Going for three weeks - How to divide my time?

Mar 26th, 2004, 06:38 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 163
Going for three weeks - How to divide my time?

I am heading off in mid-May on my three-week Costa Rican honeymoon. I've done a lot of research so far on the country and its amazing sights. Now, I'm just having difficulty putting it together in a (rough) itinerary.

Since we arrive at noon in San Jose, I figured we could manage to get a little further than a hotel nearby the airport. I was thinking of
1) Spending a few days and nights at the Peace Lodge in La Paz and running a few trips from there (rafting or horseback riding, coffee plantantion, etc.)

2)Heading towards Arenal, for another couple of days.

3) Then, to Tortuguero. How long do I need there?

4) Heading back the other way and visiting Monteverde.

5)Then, down to some beaches (Malpais, Montezuma).

6)Corcovado (or Cocovado-lite, maybe Uvita. It sounds very hard core down there. I'm not sure if we'll be up for great jungle adventures at that point.)

7)Back to spend last night(s) at Xandari before heading out again.

What am I missing? What should I change? One glaring omission is Manual Antonio. It just seems really touristy. I have already selected a way-too-expensive hotel on the beach (Flor Blanca) so I don't know if I need to do that all over again in MA. Do you?

I am in no way attached to this itinerary and would love feedback.

Basically, my priorities are: great views of green and lush mountains, good hikes/walks, and staying away from scorpions.

My husband's priorities are: visiting ab-fab beaches and relaxing in the surf.

Oh and one last thing if you can stand it: the jury is still out on renting a car versus some other mode of transport. I think renting for three weeks is going to be a budget wrecker. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
MonaManuel is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 09:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,194
I've not been to Tortuguero so don't know the logistics of getting there and where to fit it in, but I am thinking that you may want to do the Monteverde part either right before or after Arenal instead of have Tortuguero in the middle.
I also think a car for the entire trip would be quite costly and some areas not necessary, such as Arenal, Monteverde and Corcovado...which I DO think you should try to make. Bosque del Cabo gets great reviews and you can be as active as you like with light or heavy hikes or just hang out at the beach or the pool. It's a great area and a chance to see so much wildlife without trying too hard. Manuel Antonio is beautiful, but you'll see so many things in the other areas, and Flor Blanca is very nice, so don't feel like you have to see Manuel Antonio this time.
Back to the car...I think I would want one to explore the Montezuma and Mal Pais area, especially since you don't have too many places within walking distance to Flor Blanca.

Ally is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 10:44 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,441
I am with Ally. Peace lodge, Xandari, Vista del Valle are all very nice options for staying somewhat near the airport. If you want to go to Tortuguero you have two options, fly to Tortuguero or drive part way and take a boat the rest of the way. You can only fly in and out of San Jose. The flights are very early so you would have the whole travel day upon arrival in Tortuguero to see things as well as possibly one more day. You would arrive back in San Jose at around 7:30-8am. Interbus has a bus scheduled to leave San Jose at 8am but you might have trouble getting to it on time. They have another at 1pm arriving in La Fortuna around 5pm. Fantasy bus appears to only have one trip (8am) to La Fortuna. Another option would be to check with your hotel in Arenal/La Fortuna to see if they can help make arrangements for your transportation. There are lots of options for private transport but those are getting a little steep. It would be around $125 I would think to get to Arenal from San Jose. Possibly a bit more. I really like Tortuguero because you do see a lot of things. Considering that you would loose almost a whole day just trying to get to Arenal I would think about a day trip to Cano Negro from arenal instead. You would see many of the same things and by going as a day trip you could wait to see how the weather would be before booking the trip from your Arenal hotel.
You would be much better off just continuing on to Monteverde, if you decide to go there, from Arenal. You have the option of going by horseback, jeep/boat/jeep through the mountains, or bus/shuttle by road. The horse and jeep trips are actually the quickest.
Suzie2 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,183
If you do decide to rent a car for at least part of the trip, Dollar has some really good rates. We are renting a small 4x4 for seventeen days in July for about $750 including all taxes and insurance. Our credit card covers the CDW portion of the insurance. You can check them out at www.dollarcostarica.com.
LA_FadeAway is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 02:00 PM
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Posts: 6,098
Depending on whom you hire, it's $90-$110 one way between SJO and Arenal.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 02:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Those prices were for a van--I think they said up to 6 people for that price, but confirm that if you contact someone about it.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 04:53 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 345
Hi there - I returned yesterday from 4 weeks in CR and here are some quick thoughts from my side.

La Cusinga Lodge, near Playa Uvita and the Ballena National Park, is amazing. We went there for 3 days and ended up staying for 8. Would want to have a car in that area and then you can visit some other beaches. The cabinas are amazing and set in a jungle overlooking the Pacific. We did lots of hikes to see birds, monkeys, etc and also to a nearly-deserted beach, as well as to Playa Uvita. Check it out - it's a special place.

Spent another 8 days in Montezuma and fell in love with it. It's a funky little town that is filled with tourists (most Americans), but it somehow doesn't feel touristy in the same way that Arenal does.

Sorry - crying child.

Have a great trip - it's a fabulous country.
Weespxx is offline  
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