Costa Rica Trip Report-Manuel Antonio and Arenal

Old Mar 21st, 2005, 06:52 AM
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Costa Rica Trip Report-Manuel Antonio and Arenal

We were in CR 3/10-3/18. It was great!

We arrived in San Jose and arranged transport to Arenal via a private van through Costa Rica transfers. The driver was very nice and pointed a lot out to us on the trip which took a little over 2 hours.

When we arrived, the volcano was clear and this was the last time we saw the top of it ever! There was also a lot of rain during our stay here.

Tabacon Resort-we stayed here for first two nights. I was pleased with the hotel. The staff was not the friendliest but the rooms were nice and the breakfast was great.

Food in Fortuna is Cheap! We ate for under $50 all three nights. El Novillo was very good and so was Les Nenes. We went to the hot Springs-It is very hot and although I am glad I went, a few hours there was enough for us. We also hiked to the waterfall and did a tour of the hanging bridges with a guide which was so worht it. I think his name was Donald with java Tours-he was awesome. The waterfall you do not need a guide for. If you don't have a car, just take a taxi and arrange for them to pick you up.

For the last night in Arenal we moved to the Arenal Paraiso hotel b/c Tabacon was booked. This hotel was nice too- a little more rustic but lots of birds, wildlife.

On 3/13, Interbus drove us to Manuel Antonio-we shared the ride with two other passengers. Driver was prompt and the trip took about 4 1/2 hrs. We stayed at Hotel So Como no which is very nice. It is hot in Manuel Antonio and was sunny the whole time. Service is very good at this hotel too. Our excursions included horseback riding on the beach and in the mountains, canopy tour, trip to the park and beach and sailboat ride-all recommended. Canopy tour was not scary at all-so fun. In the park we hired a guide at the gate for $20pp. Park was a little crowded though and hot! Favorite meals were at Ronny's mi lugar and Sunspot.

On 3/18 we had the same driver who drove us to Arenal drive us back to San Jose which took about 3 hrs.

I am glad we did not drive-although the roads to the destinations we went we all paved for the most part(with the exception of som scary bridges and potholes) they tend to get very curvy in the mountains and sometimes no guardrails. It was worth it for us to relax and enjoy the scenery and taxis are very cheap and accessible.

All in all we really enjoyed our trip. great scenery, nice people, good food!
mfenimore is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2005, 05:32 PM
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We're going to Arenal in a week. How did you get to El Novello from Tabacon? We won't have a car with us but would like to check this restaurant out. Did you take a cab or did you walk?
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 04:45 PM
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It is only about a 5 minute drive to El Novillo from Tabacon. We had our own car. I probably would not walk. Especially at night. It is hilly, a bit narrow - I would be afraid of being run off the road. That's just me. I doubt the taxi would cost much. I would guess the front desk would help you with transportation. Sorry I can't help you much with the taxi part. We loved El Novillo.
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 04:57 PM
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We liked El Novillo as well - Outside dining, reasonable pricing, tons of food - Short and cheap taxi from Tabacon - don't sweat not having a car - we were glad not to be driving - Byron
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 06:04 PM
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We land this Thursday with 3 kids and have similar intinerary.. Arenal at the Paraiso and then MA at Si Como No. With three kids 7,9 and 11 - can you give me your votes for best activities and restaurants that you recall from Manuel Antonio and or Arenal. Your post had a lot but I'm trying to narrow down to what you think were best! Thanks.
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 06:23 PM
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Thank you, what a special trip report. I am glad you had a good time!
Someone asked about transportation and restaurants:

All hotels have their own transportation and there are taxi available. Start requesting one a little in advance because the distance is a little ways out for Tabacon.

The restaurant is not far as was said in another post.

Volcano Lodge is the best food according to many of the guests I have had. I did read a recent post from one of my guests that said it was so-so.

I like plain and simple, for the person traveling with children. Lava Rocks is right beside the church in La Fortuna and really nice, open air as many are. They have all types of food, great breakfasts, too.... average price about $4.50.

In Quepos, you can take the kids.... I see them in there....

Banco Bar. I eat only one thing. The fish fingers. Well, this is not your usual fish sticks. Fresh catch of the day, brought to you in a basket. I order coleslaw extra which is very good too. Not a beer drinker but I bet you never had a better meal with a beer!

Si Como No resgaurant is my favorite, Seafood one. There is a mexican one, too.

I have to get down there and try Ronny's mi lugar , everyone says its really good.

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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 06:27 PM
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Hey Chris--hope you and your family have a great time. If you see Neta, give her my love! Jill
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Old Apr 23rd, 2005, 07:36 PM
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Shillmac, I'll be in CR during the month of July as well! Staying at Arenal Paraiso 7/17-20, will I see you there!!?
Thanks every one for all your help and suggestions in making out itinerary!
colavecd is offline  
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