CR Itinerary for Trip in May - Any comments???

Old Feb 20th, 2010, 12:16 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,008
CR Itinerary for Trip in May - Any comments???

Hello all. Thanks for your answers to my many posts and all the suggestions you have provided. Please let me know if you have any comments or feedback on the trip plans I have lined up in May. I'm still holding off on my plane reservations in the hope that the rates might drop, but I'll probably book in the next week or so.

Day 1 - Fly into SJO by Noon and travel to Monteverde with Wilson; stay at Monteverde Rustic Lodge for 2 nights; probably have dinner in town of Santa Elena
Day 2 – Zip line, hanging bridges, Hummingbird Garden, etc - not sure yet if this will be in Santa Elena or Monteverde
Day 3 – Possible coffee tour in the morning; Jeep boat jeep to Arenal in the afternoon; stay at Hotel Silencio del Campo for 3 nights; possibly have dinner at AOL
Day 4 - Arenal - Cano Negro tour; dinner in La Fortuna
Day 5 - Arenal Volcano, possibly Eco Termales in the evening including dinner
Day 6 - Leave early afternoon with Wilson to return to San Jose area to spend the night prior to our flight to Osa; current plans are to stay at Margarita de La Garita B & B but no reservations have been made
Day 7 - Flight to Osa for 3 nights at Bosque del Cabo probably on Sansa
Day 8 – Hike trails and beach
Day 9 – Horse back riding
Day 10 – Return flight to SJ area to spend the night again at Margarita’s
Day 11 – Noonish flight home

I look forward to your comments! I guess it's now time to start asking about dining.
Deb15July is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 12:56 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 11
Do not eat at AOL it was our worst meal in CR !! We were a family of 6 and we all agreed our meals were AWFUL!! (Probably our only bad meal in CR)
CRtravels is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 01:04 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,008
Thanks CRtravels...I have heard the food is not the best but I thought it would be an easy way to possibly see some lava. I heard there's a bridge that people hangout to watch for lave, but we won't have a car and I'm sure a taxi would cost too much to just sit while we wait.

Any ideas from this board on catching the lava at night. We are staying on the dormant side.
Deb15July is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 01:06 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,750
Sounds like a wonderful trip! I can tell you've done your homework. I assume you want to dine at AOL for some nighttime lava view, which could actually be a nice evening just don't expect great food as previous poster said AOL is notorious for bad food.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 01:08 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,750
Deb we posted at the same time...there is a nighttime lava hike you can do.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 01:50 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,008
hip,
That would be great...how strenuous is it. I tend to be a clutz and recently sprained my foot when I slipped on some ice. It's not up to par yet.

Also, who does the hike and would they provide transportation or would I need to take a taxi somewhere to hook up with the tour.

I've done so much homework that DH winces when I get home from work and get right on the computer. He's had to put up with many late dinners in the last month! Just wish we could stay longer, but DH has limited vacation time.
Deb15July is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 03:15 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,556
Deb: the best thing to do is just wait to see how the weather is. If the volcano top is cloudless, then go for it. You will probably at least see some red hot rocks coming down the mountainside, if it is clear. We had no such luck. Poured rain the whole 3 days, and only got a few glimpes of hot rocks at about midnight one night.

The food at AOL was just OK, but you are not there for the food.
MichelleY is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 04:19 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,186
We did a lava tour with Sunset Tours, and they picked us up and dropped us back off; they took us out to the bridge area. I'd recommend doing a night hike in Monteverde; we did one at Hidden Valley that was really fun. The waterfall hike in Arenal/La Fortuna is also great.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 04:33 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,008
Michelle and vg,
I'm trying to line up my options and I keep reminding myself that I don't need to have everything planned in advance.

I guess a night hike in Monteverde might work. Unless we are really delayed in customs/immigration, I would think we will arrive by 6 PM...what time does the night hike with Hidden Valley start. What is the format of the Sunset lava tour and how long does it last? I think I heard the waterfall hike at La Fortuna is pretty strenuous. Is that true? I think I have the endurance for a hike of medium difficulty, but I always worry about my footing since I recently sprained my right ankle and several years ago broke my left foot!!!
Deb15July is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 08:10 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,186
I'm not sure of the exact starting time for the night hike, but I'm thinking it was around 5:30. We saw a sloth, fox, raccoon, porcupine, birds, agouti, coati, tarantula, tiny snake, and a lot of cool insects. It really was a lot of fun; we were in a fun group when we did it. The walk down on the waterfall hike was pretty easy, but I think most people were pausing for a breath on the way up. I actually did the entire thing with a sprained ankle because I sprained it the morning we went and I was still determined to go. But I have what you might call a "determined" personality - lol. There's a little set of steps off on the left hand side that lead down to a crystal clear river area where you can swim. The falls are beautiful. The whole thing is pretty organized. I was expecting it to be sort of out in the country/natural, etc. but there's a big parking lot and entry building where you pay your fee, a gift shop, etc. The trail isn't dirt, has steps, hand rails, etc. It's pretty well maintained.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2010, 04:49 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,008
OK...I'm trying to decide on a place to stay in the San Jose area for one night before traveling to Osa and another night prior to our flight home.

I think I have my choices narrowed to two places, but I'm looking for feedback. I got both of these places off this board, but don't seem to remember any specific feedback.

There are only two of us on an anniversary trip. We haven't decided whether to fly to Osa via Nature Air or Sansa, but we will be flying out of SJO to return home.

Margarita's Airport B & B (also known as Margarita de La Garita B & B)- closer to SJO
Casa Bella Rita - I think this is closer to Pavas, but it doesn't seem too far from SJO

Any advice?
Deb15July is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2010, 09:48 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
I'd select the hotel closest to the airport you'll be using. La Garita for Sansa, Cassa Bella Rita for Nature Air.

Regarding food at AOL, we didn't think it was terrible, would describe it as just OK.
shillmac is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2010, 03:49 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,667
I can't give restaurant recommendations as the group with which I toured provided our meals, but I found the food somewhat disappointing. It consisted of mainly rice and beans, fried plantains and fresh fruit. Not much protein, which proved to be a problem as I was traveling with 23 teenagers who were ALWAYS hungry!!! The food seemed bland to me as well; I'm not sure what I was expecting, but what I got wasn't it. The fresh fruit is amazing; the coffee is the best ever; and the ice cream was wonderful.
We did the zipline in Monteverde and LOVED it. Enjoy your trip!
tenthumbs is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2010, 04:54 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,186
We have had some very good food in CR, but you kind of have to know where to go. Don Rufino in La Fortuna is excellent if you have a chance to go back. Lots of good fresh seafood in Manuel Antonio.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2010, 05:07 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,008
Well I was hoping to get more feedback regarding our itinerary. I don't know if it's so good that no one has comments or if I'm boring everyone

I'm still lacking reservations in the San Jose area mid trip (prior to the flight to Osa) and the night before our departure home. I'm also still gambling on flights and have made no reservations for either the flights to/from CR or the flight to/from Osa. Can't decide on Nature Air or Sansa...the cost for the flights I'm interested in end up with an identical cost. So I guess the proximity to our lodging is the biggest factor.

Based on feedback on this forum, it sounds like I should wait to make tour/excursion reservations until I get there so I can take weather into account. Is that a bad idea? There is so much I want to see that I feel like I need to have a pretty good plan so as not to waste any valuable time being wishy washy with our plans.

Any feedback?
Deb15July is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2010, 05:23 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,750
deb - I think your itinerary looks pretty well planned out and probably why no one is suggesting otherwise. ;-) I like Orquideas Inn for stays near SJO, have also stayed at Adventure Inn, Hotel Villa Bonita very close to SJO and Don Carlos in the city. Thinking about trying Casa Bella Rita and/or Hotel Pura Vida next trip, but will also return to Orquideas most likely.

I would think about booking your flights soon if you have specific days/times you want.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2010, 08:58 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,186
We liked Grano de Oro for a city hotel and Xandari for something outside the city. Hear good things about Casa Bella Rita but haven't tried it yet.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2010, 05:14 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,008
OK...so we really want to do a Cano Negro trip from Arenal. Our lodge uses several different tour operators. Does anyone have any preferences? These are the options.

Canoa Aventura
Sunset tours
Desafío Adventure Company

The cost for this activity is $55 per person with Canoa Av. and $63 with either Sunset or Desafio.
Deb15July is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2010, 05:31 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
Our experience with Sunset was outstanding. I'm guessing they are all very comparable. Desafio gets high marks in everything it seems.

Your itinerary looks well thought out. I prefer Nature Air to Sansa, but Sansa certainly is more convenient to SJO. You can always stay at Casa Bella Rita, fly down there on Nature Air, and return on Sansa, spending your last night in La Garita. See which YOU prefer, Nature Air or Sansa!

One of the reasons we like Nature Air is that we can pay our exit tax there and have that bit of final paperwork over with. That's what I usually do while we are waiting to board. It's convenient. And I think it would be fun to try both hotels.
shillmac is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2010, 06:52 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,008
shillmac,
I had similar thoughts. And I can't remember which direction had the big difference, but one way the price on Nature Air was more expensive based on the flights we wanted. My driver said he will charge $15 extra to take us from Arenal to Casa Bella Rita. I need to look again.

So did you do the Cano Negro trip with Sunset or was it a different tour.
Deb15July is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO