Costa RIca trip in April 2019

Feb 18th, 2019, 11:30 AM
  #1  
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Costa RIca trip in April 2019

I'm looking to travel to Costa Rica for 6 nights in mid april (still trying to decide) with my husband and 8 year old daughter. I'm thinking of staying in Manuel Antonio and looking at Si Como No hotel. Curious if anyone has stayed at this resort and if you recommend it? My daughter loves to swim, so the pool is really important. We want a relaxing vacation, but also want to see lots of wildlife. Is 6 nights too many in this area or at this hotel? I would like to go to Arenal too, but seems like we would lose a day just driving there. Is it worth it to split up the trip? We weren't planning on renting a car, but would look into transportation to Arenal if it's highly recommended (maybe even add a day to our trip). We're flying in and out of San Jose airport. Any recommendations, especially hotels in these two areas with great pools would be greatly appreciated. Also, do we need to book tours in advance or is this something we can do when we get to the hotel?

Thanks!
DeMarco is offline  
Feb 18th, 2019, 12:02 PM
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You might get more replies if you post this on the Mexico and Central America forums. The moderators will probably move it there anyway.
https://www.fodors.com/community/mex...ntral-america/
schmerl is offline  
Feb 18th, 2019, 01:50 PM
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We stayed at the Villa Bosque- not a high end place but clean, has a restaurant, roof top pool and short walk to beach. We only used the pool a couple of times as we spent most of our time at the beach. We flew there from San Jose- be prepared because they weigh you when you get on the plane. Don't remember how many nights we stayed- I think only 3 or 4. Flew back to San Jose and spent the night then drove to Arenal area- we had a driver and was glad we did. I was single mom with a 15 yr so would not have been happy driving. And pot holes are enormous! I definitely thought worthwhile to see both areas. The volcano erupted while we were there. Woke up one night and my daughters bed was moving across the room and we could hear the rumbles from volcano and see the hot lava. Pretty impressive.
Another fun thing we did was a river raft but there might be an age limit.
sunbum1944 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2019, 02:05 PM
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I haven't been to Manuel Antonio, but have been to Arenal. The MA/Arenal combo is a popular one though.

We really enjoyed Arenal - lots of neat things to do and see. In Arenal, we stayed at Arenal Observatory Lodge, which is very close to the volcano and has great views. They have extensive grounds with trails that you can hike, a cool waterfall, and an amazing amount of birds. We also saw some other animals too - coatis, howler monkeys, and a few others. They offer a guided nature hike each morning, which is fun. If you aren't a guest of the lodge, you can buy a day pass and hike around - I think you can join the nature hike also. While in the Arenal area, we also went to Mistico Hanging Bridges, which is very cool - several hanging bridges along a couple mile path through the jungle. We also did ziplining at Skytrek and went to the thermal hot springs at Eco Thermales. All were absolutely great.

For transportation, we rented a car for maximum flexibility, and I am glad we did. We didn't do any real tours - just went places on our own. At SkyTrek, we signed up for a time slot and had guides there to take a group through the zip lines - we called the day before to see what was available. At Mistico Hanging Bridges, we didn't make a reservation - just went and hiked around. We did the guided morning hike at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
november_moon is online now  
Feb 18th, 2019, 04:49 PM
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Splitting the trip depends on flight times. If you have to spends any nights by the airport at the beginning or end of the trip, then maybe just stay in one location. Travel between MA and Arenal is at least 5 hours. I haven’t stayed, but Si Como No is supposed to be very nice. We stayed at Costa Verde. In Arenal, we stayed at the Arenal Observatory Lodge.



MichelleY is offline  
Feb 19th, 2019, 09:21 AM
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Sunburn, you must have gone quite a while ago. The volcano hasn't been active like that since 2010 I think. It was amazing to see it back in the day. D, we like Tulemar Bungalows in Manuel Antonio because they have their own beach; we haven't stayed at Si Como No, but we've toured the property, and it's really nice, beautiful. We regularly saw sloths and monkeys on the grounds at Tulemar. Six nights might be a little long for me to stay in one area; it's about a five hour drive from MA to the Arenal area. We usually use a private driver when we go; you can reserve them through your hotels when you book them. If you go to the Arenal area, take a look at booking a place that has natural hot springs since you're interested in pools. Tabacon and Silencio del Campo are popular spots. The Bogarin Trail is a wonderful place to see sloths, pretty frogs, and cool birds. The trails are easy and flat there; I like that it's owned by a local family.
volcanogirl is offline  
Feb 19th, 2019, 11:12 AM
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We've also stayed at the Arenal Observatory Lodge mentioned above - great for all the reasons the other posters mentioned. It's off a long, bumpy road but completely worth it if you like hiking and seeing wildlife.
volcanogirl is offline  
Feb 19th, 2019, 12:52 PM
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Volcanogirl- yes was a few years ago I was there. We were sitting in a pool at Tabacon with hot spring water pounding on our backs, when we heard a loud boom and the ground shook- the volcano acting up again. It was pretty active at that time. Our guide took us out at night to an area where we could see the lava and hear rocks tumbling down but it never really erupted. Great trip!
sunbum1944 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2019, 02:29 PM
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Sounds wonderful, Sunbum! We stayed at the Lost Iguana back then and could see the rocks tumbling down the side of the volcano. It sounded like a rolling thunderstorm or what I imagine a T Rex growling would have sounded like. I wish it would come back in all its glory - from a safe distance of course!
volcanogirl is offline  
Feb 20th, 2019, 04:48 AM
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I think you could do it either way. Like some one else said, it depends on your flight times and it you need to stay near San Jose the night before. If you choose to stay in the MA area, I think you could fill 6 days. Do a day in MA park, a day at Rainmaker, a day horseback riding, a day on a water fall tour, etc. We are going to Kids Save the Rainforest tomorrow (haven’t been there yet). The thing I like about tours is that they pick you up about 7 AM and you are done around 12-1 and have the rest of the day for beach or relaxing. We book with Jade Tours. They have an easy-to-use website and are very responsive via email. We always use drivers and taxis instead of cars. I just Drive by Si Como No yesterday and, like Costa Verde, it appears to be up on a hill. I’d just check to be sure you can walk to restaurants.
florclover is offline  
Feb 21st, 2019, 05:02 PM
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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this: How are you defining "mid-April"? Easter falls on April 21. That makes April 14-21 Holy Week, or Semana Santa. That's the busiest tourism week of the year in Costa Rica. Hotels, attractions, car rentals, and transportation will be very busy. Make reservations very soon if you haven't already.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2019, 02:35 AM
  #12  
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Trip update

We’re traveling after Easter which is considered low season so both hotels we were looking at had availability. We’re going to Arenal for 3 nights and Manuel Antonio for 4 nights. We decided to rent a car which was much more cost effective!
thanks for all of the advice!
DeMarco is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2019, 06:29 AM
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That's great, glad it's all worked out for you, and hope your trip is wonderful. I think you'll be happy with the split.
volcanogirl is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2019, 08:30 AM
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By the way, we went to Kids Saving the Rainforest sanctuary yesterday with our 7 year old. You might want to check it out.
florclover is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2019, 03:22 PM
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Sounds like a great trip!
november_moon is online now  
Feb 27th, 2019, 07:03 AM
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End of April travel in Costa Rica

Quick question about Costa Rica. We're traveling the last week of April and I see that it's the tail end of the dry season. Anyone travel to Costa Rica around this time? Should I expect a lot of rain? Hoping it doesn't rain too much!!

Thanks
Sonia
DeMarco is offline  
Feb 27th, 2019, 09:23 AM
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We've travelled there several times in April and have gotten some rain. It's rarely all day rain. I don't mind it because it cools things off and greens things up. Things go on as planned in Costa Rica in the rain. Also depends on which areas you're planning to visit. The climate and rainfall are very different depending on which areas of the country you're visiting.
volcanogirl is offline  
Feb 28th, 2019, 07:09 AM
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Have you seen this map? You can hover over the areas you're interested in to get an idea of general weather patterns.
https://costa-rica-guide.com/travel/...-map-rainfall/
volcanogirl is offline  
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