don't want to be too touristy.


Jillin is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2009, 04:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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The road between Dom and Quepos is slow going, certainly do-able. The Quepos/Manuel Antonio "powers that be" don't necessarily want to see it improved as there are some people who would zip on through their little heaven, heading south. It is about a 48 km road (less than 30 miles, I think) and will take an hour and a half, maybe a few minutes longer. It's bumpy, and the driving is slow. By CR standards, it's not THAT big of a deal. We were on it in 2006, had one river crossing, shallow, but required the guys to get out and wade out there just to be sure. The trucks just go right on across. . .good idea to watch and follow. Part of the adventure. It's all that little stuff, however inconvenient, that make it an adventure vacation!

kbrennan, the route you are discussing would make more sense if you were planning a night or two at Dominical. It IS a beautiful drive (they all are), and once you arrive at Dominical, it's easy going. All together, you're looking at about 6 hours of driving time. You'd need to get a very early start so you could get through the highest part of the highway before the heavy fog rolls in, usually late morning or noonish. If you left about 6:00 a.m., you'd be in San Isidro by 9:00 (stopping in Dom for a snack or breakfast), OR stop for breakfastin San Isidro. Either way, you'd be heading north out of San Isidro by 9:45 or 10:00. The highest part of the drive north of San Isidro is the first 1.5-2 hours. You should arrive SJO about 1:00 p.m., then expect 30 min or so to get through there. If you leave later in the morning, you run the risk of trying to drive through San Jose during rush hour traffic. A nightmare, let me assure you! No matter how you cut it, it will take up a day of your time.
shillmac is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2009, 04:18 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Shillmac -Thanks for the heads-up about the road and traffic in San Jose.
kbrennan is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2009, 05:18 PM
Join Date: May 2007
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Jillin, we like the Lost Iguana. They have a number of different floorplans - suites, villlas, casitas that might do the trick for you. It's a beautiful property and very quiet, lots of trails, beautiful landscaping, small pool, and open-air restaurant on-site, as well as a spa and nice gift shop. Great volcano views too. It's set on the edge of town which we liked.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2009, 06:18 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Just a fyi - if you read a couple posts down/up the Trip Report - Osa, Domincal & Manuel Antonio by steph she talks about driving that road recently. Apparently the repairs have started and they made the trip in under an hour.
tully is offline  
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