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LoveNH Feb 22nd, 2009 11:07 AM

First time to Costa Rica
Leaving for CR in a couple of weeks for a trip to Arenal and Monteverde. Staying at Arenal Nayara 3 nights and doing a hanging bridges tour, Hidalgo Hot Springs and Fortuna Waterfalls. Then 2 nights in Monteverde at Monteverde lodge with cloud forest excursion.

Any suggestions about appropriate gear/clothing would be appreciated. Also any other spots to visit and restaurants in either area. We are taking the ferry across Lake Arenal then ground transfer to Monteverde. Other posts commented on keeping your belongings with you - do folks mean general luggage too or just personal belongings, cash, wallets etc?

Thanks in advance.

volcanogirl Feb 22nd, 2009 12:41 PM

If you have time in Arenal, we loved the Cano Negro tour with Sunset Tours. It's a wonderful boat ride, and the place where we saw the most wildlife in that area - bats, capuchins, howlers, sloths, caimans, birds, etc. Very fun day. I've never heard of Hidalgo Hot Springs, is it new? Eco Termales is our favorite. Try El Novillo and La Choza de Laurel for dinners.

In Monteverde, we did a night hike at Hidden Valley that was very cool, and we saw some neat animals - porcupine, fox, raccoon, agouti, coati, etc. I had never done a night hike before, but I loved it. Nice to do something in the evening too since CR doesn't have a lot of night life. We liked Pizzeria de Johnny and ate our other meals at Fonda Vela. Monteverde was very cold and rainy when we were there. I wore a sweatshirt and fleece; we definitely needed our rain ponchos there too. We saw quetzals when we were there - just beautiful.

We did the Jeep Boat Jeep across the lake with Desafio. Keeping your luggage with you would have been hard on our boat. There wouldn't be room the way the seats were set up, but we didn't have any problems, all the luggage was visible at all times.

RAC Feb 22nd, 2009 10:33 PM

Make sure to sign up for the earliest possible tour of the Monteverde reserve.

I second the endorsement of Eco Termales.

We liked Morpho's in Santa Elena, and El Novillo is pretty good in La Fortuna.

Night hikes are definitely a good activity in Monteverde.

Dress in layers for Monteverde. It can be fairly warm and it can be quite cool.

Linda137 Feb 25th, 2009 09:38 PM

Bring lightweight, quick dry clothing. Thick cotton is too much and it doesn't want to dry if you get damp or need to hand wash. Those Tide packets are great for washing a few things in the sink. Comfortable athletic sandals (especially the type that can get wet and dry easily) work well. If you are like me, you'll tend to swell a bit with the humidity so it is nice to have comfortable lightweight shoes.

We like Don Rufino's in LaFortuna. Large menu, tasty food and a fun spot to people watch. Cano Negro is great - make sure to bring your camera.

volcanogirl Feb 26th, 2009 03:59 AM

Definitely bring some plastic bags to put things in if they get wet. I have Keen's which are quick dry, but it was so cold in Monteverde that I had to wear running shoes, and they never did get dry. I had to pack up wet shoes, and having the plastic bags really helped. You'll have better luck with the weather since we went in green season, but just in case...

LoveNH Mar 3rd, 2009 11:40 AM

Thanks to all for the responses. Most of the details are taken care of by Costa Rica Expeditions so upon return I will comment on how it went.

shillmac Mar 3rd, 2009 10:30 PM

Hildago Hot Springs is Eco-Termales. Same place, owned by the Hildago family. That's how I first heard of it years ago.

volcanogirl Mar 4th, 2009 02:09 AM

It sounds like a great trip - have fun! shillmac, thanks for the info.

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