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Final Post Before Two Week CR Trip

Old Jan 4th, 2008, 03:33 AM
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Final Post Before Two Week CR Trip

Thank you all so much for your input! We (DH and kids ages 8 and 6) are excited for our trip! Can you offer any more advice? I'll be happy to post my trip report when I get home!

Itinerary:
Day 1 - Arrive SJO early am after red-eye. Driver will take us to Arenal Paraiso for 3 nights. Where should we go to dinner? I hear the food at the hotel is not that good.

Day 2 - Horseback to La Fortuna - late afternoon/evening at Eco Thermales or Tabacon? We will proabably eat first and then go to the springs (suggestions?)

Day 3 - Cano Negro

Day 4 - Boat across Arenal and taxi to Fonda Vela in MV for 2 nights. We want to do a night hike - suggestions? Dinner thoughts?

Day 5 - Canopy and Bridges at Selvatura. Then?

Day 6 - 13 Transportation to Nosara
8 nights at private home near Lagarta Lodge. We are renting a car and plan to learn to surf, yoga, turtles at Ostional, day trip to Playa Carillo in Samara, hang out...any other suggestions?

Day 13 - Flight to SJO Overnight at Trapp Family by the airport. Good last night dinner suggestions?

Day 14 - Homeward bound.
erinnq is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2008, 05:49 AM
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Lucky you!

Regarding dinner in the Arenal area, I like La Choza de Laurel (there are many other options as well... I'm sure others will chime in.) For very casual, "local color" dining, I love the soda La Parada (also in La Fortuna). We were too tired to trek into town for dinner the first night and had the worst meal at our hotel (Montana de Fuego, next to your hotel).

Since you're staying at Arenal Paraiso, have you considered doing their zip-line canopy tour? In my opinion, it's one of the best ziplines in the country! Gorgeous views, 11 long ziplines, very fun!

Haven't been to Tabacon, but I can speak very highly of Eco-Thermales, and so many people on this board agree. You could also arrange to have dinner at the hot springs, I believe... our dinner at Eco-Thermales was great.

Your hotel in Monteverde can arrange a night hike for you, and often they make suggestions. I have done two: Finca Ecologica and Hidden Valley... liked them both!

In Monteverde, I think you should visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest. On Day 5, maybe you can do this in the morning, or visit the Santa Elena cloud forest. If you do Monteverde, I'd suggest to sign up and go with a guide, since you'll see so much more. (Again, you can arrange this through your hotel.) I'd go early to ensure getting into the park (they limit entrance), then head over to Selvatura in the afternoon.

Have fun and report back!
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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 08:46 AM
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Sounds like you have everything pretty well covered. Have a great trip! We loved Eco-Thermales, didn't do the dinner option, but heard it's pretty good. I guess Tabacon has a slide that the kids might like, so if money is no object you would probably enjoy it there too, but would not opt for the dinner option there as I hear it's pretty bad.

Have a GREAT trip!
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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 10:05 AM
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For dinner in La Fortuna, we really liked El Novillo - they have great steaks; La Choza de Laurel was very good too - they're known for their rotisserie chicken. We went to Tabacon, and it was gorgeous, but it's pricey. If money is no object, I'd go there since you said you'll eat beforehand; they are not known for their food as hip said. EcoTermales gets great reviews too if you like something a little more understated - just really your own personal preference.
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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 06:33 PM
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At Arenal Paraiso, breakfast is fairly good. We too have avoided lunches and dinners there, preferring to dine in La Fortuna or El Novillo. BUT this past June, while at the pool bar, I got a very good club sandwich and fries! Just in case you find yourselves hanging out at the pool around lunchtime!

Have a great trip! We really like this hotel.
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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 08:06 PM
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hola shillmac! Yes, i agree, the breakfasts are really good. Maybe I'm too easy to please, but when I stayed at Arenal Paraiso and had lunch & dinner there I was expecting the worst but was pleasantly surprised with my meals there, they were quite good.
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Old Mar 6th, 2008, 06:51 AM
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Costa Rica was AMAZING! I'm trying to find time to post a trip report! We'll see if I can get the first installment today!
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Old Mar 6th, 2008, 07:20 AM
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We just did the night hike at Hidden Valley and had great luck--sloth, porcupine, fox, coatis, etc.

With the 7:30am MV reserve tour we were able to see the quetzals in the trees at the entrance parking lot. Guides said they will probably be there most mornings until the fruit on those trees are gone.
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Old Mar 6th, 2008, 03:32 PM
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Tully, I was wondering how did miss your post and this thread in general? After a little thought, I figured it out!

We never thought the food at AP was that bad either. But admittedly, we haven't eaten there MUCH, except breakfast. A couple of evening meals, perhaps. I did notice last June that it was a bit too expensive.
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Old Mar 6th, 2008, 04:52 PM
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Kay, how do you sign up for the Hidden Valley night hike? Is that in Monteverde? Would love to know more details about it.
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Old Mar 6th, 2008, 05:05 PM
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Yes, Hidden Valley tour is just above MV, same location as MV Inn. The grounds have view of the Gulf of Nicoya.

We had the hotel phone and book for us. Others came by van but we were close enough to walk (one steep hill).

The walk was at 5:30pm for about 2 hours. Started with a talk about the grounds and viewing of animals just behind the office--raccoons, coatis, etc. Then as it got dark they broke into groups of 8-10 and spread out along the trails to see the spiders, armadillo, leaf cutter ants, etc. When guides found animals, they called each other on their radios so everyone gathered to look at the sloth with their flashlights and binoculars while he scratched and moved. Then everyone took turns looking up in a strangler fig to see the porcupine sleeping. Also stopped to look at birds sleeping. Almost back at the office we saw a fox and the raccoons now in a tree.

We were the last group back and the staff made sure we were taken care of (walking) before they took off for the night.

We walked and enjoyed looking up at the stars.
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Old Mar 7th, 2008, 09:54 AM
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Thanks for the details, Kay; that sounds really great.
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Old Mar 8th, 2008, 01:10 PM
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We love Nosara. For restaurants in Nosara try Giardino Tropicale for the pizza. Make sure you go to Lagarta Lodge for the sunset and hike in the preserve there. Going towards Samara (just outside Nosara) is an excellent Italian restaurant La Dolce Vita. Great food. For quick salads, sandwiches etc. Cafe de Paris.On the beach there is an inexpensive restaurant called olga's. Also, there is a place where the fishermen bring in the fish and a small soda that cooks it. I don't know if it had a name. Write a trip report and let us all know how you enjoyed the trip. Have fun.
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