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Eagle Feb 17th, 2007 02:53 PM

CR trip report
Just back from CR and want to give you all a report while it is still fresh in my mind. This is our second trip to CR and we thoroughly enjoy this beautiful country. We spent most of our time in the Guanacaste area last year, so this year we decided on the tourist destinations. We are in our 70's and enjoy travelling.
We rented a car from Tricolor when we first arrived and drove to the Peace Lodge. What a lovely place. The rooms are so spacious. Large bathrooms, fireplace, hot tubs.The grounds are so beautiful. We hiked to the waterfalls and of course saw all the frogs abd snakes and butterflies. What a beautiful spot. Then we drove to Arenal and stayed at the Lost Iquana for 2 nights. This wasnt as elegant as the Peace lodge, but still very nice. Saw the volcano briefly one night as the weather was cloudy most of the time. Went to the hanging bridges and did some hikes around the hotel however, the trails were not in good condition and it was rather miserable walking. Went on a river Safari trip which was Ok. Saw several sloths. Didnt go to Tabacon Hot Springs as it was too crowded. Went to Eco Thermal instead and it was uncrowded and very nice. It doesnt have a sign so you just have to remember that it is across the street from Baldi Hot Springs, From there we drove to Monteverde. The first part of the road is fine. stopped at the German Bakery and Toads Hall. The road gets really bad after you drive around the lake.It's very, very rough and slow going. The scenery is beautiful and you have time to view it since you have to drive so slowly. We stayed at the Arco Iris Lodge in Monteverde which was very adequate. $55 a night incl. taxes. Breakfast was $6.50 extra. Owners were very nice and helpful. Laundry was inexpensive. The grounds were very nice with some nice trails. We visited the Cloud Forest which was nice but I wasnt impressed. I have no desire to return to Monteverde. As a guide told us, It was the Cloud Forest, now its the crowd forest". Anyway the drive to MA from Monteverde was very pretty but the road was "awful". Stopped to see the Crocs and then to MA. Stayed at the Costa Verde Hotel for 3 nights and lvoed it. We had a studio plus room with full ocean view, A/C, TV, kitchenette, large balcony and well lighted. It cost $150 a night and was well worth it. The laundry was very inexpensive here.Went to the beach one day, and also the Park. The beach inside the park is so beautiful. Saw lots of monkeys.We stayed at Si Como No for 2 nights but we werent impressed. I think it is overrated and overpriced. The staff is very attentive and the food was good, but our room was very small, with a small,,small balcony fro $225. a night. The butterfly farm across the street was good as was their gift shop. We ate at Ronny's one night which was good abd also at Barba Roja. Also good.
From there we took a very bumpy road to Dominical. Had great nachos at Tortilla Flats restaurant right on the beach. They were so yummy. We stayed at the Villas Rio Mar. It was very nice. We had a Jr. Suite with A/C and TV and an enclosed porch with mosquitoe netting. They are Adobe style Cabinas with thatched roofs. They were $125 a night. They had a large pool which we enjoyed. We drove to Playa Uvita one day andwent to the Park.
We then drove to San Isidro , stopped to fix a flat tire. Then on to San Gerado de Dota. Beautiful drive through the mountains then on a narrow, dirt winding road down to San Gerado. Scenery was beautiful but the road was dangerous. Stayed at the Savegre Lodge for 2 nights and saw the beautiful Quetzals. Such magnificent birds. Loved to watch them Had a nice room for $95 a night. It gets chilly there at night but you have lots of blankets and a space heater. We really liked it there. Lots of good hiking trails and waterfalls. Then onto San Jose. Well, we made a wrong turn someplace and eded up driving smack through San Jose. What a nightmare! Narrow streets with lots of cars, people, buses , motorcyles etc. Very congested to say the least. Anyway we made it through without any scrapes. Went to the beautiful Xanari Lodge in Allejia. This is one of the nicest places I have ever stayed.Contemporary styled villas overlooking San Jose and Alajuela. Private, large villas with large bathrooms, secluded lanais with great views. Good lighting in the rooms. The paintings in the rooms are very colorful. (the owners wife is an artist). The rooms are so well furnished. Staff was great and the food was very good. I had an excellent Filet Mignon one night. The view from the restaurant is spectacular. They have several hiking trails and 2 lap pools which we liked since we like to swim laps. We turned in our car and took their shuttle to the airport the next morning. Hated to leave CR. Would like to do the Osa next year. Thanks to all for helping us with our trip.

kencolian Feb 17th, 2007 04:12 PM

Thank you for the trip report, I love to read them. How was the trip from Domincal to San Isidro? Was the flat from potholes? I think we might go to Haciendo Baru near Dominical in August, and I am curious about driving in that area.

Eagle Feb 17th, 2007 06:23 PM

The road from Dominical to /san Isidro was good and that is where we got one of our flats. Few pot holes though. We were using the spare tire as we also had a flat tire in Arenal. The road from MA to Dominical was terrible but they were working on it.

shillmac Feb 17th, 2007 07:59 PM

Hi Eagle--so glad you guys had such a great time! Any bridges out between Quepos and Dominical?

You surely enjoyed a full trip and stayed at some great hotels. We've not stayed at any of them, but hope to work Peace Lodge in this summer for a couple of nights. Xandari--someday; same for Lost Iguana!

What was your impression of Eco Thermales? We have a group of 7 hoping to go to Tabacon March 16. Their $45 unlimited day passes are sold out. I'm not too crazy about the $60 unlimited pass with lunch (heard the food is terrible), but it's just so beautiful there, I'd like our crew to see it. . .frustrating. It's too much, for sure!

Thanks again! We love Savegre as well. . .

faithie Feb 18th, 2007 03:36 AM

Thank-You for taking the time to report, always great to hear pothers views.

tully Feb 18th, 2007 05:22 AM

Good report, thanks for posting. Did you do the split between Costa Verde & Si Como No due to availability or just for variety?

How was the food at Peace Lodge? I will be there for 2 nights without car so just wondering if it's really all that bad.

sparklegem Feb 18th, 2007 06:18 AM

Thank you for posting such a great report. I have often wondered what we were missing by not going to many of the places that you visited. Thank you for including all the details. We will be going to Costa Rica for our second time in April and this time we will staying on the Osa.

fishee Feb 18th, 2007 08:15 AM

Eagle -- thanks for your report, very helpful info.

Could I please ask you about your driving times?

1. Peace Lodge to Arenal
2. Arenal to Monteverde
3. Monteverde to MA

thanks again!

Eagle Feb 18th, 2007 08:14 PM

Shillmac> No bridges were out between Quepos and Dominical. They were doing a lot of work on this road. Looks like they will eventually pave it. We liked Eco Thermales. It was fairly small.I think there were 6 pools, but they were very nice. It was not crowded. They limit the number of people. We had dinner also and it was just OK. Lost Iquana recommended them over the others.

Eagle Feb 18th, 2007 08:17 PM

Tully: We had reservations at Costa Verde for 3 nights. We decided to stay in MA longer, but Costa Verde didnt have rooms so stayed at Si Como No. The food at Peace Lodge was good but not exceptional. Breakfast was very good, and was fun to watch the birds while eating.

Eagle Feb 18th, 2007 08:20 PM

Fishee: I cnat remeber the exact driving times, but it seemed to me it took about2 1/2 hours to drive to Arenal area, and we do not hurry. The time from Arenal to Monteverde was about 4 or more hours, but then we made a couple of stops. The time from Monteverde to MA was about 6 hours.

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