December or February for 2 week visit to Costa Rica

Old May 2nd, 2014, 10:29 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 39
December or February for 2 week visit to Costa Rica

I am planning our 1st visit to Costa Rica for my husband & I. We like to hike, enjoy nature & sightsee. What would be your opinion of the best time to visit for not being overly crowded? In the 1st 2 weeks of December & risk rainy weather that would make traveling by road difficult or in February when prices are higher and more crowded but the weather is better. I've read that February is not too bad for crowds as it is before spring breakers arrive. Thanks for any advice
OSUbuckeye is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2014, 10:47 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,154
I'd go in February. We did a December trip one year, and it poured rain on us almost every day. Depends on which areas you want to visit, but February would give you a shot at better weather since it's the dry season for most areas. I wouldn't expect February to more crowded than December.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2014, 10:59 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 39
Thanks Volcanogirl! We are definitely leaning more towards February. I'm limited on what time to travel due to work, but being from Ohio, February is a great time to "get out of Dodge"
OSUbuckeye is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2014, 11:40 AM
  #4  
RAC
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,951
Where would you plan on going in February? Some parts like the Osa Peninsula are never crowded. Others, like Arenal, are always touristy.

We always go in February, if for no other reason because that's when the worst winter weather is for us.
RAC is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2014, 04:08 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 39
I'm just starting to plan the itinerary. I'm thinking right now of 3 days Arenal area, 3 days Manuel Antonio, 3 days Monteverde & ending with 3-4 days in Osa Peninsula. Since we've never been, I'd like to hit the high points..definites are Arenal & Oso Peninsula.
OSUbuckeye is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2014, 08:26 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,154
Those are all great areas; with that time frame, I'd consider just going to three locations so you aren't doing so much moving around. I could easily spend four or five days in Arenal, and we've been there several times. There's just so much to do there. Do you need to spend a first or last night near the airport?
volcanogirl is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2014, 08:53 PM
  #7  
RAC
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,951
Skip Manuel Antonio if you're doing the Osa.

Would you be driving or flying into the Osa?
RAC is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2014, 05:33 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 39
I haven't gotten too far on my planning yet. The only definite is going in February for 2 wks. Will be renting a car. I'll probably save Oso for the end of the trip & not sure yet if we'll give the car up & fly down & then back to the airport or take a couple days to drive down & back & see the scenery on the way. So you think concentrate on Arenal & Monteverde & end in Oso??
OSUbuckeye is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2014, 06:06 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 127
That order of things sounds good. Three areas only. And keep in mind you will probably need to spend your last night near the airport.

If you turn in your rental car before the Osa, you can either fly down or do as we did and have a driver take you down to see the country between, then fly back. You can search for my report if you click on my name.
emmajm is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2014, 06:19 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,154
I would definitely do Arenal and the Osa; those are two amazing areas. I personally like Manuel Antonio more than Monteverde, but it depends on what appeals to you. Monteverde is good if you want the cloud forest, hiking, birding. The road to get there is long and bumpy though. Manuel Antonio is good if you want beautiful beaches and easy access to wildlife. Monteverde skews a little more rustic and Manuel Antonio has a little more infrastructure, hotel and restaurant choices, etc. We stayed at Tulemar Bungalows and loved it - they have their own beach and we saw monkeys, sloths, and some cool birds like aracaris there. Monteverde can get really chilly while Manuel Antonio can get really hot and sunny.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2014, 08:25 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 39
Everyone has given me alot of food for thought. I definitely will stick to 3 areas & going in February. I will be posting a possible itinerary for input when I get to that point. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I never plan a trip without going to the forum here...lots of great ideas! This was invaluable when we planned our trip to Alaska!
OSUbuckeye is offline  
Old May 5th, 2014, 11:29 AM
  #12  
RAC
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,951
What are your main interests/wish list items? No site is exceptional in all regards, so Osa/Arenal/Monteverde may or may not make the most sense based on your interests.
RAC is offline  
Old May 9th, 2014, 07:33 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 39
RAC...we LOVE to hike. Definitely want to zipline & we like to keep busy looking at the sights & scenery! I like the beach but my husband...not so much. He likes to snorkel but does not like to just chill & lie on the beach. He gets too bored. We usually stay pretty active & don't mind being on the move!
OSUbuckeye is offline  
Old May 10th, 2014, 06:38 AM
  #14  
RAC
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,951
I would recommend renting a car for the first leg (Arenal and Monteverde) and flying for the second leg (Osa). If you want to drive the whole way, I would probably drop Arenal and Monteverde and choose good hiking places to stop between SJO and the Osa, and between the Osa and SJO (Chirripo, Uvita, San Isidro, San Gerardo de Dota etc).

For Arenal, for avid hikers I'd recommend staying on the side if the volcano opposite from town, where all the hiking is. Arenal Observatory Lodge is tops in this regard, having hundreds of acres to explore, being the trailhead for Cerro Chato, and having killer volcano views and wildlife sightings.
RAC is offline  
Old May 10th, 2014, 06:58 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,154
We also really like the Lost Iguana in the Arenal area. It's out by the lake, and there's wildlife on the property - lots of toucans and other birds, and we've seen coatis, heard howlers, and seen a tayra. It has a very jungly feeling to it and is right next to the Hanging Bridges and out near the lake. There's nice hiking at the Hanging Bridges, the volcano, the waterfall, and we've had a guide take us hiking at the lake where we saw some nice wildlife. Sunset Tours and Desafio both have good guides if you want one; they'll increase your chances of seeing wildlife.

On the Osa, Bosque del Cabo has fantastic hiking; we saw all 4 kinds of monkeys there, sloths, coatis, toucans, scarlet macaws, and even an anteater. If it's in your budget, it's a nice spot.

In Monteverde, we did some nice hiking in the reserve and also really enjoyed a night hike at Hidden Valley.

You might also like Selva Verde there; we did some nice hiking and saw quite a bit of wildlife. La Selva isn't too far from there.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Jun 18th, 2014, 06:31 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,054
Our first trip (there will be more in the future, I just know it), was in February 4 days Arenal, 4 Manuel Antonio and 5 Osa. It was amazing, and I thought with enough time in each place.

This crowd here is partial to Lost Iguana, Buena Vista Villas and Bosque del Cabo, so that's what we did, and I am eternally grateful for these suggestions. It is still one of the best trips we ever took.

Just listen to them and you can't go wrong
xyz99 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
scdreamer
Mexico & Central America
11
Jul 24th, 2019 10:23 AM
posty
Mexico & Central America
7
Nov 11th, 2013 01:21 PM
Bim11897
Mexico & Central America
4
Mar 13th, 2011 04:47 PM
lmsiegel
Mexico & Central America
7
Jun 17th, 2007 06:25 AM
Suzie2
Mexico & Central America
4
Aug 1st, 2003 11:09 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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

FODOR'S VIDEO