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Flying into Liberia...want to make it to Arenal and Montezuma...a headache?

Flying into Liberia...want to make it to Arenal and Montezuma...a headache?

Old Jun 5th, 2006, 10:25 AM
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Flying into Liberia...want to make it to Arenal and Montezuma...a headache?

Greetings! I am trying to plan a short honeymoon trip to Costa Rica (only 6 nights). I certainly want some time on the beach, but I'd also like to make it to Arenal volcano area. Anyhoo, from what I've researched, Montezuma seems to be a beautiful fit for my fiance and me. I'm worried, however, about the logistics of getting to Montezuma without too much stress (we're not renting a car).
Here are a couple of ideas I've had, let me know what you think please.
1. Since we are arriving at 6:30 p.m.in Liberia, I thought maybe we could stay somewhere that's in between, such as Tamarindo or Nosara, and then head to Montezuma in a day or two. I'm not sure about the way back though...or going to Arenal.
2. Perhaps, we could go to Arenal first and then head on to Montezuma. Hmmmm...and maybe then head back along the coast and stay somewhere the night before our departure that is closer to Liberia.

I'm still not sure how all of this will work out transportation wise. Is Montezuma worth the extra effort getting there, or is there another area closer to Liberia that is comparable?
Please let me know your thoughts and any suggestions for my itinerary! I need help!
Thanks so much...
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 04:05 AM
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I'd stick closer to Liberia this time, and just enjoy the beaches of the north Pacific, such as Playa Hermosa, Flamingo, Tamarindo. Maybe a side trip to Arenal for a couple of nights. 6 nights is just not enough for that much moving around, and Montezuma isn't particulary easy to get to. You'll use up a LOT of your precious time transferring from one place to the other.

Tamarindo is comparable, although a little busier. Arriving at 6:30 p.m. (after dark) pretty much locks you into staying somewhere very near the airport the first night. Playa Hermosa just about 20 min. away (hire a taxi).

Perhaps you could visit Montezuma and/or other areas for your first anniversary! Congratulations!
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 06:44 AM
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Thank you so much for your reply Shillmac Upon thinking this through a little further, I too decided that Montezuma would take too much time out of my trip. I'm still would like to go to Arenal; however, I'm wondering if even that will be too much work. Perhaps, I should stay around the nothern beaches and then hit Rincon de la Vieja. I'm really bummed that I'm only going to get to see such a small portion of Costa Rica while I'm there...but I'm hoping it will still be an incredible experience (I hardly ever get to take vactations.)
If I do just stay around the northern part, what do you think some "musts" are? I want to be able to maximize the experience as much as possible, even if I'm not traveling that far.
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 09:41 AM
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I am just back today from the same area, and here would be my suggestions. Arenal is totally worth the drive, although it does take a few hours, they are very enjoyable and adventureous ones. Arenal area is just spectacular, with many trips you can take during the day. We stayed at Tabacon and just loved it, and although we were not on our honeymoon, it would be a very great place to do so, as many others were. THe Hot Springs were beautiful and realxing after a day white water rafting or canopy tour. WE only stayed there 3 nights, and then 3 nights at the beach area, which was a great amount of time at each! Good luck and happy honeymooning!
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 10:17 AM
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Stay your 2-3 nights at Playa Hermosa, or someplace comparable and close to the airport, and by all means do a tour of Rincon de la Vieja. Then head over to Arenal for 2-3 nights (depending on where you want to spend the most time). You can certainly enjoy Arenal in 2 nights. It takes about 4 hours to get over there, so depending on your departure time, I'm thinking you'd probably better plan on that last night near the airport just to be on the safe side.

You can use taxis and Interbus for your transfers. www.interbusonline.com--safe, small vans, efficient.
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 10:18 AM
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Sorry, meant to say "stay your first 2-3 nights near the airport. . . .whether you make it over to Arenal or not, you'll have a fabulous time in Guanacaste--great area. The Rincon is beautiful. When will you be traveling?
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 02:29 PM
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Hi again. Thanks to all of you for your help...especially those that have offered suggestions on both of my postings. (Sorry if I'm being a post-hog...just have so many questions). And....here's another one!

Okay, do you think it is a must to see both Rincon and Arenal? Or, do you think I would be better just splitting up my sex nights between the beach and either Arenal/Rincon? My fear is that if I go stay in Arenal a couple of nights, and spend one day at Rincon, I won't have much beach time, But, then again, the other stuff is what will really be new and different to me.
Please let me know your thoughts!
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 02:32 PM
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Umm, in reference to my previous posting...I meant to say "six nights", not "sex nights". (blushing) I guess I should start previewing my replies.

Oh well, it is my honeymoon afterall
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 02:40 PM
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This is very likely the funniest post ever in the history of Fodor's! Thanks for sending me to the floor rolling (in laughter!). Surely we're all smiling--with you, not at you!

And yes dear, it is your honeymoon--go for it! Arenal, Monteverde, wherever!
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 04:28 PM
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So glad I could bring some laughter to this site! Perhaps we could all use a few Freudian slips from time to time
But really, should I do both Rincon and Arenal with my short amount of time?!
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 06:27 PM
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Only if you don't mind giving up a beach time, and you mentioned in this thread or another that you felt you were running low on beach time. For example, let's say you arrive at 6:30 as you've said). You have 6 nights right? Get a taxi straight to Playa Hermosa.

Day 1--overnight Playa Hermosa

Day 2--beach time at Hermosa; overnight
Playa Hermosa

Day 3--day trip to Rincon--all day;
overnight Playa Hermosa again.

Day 4--4 hour drive to Arenal;
overnight

Day 5--all day at Arenal; overnight

Day 6--return (4 hours) to Playa
Hermosa; overnight.

Day 7--departure

Now you can look that over and see that you really have very little beach time--one day, basically. So you have to decide about Rincon and Arenal! Play with it a little bit, and something will come clear for you eventually! It always does!
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 07:07 AM
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OK, one more party heard from..........
I understand how difficult it can be to plan to visit so many places in such a short period of time.
Personally, I think Rincon AND Arenal may be too much if you want to visit other beaches as you mentioned in another post. There is much to keep you active near Liberia. I've just heard of hot springs nearby and there are canopy tours and you'll want some time to just relax and enjoy the rhythm of it all. And time to plan your next trip!
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 07:42 AM
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Thanks so much for the ideas Shillmac--I was actually thinking of going with that specific itinerary myself. I do wish I had a day or two more at the beach, but then again, the beach is something I visit quite often in the states...volcanoes, rain forests, etc. don't hardly ever come along.
There's a little part of me considering cancelling Rincon--is there anything there that can't be seen elsewhere (Arenal, etc.)?
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 10:19 AM
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Joeschmoe's advice is excellent--there IS plenty to do right there at Hermosa. You just have to decide (and you are working on it) exactly what it is you want more of. If it were I, I'd try to combine the beach and Arenal, and yes, I'd drop Rincon from my itinerary if I wanted more beach time. You can do ziplines at Arenal. I do think you'd enjoy the Arenal area since, as you mentioned, beach is less of a novelty for you. And the beaches of CR aren't particularly pretty, although a few sure stand out!
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 10:35 AM
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I have heard that if flying into Liberia, and on a short trip, a few days at the beach and a few days in Arenol at Iguana is a great trip. Have you decided where to stay at the beach yet? Can someone recommend the most romantic higher end hotel at the most beautiful beach?
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 11:27 AM
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Thanks again. Well, I think I will just stick to that itinerary mentioned earlier by shillmac--as far as Rincon, I will just play it by ear. If I'm feeling the beach more, I will just use the penciled in Rincon day as another beach day. I do think I will go to Arenal for a couple of nights. I've heard amazing things...and I think it will be unlike anything I've ever experienced.
I am now going to book my hotels at Hermosa and Arenal. Someone suggested a hotel in Hermosa...I will have to look it up again...and then I will trust your judgment and try to book it! What about hotels in Arenal that are great...I'd like to not spend over $85/night. (Abb145...I'm not sure what suggestions to give you, b/c I'm not looking for high end. I have, however, hear that Paradisus Playa Conchal on Conchal beach is extraordinary...it is huge, however...so, if you're looking for private, this probably wouldn't be the place. From what I've seen, however, it certainly is beautiful and high end.

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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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Shillmac suggested Villa del Sueno in Playa Hermosa which is a great spot. It's a short walk to the beach and has a wonderful, romantic restaurant. El Velero is as close to the water as you can get and also has a good restaurant with a more casual feel with simple but clean rooms and a very friendly, attentive staff.
There is no place in Hermosa that I would consider high end.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 01:33 PM
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Hola! Thanks for the tip---I actually am in the process of booking Villas del Suenos at Hermosa. I was trying to contact Velero, but their phone number on the site is inaccurate and I haven't heard back from them on e-mail. That's my sign to book Villas del sueno. Now I'm just wondering what to book in Arenal...I'm looking at Arenal lodge. Tabacon Resort would be my first choice, but I don't think I can bring myself to spring for the bill. (I might be young and in love, but along with that brings a lack of finances! Let me know if anyone has any suggestions for Arenal places to stay...I may post another question on this topic specifically, since this original topic has sprung out of control a bit!
Thanks!
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 05:47 PM
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I don't think Tabacon is all that great anyway--definitely gets mixed reviews, especially the restaurant.

We're staying at Arenal Observatory this time, but have always enjoyed Arenal Paraiso before. Lately, I guess it was on this board, someone mentioned that Arenal Lodge was a great place to stay with an excellent view of the lava--probably would be an excellent choice for you!
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 07:59 AM
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Thanks again, Shillmac. I just checked out Arenal Paraiso, and it looks great too--what did you think about it?

Also, in case you don't look at the separate message I posted about where to stay in Arenal--here is the note I left you:
"Shillmac...if you get this message, I wanted you to know that I will be in Hermosa around the same time you are...at the same hotel. No, I didn't plan that...was just looking through old postings about the hotel you suggested and noticed you mentioned you'd be there the first part of July!)

Thanks again for everything!
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