First trip to CR - HeLP!

Old Aug 10th, 2007, 11:10 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 112
First trip to CR - HeLP!

Hi folks,

So i've read Arenal has a live volcano, and other activities such as white water rafting and Manuel Antonio is a park with wildlife, nature and of course beautiful beaches.

So what is Osa then?

And we're planning on going this November during thanksgiving for 8 days.

Will Arenal and MA be a good, unhurried insight into CR for our first time? We want both some adventure and relaxation on beautiful beaches.

vacation03 is offline  
Old Aug 10th, 2007, 07:11 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,265
Hello vacation03,

The Osa peninsula is located in the southwestern part of the country. It is a more untouched, remote destination with important tracts of primary growth forest that offers a home to rarely seen animals such as the tapir and the jaguar (along with the monkeys, sloths, coatis, and other wildlife that is easier to come by in various regions of the country). Most people who venture down there completely fall in love with the area.

That said, Arenal/MA is a terrific itinerary for first time visitors to Costa Rica. Both destinations have good tourist infrastructure and a wide array of activities so that you can be as active (or inactive) as you like. Very do-able for 8 days without needing to rush from activity to activity. Thanksgiving should be a good time of year. You'll be there before high tourist season kicks into gear.
cmerrell is offline  
Old Aug 11th, 2007, 03:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 470
The only difficulty with a forum like this, is that it is hard to recommend what is perfect for you. Costa Rica is a diverse place, and different folks are going to like different things.

Arenal and Manuel Antonio are good choices for a first timer on an eight day trip. You will see a couple of different eco systems, and have the opportunity to get to know the local folks.

Another suggestion would be to go to a real "hard core" nature destination.

Our friend cmerrell gave you a pretty good overview of the Osa, and that is a great option. You might also look into Tortuguero. November is the tail end of the turtle egg laying season, but not the very end. Even if you miss out on the turtles, there still is some pretty intense nature there.

Some folks like a little bit of an adrenaline rush with their nature. There are some great overnight and two night whitewater rafting trips, that give you both. Canopy tours have become very common all over the country. You may want to do one of those too.

Hope this helps! Let me know if I can offer more advice.

Warm Regards,
Pat Hewitt
(Travel professional)
Pat_Hewitt is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2007, 07:39 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,192
Hi, vacation - we've been to all the places that interest you. We did Arenal and Manuel Antonio for our first trip. And we did the Peace Lodge and the Osa for our second trip. We loved both trips. It really entirely depends on what you're looking for. Arenal/Manuel Antonio is really "easy" - easy to get to things, a little more developed. The Osa is wild; we stayed at Bosque del Cabo, which is a really popular property - we saw scarlet macaws, toucans, all 4 kinds of monkeys, an anteater, agoutis, and more - most of it right from our front porch. They have candlelight dinners each night, where you all gather to talk about your day's adventures. Most people don't leave the property much because if you stay in a cabina, your food is included. The food and staff are great! We only left to take a tour of a nearby animal sanctuary. We got muddy and sweaty on the trails, but we loved it. Also the power situation is low, so you can't use a blow dryer and things like that, but there is light to read by. We really loved it.

In Arenal and Manuel Antonio, we signed up for a lot of outside activities like Cano Negro - amazing wildlife tour on a river, sailing, snorkeling (not great though), etc. Also went to a lot of neat restaurants. There is a lot of wildlife in MA park, but you may see crowds of people hovering around the animals. The beach there is gorgeous.

It really just depends on what kind of vacation you're looking for. I think Arenal/MA is a nice way for a first-timer to see the country.
volcanogirl is online now  
Old Aug 12th, 2007, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13
Arenal is great and beautiful. If you go, I recommend that you spend 1-2 nights at the Tabacon Hot Springs. We spend one night there and had a view of the Volcano from our room and hot rocks were running down the Volcano at night. We sat out in the hot tub and watched them - AMAZING!!! That being said, everyone said that we lucked out with being able to clearly see the top of the volcano at night. Most of the time it is blocked by cloud coverage, so it may not be worth the extra $$$.

If Tabacon is out of your budget I recommend staying nearby and at least visiting the Hot Springs at night. It is amazing at night walking between springs and eating at the pool bar. Of course, there are many others there, but we never felt crowded and there is plenty of room to roam all of the hot springs without feeling cramped.

I really cannot recommend this enough to you if you are going to be in the area. I am sure that it is nice during the day (a lot of people go at that time), but I think night is nicer since they are hot and it is a little cooler at night.

If you want more info on Tabacon, let me know. We are thinking about going back to Costa Rica this year or Curacao and can't decide. If we go back we are definitely doing Tabacon again and then heading to the Los Suenos Marriott - gorgeous clean hotel and to convenient to fun stuff.

I also have a GREAT, MAGNIFICENT, private driver. He took us from Tabacon to Los Suenos and it was amazing. He stopped when we wanted to stop for pics, took us to a local restaurant for lunch, talked to us about the culture, his family, fun things to do, etc. AMAZING!!!

Of course, doing one of the canopy tours is a must as well.

I have rambled on enough, but you guys are going to have an amazing experience.

Siena is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2007, 09:32 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,192
We enjoyed staying at The Lost Iguana in Arenal - nice, quiet hotel with lush grounds and a gorgeous view of the volcano from your balcony.
volcanogirl is online now  
Old Aug 12th, 2007, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2
Yes, Arenal is a great place to start your Costa Rica experience!
Consider staying at our place: Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat. We are above the busy tourist town of Fortuna with incredible views of Arenal and the surrounding mountain range. We have three new well equiped cabins on our 26 acres. Check out our web site at:
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Old Aug 12th, 2007, 12:44 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,192
Hi, leaves and lizards - just wanted to let you know that technically you are not allowed to promote a business on this site - don't want you to get in trouble. Good luck with your business though. The Arenal area is wonderful.
volcanogirl is online now  
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