Day trip advice from Arenal and Peace

Feb 18th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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Day trip advice from Arenal and Peace

We are trying to figure out day trips from Arenal (La Mansion) and Peace Lodge). We'll be with our 2 kids - 8 and 9 year olds. We are considering the following:

While at Arenal (3 days), we are considering:
1. Sky Trek Tram/zipline
2. Volcano hike followed by dinner at Ecotermales
3. Hanging Bridges

We also are considering a Penas Blancas float trip to Don Pedro's Tropical Rain Forest (appears to be offered through Sunset Tours). Has anyone done this tour?

At Peace Lodge, (3 nights), we plan to stay on grounds one day and are deciding between a Sarapiqui float trip and La Selva Biological Station. We are hoping to show our kids (again 8 and 9) wildlife (beyond touring Zoo Avenure on the way to the Airport) and mild adventure. Any input on this would be helpful
jdp867 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2006, 03:18 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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I've done a Penas Blancas float trip -- don't remember if Don Pedro's forest was involved -- but we saw a lot of wildlife. The difference between this and the Sarapiqui trip is that from Penas Blancas we were sitting on the edge of a raft and paddling (very slow moving raft) and from Sarapiqui you'll be on a boat w/ a cover. I'd do one or the other -- your kids will love it, but can they sit on a raft for 3 hours and be ok in the open sun. My son prefered the raft, but he was about 12 then.

Zipline is a must -- I haven't done sky trek but can recommend Arenal Paraiso's zip line.

They might like visiting the La Fortuna Waterfall rather than the volcano hike. You can ride a horse or take a car through a Tico neighborhood to get to the falls. And I think the hot springs is a good idea too.

At Peace Lodge you can spend one day on the grounds there -- nice tour.

sandyc is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 04:52 AM
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In Arenal I think you can fit in the hike down to the La Fortuna Waterfall. You might want to do this one morning and do the evening hike to the volcano. As previously mentioned you can also ride horses to the falls, but we drove our rental.

The night hike to the volcano, starts in the late afternoon. Our guide was actually stopping along the way pointing out birds before the tour even began. We hiked through some forest, with our guide that pointed out all sorts of stuff (insects, birds and plants) and gave us so much info on the history. Then just as it began to get dark we emerged into an opening to a grand show of red spilling down the mountain.

I realize you will be seeing the La Paz Waterfalls, but the two falls (La Paz and La Fortuna) are so different and both so beautiful. I really think they will give the children and yourselves two completely different experiences. At La Paz the trails are engineered perfectly for ease in walking with stratigically placed platforms for stunning views. At La Fortuna the trails are cut into the side of the hillside, this is a hike not a leisurely walk, and then at the bottom you can actually get into the water for a swim or wade. What a breathtaking view.

Then while at Peace Lodge, I would try to get over to Poas early one morning. Again I realize it is another volcano, but Poas and Arenal are so totally different. Poas is minutes from Peace Lodge and will only take you a couple of hours or so. Therefore giving you much of the day to explore La Paz.

One of the beauties of staying at Peace Lodge is the fact that you have the gardens to explore at your leisure. We only walked the waterfall trail once, but visited the buterflies and hummingbirds several times during our stay.

This didn't really answer any of your questions. Just wanted to offer a couple of suggestions.
dfarmer is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 07:30 AM
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When is your trip? We will also be staying at La Mansion in July. I spent many hours researching the different places to stay in Arenal. Although La Mansion is quite a drive from La Fortuna, it seems like a destination in itself. I like that. Now I need to figure out transportation to La Mansion and while staying there. I'm considering taking interbus from San Jose to La Fortuna and then getting a rental car there, then head over to La Mansion. However, Joey said he could have a rental car delivered to L. Mansion. Do you have a rental car your entire C. Rica trip?
dcsam is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 05:12 PM
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thanks for all the great input. This is our 3rd trip to CR (first with kids) and we just stayed at Peace this past December. Kept thinking of how much the kids would love it. Poas sounds like a good idea. Nigth volcano hike in Arenal would be neat too. As far as transportation, we never rent our own car- hubby is too stressful of a driver and wouldn't deal well with potholes or getting lost. We have always had wonderful success and story swapping with drivers - it adds a nice element, plus less hassle, to our trips. La Mansion is sending a driver to the LIR airport to pick us up, and we requested the same driver from Peace that we had last time. Oh, and we are going April 13-19th.

One more question about the horseback to Fortuna falls- is it ok fo 8 and 9 year olds? thanks. Jill
jdp867 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 05:53 AM
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Dfarmer: Who did you do the night hike to the volcano with at ARenal? How long was the hike? Where did it start from?

Has anyone done both the SkyTrek Tram/zipline and the zipline at Arenal Paraiso? How do they compare?

Does anyone have a suggestion for a great private guide/naturalist at Arenal who might take or accompany our family of four (12 and 14 year olds) to both Hanging Bridges and on a volcano hike? We will have our own car.

We'll be staying three nights at Arenal. Since I really want to see the lava running if at all possible, I'm trying to figure out where to stay (so can see it in the middle of the night if that's the only time.) It's now flowing to the northwest, but Tabacon and Kioro are too expensive for us. Any other suggestion for that direction,one that's not REALLY expensive but that also has a swimming pool if possible? Lost Iguana? Montana de Fuego doesn't get great reviews. I would have loved to stay at Arenal Observatory Lodge if the lava was heading that way!

Thanks everyone.
sms73 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2007, 08:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 25
We just got back from CR and stayed at Lost Iguana and loved sitting out on our balcony watching the lava flow. If the lava flow isn't visible before 11 pm, they will call your room if you want them to and wake you in the middle of the night if the flow becomes visible. We were fortunate and got a good show from the volcano all 3 nights. The hanging bridges are right by the hotel and you can either drive to them or do the hike (about 20 minutes) up to them. The hotel offers discounted tickets to the bridges.
2CR is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 03:42 AM
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sms - Sunset Tours is a good company in the Arenal area. I went with them on a volcano hike with another couple. They dropped us off at our hotel (Arenal Paraiso) and we went to lunch. It was funny as about an hour later Sunset Tours showed up again for the Hanging Gardens tour (same driver, same guide) and the same couple I'd been with earlier in the morning. We had a great time with them.

For Arenal Paraiso zipline vs SkyTrek I'd say no comparison. SkyTrek is intense, very high (really over the trees as compared to most ziplines that go thru the trees) and the lines are very long. It was a mix of being petrified and having an absolute blast.
tully is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 05:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Thanks so much. We'll try Sky Trek on the day of my son's 15th birthday--it sounds like he'll have a blast. I'm going to try to book at Lost Iguana too, and hope for SOME clear weather during the last week of March. You were so lucky 2CR to have a clear view.
sms73 is offline  
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