For ShellD and others leaving for Costa Rica soon

Jul 27th, 2008, 12:02 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 875
For ShellD and others leaving for Costa Rica soon

I know youíre leaving in a couple of days, and have an itinerary similar to ours. Iíll write a complete trip report as soon as I can, but certainly wonít get it done before you leave, so here are some comments.

We loved Tortuguero. Make sure you go on the early morning canal tours. On the 5:45 am tour we saw howler monkeys, white faced capuchins, sloths, roseate spoonbills and keel-billed toucans. The early morning was my favorite time of day. We had a fabulous time on the evening turtle tour as well. We went in two different groups and everyone saw at least two separate turtles either laying her eggs or camouflaging them. We each also saw at least two turtles going back to sea. This is truly an incredible wildlife experience and should not be missed. Be prepared for some fast paced walking to get to the turtles once the rangers tell the guides where they are located. Our guide at Mawamba was Pierro and he was amazing. Our guide for the turtle tour was George Bryan, who was also excellent. Tortuguero is a very beautiful place, and we are so glad we included it in our trip.

Peace Lodge-
Adults and children alike loved all of the exhibits. Our favorite was the aviary, although we really also enjoyed the butterflies and hummingbirds. The waterfall walk is fabulous, although a bit crowded. If you can, start in the early morning before the park opens to the public. Accommodations are fabulous; we regret not having time to just sit on our decks and relax. We did not care for the food at all. Read my comments on the restaurant thread, especially if you are traveling with children.

We did not do the Cano Negro Tour, so I canít comment on that. Iíve heard it is similar to the canal tours at Tortuguero, and we didnít want to spend any more time in a vehicle than necessary. At Arenal we hiked to a spot with huge boulders of hardened lava. There is a beautiful view, and you can here the volcano from here. While some enjoyed the walk, others found it just ok. It was raining, so that had an impact on opinions. Those of us who walked to the base of La Fortuna waterfall loved that walk. There are quite a few stairs, and we found this a little more strenuous than the waterfall hike at Peace Lodge. We swam at the base of the falls, but it was extremely cold. We planned to go to Eco Termales hot springs but couldnít get in so went to Baldi instead. We were surprised that we absolutely loved it because we heard it had become very commercial. If you go to Baldi, start at the very back of the springs. The front is loud, with disco music, and just not our cup of tea. However, if you go past the water slides, you find a very quiet part of the park. This is also where the hottest pools are. We did the hanging bridges, which provided incredible views, but very little wildlife. I would highly recommend it for the views alone. We did not walk to the start of the hanging bridges because we arrived late and it was raining. If you include the walk to the base of the bridges the wildlife experience could be quite different. I highly recommend the hanging bridges, La Fortuna waterfall and the hot springs. We were at Lost Iguana, and we also enjoyed sitting on our balconies and enjoying views of the volcano. We saw lava flow 2-3 times every evening.

It rained almost non-stop while at Arenal and at Monteverde, and Iím sure this affected our wildlife viewing at both locations. At Monteverde we hiked in the cloud forest, but it was pouring rain so we didnít see much. Ditto at Santa Elena, although we did enjoy both hikes. We planned to go on a night tour, but it was still pouring rain and we were completely waterlogged at this point, so we didnít go. We zip lined with SkyTrek, which everyone found absolutely fantastic. We went to CASEM, which we enjoyed, but didnít make it to the other nearby galleries. Most close at 4 pm, and while within walking distance to one another, if you want to go to all of them you should probably allow Ĺ day. Stellaís Bakery is right across the street from CASEM, and is an excellent place for lunch or an afternoon snack. We didnít make it to the cheese factory. Our favorite activity was by far the zip lines. We also enjoyed the fact that there is a small town with shops and restaurants, all within walking distance of one another.

Manuel Antonio-
This was our absolute favorite location. Everyone enjoyed hanging out on the public beach near the MA park entrance, shopping the street vendors, and watching locals play soccer. The park itself and the beaches inside Manuel Antonio are very beautiful, and walking in the park was great. However, our favorite beach (perhaps because we had so many children) was the private beach at Tulemar, where we spent a day on boogie boards and kayaking. You can also rent kayaks at the public beach. We went into Quepos one day, and with the exception of some good shopping, we could have skipped this. The Finca Valmy horseback tour was a hit, although the water at the base of the falls was quite cold. We spent more time relaxing and on the beach, rather than on organized activities, which was a good way to end our trip. There are so many places from which to see beautiful sunsets, that youíll have a difficult time deciding where to go.

You will have a fabulous time. If you have any specific questions, let me know.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 01:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Thank you so much for taking the time to post to me Dana! We're all really looking forward to our trip and your comments help out a lot!

What was the weather like in each area - was Tortuguero really hot? How about the rain - did you get a lot?

Also, I enjoyed your restaurant comments on the other thread!

I'm printing out both!

Thanks again...

ShellD is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 12:18 PM
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Hi Shell,
The weather in Tortuguero was perfect. I live in the SE, so my definition of perfect might be a little different than yours, though. It was cooler and less humid than it is here. It was probably in the mid 80s during the day and mid 70s at night. Evening temperatures were cool enough to sleep comfortably without air conditioning. Day time temperatures were warm enough for the kids to swim in the pool but not so hot the adults were uncomfortable. We didn't get that much rain. Mornings were beautiful, with crisp cool air and clear blue skies. Afternoons were a bit overcast, with some showers. It stormed from about midnight to 5 am the last night we were there, but we didn't have any heavy storms during the day, and certainly nothing that disrupted our activities.

Manuel Antonio was a bit warmer, maybe by about 5-10 degrees. We had good daytime weather there with some showers in the evenings and a pretty severe thunderstorm on our last night. That weather could have been the result of Dolly. In Manuel Antonio the skies were clearer and the sun stronger than anywhere else on the trip, so take lots of sunscreen.

It rained alot while we were in Arenal and Monteverde. We expected afternoon showers, but not rain on and off all day long. Those of us with ponchos wished we had rain coats. We brought the ponchos because they would fit over backpacks. But, many of us did not even take camera equipment with us on several of our outings. On the road from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio we had to detour because a road was closed, which I think was due to the rains, but I'm not certain of that.

We did get some interesting views of the volcano in Arenal when the rain let up, and all of the rain made for a very lush, beautifully green landscape. I was so glad I was warned to plan activities early. The volcano at sunrise was magnificent. While in both Monteverde and in Arenal, it was raining each day before noon. Zip lining in Monteverde in the morning was also incredible, looking into the lush hills.

The temperature in Arenal was a little cooler than Tortuguero, probably high 70s-low 80s during the day and a little cooler at night. Monteverde day time temperatures were nice, but evenings were quite cool. We were all glad we packed long pants and a fleece. It seemed even cooler than it actually was because it was wet.

I am so jealous. My trip is over and yours is just about to start. Post again if you have any more questions. I'll check a couple of times a day until you leave.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 06:49 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Thanks for posting and glad to hear you had a great trip. How great you got to see some turtles.
tully is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 07:36 PM
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Thanks Tully,
I'll post a detailed trip report, with photos on a separate thread, but it might take me a little while. I just wanted to make sure Shell got some information before she left. We had a wonderful time. The entire trip was fantastic. And the turtle were amazing.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 06:24 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874
I don't know how long it would take mre to tire of sitting on a balcony at the Lost Iguana...glad you enjoyed it!
missypie is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 08:18 PM
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We never tired of sitting on our balconies at Lost Iguana. In fact, we would have spent even more time on the balconies if there wasn't so much else to do.
Dana_M is offline  

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